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Full text of "The higher criticism [microform] : the greatest apostasy of the age"

BS 

485 




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UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO 



50 707 330 



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GREATEST 



OF THE AGE. 



BY 



D.. 



PATON 






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University of Chicago Library 



GIVEN BY 



Besides the -main topic this book also treats of 
Subject No. On page Subject No. On page 





! 



HIGHER CRITICISM: 



THE 



GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 



BY 
D. K. PATON." 



"Earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto 
the saints." Jttde 3. 

"For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou 
shalt be condemned." Matt. xii. 37. 



PASSMORE & ALABASTER, 4, PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS. 

1896. 



, t i i 

t i 

lit i 

' i i 

' i t i 





INDEX. 



I. THE FALSITY OF THE POSITION OF THE " HIGHER 
CRITICS." 

II. THE WORTHLESS CHARACTER OF THE WORK OF THE 
" HIGHER CRITICS." 

III. THE CONCLUDING GENERAL VIEW, AND CONDEMNATION 
OF THE "HIGHER CRITICISM." 



PREFACE. 



WE have always admired the picture of the man setting 
out on pilgrimage, as drawn by Bunyan in his Immortal 
Dream. When his dearest friends " began to cry after him 
to return he put his fingers in his ears and ran on crying 
' Life ! Life ! eternal life.' " And it is, we trust, in this 
spirit, unbiassed by any mere human authority or person- 
ality, we have written on the subject of the " Higher 
Criticism." We are acquainted with Mr. Worldly Wise- 
man and the other notable characters met by Christian, 
and they are undoubtedly as brisk and numerous as 
ever they were in Bunyan's day. Were we, however, 
to compare personality on the evangelical side with 
personality on the side of the Critical School, it would 
be easy, we think, to show a vast preponderance of 
intellectuality, not to speak of higher qualities, in 
men of this century on the side of the former. But 



11. PREFACE. 

all such comparisons are to be avoided. The only 
sound position must be to stand by the witness of 
God against the whole world, if need be. Although 
a Presbyterian, it is in. the one spirit of love and unity 
with the whole Christian brotherhood that the writer 
offers this humble, earnest contribution towards the 
arrest and removal of the infidelity which, under the 
guise of progress in religion, has done havoc in the 
Churches, and still threatens to undermine and destroy 
the Christian faith. 



I. 



THE FALSITY OF THE POSITION OF 
THE "HIGHER CRITICS." 



|HE "Higher Critics" are now a formidable 
body in the theological world. They are 
numerous, and considering the actual position 
they have taken up which we believe to be to 
themselves especially a most dangerous one they 
are very influential, and by the strenuous and 
widespread advocacy of their views, great multi- 
tudes have been affected by them. The most 
advanced are chiefly to be found in the Universi- 
ties, Colleges, and Divinity Halls. We might 
give a long list of prominent names, but this is 
unnecessary. They are recognisable almost 
everywhere. In the pulpit, and in general litera- 
ture, not even excluding some of the religious 
periodicals, the unmistakable trend of the 
" Higher Critic " is forcibly felt. They exhibit 
marked variety of character and degrees of 



6 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

advancement as critics of Holy Scripture ; but 
they wonderfully agree to differ, as we generally 
find them lauding and praising each other, when 
opportunity offers, as some new rationalistic ideas 
are promulgated from time to time. And they all 
point in one direction, and may well, therefore, 
be regarded as practically united in the work in 
which they are engaged. 

\TT1 l & & -1 

What, then, we enquire, is the important 
mission the " Higher Critics" have undertaken ? 

Their work, briefly stated, is nothing less than 
an endeavour to prove that the Old Testament 
Scriptures and these Scriptures are acknowledged 
to be the same now as in the time of cur Lord 
are unreliable ; that they are largely composed of 
legend and myth ; that the historical, prophetical, 
and other writings of the Book are full of mistakes 
and errors ; and that in not a few instances the 
reputed authors of the books of the Old Testa- 
ment are not the real authors. It is further 
stated that it is only by superior scholarship, by 
intimate acquaintance with ancient literature, and 
by certain scientific methods, which exclusively 
belong to the " Higher Critics," that the real 
truth of what is contained in the Bible can be 
ascertained. 

Such is, in short, the nature of the work and 
strivings of these men. But in reading their 
works, so far as we have been able or deem it 
desirable to do so, we find that their conclusions 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 7 

as a whole coincide very remarkably with the 
rationalistic writers of an older generation. 
Upwards of a hundred years ago not to refer to 
infidelity of a much earlier period we find that 
the same views of Old Testament Scripture were 
held, among others, by such men as Bolingbroke, 
Voltaire, and Paine.* The views of these 
rationalists of last century, although expressed 
perhaps more explicitly, are in reality identical 
with what we see declared by the leading 
" Higher Critics" of the present day. The 
modern u Higher Critics," however, would 
persuade us that it is from their own position, 
as learned "experts" that they are now able to 

* BOLINGBROKE Chapter on Sacred History, 1735. "These histories 
" are nothing more than compilations of old traditions and abridgment 
" of old records made at later times. These Scriptures .... are .... 
" full of additions, interpolations and transpositions made, we know not 
" when nor by whom." 

VOLTAIRE On the History between Kings and Chronicles , 1761. " See 
ee on what pretexts, on what facts, on what miracles, on what predictions, 
"on what basis this disgusting and abominable history is built." 
Important Examination, 1767. Chapter ix.. "The most probable opinion 
" is that the books attributed to Solomon, to Daniel, and to others, were 
" made in Alexandria." 

PAINE Theological Works, 1795. Pagei&i* "I do not suppose that 
"the compilers of the Bible made these books (Isaiah, etc.), but rather 
" that they picked up some loose anonymous essays and put them together 
" under the names of such authors as best suited their purpose." Page 108. 
" A very glaring instance of this occurs in the book ascribed to Isaiah ; the 
" latter part of the forty-fourth chapter and the beginning of the forty-fifth. 
* e so far from having been written by Isaiah, could only have been written 
"by some person who lived at least one hundred and fifty years after 
" Isaiah was dead." 

NOTE. In quoting the above, we virtually quote the modern "Higher 
Critics," as anyone may see who examines the writings of the latter. Prof. 
G. A. Smith's work on Isaiah, for example, must lose much of its distinctive 
marks of supposed originality and value, in view of the older utterances of 
infidelity. 



8 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

arrive at the conclusions they have so largely 
given to the world. But we feel bound, in view 
of the facts above stated, to question the validity 
of such distinctive claim. Any candid reader, we 
think, can scarcely give them credit for exclusive 
right to the alleged discoveries, seeing the earlier 
rationalists we refer to, who did not profess like 
scholastic attainments, made the same declarations 
respecting the Scriptures. And if there is to be 
honour distributed among the critics s this honour 
should be given to who in honour is due namely, 
to the earlier discoverers, such as those writers we 
have mentioned, and others of their time. 

There is, however, to be specially noted a very 
marked difference in one respect between the 
professed personal beliefs of the modern u Higher 
Critics " and of those others we have just named. 
And it is to this singular circumstance or 
distinction to which we wish to ask the reader's 
special attention. Those rationalistic writers of 
last century concluded, and very logically so v 
that the discovery of errors and fable as they 
supposed in the Old Testament, completely 
shattered all belief also in the New Testament 
Scripture. On the contrary, however s the present 
day te Higher Critics "we speak of them 
generallyprofess to believe in the great truths 
and doctrines of the New Testament. There is 
here, therefore, a most surprising difference 
between the professed attitude of the Old and 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 9 

that of the New Critics , and it is consequently of 
very great importance, is it not, to determine the 
precise position of the modern u Higher Critics." 

This profession of continued belief in the New 
Testament facts although many of the " Higher 
Critics " express doubts here also has the 
appearance of reverence and worshipful homage 
of the true God. But we venture to affirm that on 
close examination of the statements of the modern 
" Higher Critics" regarding Old Testament 
Scripture, it will be impossible to allow them the 
credit they claim in this matter. And we feel 
bound in fairness to say that the Older Critics 
referred to were much more consistent, because, 
if it is proved that the Old Testament is untrue, 
as the modern " Higher Critics " declare, then it 
necessarily follows that the New Testament is 
untrue also, and that thus Our Lord and His 
Apostles and New Testament writers who 
believed the Old Testament to be infallibly true/ 
are made the deliberate propagators of error and 
falsehood. 

This singular attempt, therefore, on the part of 
present day ki Higher Critics " to reconcile their 
attack on the Old Testament with their professed 
belief in the New Testament, must be pronounced 
nothing short of an incredible miracle. Do the 
modern " Higher Critics," we ask, believe that 
our Lord cast doubts upon the truth of the Old 
Testament Scripture ? We do not find it so, The 



10 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

very opposite is the case. They uniformly own 
that our Lord constantly referred to the Old 
Testament as indisputable truth, showing and 
declaring that every prophetic utterance therein 
must needs be fulfilled, and that "the Scripture 
cannot be broken.' 7 In the face of these manifest 
facts we must again say that the professed 
position of the modern u Higher Critic" is an 
exceedingly inconsistent and untenable one. And 
when it is calmly looked into, we greatly wonder 
how he can permit himself to rest on such a 
foundation of sand. 

But we wish to press the matter towards a 
point. When we find our " Higher Critics" 
admit, as they do, that our Lord quoted and 
referred to Old Testament Scripture, and that 
most pointedly to several portions of it which 
they repudiate or treat as fable or myth, we want 
to know how they reconcile such contradiction of 
Christ with their professed belief in Him as the 
true and only Saviour of the world ? It has been 
said that the explanation by certain critics of our 
Lord's testimony to the truth of the Old 
Testament is, that He spoke either under 
ordinary human limitations, and, as a man, was 
not fully acquainted with the science of the 
subject, or that He chose to accommodate Himself 
in His Scripture references to what was simply 
the common belief among the people of the time. 
Such are the blasphemous explanations, as we must 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. II 

regard them, attributed to the so-called " Higher 
Critics." But whether these dark counsels belong 
to them or not, or whether they have any 
explanation to give for our Lord's solemn 
asseverations respecting the absolute truth of Old 
Testament Scripture, they cannot get quit of the 
great outstanding fact of their evident and 
persistent opposition to Him in regard to these 
Scriptures, This is simply a case calling for just 
judgment by the living Church of God on the 
evidence available. It is nothing more and 
nothing less than this, and it is, we maintain, a 
matter of such gravity that the withholding ot 
that judgment must bespeak unfaithfulness to an 
imperative Christian duty. 

Let us endeavour, therefore, to realize how the 
" Higher Critics '' actually stand personally in 
this their attitude towards our Lord. So far as 
ascertained they admit that our Lord never either 
by word or act cast doubt upon a single jot or 
tittle of Holy Scripture, And if anyone thinks 
otherwise it only shows he is ignorant of Him 
and of His teaching. In direct contrast to such a 
suggestion, however, they, and all who have any 
acquaintance with the subject, acknowledge that 
one very special feature of our Lord's teaching 
and testimony was the unqualified emphasis He 
placed on Scripture from beginning to end. And 
we do not doubt it was in anticipation of the evil 
spirit of infidelity, among other reasons, which 



12 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

led Him so frequently to call attention to its 
authority and preciousness, thus putting His 
Sovereign stamp upon every word which it 
contained. 

This being so, and the position of the " Higher 
Critics ' T being as shown, we wish to summon 
them before the bar of common rectitude for 
examination. 

They are perfectly aware and acknowledge, as 
already said, that our Lord believed in the 
Scripture, and made constant reference to it as 
infallibly true. There is no escaping the evidence 
on the point. We have, therefore, the duty laid 
upon us, and all who are interested in the truth, to 
see if their professions will bear investigation. 
They hold, they say, to Christ as the true and 
only Saviour of the world, and that they worship 
and rely on Him alone for salvation. This is 
undoubtedly the profession of the " Higher 
Critics," for many of them preach, occasionally at 
least, and speak from texts taken from both Old 
and New Testaments to show their professed 
belief, and to ask others to believe with them. 
We scarcely require to give specimens of what 
we refer to, their professions and teaching being 
well known in almost every Church circle, but we 
will introduce and treat of one sample only of the 
11 Higher Criticism" taken from a book entitled 
" Studies in Theology," by a much respected 
theologian, the Rev. James Demiey, D.D., who has 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 13 

been very generally pronounced one of the most 
evangelical of the " Higher Critics." Referring 
to the opening chapters of Genesis, which contain 
the account of the Creation and the Fall, this 
writer declares these chapters to be " neither 
science nor history,' 7 but " myth," and he 
explicitly thus writes:- "The plain truth, and 
'we have no reason to hide it, is, that we do not 
" know the beginnings of man's life, of his history, 
" of his sin." And again he says " We do not 
"know the beginnings of man's life on historical 
"evidence, and we should be content to let them 
"remain in the dark till science throws what light 
" it can upon them." 

These are startling statements from this lauded 
theologian, and to show how such views differ 
from the testimony of our Lord concerning the 
contents of these chapters in Genesis, we will 
simply give the following remarks of an able and 
thoughtful writer which bring out this very dis- 
tinctly. a We are simply amazed," this writer 
remarks, 4< when we consider how the words of 
" Jesus have grasped almost the entire range of 
1 'the Old Testament history, and have embedded 
"it in the New, When Pharisees came tempting 
" Him with the question, Is it lawf^d for a man 
u to p^{,t away his wife for every cause? He 
" answered and said unto them : Have ye not 
u read, that He who made them at the beginning 
" made them male and female p , and said. For this 



u 



u 



14 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

' ' cause shall a man leave father and mother y ana 
u shall cleave to his wife ; and they twain shall be 
"one flesh? (Matt. xix. 4, 5.) What did the 
" question mean ? Was there not an amount of 
" blame in it for not having duly marked an 
" authoritative statement which really made an end 
" of all question regarding this matter ? But our 
" Lord has left no room for doubt as to His mean- 
" ing, for He founded His decision upon the words. 
^ Wherefore, said He, they are no more twain, 

but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined 

together \ let not man pitt asunder (verse 6). 

Our Lord's argument has force in it only upon 
" one supposition, that those words, taken from 
" the first and second chapters of Genesis, are the 
if - words of God, But it is plain that our Lord 
" believed the quotation not only to have force in 
" it, but also to be absolutely conclusive. The 
" words are, therefore, quoted as the words of 
" God Himself." 

Then, we may add that all the New Testament 
writers follow our Lord closely and with entire 
unity in their treatment of the Old Testament. 
The Apostle Paul, for example, refers over and 
over again to these very statements in Genesis 
which the ''Higher Critic" we refer to calls 
" myth." The Apostle thus writes " The first 
"man, Adam, was made a living soul, the last 
'''Adam was made a quickening spirit. For as 
a by one man's disobedience many were made 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 1$ 

" sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many 
4 'be made righteous." But we need not multiply 
the references to the narrative of these great 
foundation facts, which, in contrast to our Lord's 
declarations, the critic calls " myth " and un- 
historieal. 

Further quotations from this so-called evan- 
gelical " Higher Critic" might be given to show 
his unbelief in other portions of Scripture, but the 
above may be deemed sufficient as an example of 
the writer's position, and we will only give a very 
curious declaration of his ideas in regard to the 
reading of Scripture. It is this : " The witness,' 7 
he says, " of the Spirit by and with the Word in 
" the soul does not guarantee the historicity of 
"miraculous details , but it does guarantee the 
u presence of a supernatural element in the history 
" recorded. It bars out a criticism which denies 
"the supernatural on principle and refuses to 
" recognise a unique work of God as in process 
" along this line." 

Now this author has stated in his writings 
referred to, that there are errors all through 
Scripture, but it will be seen from the above 
quotation how he says the truthful element is to 
be extracted. The declaration, however, which 
the writer makes about the " witness of the 
Spirit " in the soul is a most remarkable one, but 
when the quotation is carefully considered, we 
make bold to say that such an experience as that 



1 6 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

expressed by him has not been found within the 
Church of God, past or present. Let us examine 
the statement we have quoted. 

In the hrst place, we enquire, how is it that 
the Spirit, as the writer asserts, is so given that 
the reader of Scripture can know what is true and 
what is untrue ( for that is the import of the writer's 
statement), and yet, that the same Spirit was not 
given to the writer of that same Scripture to 
enable him to write it correctly ? In short, how 
is it that man by the Spirit could not or did not 
write the mind of the Spirit without error, but 
that by the same Spirit man, according to this 
writer, can, in spite of the many errors in it, read 
it correctly ? When such a statement as that in 
question is therefore placed under a fair logical 
and reasonable test, it must, we think, be regarded 
as the expression of an experience purely artificial 
and imaginary. Then, in the same quotation, it 
is to be noted that the writer appears to say that 
the Spirit rejects the u miraculous details" in 
Scripture, but discerns "the presence of a super- 
natural element." Why not guarantee the 
" miraculous details " ? We cannot have anything 
without details, can we ? Whether it may be a 
complete or abridged statement, there must be 
details in any case, and we cannot have anything 
perfect unless the details are perfect. But it is 
the " miraculous details " which we presume is 
the difficulty. With the miraculous expunged all 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 17 

will be plain, will it ? That is not what is meant, 
evidently, because it is owned by the writer that 
there is an " element" of the " supernatural" 
(another name for the miraculous) in Scripture 
history, but only an " element," whatever that 
may amount to, which is not clearly defined ; only 
this, however, that it Is said to " bar out a criticism 
" which denies the supernatural on principle and 
" refuses to recognise a unique work of God as in 
" process along this line." 

There seems to us in the concluding sentence 
here a sort of puzzlement, or may we not regard 
it as a kind of rhetorical " myth " ? Whatever may 
be the exact intention of the writer, it is evident, 
at least, that he believes he has found a bar to 
exclude those, we suppose, whom he elsewhere 
calls the ''irresponsible" critics. As the bar 
indicated, however, has limitations only known to 
the writer himself, it is therefore, we fear, un- 
knowable or invisible to the ordinary reader of 
Scripture, There might as well be no such 
device, as all the " Higher Critics/' both those 
who believe in the " supernatural element " and 
those who do not believe in it, are sure to com- 
mingle. And we suspect, so far as the safety of 
Scripture truth is concerned, the one set of critics 
taking the above as a specimen of the best is 
about as good as the other. When coming upon 
the familiar sacred words, "witness of the Spirit," 
we would expect some bond- fide statement in 

B 



1 8 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

harmony with them, but, instead, they seem only 
to serve for the gilding of an idea of the writer's 
own, which, we believe, has no support whatever 
in Holy Writ* 

We have thus noticed one out of the many 
examples of the " Higher Critics " which might 
be taken to show their opposition to the plain 
emphatic teaching of our Lord in regard to Old 
Testament Scripture. We would now proceed 
more directly to remark that our great concern is 
to see how it can be possible for men, consistently 
with the admission of such views, to believe in 
Christ as their Redeemer. If they contradict our 
Lord respecting the truth of Scripture -and the 
evidence of this is beyond doubt they necessarily 
declare themselves superior to Him in know- 
ledge, that His teaching was erroneous respecting 
Scripture, and that He thus misled the people on 
most important articles of faith and duty. We 
cannot, therefore, we hold, in view of these facts, 
be justified in accepting the profession of faith in 
our Lord by the " Higher Critics " as a genuine 
profession. 

If such conflicting views respecting Scripture 
had come from ignorant or partially instructed 
persons, excuse might in charity have been 
found for their unwitting opposition to Christ, 

*NOTE. It may be noted here, by the way, that one of the worst features 
of the Critics appears now to be the attempt to make the Apostolic teach- 
ing conflict with the teaching of our Lord. The depth of this perversity 
it would be difficult to fathom. 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 

but in the case of the u Higher Critics " no such 
excuse can be urged on their behalf. In full view 
of the circumstances and facts, it is clearly, we 
hold, an impossibility for such men in any true 
sense to believe and rest upon Christ alone for 
salvation. We put the question calmly to any 
sincere upright man of intelligence : How could 
he rely upon a Saviour with such imperfections 
and making such misrepresentations respecting 
Scripture as the "Higher Critics )J by their 
writings declare He has done ? The idea is 
utterly preposterous. No man of ordinary sanity 
of mind could believe that any person who held 
such views respecting our Lord could really 
worship Him in spirit and in truth. Is this not 
the only conclusion to be arrived at ? Is there 
any way of escape here for the " Higher Critic " ? 
Is it possible that he can in s^ich case be walking 
in fellowship with o^^,r Lord? The supposition is 
evidently out of the question ; yet he makes this 
profession. But any sober reflection on the 
nature of the case must lead to the inevitable and 
painful discovery that the thing is impossible. 
For, to hold that a genuine profession of faith in 
Christ, along with rejection of His teaching on 
such momentous matters, can co-exist in the heart 
and soul of the same person, is distinctly not only 
against every principle of logic, but an outrage on 
the common laws of judgment and conscience. 
This is not a case, as some may imagine. 



20 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

which is to be judged of on the principle of 
placing an evil work over against a supposed good 
work and striking the balance between them. 
Some may say, if the work of the a Higher 
Critics r) be incorrect and evil let it be charged 
against them ; and also, if they profess to rely 
on and worship our Lord notwithstanding, let 
them be credited accordingly. But the sophistry 
of such a proposition must be very apparent, 
because the professed relationship of the '' Higher 
Critics " to our Lord must determine their every 
action. For, to do otherwise, would be to hold 
that a man may deliberately and of set purpose 
serve God and the devil alternate!}^ and be 
blameless. 

It is a fearful act, is it not, to speak in 
opposition to our Lord in any wise? Only 
consider it. He was not only declared a perfect 
man and without sin, but the Holy Ghost was 
upon H.'m withoiit measiwe from the beginning of 
His public ministry among men. He needed not 
that any should testify of man, for He knew what 
was in man. Then ? He was God as well as man, 
hence His knowledge was unlimited and unerring, 
Was He not the very Truth itself? And did He 
not possess more wisdom and knowledge than the 
whole human race combined ever had or ever can 
have ? Who dare doubt it ? If He is the God 
whom the " Higher Critics " profess to believe 
in, He must necessarily occupy this exalted 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 21 

position in their esteem. They knoiv that there 
is no neutral position here for them to take up, 
and on either horn of the dilemma they choose 
they must be held condemned. "Which of you 
convinceth me of sin ? '' et Heaven and earth 
shall pass away, but My words shall not pass 
away.' 7 It is never to be forgotten also that He 
spoke largely of Scripture after His resurrection, 
and opened the minds of His disciples to understand 
the Scriptures. Mark the words : " Then opened 
He their understanding, that they might under- 
stand the Scriptures " (Luke xxiv. 45). And 
what He did on this occasion He continued to do, 
and still continues to do through the Holy Spirit, 
according to His promise. The whole New 
Testament itself is the most signal proof of that 
divine operation on the minds of His chosen 
apostles and teachers, and it is but the simple 
well-known truth to say that in every great 
awakening among men through the power of the 
Holy Spirit from that day to this, there has ever 
been, along with supreme love to God, an 
intensified confidence in Holy Scripture as 
inerrant from beginning to end. And in com- 
parison with this testimony of experience, is it 
likely, we ask, that the " Higher Critic '' is of 
those whose understanding has been so opened ? 
And do his writings and teaching all testify to the 
truth of such a divine operation upon himself? 
All evidence, alas, declares the contrary. If, on 



22 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

the other hand, the " Higher Critic " had been so 
possessed and moved by the Holy Spirit, he 
would certainly have shown an entirely different 
attitude towards the Word of God. He would 
have been more like unto the Apostle John, who, 
when in vision he beheld the Son of man, ' fell 
at His feet as dead." 

But as we survey the actual situation occupied 
by the " Higher Critics," and reflect on their case, 
it becomes difficult whether most to regard them 
with contempt or pity, as the whole features thus 
disclosed to us present, indeed, little other than 
that of a systematic hypocrisy. 

And, in concluding this indictment, we would 
summarily emphasize the manifest unreality of 
the profession of Christianity on the part of the 
4< Higher Critics." 

Notwithstanding all their writings and teaching 
in contradiction of Christ respecting the Old 
Testament Scriptures, they yet, apparently without 
a blush, come forward and boldly assert that they 
seek to have the mind of Christ and to be His 
true and faithful witnesses. In other words, they 
profess to occupy the holy and blessed position of 
the Spouse of Christ. But the proof of this, alas, 
is sadly awanting. 

Their great cry has been for liberty, and they 
have taken it. Not, however, the liberty where- 
with Christ maketh free, but the liberty may we 
not say of the libertine. They have had what 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 23 

we may designate their " high places, 7 ' call them 
chairs of Apologetics, or of Science, or whatever 
name you choose, but to these <c high places '' 
have they taken their supreme Lord and Master 
with them ? Rather, do we not see Him com- 
pletely ignored therein, and instead, a display of 
all the characteristics of the unfaithful, dis- 
obedient, and adulterous spirit? These features 
time after time have appeared in the Churches of 
late years, springing from the sources alluded to. 
And we have, we think, observed leaders, in 
certain Churches at least, who have striven hard 
by all the delicate ingenuities of compromise and 
time-service to condone the flagrant and fatal 
corruption. But we believe, on the very highest 
grounds, no cloak can ever be woven by the 
most skilful leaders or standard-bearers which will 
cover up the foul spectacle of this great Apostasy. 
And it only requires ordinary Christian intelligence 
to see that, in whatever Church the so-called 
" Higher Criticism " is taught and embraced, that 
Church has already fallen, and must necessarily 
decay and die. 



II. 
THE WORTHLESS CHARACTER 



OF THE 

u 



WORK OF THE HIGHER CRITICS." 



'HE great impelling motive in oar reading 
and study of the Scriptures should be it is 
doubtless admitted love of the truth. And 
under the influence of the Divine Spirit we 
naturally turn to our Lord, the source and 
manifestation of love and truth, the infallible 
example and guide in all our enquiries and 
research. We should not be ashamed to confess 
that our standard of appeal on all questions of 
belief must be the words of our Lord from first to 
last. And in every difficulty which may arise, 
our chief enquiry should ever be, What has He 
declared regarding these Scriptures ? and also, 
which is the same thing, What have His Apostles 
and other divinely inspired New Testament 
writers and teachers said of them ? Thus we feel 



THE HIGHER CRITICISM. 25 

bound to declare that we dare not form any 
opinion contrary to our Lord respecting these 
Scriptures ; and by this attitude it will be seen 
and admitted that the final and only sure settle- 
ment of this whole matter of Scripture truth, 
turns, after all, upon the question of supreme 
authority. It will therefore be at once apparent 
that we cannot admit the " Higher Critics," nor 
any other conclave of men, not divinely inspired, 
however great and varied their acquirements 
or pretensions, to settle any question which may 
arise or may be put forward in connection with 
the truth of Scripture, whether as regards its 
historical or doctrinal contents. 

We make these remarks because there has 
been a growing tendency on the part of the 
u Higher Critics " to assume an exclusive right 
to dictate to the ordinary reader what he is to 
believe and what he is not to believe concerning 
Scripture. Such a claim, however,, no serious, 
intelligent reader can entertain for a moment. 
But it may be proper and useful to look into the 
nature of the particular work of the " Higher 
Critics." And we would, therefore, proceed 
briefly to enquire as to the truth or falsehood of 
the alleged discoveries of error and fable in the 
Scriptures. Have the " Higher Critics,," then, we 
ask, proved that the Old Testament Scriptures are 
either legendary or incorrect, as they have all in 
many instances assumed and declared ? The 



26 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

answers we have from themselves appear to be 
that they are not sure of having absolutely proved 
any one of their assertions, and it is evident that 
ass^^,mptions on their part are to be taken for their 
proofs. 

It is, however, to be acknowledged that they 
have exhibited by certain processes of criticism 
a very abundant quantity of alleged discrepancies, 
errors and " myths." By these new processes 
they have opened up a rich literary field, of a 
kind, for themselves, and the work produced by 
them in that new field being now so large and 
imposing, they have become in many quarters 
singularly confident and daring. By their mutual 
acknowledgment of each other in whatever 
amount of conjecture they severally produce, they 
appear to conclude, notwithstanding the entire, 
absence of proof, that their work must be right. 

Now, while it is true the results of the 
" Higher Criticism " have been widely dissem- 
inated, and many have weakly and sadly fallen 
under its specious and seductive influence, it is at 
the same time becoming more and more evident to 
earnest and thoughtful enquirers on the subject that 
the work of the " Higher Critics " is made up of 
presumption and pretension. And it is found that 
there is not only no proof of their declarations 
against the accuracy and truth of Old Testament 
Scripture, but that some of their strongest and 
most plausible positions, on which they had been 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 2? 

building their mountains of guess-work, have 
given way and been completely overthrown by 
recent discoveries, the absolute truth of the 
Scripture being anew confirmed. 

Professor Sayce, who is probably the very 
greatest authority on Archaeology, and who has 
now found out the errors of the " Higher Criticism," 
thus writes in his " Patriarchal Palestine": 
" Monumental research," he remarks, "is making 
" it clearer every day that the scepticism of the 
" so-called * Higher Criticism ' is not justified in 
"fact." Again he says, a While criticism, so- 
" called, has been busy in demolishing the records 
" of the Pentateuch, Archaeology, by the spade of 
"'the excavator and the patient skill of the 
ei decipherer, has been equally busy in restoring 
" their credit ; and the monuments of the past 
" are a more solid argument than the guesses and 
"prepossessions of the modern theorist. The 
" clay tablet and inscribed stone are better 
"witnesses to the truth than literary tact or 
ts critical scepticism. That Moses and his 
"contemporaries could neither read nor write 
u may have been proved to demonstration by the 
"critic; yet nevertheless we now know, thanks to 
"Archaeological discovery, that it would have 
"been a miracle if the critic were right. The 
" Pentateuch is, after all, what it professes to be, 
"and the records it contains are history and 
"not romance." 



28 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

The most that the i( Higher Critics" have done 
has been to exhibit their inventive powers in 
what can be written on certain theoretical 
principles, adopted and applied by them within 
the fields of a so-called literature and science in 
reference to Old Testament Scripture, and by such 
methods have produced a great number and 
variety of new ideas. They allege they have 
found a vast number of different authors, not the 
reputed authors, who have had part in the com- 
position of the books of the Old Testament. 
They can, they seem to say, discover the 
beginnings and endings of the several writers, 
and these are so numerous that they have had to 
draw considerably from the letters of the alphabet 
to have these authors duly marked and recognised. 
This kind of work, however ingenious, can never 
be regarded as at all trustworthy, and indeed may 
well be treated, from what we now know, as 
absolutely absurd, If these methods of the 
"Higher Critics'' were adopted in reference to 
the writings of almost any well known author of 
celebrity, any reader of such works might find a 
plurality of authorship. Nearly every author has 
much variety of expression and style, according to 
subject and circumstances. Take, for example, 
that of Sir Walter Scott, how diversified his 
works and course of life. It would be discovered 
by the critic, acting on the above principle, that 
the Scott who wrote "M arm ion" could not 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 29 

be the author of " The Tales of a Grandfather." 
The man who wrote " Waverley " and the " Heart 
of Midlothian " could not be the man who sat as 
judge in the Sheriff Court; and the man who 
followed the hounds and loved his dogs so 
ardently must be a different person from any one 
of these. 

The " Higher Critics " do not tell us all the 
names and individual history of those supposed 
writers they thus discover. This might be too 
much to expect, although we do not see why 
they should not on similar hypothesis give us a 
complete history of such hitherto undiscovered 
authors. But there is one important item of 
information they generally appear careful to 
suggest namely, that there are grave doubts as to 
most of the reputed authors having in almost any 
case written much of the books which stand in 
their name. A very notable instance of this denial 
of authorship on the part of the critics is their 
reference to Moses, to which we have previously 
alluded. They have all demonstrated to their own 
satisfaction, evidently, for some years now, that 
Moses did not, and indeed could not, write the 
Pentateuch, as writing was then entirely unknown, 
but that about 700 or 800 years after his time, 
when the art of writing came into use, some 
author or authors wrote the books of the 
Pentateuch, and by forgery attached the name of 
Moses thereto. Such is an example of the 



30 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

splendid work done by our superlatively wise 
men of light and leading. We believe, however, 
owing to recently well-established facts of history 
disclosed by the Archaeologist on the point, the 
" Higher Critics " will be absolutely obliged to 
allow Moses to come back again to the place he 
originally stood, and as represented in the 
Pentateuch itself. 

But when Moses is allowed to take his former 
rightful place, where then, we ask, should the 
critics have their situation ? When robbers are 
caught and the goods stolen are restored to their 
owner, does the matter end there ? We may be 
sure that although the " Higher Critics " may thus 
despise and defy the law of Moses they will yet 
have to reckon with it. And shall they still go 
on in such work ? The statements, all new and 
wonderful, by the critics, are, we presume, now 
so large and daily increasing that to attempt to 
enumerate or classify them adequately is hardly 
possible, and although the whole is de facto an 
accumulation of sophistry and doubt, we are 
nevertheless expected to hail their work with 
thankfulness and admiration. But to this we 
know every true believer in the Word of God will 
entirely demur, and feel bound to offer an 
unqualified protest. From what we have already 
seen done at the hands of the " Higher Critics " 
we become increasingly convinced that all the 
alleged discoveries in Scripture, of interpolations 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 31 

and errors of every description, are to be rejected, 
because the allegations are all founded upon the 
varied conjecture and hypothesis adopted by these 
critics. And as the theories are under the 
personal control of the individual critic, it is but 
fair to say that the theory in each case must be 
made to do duty in accordance with the purpose 
of its maker. The results, therefore, of such 
work must be estimated according to its proved 
worth or worthlessness, 

If, for example, these respectable and serious 
" Higher Critics," as they have been characterized, 
were summoned before a judge in any of our 
Courts of Justice to produce their proofs of 
alleged errors in the Scriptures, it would be found 
that such evidence as they are dealing out in 
shoals to the public would not for a moment be 
regarded as admissible. Their voluminous specula- 
tions, with attempted alterations of writings of 
from 2,000 to 5,000 or 6,000 years old, may 
indeed be a great curiosity to those who have no 
other interest in such work. What they thus 
produce, so to speak, out of their own "inner 
consciousness/' or what one of themselves calls 
" Spiritual instinct " the voices of the ancient 
monuments and tablets crying out all the while 
against them may well be a wonder of the world, 
and they may deserve a niche among the most 
ingenious writers of fiction in this or any age. 
But as for their suppositions, all unproved, or 



32 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

rather disproved, which they give forth continually,, 
when subjected to careful judicial examination, 
none, we conclude, but the most credulous of 
mankind could place upon them the slightest 
reliance. 

It is very remarkable that men like the " Higher 
Critics," who have had, we can believe, in most 
instances, much experience in the common affairs 
of life, should so readily reject the history and 
general statements contained in Scripture. Apart 
even from the unerring guidance of the Divine 
Spirit, it seems most unwise to doubt the truth of 
any portion of Scripture because of the mere 
semblance of error therein. Their own individual 
experience, limited though in a sense it must be, 
one would have thought would have taught them 
great caution. For they must know how often in 
daily life many alleged errors and contradictions 
arise, even of a most extraordinary kind, which, 
but for the necessary explanation, would produce, 
and often do produce, erroneous beliefs and im- 
pressions. Very striking examples of the kind 
are to be found less or more in the lives of 
parents and their children. It has often occurred 
that some incident or remark indelibly fixed in 
the mind of a child has remained there under 
entirely false meaning until the child grew to 
maturity, when a fuller understanding completely 
removed the misapprehension. If, therefore, there 
can be no excuse for a child under such circum- 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 33 

stances doubting the action or word of a worthy 
parent, how infinitely less excusable must the 
child of larger growth be in doubting the words 
or acts though not understood of the Eternal 
and All-wise Creator of Heaven and Earth. 

We have, so far, been assuming that we are 
arguing with truth-seekers. But, while many of 
the leading " Higher Critics " may be regarded 
as sincere in their attachment to certain views of 
their school, it would be positively against the 
clearest evidence adduced were we to regard all 
the leaders in that light. If Voltaire, or Paine, 
and some others were sincere men, it may be said 
they were sincerely wicked. We are willing to 
admit that many of the followers of the modern 
"Higher Critics" are doubtless sincere and the 
innocent victims of others, but it would not be 
true to say that the pioneers or founders of the 
" Higher Criticism " were free from the gravest 
suspicions as to their perfect honesty of purpose. 
Take for example the great representative leader 
of the " Higher Criticism," Wellhausen. What do 
we find from his great book, the " Prolegomena" ? 
Let anyone carefully read the critique of that book 
by Dr. W. L, Baxter, and follow out in patient 
detail the evidence produced, and he will discover 
a perfect mine of hollowness and unveracity. 
Dr. Baxter, in his book, *' Sanctuary and Sacrifice, 
has given a masterly reply to Wellhausen's criticism 
of the Old Testament. He has examined the 



34 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

" Higher Criticism " theories in minute detail from 
point to point on Wellhausen's own ground, and 
any ordinary reader, as the author himself states, 
can form his own judgment on the subject. From 
an evidently intense dislike of everything Divine 
and unerring in the sacred books of Scripture, 
Wellhausen has set himself with all his powers of 
ingenuity and audacity to work out his theories 
and hypotheses, which, if true, would subvert and 
set aside the whole Divine authority and credibility 
claimed for Scripture. And to effect his purpose 
he has not hesitated to work out his imaginative 
views by the adoption of something like three 
several delusive principles, (i.) He deletes or 
cuts out certain portions of Scripture which stand 
too directly in the way of his theories, and he 
does this without giving the slightest ground of 
proof to justify his doing so. (2.) He frequently 
refers to various verses, chapters, and books of 
Scripture as supporting his theories, but which 
Scriptures when examined condemn his argument, 
and at the very most, by being twisted from their 
true meaning, give only an appearance of support. 
(3.) And he further, in striking instances, does not 
even hesitate to contradict himself in order to 
cover the defects which crop up in his work. 
In short, by mutilation and twisting of Scripture, 
along with other ideas of imagination wrought into 
it, the work stands complete as a decoy from the 
truth of Divine revelation. 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 35 

The facts witnessing against Wellhausen's in- 
ventions referred to are so very numerous that 
they are to be counted by the reader in hundreds. 

That such a work should have imposed on men 
of reputed high scholarship in this country is very 
extraordinary. But this ready acquiescence to 
follow in the lines of Wellhausen may, we think, 
be accounted for to some extent from the fact 
that the style of his writing is so subtle and the 
audacity so unwavering. And it may not, there- 
fore, be so very surprising after all that some men 
who have had, it may be, a greater thirst for the 
secular than the sacred, should, in reading the 
"Prolegomena" have failed to examine at the 
same time with the utmost care and this is most 
essential the whole Scripture facts bearing on 
the subject in hand. We have no intention of 
going into the details treated so ably by Dr. 
Baxter, but we earnestly commend the examination 
of his exhaustive work on Wellhausen, because it 
may be said, without exaggeration, that the 
" Prolegomena," vouched to be the standard work 
of the " Higher Criticism " by no less a name 
than that of the late Professor W. Robertson 
Smith, has been thoroughly pulverized. And we 
believe no candid reader of Dr. Baxter's exposure 
of the work will henceforth be able to rely on 
anything which that German writer may produce. 

One of the u Higher Critics' " usually professed 
strongholds, as we have already indicated, is his 



36 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

boasted acquaintance with Hebrew and ancient 
literature ; but this claim, put forth by them and 
frequently dangled, as it were, before the eyes of 
the ordinary Bible reader, has been found quite 
unwarrantable from the facts of the case. We do 
not attempt to enter into any detailed argument, 
which is unnecessary, but let Kuenen, another of the 
great leading pioneer " Higher Critics," give his 
declaration on this important point. He has written 
thus {Modern Review, July 1880): ''The critic 
" does not profess to find any additional documents 
** inaccessible to the laity, nor does he profess to 
u find anything in his Bible that the ordinary 
"reader cannot see. It is true that here and 
" there he improves the common translation : but 
" this is the exception, not the rule. And yet he 
" dares to form a conception of Israel's religious 
" development totally different from that which, 
" as anyone may see s is set forth in the Old Tes- 
u lament, and to sketch the primitive Christianity 
" in lines which even the acutest reader cannot 
"recognise in the new." 

Such is the candid confession of the " Higher 
Critics," which clearly warrants us in identifying 
them with the older rationalists. And from this 
confession, as anyone may note, we get a glimpse 
into the limitations and impotence of the u Higher 
Critics." If they have, as they admit, the same 
Scripture which is equally accessible to the 
ordinary reader, how comes it that they take the 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 

liberties they do in deleting portions of it, and also 
of reading into it totally different ideas from those 
which the text, as it stands, will admit ? Do they 
claim a special induement of the Divine Spirit in 
the execution of such work ; and are we to wait 
on them, as on the chosen Prophets of Old, for 
direction ? Their claims for themselves are doubt- 
less great and diverse. They claim to be Scholars, 
Philosophers, Scientists, and even to possess 
occult powers, in some instances ; hence all 
ordinary readers of the Scriptures must place 
confidence in them. This is a revived priestcraft, 
in a new form, which has invaded the Protestant 
Churches ; and no doubt man in his natural slate, 
who finds the Word of God charging him with 
guilt and this is a universal experience whenever 
the true light enters the soul 'Sometimes too 
readily takes refuge in the unbelieving devices of 
the " Higher Criticism. ' It is a solace to him, 
even on the mere word of another, dressed with a 
little self-imposed authority, to be informed that 
the Scriptures are not true, and that he is a very 
much better person than these Scriptures repre- 
sent him to be. Bat we are sure no earnest 
seeker of the truth, and the truth only, can be 
satisfied with the pretentious claims to superior 
wisdom on the part of the " Higher Critics/' 
We are bound, therefore, to cross-question our so- 
called learned " experts " in regard to their treat- 
ment of the text of Holy Scripture. They say, 



38 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

as we have seen from one of their greatest leaders, 
that they have exactly the same Scripture as that 
of the ordinary reader. If so, on what authority 
do they alter the text ? Their usual reply is that 
the compilers, copyists, redactors, so-called, etc., 
made changes in the original, and they, the Critics, 
are now putting the matter right. It may be easy 
for the Critics to make such statements, but is 
there any truth in them ? We have often wondered 
greatly how they have arrived at their various, 
and not seldom, contradictory conclusions. It is 
now clearly shown, as stated by Professor Sayce, 
that the art of writing was known and largely in 
use in the time of Moses, and that the deciphering 
of ancient monuments and tablets recently dug up 
confirms the truth of the Pentateuch. But we 
are deeply interested and eager to know how the 
Critics have obtained their information ? What 
kind of evidence (if any) have they relied upon in 
making the statements they have so often done, 
and on which they have built up their neological 
structure ? Who or what witnesses have they 
in proof of the alleged errors and romance in 
Scripture, and to justify the additions they read 
into it ? 

If, according to the " Higher Critics' " own 
declarations, there were no writings extant till 
long after the time of Moses, contemporary 
history is out of the question, and no witnesses 
therefore from such imagined sources can be 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 39 

produced. Then, as we know, the Archaeologist, 
a most important witness, is also against them. 
Where then is their evidence for evidence we 
presume they at least profess to have ? They 
would not write so confidently their repudiation of 
Scripture unless they had some persuasive 
evidence in support of their allegations. Having 
no aid, however, from the discoveries of the 
Archaeologist, and also none from ancient contem- 
porary history, all tangible evidence must therefore, 
it is apparent, be extremely circumscribed. But 
the persuasive in the case is not altogether 
awanting, and their resources are greater than 
most would imagine. For we find they have one 
or perhaps two witnesses which we believe they 
rely upon and put forward in support of their 
alleged discoveries of error and fable in Scripture ; 
but we fear, on examination of these, they 
will have to be classed under the category of 
false witnesses. We refer to their reliance upon 
" inner consciousness," and also a so-called 
" Spiritual instinct" It may well be asked, Are 
these, after all, as they really appear to be, the 
chief, if not the sole witnesses the " Higher 
Critics " have in proof of their extraordinary 
criticism of Holy Scripture ? 

Now, we do not despise either of these witnesses 
if they are absolutely perfect. If evolution were 
a fact, as many have taught, and not simply a 
plausible delusion, and if it were further the fact 



40 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

that man had now, even in a single instance, 
through an evolutionary process, attained to 
absolute perfection, then it would naturally follow 
that his Dinner consciousness ^ would be reliable, 
and from that shrine of perfection the utterance 
would be truth, and truth only. Hence we can 
believe that if the " Higher Critics " have 
attained to such perfection of being, we are safe 
in accepting their every statement as unchallenge- 
able. But are we prepared, is anyone prepared, 
to exalt the " Higher Critics," either singly or in 
their combined attainments, to such a pinnacle ? 
Who dare exalt man to such a position ? Only 
ignorance or gross superstition can do so. Man is 
indeed a great mystery. To the Physiologist he is an 
inexhaustible source of wonder, and perhaps more 
so to the Philosopher or Metaphysician. But the 
more fully he is understood, the more certainly is 
it found that he has in no single instance been 
evolved to a state of perfection, and that, moreover, 
the expectation of attaining perfection through 
such a process is a hopeless one. On the other 
hand, according to the Scripture account of man, 
we discover a totally different history from that 
we have just referred to. We find that he was 
at first created by God in perfect innocence, and 
in the Divine image, but through the great 
temptation of the Evil One, he, of his own free 
will, sinned and fell, and from that moment, and 
ever since, has been in a state of alienation from 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 4! 

God, and that only through the great and complete 
atonement provided by God Himself for Sin, and 
through being born again of the Divine Spirit, 
can he take one single step towards perfection. 
Thus it is with man that, while remaining in what 
is called his natural state (the fallen corrupted 
nature ineradicably remaining in him), he is under 
condemnation of God, and is morally and 
spiritually dead. And those who experimentally 
know most of man, and have penetrated deepest 
into the recesses of his nature, all verify, we 
believe, most thoroughly the Scripture account 
of him. When man is created anew, regenerated 
of God through the Divine Spirit, it is to be 
remarked that, while that new creation or new 
Divine life in the soul is perfect, and, as the 
Apostle has declared, cannot sin, because it is born 
of God, yet, that new nature being still the dweller 
within the old nature or body of sin and death, 
man therefore can never be entirely free from sin 
till he becomes also the possessor of a transformed 
or glorified body. Many, as we know, combat this 
view of the history and character of the race, and 
so deny the depravity and lost condition of the 
natural man, and also deny the necessity of the 
new birth; but no rebellion against the truth of 
Scripture, so amply testified to by personal 
experience, will alter the facts one hair's-breadth. 
The very usual wrath, indeed, displayed against 
the testimony of the Word of God is but another 



42 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

proof of the natural condition as described in that 
Word.* 

We have here said more on the Fall and 
Redemption of man than might perhaps be 
considered essential in reference to the work of 
the "Higher Critics." But we have thought it 
may be useful and proper to make these remarks, 
as it will readily be seen from the Scripture 
account of man, as we have endeavoured to indi- 
cate, that no one in the natural state, however 
highly cultivated and developed his natural gifts 
and powers may be, can be at all reliable as an 
authority in regard to things Divine. We there- 
fore reject in toto the dictum of "inner conscioiisness" 
to which some, if not most, of the " Higher 
Critics" lay claim, and must regard their critical 
utterances respecting alleged errors and romance 
in Scripture as so much learned ignorance, and 
altogether illusory. In reference to the other 
source of evidence which some of the " Higher 
Critics" rely upon namely, * ' Spiritual instinct" 
we have only to consider the general attitude and 

* NOTE. Few, if any, deny that the human lace aie sinters, and even 
great sinners, but net a few theological teachers in these days appear lo 
have imbibed shallow views of the nat^tre of Sin, overlooking its depth 
and infinity, and denying etetfnal ruin by it. And owing mainly we believe 
to this although they profess to follow Christ they seem to teach that man 
may enter into and enjoy the Fatherhood of God without the subsiitu- 
tionary sacrifice of Christ, and without being born again of the Holy Spirit. 
The self-delusion and vain confidence thus produced are, we fear, widely 
prevalent. Such men have generally a new doctrine for every month of 
the year. _., 7TJ 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 43 

declarations of the " Higher Critics '' to discover 
a complete condemnation of such a claim on their 
part. As we have found, they directly oppose 
our Lord and all New Testament writers in 
regard to* Old Testament Scripture. Where then, 
we ask, do they obtain their " Spirfaial instinct^ ? 
This is the crucial question. It cannot be 
through the same Spirit which possessed our 
Lord and His Apostles, otherwise there would 
be unity of utterance with our Lord and His 
Apostles on matters of such transcendent impor- 
tance as that of Holy Scripture. And the 
pointing out of this antagonism between the 
Critics and our Lord is a sufficient answer to 
their claims to the guidance of a " Spiritual 
instinct." All who ponder the subject must be 
convinced that wherever the " Spiritual instinct " 
may come from, it does not and cannot possibly 
come from a Divine source. 

It has been said that the Bible is behind the 
age in which we live as regards the facts of 
science, and some commentators, vainly imagining 
this, have entered into very doubtful explanations 
to account for seeming antagonism between 
science so-called and Scripture. But the Bible 
requires no apologist of any kind, for, while it 
must ever be perfectly true that the great purpose 
of Divine revelation is to teach the truths con. 
cerning the higher and everlasting kingdom of 
God, it does not ignore the laws of the kingdom 



44 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

of Nature; and as the Scripture is from the same 
Hand which created the material universe, its 
teaching is necessarily in advance of what is called 
.science. Hence any appearance of collision with 
alleged scientific discoveries is owing either to the 
imperfection of the scientist on the one hand or 
of the commentator on the other. 

We are not to be surprised at the rejection of 
Scripture either by the wise or the unwise, because 
we may discover the distinct counterpart of all 
this in the treatment which our Lord received at 
the hands of men while here on earth. The 
difficulties of men, even of His immediate 
friends and followers, to understand our Lord 
Himself should explain to us the difficulties and 
consequent rejection of that Scripture on which 
He has so often set His seal, and at the same 
time should apprise us of the corresponding 
danger attending its rejection. The mystery 
surrounding certain parts of Scripture may be too 
profound for the human understanding, and 
indeed it must be so, as it is from our eternal 
Lord. But in His presence, amid all mystery we 
have unbounded security, and may well be silent 
before Him whose love, wisdom and power are 
infinite and unchangeable, 

It may be asked, Do we and all those who con- 
demn the work of the " Higher Critics " find no 
difficulties in Scripture ? Our answer, as already 
indicated, must be in the affirmative. But while 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 4$, 

there are confessedly portions of these Scriptures 
we cannot as yet understand or fully explain, we 
do not doubt their truthfulness, and are sure that, 
every seeming obscurity will in due time be 
entirely removed. As in the material universe 
we are permitted to know much, and all that may 
be essential to our chief good, we yet find that 
man, even the greatest philosopher and scientist, 
has to confess that he has at his best only touched 
the mere surface of things. What he has dis- 
covered has but inspired him with the belief that 
there are infinite depths of mystery in the material, 
world all around him, into which he has not even 
the capacity to enter, much less to comprehend.* 
So also in the spiritual kingdom, which is the 
greatest of all. While the revelation of the 
mind and purpose of God has been conspicuously 
shown in Holy Scripture, and all that is gloriously 
needful for the security of man's present and 
eternal interests, there are yet found in these 
writings certain statements over which we are 
compelled to confess inability to comprehend: 
aright. But all this does not and should not 
cause us to question their absolute truthfulness or 
the possibility of explanation in entire harmony 

* That was a remarkable confession made by the great and venerable 
scientist, Lord Kelvin, at his jubilee held in Glasgow recently. " One 
"word," he said, "characterises the most strenuous of the efforts for the 
" ad van cement of science that I have made perseveringly for fifty-five 
" years, and that word is failure. I know no more of electric and magnetic 
"iorce or of the relation between ether, electricity and ponderable matter.... 
" or of chemical affinity, than I knew fifty years ago." 



46 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

with all the other facts of Scripture clearly made 
known. In Heaven itself, may we not say, there 
will be an infinity of things unknown for the 
redeemed to learn. Yet we know that no trace 
of the defilement of rebellion or doubt shall ever 
enter there. 

And in considering further these difficulties, 
great or small, which arise in the study of Scrip- 
ture, we have abundant reasons to counsel our- 
selves against impatience. When we find, as we 
do, the stamp of Divine authority upon them all, 
this should be enough to satisfy us. And besides, 
we may certainly look upon the portions of 
Scripture not yet fully understood as not only a 
test of the believer's faith and of his loyalty to 
our Lord, but also as containing, it may be, some 
rich treasure in reserve for all who truly wait for 
Him. Without referring to any merely verbal 
difficulties not yet clear, we would note that some 
of the great doctrines of Scripture, although 
accepted as most precious and unassailable, are 
nevertheless infinite in their depth of meaning, 
and will require eternity to exhaust their fulness. 
When we think of man's infinitesimal powers as 
contrasted with the Divine, we are not to wonder 
at his impotence and inability to comprehend 
accurately and fully either the works or words of 
God ; but as believers we ought to look forward 
to the glorious things yet to be revealed when the 
seals shall be opened by Him who died and rose 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 47 

again and who liveth for evermore. We have 
had instances in our own as well as in the recorded 
experiences of others, have we not, of many once 
apparently insoluble difficulties cleared away ? 
And there is one instance in the history of the 
Church surpassing all others in its momentous- 
ness which may certainly be taken, we think, as 
the most signal evidence that nothing is im- 
possible with God. We refer to the mystery 
which surrounded the sufferings and death of 
Christ. Let us briefly consider it. We enter the 
garden of Gethsemane and follow Him to the 
Judgment Hall, and see Him on the Cross and then 
laid in the grave. What an overwhelming 
difficulty at that time was experienced by His 
immediate followers. Here was the One whom 
they loved, the Prince of Life, One who had 
walked on the sea as on dry land, by a word had 
fed many thousands with a few loaves and fishes, 
had healed the sick, cleansed the lepers^ made 
the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, and raised 
the dead to life. And yet, although having thus 
shown infinite majesty and power over the whole 
realm of Nature, He now appears perfectly helpless 
in the hands of His enemies. Do we wonder 
that His disciples became sad, and in their 
deepest perplexity were without an answer to give 
to His malignant persecutors when they so com- 
pletely, as it seemed for the time, triumphed over 
Him ? It is true the disciples had our Lord's 



48 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

own word before these events that such a fate 
awaited Him. But it was, so to speak, only His 
word which they had to rely on, and which, in 
their anxiety, they scarcely understood. And, as 
we see, that word almost lost its power over them 
in the great crisis. Was there ever before or 
since such an insoluble difficulty experienced as in 
that instance concerning the word of our Lord ? 
No human reasoning on the mystery could ever 
of itself have satisfied the mind and heart of the 
disciples during those few days prior to the 
Resurrection. Let anyone ponder over it, and he 
will enter at once into midnight darkness. What 
are any difficulties about any unexplained portion 
of Old Testament Scripture compared with this ? 
All other enigmas sink into insignificance in com- 
parison with it. The most loving disciples could 
not at the moment understand it. All the events 
of the few days seemed overwhelmingly against 
their most cherished expectations. But look at 
the wicked and unbelieving world. With what 
fiendish pleasure they exulted over the crucified 
One. " He saved others," they cried, " let Him 
" save Himself if He be the Christ. Let Him 
" now come down from the cross and we will 
" believe Him." Such was the difficulty on the 
part of the followers of our Lord of holding on 
firmly to His bare word, and yet His word to 
them was true to the very letter. The triumph 
of the wicked at the longest is always short. In 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 49 

three days, at the appointed moment, our Lord 
rose from the dead, and then that greatest of 
seeming contradictions in His life became the 
source of their very highest bliss, and has since 
and shall for ever be the central glory and song 
of the redeemed. 

We may marvel that even the disciples did not 
cast away their faith altogether in the midst of 
such a horror of great darkness as that which 
overtook them in the presence of their dying 
Lord. But He who hung there also supplied 
them with the Divine grace of endurance till the 
great work of atonement was completed, 

We see that the sufferings and death of Christ 
tried the faith of His followers to the very utter- 
most, and but for sustaining grace given to each 
one of them, they could not have passed through 
the awful ordeal in triumph. One of them, we 
know, suffered a grievous fall, but was restored 
again. We also see at the same time the real 
spirit of the wicked during those days of darkness. 
If we will just contrast the attitude of the true 
with the false as manifested around the Cross we 
will understand more perfectly the present 
situation in the Churches in regard to the Word 
of God, of which we are endeavouring to treat. 
That hour when Christ was entirely in the hands 
of His enemies may be said, we think, with truth, 
to have been the darkest hour to the Church of 
God in the history of the world. And the 
D 



50 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

difficulties of it may well be regarded as swallowing 
up all the other difficulties which might ever 
arise in the experience of the people of God. 
There is no doubt the brevity of the trial of 
great darkness has caused many to overlook its 
awful severity, but we should not forget it, and 
if under such a time of darkness the true disciple 
was absolutely secure, so now, amid all the doubts 
and denial of the word of our Lord in regard to 
every misunderstood or unfulfilled portion of 
Scripture, we ought to rest in the peaceful calm 
of His abiding presence without a fear. 

It will be seen, therefore, from this, that while 
we would seek to contend earnestly for the faith 
once delivered to the saints, we do not fear the 
final issue. His word concerning the infallibility 
of Scripture, and His word concerning the safety 
of every one of the redeemed and chosen in 
Him, are alike, and will, to the very minutest 
detail, be verified and made clear before assem- 
bled worlds. And even now, before such events 
arrive, the song of victory is being sung. 

Can the <e Higher Critic," we might plead, not 
patiently wait and watch one hour for light in his 
darkness ? God's one day is a thousand years, 
and the Critic will not, so to say, wait even a few 
minutes for the Divine Interpreter. He must 
rush headlong among men at the dictates, as we 
believe, of a fallen nature, with the vain cry of 
delusion and error alleged to be in Scripture, and 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 51 

that without a shred of positive proof, and against 
the most emphatic testimony of the Divine 
Master. Surely, the rationalists are the most 
irrational of men. 

It cannot but be regarded as an unique 
experience in the Christian Church to find such a 
numerous body of men, who occupy in many 
instances the very highest positions in the Church, 
by their pronouncements undermining, as we have 
seen, the teaching of our Lord and His immediate 
followers on the all-important subject of Old 
Testament Scripture. The legitimate place of 
the " Higher Critic," as demonstrated by facts, 
would be that he should retire into line with the 
rationalists of past ages. 

In spite, however, of all the evidence adduced 
and available against the position taken up by 
the Critics, we are still prepared to be told by 
them, as well as by many of their merely passive 
followers, that no one outside their tl Higher 
Critic" circle is entitled to controvert their 
criticisms of Holy Scripture. This autocratic 
assumption we must be prepared to resist and 
wholly repudiate as misleading and dangerous, and 
one which no earnest seeker of the truth can 
recognise. If it had been the hierarchy in the 
Apostate Church of Rome we opposed, no contro- 
versy, of course, could be permitted ; but it is, 
thanks to the true light of the Gospel, far 
different within the Protestant Churches, and we 



52 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

would, in union with the whole true brotherhood, 
indignantly repel and disown the slightest idea 
that we are to call any man master on such vital 
matters, or receive any new doctrine without 
sifting it to the foundation, And if the " Higher 
Critics," like one of the ancients, cut up, as with 
their penknife, any portion of Scripture, as they 
have long been trying to do, they must be made 
to answer for it. We have to remember also that, 
as Churches, we are paying t( Higher Critics '* 
large salaries in many cases, and when it is being 
discovered that they are giving us imaginations 
for facts, it may be no great wonder if the 
common sense of the ordinary Church member 
begins to assert itself in a way which may be 
most appreciated by the Critics. 

We do not put forward the very usual and quite 
legitimate plea of manifest infringement of the 
Westminster Confession of Faith, to which many 
of the "Higher Critics" have solemnly avowed 
their adherence. This plea, it seems to us, would 
be all too ridiculous to make, as most of the Critics 
we have been referring to, are, in our opinion, 
not within ten thousand miles of that Confession, 
although, as we have said, not a few of them have 
solemnly subscribed, and repeatedly avowed 
their allegiance to it. 

Our Lord has said that Moses wrote of Him, 
and He also said that if men believe not Moses 
and the prophets neither will they be persuaded, 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 53 

though one rose from the dead. From the 
writings of Moses we also further learn that the 
imaginations of man's heart are evil, only evil, 
and that continually. We cannot but remark 
that the Scriptures, indeed, very wonderfully 
describe and, as it were, reply to such men as the 
'' Higher Critics " and to such work as they are 
wont to produce for they belong to an old genera- 
tion. Thus : 

16 Son of man, hast thou seen what the ancients 
"of Israel do in the dark, every man in the 
" chambers of his imagery? for they say The Lord 
u seeth us not ; the Lord hath forsaken the 
tf the earth " (Ezek. viii. 12). "Thou hast seen 
"all their vengeance and all their reproach, O 
" Lord, and all their imaginations against me " 
(Lam. iii. 60). Hear the references to the past 
and admonitions for the present by the Apostle 
to all the true followers of the Lord : " When 
"they knew God they glorified Him not as God, 
" but became vain in their imaginations, and their 
" foolish heart was hardened. Professing them- 
" selves to be wise they became fools " (Rom. i. 
21, 22). " For though we walk in the flesh we do 
" not war after the flesh ... Casting 
" down imaginations, and every high thing that 
61 exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, 
i( and bringing into captivity every thought to the 
"obedience of Christ" (2 Cor. x. 3 5). 

Paul also says : " The time will come when 



54 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

" they will not endure sound doctrine ; but after 
'' their own lusts shall they heap to themselves 
4 ' teachers, having itching ears ; . . . and shall 
" be turned unto fables " (2 Tim. iv. 3 4). 

Such times as the Apostle predicts we seem to 
have fallen upon. And it is most pathetic and 
melancholy to find leaders of Churches no longer 
walking side by side with the Apostle in defence 
of the vScriptures of truth " which cannot be 
broken," but, alas ! now to be seen falling down 
before the wheels of the Juggernaut of modern 
Rationalism ! 

The '' Higher Critics " and their followers 
cannot now believe in the Creation as recorded in 
Genesis, nor in the Fall of Man in Eden, nor in 
the promised Salvation as there announced, nor in 
the story of Cain and Abel, nor in Noah and the 
Deluge, nor in the stories of Abraham, Isaac and 
Jacob, nor of Joseph in Egypt, nor of Moses. 
They cannot believe in the meeting of God with 
Moses, nor in the miracles wrought at his hands, 
nor in his being alone with God on Mount Sinai, 
nor in all the commands then given him. Nor 
can they believe in the forty years' sojourn of the 
Israelites in the wilderness. They cannot believe 
in the record concerning Job, nor in Jonah's 
mission to Nineveh, nor in his being in the whale's 
belly. Neither can they believe in the story of 
Daniel in the den of lions, nor of the other three 
Hebrew youths in the fiery furnace. They cannot 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 55 

believe in the truth of these and a multitude of 
other facts contained in the sacred writings, as 
they are given, in the several books of the Old 
Testament. They, the " Higher Critics,'' can 
only believe in such portions or fragments of 
these Scripture records as their own " inner 
consciousness '' or <c Spiritual instinct]' so-called, 
may from time to time dictate to them, and from 
this sublime position they cannot recede. But 
they can, so they profess, believe in our Lord, 
who Himself believed to the very letter all these 
records in the Bible, and taught, expounded and 
enforced them continuously while here on earth. 
And they so believe in our Lord that they say 
they worship and adore Him as the Great 
Teacher, the only perfect One 5 and their only 
Saviour from sin and everlasting destruction. 

Now, the critic's eye is said to be so educated 
and acute that, as compared with the ordinary 
reader, he can see, as with a microscope, the 
slightest divergence from the truth, from the very 
appearance of the composition and style of the 
writings of the Old Testament, that he can trace 
and tabulate the slightest change or deflection in 
structure, insomuch that he can detect not only a 
host of hitherto unknown writers, redactors, com- 
pilers and interpolators, but that he can discover the 
bias and intentions of those various and numerous 
scribes 1 All this of itself, if only partially true, 
would be most wonderful. And all the more so, 



56 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

when we remember that the Hebrew Scriptures 
were committed to the keeping of the ancient 
chosen people, the Jews, who were so careful of 
the sacred trust, that every word, letter, jot and 
tittle was counted by them, lest the slightest error 
or admixture should at any time enter into the 
writings. Such extraordinary attainments on the 
part of our modern " Higher Critics " prove to us 
that they are much superior to our Lord and His 
apostles and other divinely inspired writers ! 

Our Lord did not find any mistakes or errors 
in the Scriptures, but He rebuked the Pharisees 
and Scribes who came to Him with their own 
traditions. He thus answered them " Well hath 
" Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is 
" written. This people honoureth Me with their 
u lips, but their heart is far from Me. In vain do 
"they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the 
u commandments of men. . . Full well ye reject the 
u commandment of God, that ye may keep your 
u own tradition." (Mark vii. 6 9.) In thus 
denouncing these traditions, which, as will be 
seen, were entirely outside the Hebrew Scriptures, 
it is to be noticed how He did on this and on other 
occasions emphasize the supreme and Divine 
authority He attached to what was written in the 
Scriptures, and in them only. When the Sad- 
ducees came to Him with a question about 
immortality, He answered and said unto them : 
<' Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 57 

" power of God. . . Have ye not read that which 
" was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the 
" God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the 
" God of Jacob ? God is not the God of the 
u dead, but of the living." (Matt. xxii. 29 32). 
Mark particularly how our Lord deals with that 
Scripture. His conclusion as here shown de- 
pended solely on the one word am. Had that word 
been simply changed to the word was that is to 
say, from the present tense to the past tense the 
authoritative proof of the Resiwrection from that 
Scripture would have fallen to the ground. 
There are other instances similar to this, where 
on a word and even on a single letter of a word 
hang the conclusion of our Lord respecting the 
Old Testament Scriptures. 

If our Lord had known of any error or corrup- 
tion in the sacred writings He would have told 
us, but as we know, He made it very clear that He 
regarded them as infallibly correct in every jot 
and tittle of their composition. 

How ignorant and benighted, then, must have 
been our Lord, as compared with our modern 
scientists, philosophers, and divines, so-called, who 
have appeared in these closing years of the 
nineteenth century ! How equally ignorant and 
benighted were all the Apostles and Divinely 
inspired teachers of New Testament times, who 
through the Divine Spirit spoke and wrote also 
according to the mind of our Lord ! What shall 



58 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

be done, and where shall we look to find the high 
honours which must be conferred upon our modern 
reverend critics, who, by their alleged discoveries, 
if believed, have surpassed the Infinite ? What 
honours, we ask, can ever be devised for such 
transcendent greatness ? It would require a new 
world to be struck into existence and specially 
prepared for their own exalted habitation ! We 
would need here the author of u Paradise Lost" 
to do justice to the subject. For only he who in 
such sublime conceptions depicted the mysterious 
workings of the Satanic mind and the Fall of man, 
could adequately describe the splendid work, with 
its far-reaching effects, performed by the " Higher 
Critics," and also the lofty pinnacle of fame to 
which, by such work, they have attained ! 

If we have been in any way astonished, as we 
may well be, at the professed discoveries on the 
part of the "Higher Critics" respecting Holy 
Scripture, it will also be admitted that a greater 
wonder still is to be seen in the contrast between 
their supposed mental superiority and their moral 
insight. We refer to their apparently entire want 
of ability to discern the obliquity of their position 
in making a profession of Christianity, and yet 
continuing to do the work of the u Higher 
Critics." * 

We all believe in progress and earnestly desire 
it in everything, but especially do we all desire 

*NOTE. It is to the Modern Critics themselves that th- terms " Crude 
Morality'' 1 and "pious fraud" have become applicable, and not to any Old 
Testament writer, as they have so gratuitously and even profanely represented 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 59 

progress in the divine and heavenward life. But 
we refuse to believe 1 that the re-appearance of 
Voltaire or Paine, dressed out in fine clerical 
robes, is evidence of any kind of progress what- 
ever. And this, putting it roundly, and in what 
some may call picturesque form, is what we have 
now pretty largely set before us, as the mark of a 
broad charity and refinement which has hitherto 
been neglected or unknown. But, to change our 
illustration, we seriously remark that the " Higher 
Critics" are builders on a foundation of sand. 
On this foundation they have built a palace for 
themselves. It is built of "uncertainties," mostly 
of their own manufacture. " Uncertainties " are 
their own most precious " blocks with which they 
build." They still go on adding to their luxurious 
edifice, and in these habitations of their 
own handiwork they and their guests may 
have comfort and revel for a time; but the 
day of trial comes, the storm of judgment 
approaches. Is the Hand writing upon the wall not 
already appearing ? Whether they are aware of 
the awful danger of their position or not, it is 
none the less there. We sincerely hope they may 
see their error and turn from it, for the facts are 
against them, and the law of facts is inexorable. 
But if they turn not, the word of our Lord to the 
Pharisees on a certain occasion will, we believe, 
be true also in their case '' But now ye say. We 
" see ; therefore your sin remaineth." 

As no confidence could be placed in the ration- 



60 THE HIGHER CRITICISM. 

alistic writers of a hundred years ago nor even 
listened to for an instant who had at least some 
of the virtue of consistency, however sad their 
position, much less can we rely on the modern 
"Higher Critics." We refer especially to those 
who subsist upon the coffers of the Churches. 
They are all doubtless respectable in the eyes 
of the world, and that is, we daresay, most 
important for them; but they are not more respect- 
able and not quite so influential in the Church and 
the world as were the great body of Scribes and 
Pharisees in the time of our Lord. And we all 
know with what terrible words He denounced 
these men time after time. And may we not with 
special appropriateness and application here, con- 
clude with some of our Lord's words on the 
Mount : " Think not that I am come to destroy 
u the law, or the prophets : I am not come to 
"destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto 
"you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one 
" tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be 
" fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of 
"these least commandments, and shall teach men 
" so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of 
" heaven : but whosoever shall do and teach them, 
" the same shall be called great in the kingdom of 
"heaven. For I say unto you, That except your 
"righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of 
"the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case 
" enter into the kingdom of heaven." 



III. 

THE CONCLUDING GENERAL VIEW, 

AND CONDEMNATION OF THE 

"HIGHER CRITICISM." 



may be disposed to urge the objection 
that more detailed statements from their works 
should have been produced in evidence of the 
truth of our indictment against the " Higher 
Critics/' but as their works are now so widely 
known, we do not think it at all necessary to give 
more lengthened quotations. If, however a more 
are wanted by any critic in particular, there is 
ample material available to supply the demand. 

We have said that we summon the " Higher 
Critics " before the bar of common rectitude or, 
to put it more directly, perhaps, we summon them 
before the bar of conscience. And have we not 



62 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

a right to do so ? Is the living, believing Church 
of God not deeply interested in a matter of this 
kind ? Manifestly many sections of the professing 
Church of God, especially the leaders in these 
Churches, have failed lamentably in their clear 
duty towards many of the " Higher Critics " 
coming directly under their jurisdiction. Like 
Eli of old, although these leaders themselves be 
true believers, yet they have sadly neglected to 
do their utmost to check, rebuke, and punish if 
unrepentant, such offenders in their midst. And 
as it happened in the case of that weak and 
sinfully indulgent prophet referred to, similar 
yea, even more disastrous results have been, and 
undoubtedly will be, experienced. Yes, we hold 
we have a right to summon these men, and we 
must ask them to continue to stand at that bar for 
examination and for the judgment of the Christian 
Church. If they are not prepared to renounce 
their opposition to the declarations of Christ and 
the Divinely taught writers of the New Testa- 
ment in regard to the Old Testament Scripture, 
we become bound, in the name of our Lord, to 
lift up our voice against these false teachers, and 
with one united testimony denounce their whole 
work, not only as containing the essential prin- 
ciples of infidelity, but, from the evidence before 
us, entitling us to charge them with making a 
profession of Christianity which can have no real 
foundation. 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 63 

It is undoubtedly an almost universal and con- 
tinual experience of the living Church of Christ 
to have infidelity, in various forms, arrayed 
against her, and even infidelity under the cloak of 
Christian profession has never been awanting. 
But it may be questioned whether, in all the past 
since New Testament times, there has ever 
appeared such a formidable enemy to the Church 
of Christ as that which is being manifested under 
the name of this great apostasy of the " Higher 
Criticism." 

The true position, as we have repeatedly indi- 
cated, for the modern Critics to take up, would be 
among the infidels of past ages, some of whose 
names we have mentioned. It was a compara- 
tively easy matter to deal with the sceptics of last 
century, because they kept their legitimate 
position outside all Christian profession. But 
when we find men holding the same sceptical 
views regarding Old Testament Scripture, and 
yet abiding within the Church, entitled, so long as 
they are there, to all the privileges of it, the diffi- 
culties of contending with this hydra-headed foe 
are immensely increased. And we have every 
evidence that this is the actual state of matters 
within the Church of Christ at the present 
moment. 

But what is to be done ? Is the Church of 
God, in view of these things, to fold her arms and 
fall asleep with lukewarm satisfaction or indif- 



64 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

ference ? The counsel of many of whom better 
things might be expected is, alas, of this nature. 
Let matters go on, all will come right, say they. 
They would even suggest that there may be good 
derived from the work of the Critics ; and some, 
indeed, are ready to turn round with an air of 
offended dignity, and seriously ask if we place no 
value upon the opinions of the u Higher Critics," 
many of whom are widely respected in the 
Churches. Our answer to all such indignant per- 
sons, is, that we do not attach any value whatever, 
but the contrary, to such opinions, come from 
whom they may. In contrast, we ask all to look 
at our Lord. As we stand together with Him, 
how, we must ask, do such men as the a Higher 
Critics '' bulk in our eyes ? Can we see them at 
all ? We confess, in all sincerity, that from this 
standpoint the (e Higher Critics," so far as their 
authority is concerned, are nothing, and less than 
nothing to us. 

It is one of the first duties of the living Church, 
is it not, to contend earnestly for the faith once 
delivered to the Saints ? Does it not become us 
therefore, in all seriousness, to fight against the 
unaccountable apathy shown towards so great an 
evil now deeply rooted in almost every Protestant 
Church throughout the greater part of the world ? 
Is it at all likely or possible, humanly speaking, 
that the work of the " Higher Critics '' will soon 
be cast aside and disappear from the Churches ? 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 65 

We hope of God's Grace it may be so, and all 
things are blessedly possible with Him, but 
present appearances are against the expectation. 
The seeds of scepticism respecting Scripture have 
now, as the tares of the parable, been sown in 
nearly every Christian field, and since they have, 
through the negligence of lukewarm overseers, 
been allowed to spring up, and that in great 
abundance, the rooting-up process may now be too 
late, as such an operation at this late hour of the 
day may be neither safe nor possible. But there 
is another course always open, and that is to obey 
the teaching of the Spirit, who says to all who are 
in circumstances of evil contamination : " Come 
out from among them, and be ye separate." In 
view of the deplorable condition of the teaching 
now so prevalent, of such a dangerous character, 
we can only say that we are profoundly convinced 
that, in order to give a clear testimony of our 
abhorrence of such a state of matters, and also for 
the true peace and prosperity of the Church of 
Christ, there seems at present no other way open 
for the believing but that of separation. 

The most of the Churches, as we have indicated, 
are being saturated and weakened to the very 
foundations through the " Higher Criticism." 
There are noble exceptions. We cannot forget, 
but must ever dearly cherish the memory of one 
who ever, even amid much persecution, stood in 
the forefront in his testimony against the " Higher 

E 



66 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

Critics.'' We refer to the beloved Spurgeon, 
whom we can only think of as a man of the most 
exalted character and the peerless of preachers. 
We give the following brief extracts from an 
address delivered by him at a public Conference, 
in 1889. " I have had," he says, u to pass through 
sore trials, as you know ; they have not been by 
any means small ones; but had I foreknown and 
foreseen everything that has happened, I would 
have done exactly as I did. Indeed, like Luther, I 
could c do no other.' I am not able to make a 
compromise concerning the truth of God. I am so 
constituted that I can only believe that ' twice two 
are four,' and I have not sufficient genius, or 
whatever other quality that may be needful, to 
admit that it may be four and a quarter, or perhaps 
only three and a half. It may have been very 
easy, very comfortable, and possibly very clever 
for others to have acted otherwise than I have 
done : but I could not do it, nor shall I begin to 
try to do it." 

Again he says: " I do not know how to trust 
myself to speak of the men who have two creeds, and I 
am sorry I know many who have one is for private 
consumption, for their own personal belief, or to 
be introduced at fraternal ' meetings, and other 
gatherings where brethren of their own way of 
thinking meet together ; but they have a very 
different creed when they come into the pulpit. 
If this gets to be a very general thing, ministers 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 6/ 

will become a by-word and a proverb, and they 
will make religion to be utterly contemptible 
among honest men and women. Let it never be 
so with us, brethren. As for myself, I believe 
nothing that I do not preach, and so far as I know 
I am prepared to preach everything I believe ; if 
I acted otherwise, I should count myself worthy 
to be shut up in a prison cell for life as a rogue 
and a vagabond.'' 

" I think " he again says, " that our reverence 
for the Scripture ought to be supreme. I do not 
believe that it can be carried too far ; and person- 
ally I would go the length of saying that I accept 
every word of it from the beginning of Genesis 
to the end of Revelation, as it was given by God 
in the original documents. I believe the Bible 
teaches the truth about natural history or about 
any sort of history, or about philosophy, or any- 
thing else ; and that, although there have been 
historical statements in it which have been 
questioned for a while, some old stone has been 
turned up at Nineveh, or somewhere else, con- 
taining an ancient record showing that the 
Bible was right all the time . . . . If 
you admit that there is even one error in the 
Word of God, you have got rid of the infallible 
Author ; if He can err on one point, if He is 
mistaken on some minor matter, depend upon 
it He is not to be trusted in the more important 
points." 



68 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

These utterances cannot be mistaken, and 
certainly do not miss the mark. 

We never had the privilege of his personal 
acquaintance, but have known his work well, and 
we are inclined to believe that since the days of 
the Apostles no man raised up of God has through 
His grace done such a great and good work as 
that of C. H. Spurgeon. All over the world 
millions rejoice, in his preaching of the Gospel, 
and in a very emphatic way Sf his works do 
follow him.' 7 We think, however, the crowning 
and most endearing characteristic of the great 
preacher was his faithfulness to the truth of God. 
He showed himself willing to sacrifice everything 
which might otherwise be dear to him for the 
honour and glory of God. In this love of God 
and His truth lay indeed the secret, we believe s of 
the immense work he was enabled so heartily to 
perform. 

There are undoubtedly other notable instances 
of divinity professors and preachers who still 
stand by the good old path. All honour to such ; 
but after making every allowance for the many 
valiant defenders of the Truth of God, it has yet 
to be confessed that the teaching of the " Higher 
Criticism " prevails in nearly all the seats of 
learning, and young ministers have now for several 
years been coming out of the colleges in crowds 
imbued less or more with the ideas of the sceptics. 

We are sure multitudes of church attenders 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 69 

will bear us out when we say that In the churches 
generally, even in those reputed to be most 
orthodox, it is found that hearers can seldom 
depend upon a preacher proclaiming the real 
Scripture message of God. One day he will, it 
is true, give a discourse founded on and supported 
wholly from Divine revelation, which may be 
termed evangelical ; but perhaps on the very next 
occasion the same preacher will completely under- 
mine and throw down what he had previously 
built up by declaring, either directly or indirectly, 
that the very portions of Scripture from which he 
had given the evangelical teaching cannot be held 
as quite reliable. And so this intermittent kind 
of teaching of the "Higher Criticism'' goes on 
continuously. The results are therefore becoming 
more and more alarming, and however outwardly 
decorous the routine work of the churches is 
carried on, this worm of unbelief which appears 
ever gnawing at the root of Scripture truth has 
produced and is producing a state of decay which 
we fear no human instrumentality may now be 
charged with the power to counteract. 

We do notj we think, exaggerate the evil ; and 
whether it may be doubted or not, we also assert 
that there has, in our opinion, been for some time 
a growing indifference to Divine things generally 
among a great mass of even regular church-going 
people. The highest bliss and consummation of 
a year's work appears occasionally to be some 



70 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

secular sensational entertainment provided for the 
delectation of the members and workers of these 
churches. It is also becoming every day, we may 
say. more evident that there is now to be seen 
outside of churches, both in towns and country 
districts we refer to Scotland, at least an amount 
of gross immorality such as has not been witnessed 
for many generations. If this is so, as we regret 
to believe, we cannot but attribute much of this 
flagrant shameless state of things to the scepticism 
which we see propagated within the churches 
through the " Higher Criticism." We are at the 
same time not forgetting the fact that there never 
was a period, perhaps, in the history of Christianity 
when so much faithful earnest mission work was 
done both at home and abroad as at the present 
time. So that while decay is manifest at the heart 
of the churches the saving work of God still goes 
on wherever the true Gospel is believingly 
proclaimed. 

In occupying the attitude we do, of entire 
confidence in Scripture, and especially because of 
our Lord's affirmations regarding it, we must 
not allow it to be inferred that we are indifferent 
in regard to a full and clear exposition of any 
and every portion of it. On the contrary, while 
recognising our childhood, as we must at best 
ever do, in this matter, we are and ought to be 
in earnest in seeking to know more and more 
the mind and will of God so far as He may be 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. /I 

pleased to reveal it to us. And it is just here, we 
may say, that we come upon the fundamental 
error of the Critics. They have been searching 
for light where no true light can be found 
apart from God. Nothing can be more clearly 
taught or known than this, that Holy Scripture 
can only be understood through the Spirit of 
God. For, as these Scriptures were written 
under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, so they 
can only be interpreted aright through the same 
Spirit. Even those portions of Scripture about 
which there may have been no controversy 
whatever cannot be rightly understood unless 
through the indwelling of the Spirit. Our Lord 
Himself could not be known except through the 
Holy Spirit, for we remember His words to 
Peter. When that Apostle said, u Thou art the 
" Christ, the Son of the Living God,'* He answered, 
u Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto 
" thee." Paul's declaration is in exact correspon- 
dence with this, for he writes, "No man can say 
" that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." 
(i Cor. xii. 3.) 

The "Higher Critics" have now been long 
engaged in their work. Some years ago, many 
of them would have indignantly denied that they 
held such views as they have recently been 
boldly proclaiming. As we have said, there is 
much blame in certain quarters to be attached 
to Church leaders, for not having at an early stage 



72 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

withstood the advance of the Critics, and in such a 
way as has been consistently and faithfully done 
by evangelical Churches frequently during the 
last half-century. Yet, however lamentable and 
paradoxical the remark may appear, we may add 
that it may have been as well, in one sense, that 
these Critics should have been allowed to run 
their full natural course. When their destructive 
work is clearly seen in all its hideousness, a 
general revulsion may be expected. Just as in 
the proverb it is sometimes said of a certain 
person, ie Only give him rope enough and he will 
hang himself/' so may it be said of the " Higher 
Critics," the more extensive their work the more 
clearly will its fatal and untrustworthy character 
stand revealed, and pronounce its own con- 
demnation. 

We might go on to show the general declension 
and looseness of view engendered in regard to 
some of the most vital doctrines contained in the 
Word of God, as the natural sequence to the 
" Higher Criticism.'' On the principles and lines 
of the " Higher Critics " there is indeed nothing 
Divine which may not be . supplanted by some 
merely human conception. But we do not 
mean to proceed further at present in that 
direction. 

The '' Higher Critics " often make the state- 
ment, and it is a most singular one, that they 
wish in their teaching to go back to Christ and to 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 73 

Him only. By this they imply, and even plainly 
declare another fallacy of theirs that our Lord's 
teaching was different from that of the Apostles 
and other New Testament writers. It is most 
difficult to entertain such a naked self-contradictory 
statement, seeing, as is abundantly evidenced, 
that the whole superstructure of their work as 
"Higher Critics" is a direct denial of our 
Lord's authority and teaching. This enigma, if 
it had not been in keeping with their position 
otherwise, would have been incredible. Who 
could have expected or imagined that the Critics, 
after labouring, so to speak, with all their might to 
prove an immense amount of error and romance 
in the Scriptures which work they know to be 
directly opposed to our Lord's express declarations 
should ever wish for any of His teaching? 

Yet, true it is, after doing all this, and 
continuing to hold by their contradictions, they 
come to Him, as we see, making great professions 
of belief in His teaching, and, to use the language 
of Scripture itself, bowing as it were before Him, 
saying, ''Lord, Lord!-' 

Another, but subsidiary feature of the modern 
" Higher Critic," which may be pointed out, is 
his ready acquiescence generally in proposals for 
union with other Churches. Well, true union is 
ever desirable, but we do not believe any union 
which can take place under such a condition of 
things as those referred to can be of any real 



74 THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

value one way or another. But for men of such 
views as the u Higher Critics," and for all who 
are allied with their work, there can, it is evident, 
be no barrier on their own part to uniting with 
Churches of any possible description. Even the 
heathen religions of the world, it may be 
remarked, have the respect and admiration of the 
Critics, and they appear to glory in this spurious 
charity. It would seem that a professed Christian 
Missionary, by long residence among the heathen, 
may become enamoured of the heathen religions, 
and we regret to say we appear to have had 
recently some striking indications of this from 
India. But all aberrations or delinquencies of this 
kind are to be overlooked. Wealth, worldly 
position and influence, being now so much the 
great determining forces at the centre and also in 
the main body of certain Church organizations, all 
these and other like departures from the faith are 
to be counted as trivial matters. And so, even 
Balaam, some would seem to say, may have, after 
all, a legitimate and honoured place among the 
Israel of God ! 

How different with the great Apostle of the 
Gentiles. Was there ever a man more loving, 
with more bowels of compassion for the erring 
and sinful, than Paul ? But see how he hated 
departure from the truth of the Gospel. As 
has been truly said, " There is no anger like 
" the anger of love. There is no indignation like 







THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 75 

"the wrath of the Lamb." Hear how he writes 
to the Churches of Galatia : " But there be some 
(t that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel 
of Christ. But though we, or an angel from 
heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than 
" that which we have preached unto you, let him 
c ' be accursed. As we said before, so say I now 
" again, If any man preach any other Gospel unto 
"you than that ye have received, let him be 
"accursed.' 5 (Gal. i. 7 9). 

If we are asked how and when did the 
" Higher Criticism " begin, we think we can 
offer a very simple solution of the question. 
When we look carefully into the nature and 
course of the first temptation to rebellion and sin, 
we will discover an instance of the kind which for 
point and subtlety we believe has never since 
been surpassed. When the Serpent appeared 
before Eve it was to undermine the Word of God, 
but he pretended to be an expositor of it and only 
to give more enlarged ideas and light regarding 
it. He said to her, a Ye shall not surely die ; for 
" God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof . . . 
st ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil/' Here 
was a contradiction of the Word of God, which 
had been given to our first parents, but adroitly 
glossed over by the tempter with the pleasing 
idea of greater good to follow the transgression. 
May we not commend the study of this first attack 
upon the Word of God, as there may, we 



THE HIGHER CRITICISM 

think, be seen in it, at once, the origin 
and typical example of the modern " Higher 
Criticism." 

In conclusion, we need scarcely remark that, in 
view of all this s the believimg Church of God finds 
an urgent call to prayer and effort. We have 
said appearances are against the expectation that 
the work of the a Higher Criticism " will soon 
disappear from the Churches ; and the more 
carefully it is looked into the more hopeless will 
the prospect of improvement appear. That, 
however, is only the human side. There is 
another and a better. " The Lord's Hand is not 
shortened." On one occasion Moses replied to a 
murmuring people in these words : " Fear ye not, 
u stand still and see the salvation of the Lord, 
t!i which He will show to you to-day ; for the 
" Egyptians whom ye have seen to-day ye shall 
6 " see them again no more for ever. The Lord 
" shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your 
" peace.'' Moses was deep in prayer to God 
when he uttered these words s and the utterance, 
as we know, was a Divine revelation ; but com- 
bined with true prayer, as always, there was also 
a readiness of action ; and just then it was : 
6i The Lord said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou 
" to me ? Speak unto the children of Israel that 
4< they go forward." Could there be anything 
more sublime and noble than the faith and action 



THE GREATEST APOSTASY OF THE AGE. 77 

of Moses on that occasion ? Another majestic 
figure stands out before us in the olden times in 
the person of Elijah. As we see him on Mount 
Carmel, confronted with the 450 prophets of Baal, 
we find like prayer, and faith in God ; and at the 
conclusion of his signal triumph through the 
Divine power, we seem still to hear those significant 
and terrible words of the prophet: " Let not one 
of them escape.'* Time and space for repentance, 
and many warnings, had been given before these 
events alluded to took place, and in both instances 
judgment and mercy, doubtless, mingled together. 
And are we to regard these striking deliverances 
through faith and prayer as evidence of the 
childhood of the human race ? It must be other- 
wise . We ought rather to see in them the eternal 
and unchangeable spirit of truth and love, and an 
encouragement, under all circumstances, to trust 
in God and in Him alone. And if we should be 
tempted by anyone to think of these men Moses 
and Elijah or of their work, as in any sense 
mythical or unreal, let us call to remembrance the 
most interesting and instructive fact that these 
were the two men who were privileged to talk 
with our Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration. 
And we may also well believe that one of the 
great purposes of our Lord, in the appearing of 
these men with Him on that occasion, was to 
show His approval of them and to give added 
testimony to the faithfulness of the Scripture 



THE HIGHER CRITICISM. 

record of their eventful history. Therefore, as 
of old, so now, the Lord is the refuge and 
strength of His Church and people. According 
to their faith in Him and in Him only, so shall 
they overcome, and so also shall they have the 
unspeakable joy of His abiding presence. 




ALABASTER, PASSMORE AND SONS, PRINTERS, FANN STREET, LONDON, E.G. 



UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO 



50 707 330 



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