Skip to main content

Full text of "The divine human in the Scriptures"

See other formats





Received /^4y l8 7 


J. *rMA,r** !5 

T H K 






6 Ao/of TOV Qeov &v Kai kvepyfa. . . . HEB. iv : 12. 
6 Aoyof oapt; iyivero. . . . JOHN" i : 14. 


No. 530 BROADWAY. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1S59, by 


In the Clerk s Office of the District Court of the United States, for the 
Southern District of New York. 


IDrmtrr & Strrrotnper, 


A TRUE faith in the Scriptures must have its strength in the 
Scriptures themselves. This would seem to be a proposition 
of the clearest reason. If the Bible be the word of God with 
a human voice, then must it speak to the human soul directly 
as no other word, no other voice, can speak. Too much have 
we relied on outward helps. Not casting away, then, but 
leaving behind our Apologies for the Bible, our Philosophies 
of the Bible, our Reconciliations of the Bible with Science, we 
should come directly to the Scriptures, with the rational as 
well as reverent belief, that if they are divine they must con 
tain within themselves their own strong self-evidencing power. 
We would say to the young man disturbed with scepticism, 
Read your Bible. We would say to all who have difficulties 
which they honestly wish removed, Study the Scriptures, med 
itate therein by, day and by night 

Nocturna versate maim, versale diurna. 

It is the only true and lasting cure of scepticism, whether for 
an individual or an age. It might be thought that there is 
some risk in the prescription, and doubtless it may be so with 
its first effects ; for the difficulties and stumbling-blocks may 
show themselves before the deep verities have begun to arrest 
and amaze the soul : but let there be perseverance, and the di 
vine medicine will reveal its power ; " the sun of righteousness 
will at length arise with healing in its wings." 
At no time, we believe, are such thoughts more important 


than at present, Faith is weakened by habitual reliance upon 
outward props, even when sound. The age, and all serious 
minds of the age, are called to the inward study of the word 
itself. In the signs of the times we seem to hear the voice that 
came to Augustine in his memorable conversion-struggle in the 
garden, " Take up the book and read take up the book and 
read." It seems to say to us with a new emphasis, l&pevvare 
rag ypa(f)d$, " Search the Scriptures," explore the Scriptures, 
there are hidden treasures there, there are living waters there ; 
study the Scriptures, they contain more than knowledge, the 
words they speak unto you, " they are spirit and they are life." 

The above thoughts are not made directly the subject of the 
following book, but they suggestively pervade it, and may, 
therefore, justly occupy its prefatory page. 

The writer would merely add, that the present volume has 
grown out of what was intended as an introduction to another 
work on the Figurative Language of the Scriptures, and which, 
with the divine permission, he hopes soon to give to the public. 
Some of the thoughts in such intended introduction were 
deemed worthy of being treated at greater length, and with 
more liberty. Hence the expansion which has resulted in the 
book here offered to the Church. It is hoped that it will be 
found to occupy that ground of our common Christianity which 
carries us above all narrow sectarianism. Whatever may be 
its defects, in other respects, it is believed to be evangelical, 
churchly, catholic in that true sense of Catholicism which is 
acknowledged by all true believers. 














































NOTES . 385 


Page 194, line 8, for Gibrch read Gibeah. 
" 175, " 1, for 
" 238, " 21, for 





THE WORD How used in Scripture "Written Incarnate The 
Perfect Analogy Hie Word of Truth The Word of Life 
The Term, " Son of Man "The Pure Humanity of Christ No 
Man ever so Human The Humanity of the Written Word 
Analogy in the Conception and Formation of each The Divine 
in the Human All Revelation Anthropopathic, whether in the 
Flesh or hi Language. 

It is no mere fanciful or verbal analogy that 
connects these two ideas. This is shown by 
the fact that there are passages of Scripture 
where it is difficult to distinguish between 
them, or to determine with certainty that 
one of them is the exclusive sense, or that 

both are not comprehended in one essential 


and inseparable significance. There is the 
sluyoz, * Afafaia^ and the ^6/og JZtorjc, the 
Word of Truth, and the Word of Life. " Of 
his will he begat us through the word of 
truth" Is it the written word here, that is, 
the truth conveyed in it as presented to the 
mind, or is it " the Word that became flesh," 
Christ in the soul, not as truth merely, but 
as a living power ? the Word of Truth, the 
true Word by a well-known Hebraism so 
common in the New Testament the true 
Word in the sense of the real Word, the 
living Word, the tfMpvroq Myog, or in-grow 
ing Word. So. also, " Sanctify them through 
thy truth, thy Word is truth." It is the 
rationalist s favorite text. In interpreting it 
he thinks only of truth, as the food of the 
intellect, and that, too, not always as Bible 
truth, but truth in general, reason, doctrine, 
knowledge, as the regenerating, soul-nurtur 
ing, sanctifying power. So is it most com 
monly taken, even by the soberest theolo 
gians ; but it is far from being certain that 


this is the right interpretation, or, at least, 
the only true interpretation of the language. 
It was not the favorite interpretation of the 
early Church ; it has not been the interpre 
tation, at least the exclusive interpretation, 
of the most spiritually-minded in later times. 
"Sanctify them," consecrate them, set them 
apart, in thy truth, eV %r\ akr}$da oov. 
It may be doubted whether iv is instru 
mental here, as commonly taken, or does not 
have a deeper significance, as in that inex 
haustible language, iv nvtv \ia% i, iv XQIOTW. 
"Sanctify them in thy truth," says the Re 
deemer, and then, as though to guard against 
human misapprehension of this intercessory 
pleading, the sentence is added, "Thy 
Word," 6 Abyoc, 6 aog, the Word that is 
thine, the Word that pre-eminently repre 
sents the Infinite Father, the " Image of the 
Invisible God," the Incarnate Word, that " is 
the truth," the sanctifying truth, or the true 
sanctifying Word, by union to which men 
become holy, separate from the world, united 


to God, and "partakers of the Divine nature." 
It is the Word of Truth, or the true Word, 
not as a dogma, a thought, an intellectual 
verity, though in relation to the highest and 
most religious things, but an indwelling, en 
ergizing presence, truth alive in the soul, 
entering into and constitutive of its very 
being. The other the rationalistic or dog 
matic view has also its evidence. The 
affirmation of the one aspect is not the de 
nial of the other. Both may be united ; 
both may be regarded as inseparable parts 
of one idea, or the manifestation of the infi 
nite in the finite ; for the highest truth we 
have is anthropopathic ; it is a representa 
tion to the sense, and in sense-conceptions, 
of the ineffable and the eternal that can be 
received in no other way. Thus it is that 
the Word of Truth and the Word of Life may 
be regarded as essentially connected ; but 
certainly, if \ve attempt to separate them 
logically in our minds, as we may do, care 
should be taken not to convert the living 


aspect into the figure, and make the naked, 
abstract truth the higher and more power 
ful reality. 

The Written, the Incarnate Word. It may 
be called analogy, but the analogy, the pro 
portion, is perfect. As the divine to the 
human nature in Christ, so is the divine 
thought, the divine life in the Scriptures, 
to their human form. It is perfect in kind, 
perfect in degree ; it is analogous, ava loyov, 
throughout. In both we have the infinite 
in the finite, the divine in the human, the 
ineffable in the forms of sense, the essential 
as exhibited in the phenomenal, the absolute, 
the eternal, the unconditioned as represented 
in the relative, the temporal, the flowing 
images of time and space. So in degree ; 
the thought is carried to its ultimate in 
each. Christ is not only human, but most in 
tensely human. Never was there a man so 
purely man as this "second man, the Lord 
from heaven." Never man spake so humanly, 
felt so humanly, loved so humanly, lived so 


humanly, died so humanly. Bone of our 
bone, and flesh of our flesh, he had a purer 
humanity than any of the other sons of 
Adam, inasmuch as it was free from that 
demoniac adulteration which had been pro 
duced by sin. Hence is he so emphatically 
called, and so delights to call himself, the 
Son of Man. The term has more meaning 
than it seems at first view to possess. In 
the Syriac, the Saviour s native dialect, it is 
the name for humanity itself. Bar nosho, 
the Son of Man, is man generically ; the filial 
part of the compound denoting the identity, 
and continuance, and purity of the generic 
idea. Hence is he appointed to judge human 
ity (John v., 27), " because he is the Son of 
Man." It is only from Christ s most perfect 
manhood that we rise to the best thought of 
his divinity. He could not have been so 
perfect a man, so complete in his finiteness, 
had he not been also divine and infinite. 
The mystery no mind can solve ; the fact is 
not only most glorious for our apprehension, 


but the ground of all our hope. This is more 
fully dwelt upon in a subsequent chapter ; 
it is here stated as an introductory or ground 
idea. And so of the written Word. The 
analogy is without a flaw. No book is so 
purely human as the Bible ; there is no one 
in which the actors are so purely men. Its 
language, idioms, figures, are all addressed to 
our most intense, and therefore most univer 
sal humanity. This is proof of its divinity. 
Nothing but an inspiration in the human, 
breathing through it, penetrating and sound 
ing every part of it, could have so brought 
out the human. Its language, therefore, 
whilst most intensely ours, is, of all language, 
the most divine. The philosophic or scien 
tific styles of speech would have betrayed 
their purely earthly origin, by their partial, 
their one-sided, and therefore false anthro- 
popathism ; for it would have been anthro- 
popathism still, though not the divine an- 
thropopathism of the Scriptures. The very 
attempt to get above humanity would have 


produced a distorted and inhuman repre 
sentation. The Scriptures, like Christ, come 
down to us come down to us perfectly ; 
they occupy the common plane of our nature. 
Hence their language, if inspired at all, is 
inspired throughout. The very words and 
figures are full of the divine breath, and are 
therefore to be searched for the divine 
thought, the divine emotion, that fills out 
this perfect humanity. 

Thus, too, is the analogy perfect in respect 
to the conception and generation of both 
Words, or both these expressions of the 
divine in human form. Christ s humanity 
was conceived of the Holy Ghost, and born 
of the Virgin Mary. It was thus a true 
humanity, linked in its life-source with our 
humanity, and growing out of it. We can 
conceive of an artificial or mechanically- 
formed Christ, if we may use the strange 
expression, such as was fancied by some of 
the old heretics who denied the miraculous 
conception. We can think of a new being, 


made outwardly and inwardly like the human 
race so like that sense and thinking could 
discover no difference something like Agas- 
siz s fancy in respect to separate Adams or 
centres of creation. But such a humanity, 
if we may call it so, would not have been 
our humanity. Such a being would not 
have been our brother, any more than an 
inhabitant of the remotest visible star. There 
would be no common point in time and space 
in which his life could be numerically one 
with ours, or ours one with his. There could 
have been no abiding generic unity. Such 
a human, we say, would not be our human. 
And so, on the other hand, can we conceive 
of an artificial written word, or a mechanical 
inspiration of the Scriptures. It might have 
been written on the sky, or, what would 
have been very much the same thing, by 
men employed, not as thinking, feeling, con 
ceiving, in all their freedom as men, but as 
outwardly moved, as amanuenses or involun 
tary utterers. But this would not have been 


our Scriptures, our revelation, our most hu 
man as well as most divine book. It would 
not have been an inspiration in the human, 
and through the human. Its thought must 
link itself with our thought, its emotion with 
our emotion, as light from light, and life from 
life. Through the divine " o ershadowing " 
power it is conceived in human feeling, nur 
tured in human thinking, fashioned in human 
imagery, and brought out at last in human 
language. Thus, as ultimate products, and 
through this linked series of generation, the 
very words are inspired, not merely the 
thoughts or emotions, as though these could 
be separated from the words. For how can 
there be feelings that do not fashion to them 
selves images, and how can there be images 
in the mind that do not arrange themselves in 
thoughts, and how can there be thoughts that 
do not take the form of words ! The process is 
inseparable. The first inspiration, or inbreath 
ing, has in it, not only virtually, but in design, 
all the rest. Thus the very words of Scripture 


are inspired. This is the great truth, the liv 
ing truth, that forms the only basis of any 
hopeful interpretation. The language is what 
God meant it to be. It is his chosen method, 
his best method, for revealing himself to 
human minds. As the Infinite must be un 
known, unthought, or clothe himself in the 
forms of the finite, so this is the form he 
has selected as the most human, the most 
perfect in its finiteness. He has taken this 
rather than the style of science and philoso 
phy, even as Christ came in the purest and 
most universal humanity instead of that 
false anthropomorphism that might have 
been preferred by the more ambitious forms 
of human thought. Our philosophy may not 
like the word ; there is none, perhaps, to 
which the common irreligious thinking affects 
to be more opposed ; but we cannot escape 
from the thing itself ; and why should we wish 
to escape from it ? All religion, all revela 
tion, is a divine anthropopathism. No other 


is conceivable. The Written Word, the In 
carnate Word, however we may regard them 
as differing in rank, are analogous manifesta 
tions of the same condescension in the Infinite 
and Ineffable Personality. 


Interpretation " No Iota of the Law shall fail " Patristic In 
terpretation The Great Bible Thoughts, then new The 
Fathers found them everywhere The Modern View of the 
Scriptures as a Fragmentary Book Traditional Interpretation 
Christ in the Scriptures The Hero-Messiah Hieronymus 
and Matthew Henry De Wette and Davidson The Profes 
sional Scholiast and the true Homeric Interpreter The Unity of 
the Scriptures Modern Interpretation finds too little in them. 

THE previous thoughts furnish the ground 
of a most important hermeneutical position. 
The canon and its preamble may be thus 
stated The language of the Bible is divinely 
chosen its words and figures are designed to be 
just what they are ; eloquia Domini, eloquia 
cast a, argentum igne examinatum, probatum 
terra, purgatum septuplum ; the words of the 
Lord are pure words, like silver tried, seven 
times refined." We may therefore search them, 


and rationally search them, for a divine signifi 
cance. Not one jot or tittle of it shall fail to 
reward our study. Christ has given us assur 
ance of this ; the Light of the World hath 
told us that the Scriptures are every where 
full of Him and His salvation. He himself 
found rich meanings lying under words and 
forms of speech in which the Sadducean ra 
tionalists of his day saw nothing. We may, 
therefore, expect to discover in them " treas 
ures new and old." We shall see " wondrous 
things out of the divine law," and these will 
be, not merely conceits of our own minds, 
but thoughts substantial, living ideas, having 
in themselves evidence that they are true 
fruits, not of any mere human thinking, but 
of the sfjupvroq M/oc, the " ingrowing word," 
the life-giving word that saves, that is heals, 
makes sound, our souls, the word that co- 
essentiates itself with our spiritual life, in dis 
tinction from the knowledge that lies only in 
the sense and memory, or, at the utmost, 
only lodges in the chambers of the specula- 


live intellect, instead of entering into the 
very growth of the spiritual constitution. 

Interpretations grounded on such an idea 
may, indeed, be visionary. Although there 
is a divine warrant for thus studying the 
Scriptures, there is none for the individual 
human infallibility. Even as fancies, how 
ever, if they be but the fancies of a sanctified 
imagination, they may still have about them 
the holy fragrance of a true original inspired 
conception, and thus, in fact, be nearer the 
inner truthfulness, than many a more scien 
tific exegesis to which, critically, no objection 
could be taken. This latter remark holds 
true of many an interpretation of the earlier 
Fathers that is held in contempt by the 
modern scholiast. The Cross, the Regenera 
tion, the Church, the New Life, the Spiritual 
Temple, the New Humanity, the New Jeru 
salem or City of God, these glorious ideas 
then so fresh and wonderful, together with 
their sacramental signs, they found in many 
a text where the modern exegesis finds them 


not, and where we are compelled to say, the 
modern exegesis is correct, dry, hard, and 
sometimes, even worthless, as it may seern to 
be. Thus Hieronymus, in his Commentaries, 
often finds in the Scriptures what is not there 
logically, or even metaphorically, at least in 
the particular passage to which he assigns it. 
Yet even in such cases, the interpretation is 
but the vivid outgrowth of true Biblical 
ideas ; that is, of ideas that men would never 
have had without the Bible. They are living 
seeds sown in the souls of holy men from the 
"ingrowing word/ 7 and they come out every 
where, often irregularly and in wild luxuriance. 
The very extravagance of their germination 
shows, not only the fertility of the new soil, 
but the rich life that was in the original sem 
inal power. Is it irrational to think that 
more of this true power of the word may be 
learned from minds in such a state than from 
the colder hermeneutics, even though the 
latter may give us the more correct interpre 
tation of particular passages ? 


These great Bible thoughts, as we have 
said, were then new and wonderful. The 
shadows of them had been forecast from the 
sequestered Jewish religion, but their morn 
ing splendors were then just rising above the 
world s horizon. Hence it is not strange that 
these earliest Christian writers found them 
almost every where, lying under many a 
figure and prophecy where a cooler, and, 
perhaps, a less truly Bible-instructed imagi 
nation, fails to detect their appearance. There 
was to Christ a light in the Old Testament 
that the blinded Sadducee saw not. Paul 
had some key to the interpretation of the 
older Scripture utterly unknown to the ra 
tionalist, whether Jewish or Christian, and the 
use of which seems mystical even to true 
lovers of the Sacred Writings. And so these 
holy men, in the early days of the Christian 
life, had a method of interpretation which 
we should study closely before we venture 
rashly to reject it as wholly fanciful or absurd. 
Some of their errors are very obvious ; we 


see very plainly where they were wrong ; and 
yet how often is even the coldest reader com 
pelled to wonder at the exceeding aptness of 
the suggested thought, the strange coincidence 
of idea, although he himself, perhaps, would 
never have found it, never even suspected its 

Is there not some tenable ground lying be 
tween the free fancies of the earlier, and the 
exceeding dry ness of the most modern inter 
pretation ? We think there is, and that the 
Christian mind will, ere long, find it. We 
must make more of the Scriptures, or give 
them up. One thing is certain : this ration 
alistic interpretation, so called, cannot long 
support a living Christianity. We say it 
even of the better kind, such as that of the 
school of Stuart, Davidson and others, for 
whom we feel all respect. Some of these are 
pious as well as learned men, but their piety 
was nurtured under a Scriptural training 
quite different from that which they are now 
introducing. The traditional interpretation 


of the Church, the living word, has entered 
into their spiritual growth, and they cannot 
wholly get rid of it. In others, who have 
had less or more of this old spiritual manna, 
the barrenness is becoming palpable and pain 
ful. The school of which we speak has great 
learning, and, in one sense, great value, but 
that value is only relative. It must rapidly 
depreciate unless regarded as subordinate to 
something else held in reserve. Without this, 
its philological interest, now its greatest 
charm, must soon give way to some supersed 
ing intellectual advance, and then there comes 
a soul-famine, or we must go back to the old 
traditional views of "Christ and his king 
dom " as underlying all Scripture. We must 
revive that idea of which the Patristic exe 
gesis is so full, and in which some contemned 
modern commentators, the "preaching com 
mentators," as they are called, so greatly 
abound, the idea of the Greater Temple, the 
higher spiritual house, that the Greater Son 
of David was to build for the Lord. We 


must take again, as the key of all right in 
terpretation, that ancient myth, if any prefer 
to call it so, of the Hero Messiah, who is an 
nounced in the very beginning of Genesis, 
the suffering, warring, conquering Messiah. 
whose last great battle with the foe is so 
graphically described in the closing book of 
Revelations. It is all along one divine plan : 



We trust it is not pedantic or irreverent to 
accommodate to the immeasurably higher 
idea this introductory language of the great 
heathen poet. " The purpose of God has been 
ever receiving its accomplishment since the an 
cient day when they two first engaged in strife" 
the dark Power of Evil, and He who was to 
become the Woman s promised Seed, our 
Prince Imrnanuel, Son of Man, and Son of 
God He of whom it is said that even from 
the beginning of earth s creation his " delight 
was with the children of Adam." It is, in 


fact this sacred fiovlri ever receiving its ful 
filment, that proves the Bible, with all its 
strange divisions into separate rhapsodies, as 
they may seem to some, to be indeed the 
work of one mind and on one great scheme. 
It is "the Book of the Wars of the Lord," 
of the great Theophariies, of the Supernatural 
in Humanity ; it is the History of Redemp 
tion, no longer now the critics fragmentary 
Iliad, but the most unique as it is immeasur 
ably the grandest of epics. 

"All things that are written in the Law, 
and in the Psalms, and in the Prophets con 
cerning me, must be fulfilled." This was the 
ground of the Patristic interpretation. Such 
was the ground of all interpretation esteemed 
Christian until a very late period. The most 
undisputed tradition of the universal Church, 
the consent of Latin, Greek and Protestant 
exegesis, the verdict, we may say, of an 
eighteen hundred years Christianity, is not 
to be rashly set aside without risking the very 
idea of a supernatural revelation, and running 


into utter despair of any light from above. 1 
If an idea so cardinal, so central, so catholic, 
is given up as false, where is there another 
in which we can expect to find the unity of 
the Bible, and without unity, who can believe 
it to be, in any sense, worth believing the 
Book of the Lord. 

The interpretations of the Fathers may be 
often unbiblical in their special applications, 
and yet the product of a biblical spirit having, 
as a whole, a truer view of the mind of God 
and Christ in revelation than is entertained 
by the piece-meal critic who so proudly scorns 
what he is pleased to style their defective 
knowledge of hermeneutics. They do, in 
deed, often find Christ where he is not in the 
words ; their boasting contemners do, doubt 
less, more frequently overlook him where he 
is really present in the spirit. We may 
admit that Hieronymus is often wrong, 
oftener, perhaps, than the interpreter of the 
modern school ; we may concede that Mathew 
Henry is less learned (so it is the fashion to 


speak of this humble Christian,) than De 
"Wette or Davidson : still may we believe, on 
the deepest and most rational grounds, that 
both the Latin Father and the Puritan divine 
had really a closer communion, of thought 
as well as feeling, with the great Biblical 
ideas, and were, on this account, with all their 
errors, whether of knowledge or fancy, in the 
truest and profoundest sense, the best inter 
preters. The enthusiastic lover of Homer 
may often see in his favorite poet what the 
cooler scholiast disproves, and correctly dis 
proves ; still we do not hesitate to maintain 
not only that our rhapsodist has more of the 
Homeric spirit but that he is also in respect 
to all great and essential ideas the best 
guide to the Homeric thought. The scholiast, 
or the more modern critic of a certain school, 
may have a keen eye for the digamma and 
the metrical hiatus, he may be sharp in 
scenting out anachronisms and supposed in 
terpolations, he may bring out the best senses 
of some long hidden archaisms, he may clear 


up many an interesting matter of ancient 
custom, or of ancient geography ; but the 
other has found more than this, even that 
without which all the rest is comparatively 
worthless, and to which the professional 
scholiast may be wholly blind ; he has dis 
covered in Homer that which makes him love 
him and study him intensely for his own sake, 
and not merely as a professional annotator 
who would be equally laborious and correct 
on any other ancient book in which there 
might be a similar professional interest. The 
wondrous bard has raised his whole soul to 
a higher sphere of thought ; he is no longer 
the mere scholiast ; he believes in Homer ; and 
this faith carries him over all the difficulties 
that annotators have ever raised in respect 
to his matter or his text. Such enthusiastic 
admiration may have had, in some respects, 
a blinding effect ; it may have produced a 
disposition to discover too much, or what may 
not really exist, but it has also led to that 
communion with the very soul of the great 


poet, to that interior thought or spiritual 
sense, as we may truly call it, without which 
scholia on Homer are of little more value 
than though they had been wasted on the 
most miserable of his Byzantine imitators. 

We believe that this most modern inter 
pretation is finding far too little in the Scrip 
tures. Given by the divine mind, these holy 
books must have in them a depth and a ful 
ness of meaning that the human intellect can 
never exhaust. If they are holy books, if 
they are Sacrce Scripturce, as even the ne- 
ologist conventionally styles them, then can 
there be thrown away upon them no amount 
of study, provided that study is ever chas 
tened by a sanctified, truth-loving spirit, that 
rejoices more in the simplest teaching, and in 
the simplest method of teaching from God, 
than in the most lauded discoveries of any 
mere human science. Is it in truth the word 
of God is it really God speaking to us? 
then the feeling and the conclusion which it 
necessitates are no hyperboles. We cannot 


go too far in our reverence, or in our expec 
tation of knowledge surpassing in kind, if 
not in extent. The wisdom of the earth, of 
the seas, of the treasures hidden in the rocks 
and "all deep places," of the subterranean 
world, or of the stars afar off, brings us not so 
nigh the central truth of the Heavens, the 
very mind and thought of God, as one par 
able of Christ, or one of those grand pro 
phetic figures through which the light of the 
infinite idea is converged, whilst, at the same 
time, its intensity is shaded for the tender 
human vision. 


VERBAL INSPIRATION How is it to be understood ? The Me 
chanical Theory Inspiration through Human Emotions and 
Conceptions The Divine in the Human throughout The Last 
Product inspired as well as the First In what Sense the Words 
and Figures sometimes more specially designed than the Thought 
itself Trite Truths Old Truths of the Conscience Recoined 
in new and striking Language Difference between Moral and 
Scientific Truth Extent or Comprehension sufficient in the one, 
Intensity demanded in the other Algebraic Symbols The 
Love and "Wrath of God The colder Ethical Language Even 
this contains Figures, but they are dead Illustrations The Bare 
Formula, " God is averse to Sin," compared with the Burning 
Scriptural Language The Tender Language of the Bible Its 
Intense Humanity Can the Infinite reveal Himself, at all, in 
Language ? 

IT must, then, be one of the most unfal 
tering deductions of such a subdued spirit, 
thus believing in revelation as a fact as well 
as an idea, that not only its thought but its 
very language is divine. This one may hold 
without being driven to that extreme view 
of verbal inspiration which regards the sacred 


penmen as mere amanuenses, writing words 
and painting figures dictated to them by a 
power and an intelligence acting in a manner 
wholly extraneous to the laws of their own 
spirits, except so far as those laws are merely 
physical or mechanical. We may believe 
that such divine intelligence employed in this 
sacred work, not merely the hands of its 
media, not merely the vocal organs played 
upon by an outward material afflatus, not 
merely the mechanical impressions of the 
senses, or the more inward, though still out 
wardly reflected images of the fancy and the 
memory, but also the thoughts, the modes of 
thinking, modes of feeling, modes of conceiv 
ing, and, hence, of outward expression in a 
word, the intellectual, emotional, and imagi 
native temperaments, all their own, each 
peculiar to the respective instruments, yet 
each directed, controlled, made holy, truthful, 
pure, as became the trustworthy agents for 
the time being, of so holy a work. The face 
is human, most distinctly human, yet each 


lineament, besides its own outward expres 
sion, represents also some part of that photo 
graphic process that had its origin in the 
world of light, and came down from " the 
Father of Lights/ with whom there is no 
parallax or shadow of turning. 

In this sense, the language, the very words, 
the very figures outwardly used, yea the 
etymological metaphors contained in the 
words, be they ever so interior, are all in 
spired. They are not merely general effects, 
in which sense all human utterances, and 
even all physical manifestations may be said 
to be inspired, but the specially designed pro 
ducts of emotions supernaturally inbreathed, 
these becoming outward in thoughts, and 
these, again, having their ultimate outward 
forms in words and figures as truly designed 
in the workings of this chain, and thus as 
truly inspired, as the thoughts of which these 
words are the express image, and the inspired 
emotions in which both thoughts and images 
had their birth. One theory of verbal in- 


spiration begins with the language, as being 
that which is first and directly given to the 
inspired medium, that is, given to him out 
wardly, by impressions on the organs of sense, 
or by some action on the sensorium, or in 
some mode, at least, that is outward to the 
most interior spirit ; the other regards the 
supernatural action as beginning with the 
most interior spirituality, and ending with 
language as the last outward result. It is a 
product of a series, yet, as such product, 
representative of the entire spiritual action 
that has terminated in it, and having some 
thing corresponding to every step of such 
spiritual action in the whole course of its 
procession from the primal generative emo 
tion to the ultimate sound or sign. It is all 
here, and a devout study of the language, 
aided by the spirit that gave it, will carry 
back the soul from the words to the images, 
from the images to the thoughts, from the 
thoughts to the spiritual emotion, or to com 
munion with the living word, from whence 


the whole sacred stream has flowed. " With 
tliee is the fountain of life. In thy light do we 
see light. All the words of the Lord are pure; 
they are as choice silver tried ; yea, seven times 

Throughout the process it is, indeed, the 
human soul energizing in its psychological 
order, and according to the law of its free 
dom, yet, from the very incipiency of the 
inspiration, purified, elevated, guarded and 
made unerring, by the power and presence of 
a higher spirit. The difference is a wide one, 
and yet this latter theory of verbal inspira 
tion holds equally with the former that the 
very words are inspired ; the peculiar lan 
guage employed (and sometimes it is very 
peculiar and characteristic of the individual 
medium), the very figures, whether justified 
by the rules of ordinary criticism or not, are 
all chosen of God ; they are " choice words," 
tried words, designed to be just what they 
are, and for special reasons in themselves, or 
their contexts, and not merely as connected 


with the general system of providential or 
natural means in the regulation of the uni 
verse. Like creation, it is a supernatural 
beginning, entering into and setting in motion 
a chain of sequences (natural if any choose 
to call them so) to bring out results which no 
previously created nature alone, whether old 
or new, would ever have produced. Thus 
regarded, the varied intellectual and emo 
tional temperaments of Isaiah, of Ezekiel, of 
Paul, and John, are as directly made use of 
as the hands with which they write, the 
mouths with which they speak, or the Greek 
and Hebrew language they employ as the 
most outward vehicle of their thoughts and 

In such a view of the matter we may even 
regard the figures, and the peculiar forms of 
language, and the emotions connected with 
them, as being, sometimes, even more the 
object of design than the bare thought itself, 
that is, as having a greater share in the de 
signed arrangements of the Divine communi- 


cation. The thought is indeed the substance, 
but the manner of making it known, or, if 
already known, of impressing it on the human 
soul, may have been chiefly regarded in the 
selection of means for bringing out the writ 
ten revelation. Much of the Scriptures con 
sists of declarations of truths that have their 
seat already in the human conscience, of facts 
that are otherwise stored in the human tra 
ditional memory. In such cases the mode of 
impressing them upon the soul, so that they 
may sink into the interior life, in other words, 
of giving them moral power, becomes the 
chief thing. Trite truths are often the most 
valuable truths, though sometimes divested 
of force by their very triteness. They have 
been worn, as the word implies, and they 
must be recoined, sent anew to the mint, 
have a strong and deep image stamped upon 
the idea, that so the spiritual impression may 
be restored. Among other variety of media, 
God thus employs old truths themselves, as 
the instruments of a new revelation. This 


recoining is not by way of poetical hyperbole ; 
for all language and all figures fall short of 
the intense reality of even an old and trite 
truth respecting God. Every power of 
human thought, or human imaging, is far 
below the strength demanded when there is 
an attempt to represent, worthily, the state 
or the attitude of the Eternal Mind toward 
moral good or evil. All such truths may be 
very old, uttered in the conscience, proclaimed 
through all history, and yet the thought, even 
as held by the inspired mind, immeasurably 
removed from the unspeakable, the incon 
ceivable, reality. Logical abstractions here 
will not do at all, and as the ineffable idea 
cannot be conveyed to us in its essence or its 
vastness, the thought must be gathered, and 
condensed, and sent down to us through the 
converging lens of human emotions and hu 
man language, as feebly typical thereof. 

Between moral truth and all other truth 
there is an essential difference that cannot be 
too much dwelt upon in our reasonings con- 


corning a revelation and its language. It is 
a difference of altitude, we may say, in dis 
tinction from that of breadth or superficial 
quantity. Scientific or philosophic ideas, 
when comprehended in their extent, or numeri 
cal quantity of thought, if we may use the 
term, are the same for all comprehending 
minds. Moral ideas, on the other hand, have 
another element, namely, of intensity, which 
makes the same logical statement, with the 
same logical significance, an immensely dif 
ferent truth for different souls, or for the same 
soul at different times. It is only aside from 
this flowing element of intensity, or when it 
is taken as zero, that they become, like the 
ideas of science, the same for all intellects. 
Take, for example, the oldest and most com 
mon truth in theology or ethics, clothe it in 
the most general or least impassioned lan 
guage, get words as far removed as possible 
from all personal or sense imagery : Deity is 
averse to sin; or, Deity approves of the good. 
It is, indeed, a tremendous truth in any 


language, but how different, we may say 
again, for different souls, or for the same soul 
in different moral states ! Two men may be 
disputing about it ; their logical language be 
trays no difference of abstract idea, it is per 
fectly consistent in every mode and figure 
through which they may choose to carry their 
polemics, and yet, could the soul of each be 
laid bare to the other they could not recog 
nize each other s thought. Or, as an abstract 
proposition it might command the assent of 
two minds, and yet in what a different man 
ner and measure may each receive, or lack, 
the life of the truth. To the one the logical 
terms deity, aversion, sin, are like the dx dy 
symbols of the mathematician ; they are but 
notions, and they answer their logical or 
mathematical purposes equally well whatever 
qauntities these symbols represent ; to the 
other, every term of the logical proposition, 
the subject, the predicate, the asserting cop 
ula even, are "words that breathe and 
thoughts that burn," into the very soul. God 


is averse to sin, he loves the pure and holy. 
There must be in such an aversion, and in 
such a love a burning intensity corresponding 
to the ineffable greatness of the ideas, and 
the ineffable glory of Him of whom they are 
predicated. God is either wholly indifferent 
to what we call moral action, and then, of 
course, all moral ideas of every kind are but 
an empty delusion, or there is in the wide 
universe no wrath, as there is no love, that 
can be compared for intensity to that of 
Deity. They are measures of each other ; 
as is the glowing heat, so is the melting ten 
derness ; there is no love if there is no aver 
sion, and this aversion is either an infinites 
imal quantity, it is nothing at all, or it is all 
that Scripture includes, and more than we 
can conceive, in those fearful words, "the 
wrath of God." 

The abstract logical declaration may be 
given to the reason, and the reason may 
logically infer the infinity. Still it is a specu 
lative infinity ; the greatness, thus computed, 


is a mere mathematical greatness ; it is like 
the chemist s talk of caloric, or the optician s 
discourse of light. For divine truth, there 
fore, as distinguished from the natural and 
the speculative, there is needed that which 
"surpasses knowledge," even the strength 
and life of the spiritual emotion. Otherwise 
we philosophically resolve the wrath into a 
mere show of wrath, and that as a mere 
police providence for the prevention of evil 
which after all our naming is, on such a view, 
only physical evil, whilst we resolve the love 
into an intellectual approbation, which be 
comes as morally powerless as it is, in fact, 
philosophically unintelligible, approbation 
of right having nothing by which it can be 
logically differenced from the approbation of 
mathematical or physical truth, and, in fact, 
the very idea of right running down into a 
mathematical conception of quantity, or cal 
culation of physical pleasures and pains. If 
such a truth of Deity, then, is to be given to 
human minds at all, as a moral truth, that 


is, as a power instead of a notion, as a life 
instead of a dead formula, it must be 
through human language and imagery, as pre 
sented in the most vivid manner to human 
conceptions. In Divine truth, it must be kept 
in mind, it is depth, it is intensity we want, 
more than comprehensiveness, or mere com 
pleteness of logical statement. Hence the 
anthropomorphism and anthropopathism of 
the Bible. Hence the awful Hebrew figures, 
the t| Ynn "the burning heat of this great 
wrath." And yet, what is called the bare 
abstract or ethical proposition, as expressed 
in terms purposely chosen, it may be, on ac 
count of their supposed mildness and ab- 
stractness, may be found to have a tremen 
dous power, if we only carry our conceptions 
down to the roots of the words, or transfer 
the same image from a language where it has 
become trite that is, worn and defaced to 
another, where it comes out new and full of 
its old life. Thus the declaration : " God is 
averse to sin," might be chosen by some as 


being the milder mode of speech. It does 
not sound so harsh as when we say, " God 
hates." And yet, in truth, how fearful the 
figure of these mild words when transferred 
to Deity : the divine aversion! God s turn- 
ing away his face ! It is something he can 
not look upon. There is no such turning 
away in nature ; there is no such repulsion 
in all physical law. It reminds us of the 
language of Pindar when he speaks of the 
punishment of Tartarus. 

voi (T anQocioQarov ox/fcovrt nbvov? 

or of Habakkuk s strong picture " Thou art 
of purer eyes than to behold evil. Thou 
canst not look upon iniquity." Compare also 
Isaiah 3 : 8, "Their tongue and their doings 
are against the Lord, to offend the eyes of his 
glory" How sharp and clear it there comes 
out, and yet it is the same image so worn, 
yea, almost obliterated, in what seems our 

1 Pindar Olymp. 2, stroph. 4 : " A woe the eye cannot 


milder and more abstract phrase. It is this 
thought, too, that gives so much strength to 
the opposite figure as we so frequently find 
it in the earnest supplications of the Psalm 

" 0, turn thcc to my soul," 

and that ineffable image, or image of the in 
effable, "Lift thou upon us, Lord, the 
light of Thy countenance: hide not Thy 
face from me ; put not Thy servant away in 
wrath ; Thou hast been my helper ; leave 
rne not, cast me not away, thou God of 
my salvation." The ethical formula has been 
rendered cold and dead in the hands of the un 
feeling logician, but when breathed upon by 
the Living Spirit, and thus recoined and 
stamped anew for the living soul, it has all 
the emotion of the most impassioned lan 
guage, " Ne avertas faciem luam a me" " 
turn not thou away." Thine aversion is death. 
" In thy favor is life ;* " in thy presence there 
is fulness of joy for ever more." 


The reasoning employed applies not only 
to language expressive of the stern and fear 
ful in the divine relations to us, but also to 
those moving expostulations that figuratively 
clothe themselves in the most tender of hu 
man images and emotions. What words 
shall express the love of God to his redeemed? 
" Can a woman forget her sucking child, that 
she should not have compassion on the son 
of her womb ? Yea, she may forget, yet 
will not I forget thee, saith the Lord : I have 
graven thee on the palms of my hands ; thy 
walls are ever before me." Is this the lan 
guage of the Infinite ? Does the Eternal 
Mind thus speak to us, not only through 
thoughts that necessarily run into the molds 
of the temporal and the finite, but in figures 
and images so purely, so intensely human ? 
Yes, we answer, it is the language of the In 
finite, when He converses with the finite. 
But are these His very words ? Yes, His 
very words, chosen and arranged in every 
lineament and fibre of their Hebrew tender- 


ness. Why not? Why stumble at surface 
objections when the whole difficulty lies far 
deeper. It is involved in the question : Can 
the Infinite reveal Himself at all in language 
in its widest sense of speech or outward sign, 
or in short, through any finite medium ? 
Why talk of anthropopathism, as if there 
were some special absurdity covered by this 
sounding term, when any revelation conceiv 
able must be anthropopathic. If made sub 
jectively as some claim it should be made if 
made at all that is, to all men directly, 
through thoughts and feelings inwardly ex 
cited in each human soul without any use of 
language, still it must be anthropopathic. 
There is no escape from it. Whatever comes 
in this way to man must take the measure of 
man, and every essential objection now made 
would still have the same essential force. 
The thoughts and feelings thus aroused would 
still be human, and partake of the human 
finity and imperfection. In their highest 


state they will be but shadows of the infinite, 
figures of ineffable truths. Carry out the 
objection, then, and it is a denial of the pos 
sibility of any communication between God 
and man. 


THE DENIAL OF THE SUPERNATURAL This objection of Anthro- 
popathism involves the Denial of the Supernatural It allows of 
nothing aside from the One Total Movement of the Universe 
The Human Soul demands the Supernatural The Horror of 
Naturalism Analogy between the Divine and the Human Su 
pernatural Credibility of the Reason as opposed to the Credi 
bility of the Sense The Objection to Miracles grounded solely 
on the Latter The Real Wonder, Why does not God often er 
speak to us ? The Supernatural in the Morning and Noon of 
the World Will come again in the Evening Has its place in 
the Great Chronology, or Order of the Ages. 

BUT we cannot stop here. Such denial of 
all intercourse between the Infinite and the 
finite mind can only end in pantheism, or the 
perfect identification of God with the world. 
As there can be no special, so there can be 
no supernatural manifestation of any kind. 
There can be no action in nature, or upon 
nature, that is not through the whole, and so 
truly an action of the whole. There is no 


supernatural ; there can be no supernatural. 
Now the man who asserts this, unless he in 
tends the merest play of words, making every 
thing to be natural simply because it is some 
how in the universal system of things, has 
undertaken a defence of a position more in 
credible, that is, more opposed to the common 
judgments and feelings involved in the very 
laws of our thinking, than all the legends of 
all the revelations, real or supposed, that 
have ever claimed the credence of mankind. 
This argument of incredibility is commonly 
used against the miraculous, but it may be 
turned the other way, at least in one, and 
that its highest, aspect. The credibility of 
sense, we may admit, is much opposed to any 
special movement in nature, or to any inter 
ruption of its totality ; the credibility of 
reason, if we may employ that term for some 
of the most interior as well as most catholic 
decisions of the soul, is powerfully in the 
other scale. There is something within us 
that demands the supernatural, that creates 


a disposition to believe in it, yea, an impas 
sioned longing for it, even though that long 
ing be so seldom sensibly gratified. It is as 
much a part of our spiritual constitution as 
the habitual belief in nature s regularity ; it 
is even a stronger and more interior acting of 
the soul, inasmuch as it has maintained itself, 
in all ages, against so much of adverse out 
ward association. It is, in this respect, like 
the kindred belief in the soul s existence after 
death. In either case, there is something 
within us that holds us up, and carries us on, 
in spite of sense. The most visible of phe 
nomena are against the one ; common expe 
rience opposes the other ; yet both hold on 
their way in the world, though miracles are 
few and far between, and fewer still come 
back from the unknown land. Generations 
pass away and are seen no more ; all things 
seem to continue as they were from any 
known beginning, and yet the disposition to 
believe, and the belief itself, are strong as 
ever. Instead of asking the aid of any in- 


ductive reasoning for its proof, it defies the 
power of any such reasoning, or of &\\y rea 
soning, to drive it from the human soul. So 
also is there a "law in our minds " warring 
with the common experience of the slow un 
varied movements of the physical world. 
We see the strength of it when science has 
laid bare evidence of what looks like some 
ancient break in nature s movements. It is 
one of the great charms of our modern ge 
ology. The naturalist, with all his fondness 
for talking of law and causation, cannot con 
ceal the interest he takes in such discovery. 
He loves to find it so ; it is not against his 
expectation when he does find it so. The 
pleasure he experiences reveals the law of 
his spirit, higher, deeper, and more unchang 
ing than any law of nature. The discovery, 
we say, when made, is found to be just what 
might have been expected ; it is in the highest 
degree rational, yea, truly credible ; and even 
some who are most opposed to the Scriptural 
miraculous as bringing too near the idea of a 


personal God, do yet rejoice in a supernatural 
that is so ancient and so far off. 

The thought of being ever buried in this 
shoreless, bottomless, sea of nature, of being 
as truly in it and parts of it whilst in our 
thinking, conscious state, as when our dead 
atoms are dispersed throughout its measure 
less abyss, is suffocating to the rational soul. 
It is a living death, and how any thinking 
mind can bear it, yea, even be fond of it, is 
the real marvel. Supernatural ourselves, as 
we consciously are, we may reasonably ex 
pect, and mankind have ever thus expected, 
to be conversed with, sometimes, in a super 
natural manner. Constantly performing acts 
in opposition to, as well as in accordance with, 
the inward and surrounding nature, nothing 
is more natural, if we may use a seeming 
paradox, than that we should expect a similar 
display of power from the higher or super 
human plane. To our microscopic vision ; it 
is, indeed, true, that the greater divine move 
ments must necessarily appear immensely 


slow, or rather, with immense intervals be 
tween them as computed by our time meas 
ures, and as compared with our own rapid 
changings ; but shall God ever be bound 
where we are free? "Is there in us, 77 says 
Cicero, repeating the argument of Socrates, 
"Is there in us mind and reason, and shall 
there be mind nowhere else in the universe ? " 
It is an argument for the existence of a God, 
but it is also an argument for the divine su 
pernatural and its manifestations. Necesse 
est Deum haec ipsa habere majora. Is there 
in us a power of will, and do we exercise 
that power to control the physical forces 
around us, within certain limits, so that they 
do not produce the effects they would have 
produced without this uncaused spiritual in 
tervention, is there in us, we say, such a 
supernatural power, and shall it be nowhere 
else in the worlds above us in God, or in 
higher superhuman beings acting as the min 
isters of God ? 

The analogy, it may be said, is not con- 


elusive : it is but analogy, after all, and we 
cannot thus reason from the finite to the in 
finite. And yet, if it be true analogy, and 
not mere fancy, it must have a meaning. It 
is ava ?w6/ov, it is in ratio, or reason, with 
something higher, and we must infer from it 
that there is that in God which corresponds 
to this contra-natural or spiritual action in 
man. This reasoning from ourselves is no 
sense induction, like that which denies the 
credibility of the supernatural, or of a revela 
tion to the finite, but is truly a priori, as 
grounded on ideas we find within us, or laws 
of thought out of which we cannot think. 
If the finite rational soul is an image of God, 
then such analogy, though falling immeasura 
bly short, is, at least, in the true direction ; 
it is in the line of the absolute verity, and 
this is much, however remote the sighted ob 
ject, or however reduced the scale on which 
the sighting index turns. The philosophic 
abstraction, on the other hand, commencing 
with the unknown infinite, may be a total 


aberration from the very beginning. In the 
other view, the compass points right, how 
ever distant the unseen pole to which it 
tends. It is like the mathematician s infinite 
series ; we may not count their number, but 
we know the law of the final term. Hence 
may we rationally conclude, that God has 
given for our guidance this analogy or pro 
portion of ideas ; and if so, it must have this 
closing cadence, or else there is an abrupt 
and painful break, an unresolved dissonance 
in the harmony of thought. In a mere fan 
ciful analogy, such dissonance is soon de 
tected ; but this is one of the most perfect 
kind, the more magnified, the more correct ; 
it is without a deviation or a suspension as 
far as our reason traces it ; it is, too, in most 
perfect accordance with Holy Writ, and with 
that language its author has chosen as most 
peculiarly and deeply human. Even if it is 
not conclusive, as they say, even if we can 
not follow it out to the point of logical ne 
cessity, that is, to that last ter n in the series 


where one idea is seen clearly lying within 
the other, still, as analogy merely, it accounts 
for the universal feeling, and this is all that 
is demanded for our present argument of 

The supernatural is credible. It has its 
ground in that law of thought which is most 
catholic in our humanity, which is most in 
wardly removed from all surface differen 
ces ; and hence it is so hard to understand 
men who seem to be of the opposite temper 
ament, who believe that all is nature, and 
seem to be fond of so believing. The won 
der, in fact, is not so much the occurrence of 
the supernatural as its rarity. Why is there 
not more of it ? Why this painful reserve ? 
All right, doubtless, so faith answers ; for it 
requires faith sometimes, a divine faith we 
mean, to have a true belief in the natural as 
well as in the supernatural. But still the 
spirit asks, and may ask with reverence and 
humility, "Why standest thou afar off? * 7 
Why do not the heavens open ? Why does not 


G-od talk to us more frequently ? Why does 
He not speak to us in our own human lan 
guage, our own human thoughts and feel 
ings, instead of those dull unchanging signals 
of nature that carry the general dispatches 
of the universe, (the physical universe with 
its exclusively physical intelligence) but have 
no news for us, no special word for us, no 
look of recognition for us, nothing, in short, 
to make us feel that we are either generic- 
ally or individually before the Infinite Mind, 
that God is thinking of us, not merely as 
present somewhere in His vast and total 
thought, but as a race remembered, as indi 
viduals known by name, known in our finity, 
known, in some sense, " even as we know." 

If the vision tarry we wait long for it ; we 
may never see it in our brief earthly stay, 
but we cannot surrender the thought. To 
believe that there never has been anything 
above nature, that there never will be any 
thing out of nature, our souls, if we have 
souls, tell us is nothing but sheer atheism. 


We may believe in " a God who hideth him 
self," but not in one who hideth himself for 
ever. The Scriptures do, indeed, tell us that 
"God covereth himself with light as with a 
garment," but this is very different from be 
ing bound in an everlasting physical causa 
tion without interruption or suspension. This 
enrobing light is His supernatural glory, and 
finite eyes may see it, although they may 
never approach the direct vision of Him who 
dwelleth therein. But the thought of an end 
less nature is insupportable. Such an eter 
nal future would seem to necessitate, in our 
thinking, a like eternal past of uninterrupted 
physical causation ; and then, where are we ? 
Every argument for the existence of God is 
gone ; the very notion is gone. If, on the 
other hand, there have been beginnings and 
transitions in the past, then will there be 
again beginnings, and transitions, and inter 
ruptions, and suspensions in nature, in other 
words, displays of supernatural power. A 
little thinking shows us how much more rap- 


idly the shadow must move, or seem to move, 
over the plain of our magnified earthly his 
tory, than on " the dial plate of eternity," and 
so we rationally make allowance, in our esti 
mate, for the chronological rates in the vast 
divine epochs as compared with our swiftly 
passing days. The immensely enlarging lens 
of our microscopic sense is all filled with the 
vision of the natural, but our reason cannot 
give up the thought of the higher move 
ment. We cannot surrender the idea, that 
in this greater chronology there are truly 
" years of the right hand of the Most High, 7 
great transition periods wherein <; things do 
not continue in all respects as they were/ 7 
but the scenes are shifted for the introduc 
tion of new acts in the drama of the ages. 
We cannot yield the thought of the super 
natural, not only as having been in the days 
of our fathers when the world was new, but 
as expected still to be verified somehow, if 
not in our own individual experience, at least 
somewhere, and at some time, in the ex- 


perience of the slow, long-living race. In 
the evening, as in the morning and noon 
of humanity, there will be the supernatural 
light. It must come again before the career 
of earth is run, or surely then, at that great 
rtvvv&ua TOV aitivos, or "reckoning of the 
ages," when the natural, "which is first," 
shall be found to have been only a patient 
training, or a training of patience, for the 
higher spiritual experience. Is, then, the 
supernatural credible in any sense that is, 
may the Infinite Mind and Power ever act 
out of the whole of nature, or manifest him 
self to the finite in any partial separate finite 
acts or forms, then is it credible that He may 
so manifest himself to the human soul, and 
thus converse with the human soul. Then 
is revelation credible, a revelation in lan 
guage, a written revelation, a book revela 
tion. If reason is not shocked at this, if rea 
son demands it, though sense or the majority 
of experiences be against it, then is it also 
credible and rational, yea, demanded by this 


higher law of the spirit, that such revelation 
should be in the language that is the most 
human, in words, figures, and representative 
phenomena, most obvious, most primary, to 
the universal human race. 

CHAP T E 11 Y . 


FINITE God cannot know our Knowledge We are known only 
in the Total Idea The God of the Bible transcends this Ho 
Thinks our Finite Thoughts as well as his own Eternal Thought 
Feels Our Feelings Knows our Consciousness "In Him we 
Live, and Move, and Are" The Scripture Pantheism The False 
Pantheism The real Danger, the Denial of the Divine Personality 
The Seclusion of the Soul God knows it by a knowledge, not 
A Posteriori from Effects, or A Priori from Causes, but Present 
and Ever Knowing Does God know our Sin as we know it? 
The Great Mystery The Transcendental Objection itself Anthro- 
popathic Because "We cannot ascend to God, therefore, it says, 
He cannot come down to us The New Platonic Essence, above 
Knowing as above Being Known The Scientific theism Con 
trast of the Bible Language Sublime Ascriptions of Personality. 

BUT neither is there any stopping here. 
He who makes such denial of the anthropo- 
pathic, and hence of the supernatural, as 
being both of them impossible or irrational, 
must take another step. If G-od cannot so 
separate himself from nature as to make a 
revelation of the finite, and to the finite, then 
he cannot be truly said to know the finite as 


such. For thus to know, according to any 
conception we can have of it, and on which 
we can ground any assertion respecting it, is 
as much finite as the thinking or speaking 
connected with the knowing or the making 
known the knowledge. The Infinite intelli 
gence becomes thus an intelligence only of 
infinity and totality. It cannot think the 
finite or the partial. They are utterly below 
it, and thus far away out of its sight, even as 
the infinite is above us. We are, therefore, 
unknown to God in any such way, either in 
degree or kind, as we are known to ourselves. 
So far, indeed, as the knowing, or mode of 
knowing, whether regarded as action or pas 
sion, is a part of the knowledge, it may be 
said we are utterly unknown to him. He 
has no scientia of our conscientia ; He does not 
know our consciousness ; for surely he cannot 
know our knowledge all our knowledge 
unless he know it, too, as we know it. He 
cannot think our thoughts as we think them ; 
and so it would follow that he cannot truly 


think them as they are. He cannot think 
our thoughts, as we cannot think his, and so 
it would follow, that as we cannot know the 
divine, so he cannot know the human as well 
as the divine. Now who shall dare assert 
this ? " Who hath so known the mind of the 
Lord," that under the pretense of elevating, 
he should thus actually venture to limit the 
divine knowledge. Wherein, too, is this 
transcendental conception any better than 
the extra-mundane conceit of the sensual 
Epicurean ? That is anthropopathic, it says ; 
it is a representation of sensual ease yielding 
up to nature the care of the world. But 
may there not be a similar charge against 
the loftier view, as it would assume to be ? 
With all its affected spirituality, it becomes 
itself only another form of this so much 
dreaded anthropopathism ; it limits Deity in 
his relations to us by the same rule that 
limits us in our relations to him. We cannot 
rise to God, and therefore, it anthropopathi- 
cally reasons, He cannot come down to us. 


But the God of the Scriptures transcends 
any such limiting conception. " He inhabit- 
eth eternity ;" He filleth all things." Philo 
sophy may talk ever so proudly, she can 
never go beyond this. His unchangable 
abode is the infinity of time and space, arid 
yet he thinks the finite truly, as finite, and 
as it is thought by the finite intelligence. 
This is the transcending mystery of the Bible ; 
it presents both these wondrous aspects of 
Deity, and that, too, without betraying, on 
the part of the divine messengers, any feeling 
of dissonance, any misgiving sense of con 
tradiction. Grod is so far off that all differ 
ences of space and rank vanish before him, 
and yet is he " nigh, very nigh to every soul 
that calleth upon him." " The Heaven 
and Heaven of Heavens cannot contain him, 
and yet he hath a house on earth where he 
records his name." "All nations are as noth 
ing before him, yea, less than nothing and 
vanity," and yet he hath a people, a chosen 
people, a very peculiar people, whom he 


guides with a cloud by day and a pillar of 
fire by night. " He dwelleth in the high and 
holy place, yet hath he respect unto the con 
trite and the lowly." He hath given all 
things their law, and yet "he stoopeth down," 
in the minuteness of his providence, to behold 
every event that takes place in the heavens 
and in the earth. " He knows the end from 
the beginning. 77 In that Eternal Mind lies 
ever undivided the total idea, the total move 
ment, the total time of the immeasurable 
universe ; "all things stand forever according 
to his unchanging ordinance ;" "He maketh 
peace in his high places," and yet he hears 
continually the prayers of his elect. " He 
putteth their tears in his bottle," "He 
numbereth the hairs of their heads." Both 
views belong to the greatness as well as the 
harmony of the divine character, great in 
its condescending depths, as in its ineffable 
height. God sees all things in their causes, 
he sees also all things in their effects and as 
effects, even as they are seen and known by 


us : He sees them in the infinite, total idea, 
He sees them also as parts, and in their ever 
varied, ever varying relations : He sees them 
as ever present, He sees them in their flow 
ing successions ; He sees them in their time 
less being, before all worlds, He sees them 
as they are carried out in the utmost finity of 
their sense or phenomenal generation. He 
is the -^xn/^Toc;, the Immovable, whom Aris 
totle sought to comprehend "He changeth 
not" and yet, as the same philosopher at 
tempts to describe him, so the Scriptures set 
him forth : He is the a()/^ r\c, r^ ovoia 
Ivfyyua, 1 the Eternal Principle, whose very 
essence is energy; "He speaks and it is 
done, He commands and it stands ;" He is 
ever acting in all the changing appearances 
of nature ; " He sendeth forth his command 
ment upon the earth ; his Word runneth very 

The other view affects to be the philoso 
phical one ; it assumes to take the transcend- 

1 Aristot. Metaph. xi. (xii.) c. 6. 


ing aspect of deity, excluding altogether the 
side that is turned to us, the finite side of the 
Infinite, as we need not fear to call it, or 
that in which God manifests himself to us as 
finite beings. It looks upon the Scriptural 
style as a mere accommodation to lower 
minds, and yet it is itself as deficient in gran 
deur as in moral power. Its deity is an ab 
stract idol as false as any that was ever imag 
ined or fashioned by the sense, as much 
removed from all sympathy and all commu 
nion as the veriest block that was ever wor 
shipped in a heathen temple. But " our 
God is a great God and a great king above 
all Gods ; in His hand lie all the deep places 
of the earth ;" in that fathomless intelligence 
lie all the knowledges, and experiences, and 
even sentiencies of finite earthly souls. Why 
should we fear to take this ground. We call 
God the Infinite Reason, the all comprehend 
ing reason, why is He not also the all pervad 
ing Knowledge, the eternal Experience, the 
universal Sense? If we are made in the 


image of God, then must there be that in the 
Original, which, however transcending, cor 
responds to what is essential in the features 
and constitution of the spiritual copy. "In 
Him we live, and move, and have our being " 
If this be pantheism, it is the pantheism of 
the Scriptures, and we need not be afraid of 
it. There is another kind that has grown 
out of aversion to the deeply religious idea 
of the divine personality, and which would 
mimic the great truth whilst stripping it of 
all that would make it precious. But "our 
God is greater than the God " of the false 
pantheism, greater than the philosopher s 
transcendental deity. He is all-mighty, and 
can do all this that they, in the weakness of 
their human conception, deny to Him. He 
can have His infinite and, at the same time, 
his finite side, of being. He has his own 
eternal thought, and can also think, and does 
constantly think the thoughts of time. He 
is all knowing, and, therefore, more intim 
ately present in our souls, yea spiritually 


nearer to us, we may say, than we are to 

Do we sufficiently think what is meant by 
the proposition, God knows us? It cannot 
be merely the knowledge of induction, that 
is, of causes from effects, however accurate 
and complete ; it must be something more 
than the converse or complement of this, or 
the a priori knowledge of effects from causes. 
It cannot be perfect knowledge, an all know 
ing of all that we are, unless there be an 
ever present spiritual beholding, a constant 
actual knowing of our knowledge, and think 
ing of our thoughts. It is an idea most 
precious as well as fearful, and we may, 
therefore, dwell upon it for a moment, though 
leading to a seeming digression. Who is so 
unthinking as not to be sometimes impressed 
with that great mystery of our spiritual being, 
his owji utter isolation from an all-surround 
ing universe ? How perfect the seclusion in 
which every individual finite soul dwells apart 
from every other ! We do, indeed, hold an 


imperfect intercourse by telegraphic signals 
passing through matter, but walls of adamant 
could not more effectually separate us from 
direct spiritual communing than the state in 
which God has created us. There is some 
thing impressively solemn in this deep seclu 
sion, this everlasting loneliness. No other 
soul knows us ; no other finite spiritual eye 
has ever seen us ; the nearest friend has only 
inferred our existence ; like the natural be 
lief in a God, "our invisible things are un 
derstood from the things that are seen," even 
our inward power and humanity. The 
thought is sometimes our pride ; it places in 
such gloomy grandeur each soul s inviolable 
individuality. It may also give rise to a 
feeling tinged with melancholy. 0, could 
another know us, we are sometimes ready to 
exclaim, just a^ we know ourselves ; we would 
be willing even that he should know oar sins, 
could he also feel and know, to the fullest 
extent, all the palliations to which they are 
entitled in human eyes. 


The most unthinking must have some ex 
perience of this. There are times when we 
are lonesome, insupportably lonesome, and 
then, is it fear, or joy, or are they both com 
bined in the thought that there is, indeed, 
one who does thus know us. It may startle 
us when we think of all that is to be seen, 
and more, perhaps, than our own inner sense 
has ever seen, in that deep dwelling of our 
spirituality ; truly is there pain, but this is 
not the only feeling ; there may be consola 
tion in the thought, yea even strength and 
joy. There is one Soul that knows us, per 
sonally, intimately, thoroughly, knows us 
not by media, by signals outward or interior, 
not by induction from effects, or by fore 
knowledge from causes, but by direct and 
immediate presence, by more than presence, 
even by spirit-pervading, interpenetrating 
spirit, not only an occasional or partial be 
holding, but an unintermitted knowledge of 
our all, our sense, our memory, our intelli 
gence, our consciousness, even when least 


sensible, least known, least conscious to our 
selves. il Thou hast possessed my reins ; 
thou knowest my thought ; when I awake I 
am still with thee. 77 And then to think of 
this Soul thus pervading all other souls, 
forming the universal medium, if we may use 
a term so much profaned, of all spiritual ex 
istences, and yet losing nothing of that dis 
tinct personality which it presents to each, 
nor impairing, in the least, that distinct in 
dividuality with which every finite spirit 
stands before the Infinite. There is in such 
a view, all that the highest philosophy can 
demand, and yet all that meets our lowliest 
human thought, our deepest human sym 
pathy. There are indeed some startling 
questions here : How can God thus know us 
thoroughly, without knowing our sin, and how 
can he know our sin, as it is, unless he know 
it as we know it, that is with con-scientia, and 
how can he thus know it, and yet be sinless ? 
since in our case we cannot conceive of the 
knowledge without the stain. It is like the 


other great mystery of the Redemption : 
How Christ can take our guilt and yet be 
guiltless ? They are questions that must be 
left unsolved, and yet the great truth is one 
we cannot yield : God is of purer eyes than 
to behold evil, yet must he know it with a 
deep intelligence transcending that of any 
other mind in the universe. We inevitably 
fall into pantheism and a pantheistic imper 
sonality, unless we hold fast to the truth, 
that there is no knowledge of the finite, and 
no knowing by the finite, that is not at the 
same time perfectly known, both as knowledge 
and knowing, as thought and thinking, to the 
Infinite One. 

The transcendental objection, we say, does 
itself limit the divine perfection by allowing 
of no other aspect than that of the eternal 
and universal. It would pretend to magnify 
Deity by absorbing all things into the infinite. 
"But our God is the great God," from the 
very fact that he can thus withdraw, as we 
may say, within His infinity, while still re- 


maining infinite. There is a distinction in 
the divine personality (so revelation teaches) 
by which he can do this, whether we can un 
derstand it or not. He can remain in his 
high, immovable, prime causation, whilst yet 
"the Divine Word," which is God himself, 
"runneth very swiftly " through all nature 
and all natural worlds. Yea, what seems a 
greater mystery, he can abide in his eternity, 
his immutability, his sublimity, and yet hum 
ble himself, and take the form of man, and 
the thought of man. He thus comes down 
to us in the written Word, so full of the di 
vine majesty, the divine holiness, and yet so 
purely, so intensely human. He comes still 
nearer to us in the incarnate Word, "the 
Word that became flesh and dwelt among 
us ;" and nearer still when Christ took upon 
himself our sins, and carried our sorrows, 
making himself our sacrifice, and thus be 
coming our "Great High Priest," who, even 
now, " in the highest heavens," can be touch 
ed with a fellow feeling of all our infirmities. 


Ineffable is the mystery involved in all this, 
but the fact can be clearly stated, and rea 
son must assent to the glory of the truth, 
even where it utterly fails to comprehend. 
We cannot ascend to Heaven, but God can 
come down to us ; we cannot become divine, 
but it is within his almighty power to become 
human, and thus lift us up to communion 
with himself whilst we still remain human. 
We can only take these thoughts as they are 
revealed to us in the Scripture. What, how 
ever, we cannot understand in its positive na 
ture, may be distinctly and rationally summed 
up in its negative aspect. True it is, then, 
we say and no transcendental thinker can 
go beyond the Bible thought in this true it 
is, that as the heavens are high above the 
earth, so is God s thinking above our think 
ing," and yet if he cannot also think our 
thoughts as we think them, feel our feelings 
as we feel them, know our knowledge as we 
know it, whilst, at the same time, dwelling ev 
ermore in his own high, unchangeable intelli- 


gence, if God cannot do this, then arc there 
"deep places 7 in his universe of soul un 
known to him, unknown to him as they truly 
are ; then his very infinity becomes his im 
perfection, his limitation, and there is really 
no divine knowledge of finite things accord 
ing to any possible human thought of it. We 
have run up, or run down, to that hyper- 
noetic essence of the later Platonists which 
makes the mind of God to be as much above 
all personal knowing, as all being known. 

How far this blank nihility of thought in 
respect to the divine intelligence is from athe 
ism, at least in any moral sense, it would 
be hardly worth our while to inquire. In 
finity thus regarded is impersonality, and it 
is this and not the mere pantheistic idea that 
annihilates all religion. There is, as we have 
said, a Scripture pantheism ; there is a true 
sense in which " God is all and in all ;" there 
is a true sense in which it is said, "In him 
we live, and move, and are ;" but this recog 
nizes his personality and our personality as 


call the more distinct from the very fact of 
the inter-subsistence. "Because He lives we 
shall live also." Those little words He and 
we retain here all their measureless signifi 
cance. "As Jehovah liveth, and as thy soul 
liveth : 7 In this remarkable Hebrew form 
ula, the distinct personality and yet the insep 
arable interdependence is made the ground 
of appeal as the clearest and most immutable 
fact on which to establish the immutability 
of the oath. We may believe that " God is 
all," that God is the world, or the soul of the 
world ; we may or may not understand what 
we mean by this ; but if along with it we 
cleave, as for our very lives, to the truth that 
this great One and All, as we may call him, 
and scripturally call him, does truly think of 
us as finite beings, that we are truly present 
to that Eternal Mind, lying in it, embraced 
by it, but still as personalities, the finite im 
ages of the infinite personality, known as 
such, cared for as such, held accountable as 
such, treated, in fact, as spiritual persons and 


not as mere links in a physical system, or 
endless chain of things if we cleave to this, 
then all that we need for morality and re 
ligion, or any religious hope, are preserved 
to us in all their saving integrity. ; This 
God is our God, and we are his people, the 
flock of his pasture, and the sheep of his 
hand. We may send our thoughts to any 
extent in the one direction, if we never lose 
that hold of prayer and conscience that binds 
us to the other. We may indulge in any 
views of the divine infinity, of the universal 
life, of the one universal, all-embracing 
thought, and yet feel that our almost infini 
tesimal finity is as distinctly recognized as 
though it had been alone with God, the only 
act and object of his creating power. Such 
is the language of faith transcending all cal 
culations of quantity and extent. "Fear 
not, only believe." There is no vastness in 
which we can be lost. "Fear not, thou 
worm Jacob, I have redeemed thee, saith the 
Lord, I hold thee by thy hand, I have called 


thee by thy name ; mine." " Why 
sayest thou, Israel, my way is hid from the 
Lord, and my judgment is passed over from 
my God ? Hast thou not known ? Hast thou 
not heard that the Everlasting God, the God 
of eternity, Jehovah, the Creator of the ends 
of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary ? 
There is no searching of his understanding. 
He giveth power to the faint, and to them 
that have no might he increaseth strength. 
Even the youths shall faint and be weary, 
and the young men shall utterly fall ; but 
they that wait upon the Lord shall renew 
their strength ; they shall mount up with 
wings as eagles ; they shall run and not be 
weary, they shall walk and not faint." 

There may be also a scientific theism which 
is no better than pantheism, and may be even 
less religious. It is less philosophical, too, and 
steers clear of pantheism only at the expense 
of reason and consistency. It shuts God out 
of nature, out of the world, puts in His place 
the idol law, all the while assigning to deity, 


with the utmost show of deference, some 
extramundane, overlooking, sphere, whence 
he never interferes with nature s everlasting 
work. Such theism, \ve say, has even less of 
a religious ground than the false pantheism. 
The one so absorbs the world in God as to 
destroy all idea of the divine personality ; 
the other seems to preserve the distinction 
and the personality, but renders it of no 
account by severing it wholly from the natu 
ral and the human, except as a mere name 
for the remote unknown originating power. 
Both are children of the same parent. Both 
are vulgar though affecting great profundity. 
Pantheism may be revived by modern schools, 
as something wonderfully transcending or 
dinary conceptions, but it is very early and 
very common. It has existed, exists now, 
where there is the least of culture and truly 
educated thought. The Buddhist priests of 
Thibet or Siam are far beyond, in this respect, 
the philosophers of Boston or of Westminster. 
The untaught plodder in the secluded me- 


chanic s shop has thought out all this philoso 
phy for himself, and been surprised to find 
that it was so well known before. So also 
naturalism has flourished, and flourishes still, 
with the crudest science. Lucretius and the 
Epicureans could talk of law ctQ%ai, prin- 
cipia, principles, they called it as profoundly 
as any modern savan. The lecturers on 
phrenology indulge in the same lingo with as 
much confidence as the most scientific astron 
omer or geologist. And they have the same 
right to do so. Both classes of ideas, whether 
they assume the pantheistic or the naturalistic 
form, are products of the common thinking 
as affected by the common depravity. Both 
have something of reason in their paternity 
but their common mother is an evil conscience. 
They are born of the moral dislike, the moral 
dread of the idea of a personal deity. They 
are both but the unrest of souls that in their 
flight from this personal God would find some 
halting short of that lowest abyss of a dark, 
idealess, wholly unintellectual atheism. 


On either view, this idea of the divine per 
sonality is lost. That which cannot recognize 
the finite, whether in itself, or out of itself, 
or below itself, can have itself no self-hood ; 
since it can have nothing of which it can 
think (aside from the total idea) much less 
any thing to which it can speak, or by which 
it can properly be invoked. Personality im 
plies relation, mutuality, plurality, or duality 
at least. As predicated of deit}^ it involves 
either the eternity of the world, as some of 
the ancient minds held on this very ground, 
or else eternal personal distinctions in the 
divine being, the idea to which other ancient 
minds resorted to solve the awful difficulty. 
Deity could not be thought except as having 
itself its eternal thought, its eternal love; and 
hence that very old idea of the divine Pater 
nity, with its Novq and 5Pv/^, which Pythag 
oras and Plato are said to have brought from 
the East. Or did it not rather come from 
revelation, from the going forth in the world 
of that early language we find in the very 


beginning of Genesis, and which the neo- 
logical interpretation can never satisfy, the 
Word and the Spirit in creation, and that 
mysterious allocution at the birth of hu 
manity, " Let us make man in our image." It 
is, however, enough for our present argument 
to hold the thought in reference to created 
personalities. Whatever we may think, or 
fail to think of the divine pre-existence, still, 
as regards any personal conceptions we can 
form of deity, the ego is inseparable from the 
tu and the ilk. In other words, there can be 
no first person in him to whom there is no 
second, and of whom, and by whom, there is 
no third. When, in such a statement, we are 
compelled to use the words in him, we have 
already the language of personality, thereby 
implying the inherent logical contradiction in 
the contrary supposition, or its utter repug 
nance to the God -given laws of human 
thought. We cannot think at all, much less 
speak, of God ; he cannot use the ego or 
speak to us in any way, or tell us of himself. 


Any language implying such a self-hood 
becomes as much anthropopathic as any as 
criptions to deity of human affections, or 
human bodily actions, or bodily organs. 
Though not in the same degree, perhaps, yet 
as truly and as essentially does it present the 
finite, and even the human aspect. "Thou 
art from everlasting unto everlasting" "He 
dwelleth in light unapproachable and full of 
glory" "/ am the first and the last, saith 
the Lord, who is, and was, and is to come 7 
"Before the day was, / am He" "And 
now, Father, glorify thou me with the glory 
that / had with thee before the world was." 
These certainly are transcending revelations ; 
if human speech can convey any thought of 
God, it is here carried to its utmost height of 
grandeur, as well as lucidity ; and yet all this 
glorious language is liable to the same objec 
tion of the man who denies the possibility of 
a finite written or spoken revelation. It is 
anthropopathic ; it implies personality, and 
personal relations. It is the finite self-hood 


invoking the Infinite ; it is one eternal per 
sonality addressing another ; it is the In 
finite speaking of himself, nvia -IE mn e S 
sum qui sum, I am that I am, this sublimest 
declaration of human speech falls in the same 
category with what might seem the most 
extravagant figures of the Hebrew prophets. 


tures "Written in the Heart of the Church In the History of 
the World The Scriptures have a Typical Significance 
Typical Men, Yiri Portendeiites Typical Facts The Formula 

"Thus saith the Lord" Truly the Lord s Words Yet Psy 
chologically the Prophet s Words In respect to Deity. One 
Finite Mode is as outward as another Nature a General 
Epistle Has no Intelligence for us, as Individuals, or a Race 

Addressed to the Impersonal Scientific Reason The Scrip 
tures a Special Epistle, having our name, and Address to Hu 
manity The Media Specially Chosen Excellency of the Scrip 
ture Language Should bo Used as much as Possible in 
Devotion "Let us take with us Words and return unto the 

LET us sec clearly where we are. It is for 
this purpose we have dwelt so long upon this 
objection of anthropopathism. Carry it out, 
and God could not make a revelation in lan 
guage, in any language, in any actions, 
signals, symbols, in any outward representa 
tions, in any inward affections of the soul, 


in any finite way, in short, that is either 
actually or conceivably separated from the 
one total action, the one indivisible and ever 
lasting movement of the universe. If, how 
ever, the Infinite can make a revelation to 
the finite, and through the finite, then do 
these minor difficulties all vanish. If God 
can come down to us at all, then, with all 
reverence be it said, can we see a reason why, 
since all human language is radically under 
laid, and must be underlaid, by images of 
sense, he should adopt, at once, that style of 
speech which is the most outward, the most 
phenomenal, and, therefore, the most uni 
versal. It is a typifying process. The 
media are the souls, the emotions, the 
thoughts, the imaginations of inspired men, 
but so chosen, so placed in form, and so 
worked, that the last outward impression 
should present that deep, sharp, well-defined 
letter, that may be clearly seen and read 
of all men. Revelation is the chapter of the 
supernatural, as given to us through inspired 


human agents. Along with this history of 
the supernatural, and through it, as a 
medium, it is also the vision of the divine 
ideas as they appear in human forms ; and 
thus has it been engraven, stereotyped, we 
might say, indelible and imperishable, in the 
whole history of the world, even as God 
commanded the prophet " Write the vision, 
and cut it deep on tablets, that he may run 
who readeth it. 7 

But the Bible is not mere ink and parch 
ment. It has been written on the heart of 
the Church, and thus has been, from age to 
age, the living as well as the uttered word. 
It has been deeply printed in the secular 
annals of the world ; other histories being, 
in this respect, but its marginal scholia. It 
has carried with it, too, a typical significance, 
a sense, not new, but ever enlarging, that 
has made it, at every period, the law of the 
world s cycles, the only light that gives any 
meaning to its past, or can be trusted for 
any interpretation of its future. The events 


of Scripture are themselves words ha,ving a 
significance to be interpreted. They are rep 
resentative events. The men of Scripture 
are representative men. They are nato ^, 
as was said of Joshua the High Priest, " men 
of type/ or typical men, viri portendentes, 
avdqtc, tsQaToOKbTcbi, ovfifiokixoi . They 
are homines in signum positi futurorum, as 
Hieronymus following his Jewish teacher ad 
mirably interprets Zach. 3:8. Thus regarded, 
the Scriptural histories are, at the same time, 
fact and figure. In respect both to men and 
events, they are typical histories res futu- 
ras res adumbr antes. They are the fore 
cast shadows of other cycles in the life of 
the world and the Church. Israel is the 
"chosen servant" to be "light to the Gentiles, 
and God s salvation, even to the ends of the 
earth." And thus the whole revelation, Jew 
ish and Christian, is a living word, uttered 
continually in the great historical movement, 
and so connected with it, that take away 
this chapter of the supernatural and the 


supernatural people, and the key to all his 
tory is lost. 

"Thus saith the Lord." They are truly 
the Lord s words. It is the veritable language 
of the Infinite speaking through media to the 
finite mind, even as one unseen human soul 
speaks to another human soul, through the 
outward undulations of the air. And yet we 
do not mar the thought of the infinite by 
any such conception. All things, in their 
imageless ideas, lie in that ineffable mind. 
But when God puts them forth in the forms 
of time and space, that is, actually thinks 
them and utters them, then one mode is as 
outward, that is, to Deity, as finite, as much 
necessitated to some form of sense, or sense 
conception, or sense imagery, as another. 
Thus nature, too, as well as the Bible and 
history, is a language, though having a gene 
ral message. It is a species of telegraphic, 
or far writing, conveying intelligence, but 
not to the individual soul as such, nor for the 
individual soul. It brings no intimation that 


such soul is present to the divine thinking, or 
has any special relation to the Infinite, or is 
at all known to Him except as indivisibly 
comprehended in the one total indivisible 
thought. The signals of nature are addressed 
to the impersonal scientific reason. Yet even 
thus viewed as a general language it has its 
difficulties of expression which no natural 
theology can decypher ; it has archaisms, or 
obsolete forms, of which we can give no 
reason in any present order of things ; it has 
apparent solecisms that we cannot reduce to 
syntax by any exegetical strain we may put 
upon them ; they look harshly, they sound 
barbarously, in spite of all our attempts to 
bring them into harmony with other moral, 
or even physical utterances. Our a priori 
philosophy would say they could not be 
divine, that is, could not exist in the works 
of a perfectly wise and good and powerful 
being, if stubborn facts did not furnish the 
constant refutation. Nature is a general 
epistle, but the written revelation is purely 


human ; it is addressed to our race, and to 
each individual soul that reads or hears it. 
It has our name in the beginning and through 
out. It is directed to humanity, and is, 
therefore, most human in its form. It is 
God s chosen language to us, the words and 
images specially selected and specially ar 
ranged with a reference to the wants of our 
human race in their peculiar moral history. 
The media employed are all determined with 
respect to this. The age, the nation, the 
man, the mind, are all chosen to bring it 
out, and give it this utmost power of its rep 
resentative fulness, " Thus saith the Lord,"- 
it is not a mere prophetic formula, expres 
sive of a general thought or feeling, and 
leaving the filling up wholly to the human 
imagination of the Seer. We are not to 
believe this any more than the other or me 
chanical theory, which would represent the 
words as outwardly spoken to the Prophet s 
ear, or telegraphically signalled to his imag 
ing sensorium. They are, psychologically, 


the Prophet s words, the Prophet s images, 
yet still none the less specially designed 
through the linked media of revelation, and 
thus divinely enunciated, as the very best 
possible words, the best possible imagery, 
through which such an approximate com 
munication of the ineffable could be made to 
human minds. It is God s choice or chosen 
language to us ; and it should be, therefore, 
of all others, that which we should employ 
when " we take with us words and return unto 
the Lord. 77 As far as .possible, our prayers, 
our praises, our confessions, our thanksgiv 
ings, all our devotional intercourse with Deity 
should be in the very language of Scripture, 
in that sacred speech which He has pre 
pared and given to us, even as he originally 
taught to Adam the language of the common 
life and common wants. So shall we most 
worthily render " unto God the fruit of our 
lips ;" so " shall the words of our mouth and 
the meditations of our hearts be acceptable 
unto him who is our strength and our Re- 


deemer." The hypocrite may pervert this 
Bible language, the fanatic may make it 
odious, worldly satirists may caricature it, 
clerical wits like Sidney Smith may ridicule 
it as puritanical cant ; yet still to Christians 
must it continue to be the sacred dialect, 
God s chosen speech for his chosen people. 
They will not profane it by thoughtless 
use or secular parodies, yet still will they 
cling to it as the cherished vernacular of 
their new citizenship. In its wondrous 
depth, its celestial clearness, its critical 
edge,( 2 ) its " soul and spirit dividing energy/ 
its thought-piercing, heart-revealing power, 
above all, in its awing impress of super 
human authority whilst yet speaking in such 
intensely human tones, they find it just the 
medium their souls want, and God has pro 
vided, for religious thinking as well as re 
ligious utterance, the surest source, in short, 
of right feeling, right conception, and right 
speaking in all that relates to the spiritual 
and the divine. 


Is THE BIBLE LANGUAGE OBSOLETE ? " Christ apprehending 
us " _ God Laying hold of us in his Word Accommodations 
Apologies for the Bible Language Have We advanced beyond 
it ? Holiness the true test of Progress in the Divine Ideas 
A Progress in Revelation, but not for the Reason usually 
gi ven _ The Bible Language nearest to the Ineffable The Phil 
osophic style might have been employed The Materials for it 
were very anciently in the World Paul could have talked Pla- 
tonically The Old Testament Language produced a higher 
order of thought than that of any Eastern or Western Philoso 
phy Difference between the Jewish Outward and the Heathen 

Outward Are the Modern Transcendentalists remarkably Holy 
Men? Our Literary World Our Political Men Are they 
really more spiritual than Cicero or Tacitus ? Universality of 
the Scriptures. 

GOD be thanked for the anthropopathism 
of the Scriptures. It is but another name 
for human sympathy. It is but another form 
of that same love which moved Christ to 
" take upon himself our nature," (if we adopt 
the old Patristic rendering of Heb. 2:16) or 


<l to lay hold of us," to apprehend us, (accord 
ing to the more modern exegesis,) when we 
were sinking, like Peter, in the overwhelm 
ing waters. He thus lays hold of us in his 
word that we may think of him as he thinks 
of us, that we may know him even as he 
knows us, " that we may apprehend that in 
which, or through which, we are apprehended 
of Christ Jesus." ( 5 ) We may affect to be 
above this condescension, to have grown out 
of it in the advance of the world, to have 
reached, in short, some spiritual eminence, 
where, for ourselves at least, we may dispense 
with it, and adopt a more philosophical style 
of thought and speech. Hence so much of 
what may be called apology for the Bible, 
apologies strictly in the degenerate sense of 
the word, excuses for the Bible, in fact, as 
being adapted in its dress and diction to a 
past age, though still possessing thought that 
may be better recast or recoined in the 
modern " Philosophies of Religion," or of 
Christianity, as they are styled. But this 


idea of obsoletism, though beginning to mani 
fest itself in the more evangelical interpreta 
tion, as it assumes to be, is as false as it is 
irreverent. We would say also, as unphilo- 
sophical, were it not too much in the style of 
the very cant we are condemning. What is 
there in the spiritual condition of man in this 
nineteenth century of human darkness and 
depravity ? What is there in any purer holi 
ness, or any higher moral elevation we may 
fancy ours, how much nearer, in this re 
spect, do we stand to the ineffable truth, that 
we should claim to be addressed in a different 
style from that which was adapted to Patri 
archs and Apostles, as though, through our 
advance in other knowledge, we had really 
reached a more spiritual or more holy state. 
For this, and not mere intellectuality, must 
be the true test. It is holiness, rather than 
knowledge, that makes us like God. It is 
love, humility, reverence, purity of heart 
that brings an individual or an age nearer to 
that which is most divine, most central, in the 


divine thought. Here is the real progress 
through which we make a real approach unto 
Deity ; this is the only progress that makes 
us better able to understand God when he 
speaks to us, whether it be in nature, in his 
tory, or in the Word. " The pure in heart 
shall see God." "Thou through thy com 
mandments hast made us wiser than our ene 
mies. I have more understanding than all 
my teachers, for thy testimonies are my medi 
tation. I understand more than the ancients 
because I keep thy precepts." 

Are we more holy, more loving, more un 
selfish, more obedient, more believing, than 
men of the olden time, then, and just in that 
proportion of our higher holiness, and our 
more loving obedience, and our purer self- 
renouncing faith, may we hope that we are 
wiser in the divine ideas. Now who shall 
abide this test? Will it be the men who 
have most to say in their writings, and in 
their lectures, of the obsoleteness of the 
Scriptures ? Are they the heavenly minded 


ones ? Or will it be their admiring followers 
who regard them as the infallible oracles of 
the age ? Will it be our literary classes 
generally who talk so much of refinement 
and culture ? Have they this higher spirit 
uality, this purity of soul that renders men 
Godlike and more capable of understanding 
God ? To say nothing now of the vulgar or 
" dogmatic piety " as they would style it, are 
they really more distinguished than other 
men, or the men of other ages, for their un- 
earthliness, their contemplation of the higher 
life, or that divine communion which even 
reason would tell us, must be the truest 
source of the truest divine knowledge ? Are 
they, in all these respects, wiser, as they are 
more holy, than " the ancients ?" Until con 
vinced of this, we must continue to believe 
that Moses, and David, and Isaiah, ^stood 
nearer the divine thoughts than Strauss or 
Hegel, that Paul and John were certainly as 
capable, to say the least, of receiving spirit 
ual ideas, and a true divine knowledge as any 


of the men who are now known as the tran 
scendental thinkers and lecturers of the 

There is doubtless a progress in revelation ; 
for the fact is announced in revelation itself. 
"God, who in times past spake unto our 
fathers by the Prophets, hath in these last 
days spoken unto us by His Son." But the 
reason of this must be sought elsewhere, if 
sought at all, than in any spiritual progress of 
man that may be supposed to keep in advance 
of it, or to be independent of it, or to have pre 
pared men for it. Higher truths were re 
vealed through Paul than were given to 
Joshua or to Samuel ; but no reason can be 
assigned none derived from history or any 
known condition of man why the earth- 
wearied, heaven-seeking Patriarchs, why the 
thoughtful Arabian of the days of Job, why 
the Schools of the Prophets in the times of 
the seraphic Isaiah, might not have received 
into their souls the same spiritual truths that 
were afterwards received by the dark, disso- 


jute, and brutalized inhabitants of Asia 
Minor. No reason can be given why the 
Duller revelation of God might not have been 
understood by these earlier men, these lofty, 
primitive minds, as well as it was afterwards 
received and understood by the savage N"u- 
midian, or the still fiercer Goth, or as it is 
now received by the worldly, the sensual, the 
ignorant, the unspiritual, of this nineteenth 
century. JSTo reasons, we say, for this evi 
dently designed progress in revelation, can be 
derived from history simply, or from any 
earlier or later culture of man as made known 
in history. They must be sought in revela 
tion itself, or foregone as among the inscru 
table mysteries of the divine government. 

It is enough for us that revelation has not 
been dependent on human progress outside 
of it, and, therefore, its language cannot be 
rendered obsolete by it. The thought holds 
true, even if we take into the account the 
progress, or true spiritual culture, made 
through revelation itself. Those who have 


shared most largely in this spiritual culture, 
who have drank deepest at the fountain of 
Scriptural truth, are the last to wish any 
change, or to feel the need of any change in 
the divine communications. They are thank 
ful for every type, for every metaphor, for 
every impassioned appeal, for every instance 
of the divine condescension in coming down 
to us, taking the scale of our thoughts, and 
speaking to us in our own human emotions, 
our own human conceptions, as well as in our 
own human words. They know as well as 
others, they know better than others, that 
" God s thoughts are above our thoughts, 77 
and his thinking above our thinking, "even 
as the Heavens are high above the earth," 
but they also believe that in this Bible lan 
guage there is the nearest earthly approxi 
mation to the ineffable truth, that the eye 
most intently fixed upon it though at a vast 
distance, it may be is yet in the true direc 
tion of the heavenly vision, and that the 
heart that loves it most is most directly, and 


most speedily, growing up into the fulness 
and reality of the heavenly life. Any sub 
stitution of a more philosophical or scientific 
dialect would be, thus far, a divergency from 
the true celestial line, from the straight 
course of the upward calling. It would fall 
short in distance as much as the other, for 
in this respect all human intellects must be 
on a par whilst, in regard to the first and 
far more essential idea, it would be a total 
failure, even inasmuch as an error in direc 
tion involves every other error. It would 
be, moreover, essentially false in proportion 
as it was destitute of that emotional power 
which makes the Scriptures the Living Word, 
the truth alive and vitalizing in the soul. If 
we may venture to carry the thoughts on 
ward to a period in eternity when the in 
effable truth contained in Christianity shall 
come directly before the spiritual vision, and 
be " seen face to face," then may it be found 
that they in this life were looking most 
directly in this line of absolute verity who 


kept themselves most docilely and submis 
sively to the gracious "accommodations" of 
the Scriptures, not seeking to be above 
them, or to dispense with them, on any view, 
however outwardly respectful, of their being 
wholly or partially designed for a former 
more worldly or less spiritual age. 

It is the Bible language in which the relig 
ious emotion ordinarily finds its most fitting 
vent. There are, it is true, ecstatic condi 
tions, such as appeared in the miraculous 
powers of the early Church, in which the 
soul breaks out in an unknown tongue that 
has no interpretation in any earthly thoughts 
and images ; and yet we have intimations 
that even in the higher world, the dialect of 
the early religious life is not wholly lost. 
John, indeed, saw the heavenly ideas through 
earthly eyes; the mysterious "living crea 
tures " around the throne, the golden city, 
and the waters of life, may represent what 
is ineffable to us in our present thinking, yet 
still there are figures of the Sacred Writings, 


if we may call them figures, that even eter 
nity will never efface from the soul s long 
rnemoiy. The Cross, the Crown, " the 
Lamb slain from the foundation of the world, 77 
these will be still the representatives of 
imperishable ideas. They will remain, still a 
language, in eternity as in time, still a lan 
guage, even when science shall be seen to 
have been only a reflection from a darkened 
mirror, and philosophy a childish talking, a 
childish thinking, long since put away among 
far off earthly things. 

The philosophical style of speech could 
have been employed in the Scriptures, had 
their divine author regarded it as the best 
mode through which divine ideas could be 
conveyed to men. It not only existed in the 
world at a time when much of the older 
Scripture was written, but had reached a 
high degree of culture. The old Egyptian 
Mystics, the Eastern Pantheists, the early 
Ionian and Eleatic schools of the West, 
Xenophanes and Heraclitus the ancient 


Hegel and Spinoza, were talking of 
and ama, of principles and causations, of the 
" universal reason," the ovta and yiyvbyiwa, 
the " being and the becoming," the objective 
and the subjective, the me and the not me, 
the One in all and the all in One, the ever 
lasting flux and the eternal immobility, all 
this not far from the time when Isaiah was 
setting forth in his burning figures the in 
effable majesty of the Living God, before 
whom " the Seraphim veiled their faces with 
their wings, crying Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord of 
Hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory." 
The language of the Schools had been 
brought to its highest perfection (a perfec 
tion we think not even now surpassed) when 
Paul preached those stumbling-blocks to the 
world s religion and the world s philosophry, 
the doctrines of the Cross and of the Resur 
rection. Is it said, then, that these were only 
apparent teachings of the Apostle, that they 
were defective forms of truth, mere accom 
modations in fact, because he had no higher 


language for the spiritual life and the divine 
favor than these gross Jewish anthropop- 
athisms, the only answer needed is a distinct 
denial both of the fact and the argument. 
Paul could have used the dialect of the 
wranglers in the famous gymnasia of Tarsus, 
he could have talked as spiritually as the 
Platonists,or as logically as the Aristotelians, 
or as mystically as the school of Philo, had 
he seen fit to do so ; and in saying this, we 
need not make for him, as has sometimes 
been done, any extravagant claims in respect 
to learning ; for the age was swarming with 
these disputants, and their public discussions 
and lectures, if not their books, were among 
the common phenomena of the times. He 
could easily have used their speech, and he 
would have been understood too, as well as 
philosophic language, so called, is understood 
by the masses at the present day ; for all 
through the chief towns of the Roman Em 
pire, at least where the Greek language was 
spoken, a smattering of this kind of talk had 


got down into the common mind, even as it 
has now filtered through the modern reading 
and lecture hearing world. The scoffer 
Lucian affords sufficient evidence, if we had 
no other, that Paul, had he chosen to talk 
philosophically, would have been as well un 
derstood at Athens, or Corinth, as Mr. 
Parker or any of his associates in Boston or 
New York. 

There is an egregious fallacy here, whether 
we think of the later or the more ancient 
revelation. A fact may be appealed to as a 
conclusive refutation of all abstract reasoning 
on the subject ; and this is, that the anthro- 
popathism of the Old Testament, with its 
typical representations, did actually produce 
a higher order of thinking than the abstract 
style of any Eastern or Western philosophy. 
The ancient Jew, with his tabernacle made in 
all respects "after the pattern shown to 
Moses on the Mount/ 7 the cosmical ( 4 ) sanc 
tuary or world temple typical of things in the 
Heavens, 7 * with its lights and incense, the 

* Heb. 9:11. 


altar with its sacrifice, that sacrifice of which 
the heathen world had lost the meaning and 
for which its philosophy had no idea, the Ark 
of the Covenant, the Mercy Seat, the Cheru 
bim with their overshadowing wings looking 
down upon its mystery, the Shekinah, the un 
approachable Holy of Holies, the ancient 
Jew, we say, through the ideas thus repre 
sented, knew more of God, of his adorable 
unity, his awful holiness, his intense hatred 
of sin and impurity, than was ever dreamed 
of in the " numerical ratios " of Pythagoras, 
or the " eternal ideas 7; of Plato; he had a 
more living thought of God s near person 
ality, and, at the same time, his far-off incon 
ceivable immensity, of his burning presence 
as their own patrial Deity, and, at the same 
time, his high unrepresentable glory tran 
scending all similitude, * than ever came 
from all the speculations of the Academy or 
the Porch. 

Some would compare these Jewish sym- 

* Deut. 4 : 15. 


bols with the outward in the heathen 
worship, but the difference is immense ; it 
is radical, and exclusive of all comparison. 
They were symbols of holiness, the others of 
impurity ; they were symbols of the ineffable, 
the others of all that was most sensual in 
an outward arid sensual mythology ; they 
were symbols of the heavenly, as transcend 
ing nature, the others had almost wholly a 
physical idea. The Jewish rites had a spirit 
ual power, although maintaining a holy re 
serve as to a spiritual world ; the other had 
its fantastic supernatural, its wild demon- 
ology, and yet the whole tendency was to the 
earthly, the human, the lower than the 
human ; for the prime consistency of these 
chaotic myths, and of this chaotic worship, 
was only found in making gods and dai- 
mones, as well as men and animals, all the 
children of one common mother nature. 
Hence there was really so much less religion 
among the heathen, even where they seemed 
to be more religious than the Jews. The 


former had no check upon their depraved 
imaginations ; the chosen people had a stern 
ritual out of which the fancy was forbidden 
to wander. Hence, too, what has caused 
some to wonder, that the Greeks should have 
had what seemed a larger and more definite 
creed respecting Hades, and souls in Hades, 
than the Children of the Promise ; and yet, 
to the thinking mind, how much more of 
moral impressiveness in the few hints of the 
Old Testament on this dread subject, its 
cautious speaking, its awful reserve, we may 
say, than in all the Greek fancies of Tartarus 
and Elysium. The future life was not con 
cealed ; there was a hope if not a distinct idea, 
a faith, purer perhaps from its very indefi- 
niteness, that in some way, the dead, the 
righteous dead, at least, did still "live unto 
God, r but the fulness and clearness of this 
revelation was reserved for the Conqueror of 
Hades. Such a doctrine was too precious to 
be given fully to the world before "the In 
terpreter " came, or to be prematurely sub- 


milled to Ihe peril of mythical additions and 
deformities even among the chosen people. 
It was, therefore, for ages to have the form 
of pure trust in God, unaided, as it was un- 
weakened, by any pictures of the fancy or 
any necrological view that might take the 
form either of poetry or philosophy. In the 
descent to the Greek Hades there was no 
such leaning on the divine arm, no such con 
fidence as that in the strength of which the 
Psalmist ventured down into the terra um- 
brarum, or valley of the shadow of death ; 
there was no faith like that which led the 
religious Jew, in view not only of the un 
known but unimagined futurity, to exclaim, 
"Into thy hands do I commit my spirit; 
Thou hast redeemed me, Lord God of truth." 
For the Hebrew mind, the first great idea 
was God, his sovereignty and holiness, what 
ever might be the destiny of men ; and this 
brings us back to the peculiar character of 
the Old Testament rites and symbols as com 
pared with all others then in the world. 


They were holy. They ever denoted the 
pure, whether in the soul itself or in the 
body, as typical of the spiritual cleanliness. 
They denoted separation, election, or setting 
apart for God. In a word, they were types 
of holiness, and in this they were as far re 
moved from all heathen worship on the one 
hand, as from all heathen philosophizing on 
the other. 

How small the intervals both of time and 
space, between the Hebrew prophets and 
the Greek philosophers ! How preposterous, 
then, the notion that God chose the language 
of the former because the world had not yet 
made sufficient spiritual progress to be ad 
dressed in the more logical or intellectual 
style of the latter ! How still more absurd 
is it when we are told that this Jewish mind, 
as represented by Paul, could not understand 
the more spiritual Greek as set forth in the 
school of Plato, or the high morality of the 
Stoics. With such a taste, for we can give it 
no higher name, it is impossible to dispute. 


If any cannot see, or rather feel, how im 
measurably the ethical ideas of the Apostles, 
to say nothing of the direct teachings of Christ, 
transcend those of Epictetus and Seneca, then 
all argument is thrown away ; the difference 
is radical and irreconcilable. 

The absurdity, however, is more evident, 
it becomes even superlative, when it is as 
sumed that the modern mind, the common 
modern mind, we mean, as it appears in the 
ordinary literary and political life, so far 
transcends in ethical purity both the Greek 
and Jewish ideas of the holy and the divine, 
that we need a new theological language, or 
that the old Scriptural style, though yet re 
spected as the vehicle of ancient thought now 
obsolete, should be henceforth regarded as 
the " accommodating " teacher of those ad 
vanced conceptions of God and his eternal 
kingdom that have come from our modern 
aesthetics and our modern knowledge. In 
this view, so condescending whilst so conserv 
ative, the Bible is still to be retained like 


some rough though high-priced picture of 
the " old masters ;" its antique setting even 
is to be undisturbed, and its strange color 
ing left untouched through regard for its 
venerable antiquity ; but then it is to be as 
sociated with ideas of a higher order, and 
with such a " philosophy of religion " as prob 
ably the old writers would have taught had 
they shared in the present spiritual advance. 
Now, to do justice to this modern claim, it 
must be treated according to the assumption 
it necessarily involves if it be a real progress, 
that is, a real spiritual progress. To be con 
sistent with that undeniable test that has just 
been laid down, its chief ground of confidence 
can be rationally nothing else than some as 
tonishing increase in holiness, unearthliness, 
and heavenly-mindedness, supposed to have 
been lately made in certain schools in Ger 
many, and among those who speak of them 
selves as the leading thinkers of our own 
land. So clear as well as profound have been 
their discoveries of God and eternal things 


that an entirely new aspect has been given to 
theology. It is also to be maintained on the 
ground of a similar general advance in holi 
ness, brought about through the influence of 
these "leading minds." Society in its com 
mon thinking is so much nearer heaven, 
nearer the empyrean of truth, the literary 
world is so much more pure, the " educated 
classes/ as they are called, are becoming so 
much less earthly, so much more occupied 
with divine contemplations, that we have a 
right to expect a higher style of revelation 
than was vouchsafed to former times. Some 
of the language we have just employed may 
seem strange as thus applied. This talk of 
superior holiness may strike even the sup 
posed claimants as being somehow out of 
place, or as suggesting, in their case, inhar 
monious ideas. But surely this arrogant as 
sumption of a spiritual advance carrying men 
beyond the spirituality of the Bible, means 
just this, means all this, or it means nothing. 
Judged, then, by this standard, tried by 


this test, what, we may ask in all serious 
ness, is our political world, our literary world, 
our " thinking class," our men of culture, that 
they should make this claim, or be supposed 
to occupy so much higher a position in re 
spect to the unearthly things, or those great 
matters of eternity that have agitated the 
minds of men from the foundation of the 
world or the day when humanity first began 
to think or feel. What is there in the mod 
ern public man that places him, in this re 
spect, above the public man of former times ? 
To go no farther back into the remote past, 
wherein has he any advantage, except what 
the Bible gives him, if it gives him any, over 
the Roman senator ? We say, if it gives him 
any, for unless it has had a direct converting, 
sanctifying, enlightening influence upon his 
soul, we may even regard the heathen as the 
nobler man. Christianity, if it has not raised, 
has lowered the other. The mere nominal 
profession, with its habitual and demeaning 
hollowness, has taken from the native man- 


hood which appears so splendid in some of 
the historical examples of the olden time, 
whilst it has conferred no compensating heav 
enly grace. But select the highest modern 
specimens of this class. Wherein, we may 
well ask, does such a one show more spiritu 
ality than Cicero, a better hope than Agricola, 
a higher sense of the world s great evil than 
Tacitus? In short, take away the direct 
effects of regenerating grace on individual 
souls for these are yet, as in the early cen 
turies, the rare exceptions and where is the 
great spiritual difference between our nomi 
nally Christian and the ancient heathen 

It is, indeed, a most preposterous claim 
that is thus put forth on behalf of our social 
and literary condition, especially as it is 
sometimes partially sanctioned in our modern 
preaching. We are not more unworldly than 
the Patriarchs, more spiritual than the Proph 
ets, more heavenly-minded than the Apostles ; 
we are not nearer the great celestial verities 


than men of the olden time, at least by any 
philosophy, or science, or culture of our own 
that is independent of the study and the 
grace of the Scriptures ; we are not beyond 
the Bible either in its letter or its thought. 
There are ideas there the world has not yet 
fathomed ; there are words and figures there 
whose rich significance interpretation has not 
yet exhausted. The Scriptural style and the 
Scriptural language are not meant for one 
age, but for all ages. Its orientalisms will 
grow in the west ; its archaisms will be found 
still young in the nineteenth century. Sci 
ence is ever changing as it is ever unfinished, 
its language is ever becoming obsolete as it 
is ever superseded, philosophy is continually 
presenting some new phase of its ever-revolv 
ing cycles, the political world is ever a dis 
solving view, literature becomes effete and 
art decays, "but the Word of our God shall 
stand forever." Not so sure are the types of 
nature as even the form and feature of this 
written word, if it be indeed the word of God, 


uttered in humanity, breathed into human 
souls, informing human emotions, conceived 
in human thoughts, made outward in human 
images, and indissolubly bound, as the won 
drous narrative of the supernatural, in the 
long chain of human history. 


THE ENDURING "WORD Christ s Declaration. Matt. v. 18 "Not 
one Iota shall fail" The Reference is to the Spiritual Effect 
Every Part of the Scriptures contributes to the Great Consum 
mation The True Textus Receptus Written in the Heart of 
the Church Militant and Triumphant The Living Word, the Liv 
ing People The Everlasting Codex The " Fight of Faith" 
The Bible Question ever calling out a New Power The Problem 
it presents in History No Human Intellect Competent to Solve 
it Except on the Ground of the Supernatural Other Sacred 
Books belong to but One Age Are addressed to but One Phase 
of Humanity Strange Universality of the Bible The Rationalist 
has no Eyes for the great Wonder of the Book. 

"THINK not that I am come to destroy the 
law and the prophets ; I have not come to 
destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto 
you, until heaven and earth pass away, one 
iota or one point of the law shall never pass 
away until all shall be fulfilled." These re 
markable words have been variously inter 
preted. They have been referred to the 


concise summing of the Jewish code, as given 
by Christ in the two great commandments of 
love. They have been regarded as denoting 
the law of nature, as it is called, or the 
general principles of ethics, as recognized by 
the conscience. Their interpretation has 
been found in the ceremonial ordinances as 
typical, or in the law of sacrifice as fulfilled 
in its substance by the great sacrifice on the 
cross. But there is a minuteness, and, at 
the same time, a universality in this language, 
that would seem to demand a corresponding 
exegesis. The law, as thus used by our 
Saviour, and as it was employed by devout 
souls in the Old Testament, would seem to 
be another name for God s written revela 
tion the canon, or "rule he hath given to 
direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him." 
Thus received, it would include, even in the 
present passage, not only the Old Testament 
Scriptures, but also the words of Christ him 
self, and all that is revealed by his commis 
sioned messengers as the full complement 


and development of these older scriptures. 
God s whole written revelation in the world, 
from the beginning to the end, the whole 
canon of Scripture, all that is recognized by 
Christ as ayiai yqayai or Holy Writings, 
"not one iota or one point shall fail." The 
special words constitute a proverbial expres 
sion of universality to denote the completeness 
of effect. It cannot intend the perfect pres 
ervation of the written integrity. There 
were defective readings and defective trans 
lations in Christ s own time ; although it is 
indeed wonderful how, beyond all other works 
in the world, these writings have been pre 
served without the loss of an idea, and, we 
may venture to say, without the change of a 
figure, notwithstanding all the variations of 
words and orthography that the keenest criti 
cism has ever collected. 

But we may suppose this language of uni 
versality to have a wider, and, at the same 
time, a deeper meaning than either of these 
views would assign to it. It transcends the 


rationalistic interpretation, even as it takes 
in more than any cabalistic veneration of 
syllables and letters. It embraces the written 
word in its substantial correctness as ever 
capable of being brought out by fair com 
parison, whilst it has its truer significance, its 
more interior significance, in the living word 
as it has been copied in the soul, and printed 
through ages on the hearts of the Holy 
People. This is the textus receptus that has 
been carried down on something more dura 
ble than parchment. This is the spiritual 
Mishna, as the Jews called the higher exem 
plar, or second edition of the law. Every 
part has been thus impressed on souls here or 
in eternity. A spiritual stereoscope, could 
we imagine such an instrument, might thus 
reveal its clear perspective, even though 
deeply hidden from the common outward 
view. It is in the memories of the Church 
militant and triumphant. If lost every 
where else, in every outward form of writ 
ing, here is the true spiritual codex, and from 


this might it be restored, even as it has been 
said, though it may be hyperbolically, that if 
all the Bible had been lost as it existed in 
manuscripts, it might still have been recover 
ed from the Commentaries and devotional 
writings of the Christian Fathers. It is the 
effect of this written word, we think the 
Savious means, the effect of this whole 
revelation, old and new, first on the Church, 
and secondly, on the mind and life of the 
race. Not one jot or tittle shall fail from 
the law till all be fulfilled. No part shall 
be without its contribution to this great end. 
Its history, its poetry, its precept, its proph 
ecy, its genealogies even, will be found to 
be all necessary parts, not merely of the in 
ception, but of the continuance and the con 
summation of the work, all necessary parts 
of this standing exhibition of God, or the 
supernatural, in human redemption. And so 
shall the Bible remain " unto the last syllable 
of recorded time," the great spiritual power 
of the world. It shall live until all history 


shall be seen to be but its fulfilment, and all 
the divine dealings with our race, from the 
beginning to the close of its career, to have 
had constant reference to its "Great Salva 
tion." Nay, beyond this, even in eternity 
shall it survive. Such would seem to be a 
fair interpretation of the language on which 
we are dwelling. "Heaven and earth shall 
pass away, but not one point of the law shall 
fail." In this its spiritual power, and in this 
its ineffaceable spiritual impression, shall it 
be among "the things that remain," even 
after God has arisen to " shake, not the earth 
only, but also the heavens." The present 
order of nature shall cease, the secular his 
tory shall be closed, even the spiritual and 
ecclesiastical shall be changed, " but the word 
of our God shall stand forever." Similar to 
this is the passage Matt. xxiv. 35, Luke xxi. 
33 " Heaven and earth shall pass away, but 
my words shall not pass away." The decla 
rations are clearly parallel in their wider 
significance. The law, in the one case, as 


the known term for all Scripture, and the 
words of Christ as setting forth its perfect 
fulfilment, are but different names for one 
and the same everlasting, unchanging reve 

A man may find difficulties in the Bible ; 
but surely no intelligent mind can view it 
without wonder. There is certainly one re 
markable change in the aspect of the Biblical 
question which has been produced by the 
learned study of late years. Infidelity is as 
rife as ever ; the opposition both of the com 
mon worldly, and of the philosophical worldly 
mind, is as strong as ever ; but the age of 
scoffing has gone by. There can be no more 
Paines and Yoltaires. The days of easy un 
belief, as well as of easy belief, have passed 
away. It is becoming a more serious ques 
tion, a more earnest controversy for both 
parties. " The fight of faith" is waxing 
stronger and closer ; it is every day present 
ing, on each side, new and bolder issues. 
There is, too, this new feature, that each is 


taking the attitude of assailant. Christianity 
no longer stands simply on its defence. 
The war is driven into the enemy s camp, 
yea, into the very citadel of unbelief. It is 
shown that the rejection of the Bible is the 
rejection of all belief beyond the most earthly 
and sensual. The field of the lists is being 
narrowed down to the questions Revelation, 
or Atheism Revelation, or the giving up of 
all hope in a life beyond the grave. The 
middle ground is being rapidly cleared away, 
and all who think at all are looking breath 
lessly for the result of this more than Titanic 
conflict, when faith shall rise higher than 
ever, and revelation be more strongly believ 
ed than ever, or "Chaos come again" not 
only in all religious credence, but over that 
whole firmament of ideas so closely connected 
with it. The mighty reasoner, Time, is fast 
bringing to this conclusion the world s best 
thought. Poetry, Philosophy, Art, all that 
is spiritual in eloquence, all that is inspiring 
in nature, all that is stimulating and elevat- 


ing, even in science, are inseparable eventually 
from religion, even as religion is inseparable 
from revelation. They might maintain a 
lingering twilight existence after its sun had 
forever set, but must, inevitably, sooner or 
later, go out in the same overwhelming dark 
ness. In earlier periods of the earth s his 
tory they might, perhaps, have longer sur 
vived such a "disastrous eclipse," but now, 
as every reason teaches us to believe, the 
obscuration would be all the more rapid in 
proportion to the exhaustion of the conflict, 
and the depth of the despair. 

It is thus that God is putting this question 
in a way to try the world as it has never 
been tried before. He who cannot see this 
is blind to one of the most portentous signs 
of the times. Even among the most ration 
alistic and the most sceptical, it is coming to 
be both felt and acknowledged, that this phe 
nomenon of the Bible and its wondrous hold 
upon mankind presents a problem requiring 
for its solution an amount of learning, and a 


depth of thought, demanded by no other in 
the history or psychology of our race. What 
a place that book has occupied in our world ! 
What a blank would have been left, what a 
blank would now be left, without it ! Even 
the difficulties of belief increase the difficul 
ties of rejecting it. How it lives on in spite 
of the most startling objections, not now for 
the first time met, but as clearly seen and as 
strongly put nearly two thousand years ago 
as in the present century. It has not only 
maintained itself, but false philosophies and 
pretended revelations have obtained a stronger 
hold in the world, simply by counterfeiting 
its outward semblance. Thus has it made its 
way, carrying its own burdens, and the much 
heavier weights that human depravity has 
put upon it. Tested by the chances of any 
mere human conflict, of any philosophic or 
literary strife, it would ages ago have van 
ished from the field and been consigned to 
oblivion ; but here it is yet, the mightiest 
element in human thought, and challenging 


to the conflict the mightiest of human antag 
onisms. How it rises up, ever higher and 
stronger, against every fresh assault ! every 
new phase of unbelief, when it is really new. 
only calling out some before unknown aspect 
of power in this exhaustless defence. But it 
is not enough to say that the Bible has kept 
its ground in the world it has ever been ex 
tending itself, not only into new territory, 
but into new fields of thought. Philosophy 
assumes to be independent of it, but finds, in 
the end, that it must go the way of all hu 
man speculations, or fortify itself by ideas 
that can never more belong to human think 
ing should this book be discarded from the 
world. So science, too, often "seems first 
in its own cause, until revelation cometh and 
searcheth it." Some startling discovery has 
raised the hopes of unbelief, but soon this 
more ancient power in the world, this power 
of the unseen and the eternal, rides over the 
sense difficulty, or shows it to belong to a 
lower plane of knowledge with which the 


diviner truth can have no actual or imagined 

It is easy to make objections to the Scrip 
tures, objections, it may be admitted, ex 
tremely difficult of solution, some of them, 
perhaps, baffling every attempt at solution ; 
but to explain the strange phenomenon, and 
the strange history connected with it, this is 
the great and crowning difficulty that puts 
all others out of sight. It is comparatively 
easy to descend into the Avernian pit of infi 
del cavil, but to ascend therefrom to any clear 
hypothesis of human destiny after revelation 
has been once rejected, or to show how cer 
tain ideas could ever have been in the world 
without it, hoc opus hie labor est ; this is the 
adventure for which our modern world finds 
no Hercules ; this is the undertaking of which 
infidelity has not carefully counted the cost, 
although there are signs of the corning con 
flict which clearly show that her confident 
advocates will be compelled to do so. No 
human intellect we boldly venture the as 


sertion no human intellect, and no amount 
of human learning yet gathered, are compe 
tent to the task of accounting, on any known 
natural principles, for the strange existence 
in our world of a series of writings, and cor 
responding influences, so unearthly in their 
power yet so human in their form, so deep 
in the world s thought yet so constantly in 
conflict with all contemporary thinking, and, 
therefore, at each period of its existence so 
utterly opposed to any idea of development, 
teaching the absolute unity of God through 
all the black night of the Western polythe 
ism, the vivid personality of God in the 
denser darkness of the Eastern pantheism, 
the holiness of God amid every where sur 
rounding forms of worship so impure that 
they cannot be described, the unrepresent 
able essence of God when the world was full 
of a monstrous idolatry or a foul Egyptian 
symbolism, proclaiming salvation by the 
Cross when the schools were priding them 
selves on the perfection of their ethical phi- 


losophy, announcing the resurrection of the 
body when the select thinkers were soaring 
in their Platonic spiritualism, and a new and 
heavenly life for the soul when the vulgar 
herd of Epicurus were filling the air with 
the swinish noise of their sensualism, tri 
umphing alike over the Senecas and the 
Neros, the Antonines and the Domitians, 
overthrowing the giant power of ancient Pa 
ganism, driving it from that last strong-hold 
of conservatism it had sought in the philo 
sophic revival of the early myths, shedding 
a holy light during the long period of Bajba- 
riari and Mediae val darkness, breaking forth 
with new splendor at the Reformation, and 
yet filling men s minds with fear, or sustain 
ing them in heavenly hope, in the face of a 
war that never raged so fiercely as in these 
days when naturalism and criticism com 
bined, as they were never combined before, 
are doing their utmost to shake the author 
ity of its divine mission. 

Every other assumed revelation has been 


addressed to but one phase of humanity. 
They have been adapted to one age, to one 
people, or one peculiar style of human 
thought. Their books have never assumed 
a cosmical character, or been capable of any 
catholic expansion. They could never be 
"accommodated" to other ages, or accli 
mated to other parts of the world. They 
are indigenous plants, that can never grow 
out of the zone that gave them birth. Zoro 
aster never made a disciple beyond Persia or 
its immediate neighborhood Confucius is 
wholly Chinese as Socrates is wholly Greek. 
But Zoroaster and Confucius, it may be said, 
were unknown to the world at large, and 
therefore never had a fair trial. This is true. 
Their names, indeed, are often in the mouths 
of the superficial adversaries of the Christian 
faith, but even now the most learned can 
hardly claim familiarity with their writings. 
The question, however, still returns : why 
have they remained so separate, so powerless 
out of their own early period, and their own 


peculiar nationality, unless it be because of 
their utter want of any world-life or world- 
ideas, capable of stirring any universal emo 
tion, or producing any universal effect? Why 
are the remains of these shut up in the libra 
ries of the Archaeologist, whilst other Ori 
ental books more ancient still have become 
household words, and been multiplied in mil 
lions and billions of copies through every part 
of the civilized world ? It is a question cer 
tainly demanding the most serious study of 
all who would be thought to take a profound 
view of human affairs. Writings from the 
far East, from the earliest East, records al 
most coeval with the flood, yea, some of 
them not irrationally supposed to have cross 
ed its world-dividing waters, still taught in 
the nursery, still read in our primary schools, 
still taxing all the research of the most learn 
ed, still furnishing the fountain source of all 
that can worthily be called devotion or spir 
ituality in the earth, giving the child his 
first ideas of God s creating power, and cheer 
ing the aged and the dying with the only 


hope that can sustain the soul in its dread of 
the primaeval penalty, the hope that is 
found in the early, the oft-repeated promise 
of a conquering Saviour, and the final tri 
umph of redeeming love ! What is there 
that blinds our rational interpreters, so called, 
to these wonderful aspects of the Bible prob 
lem ? They are sharp enough to discover 
everything else but that which so deeply 
impresses the religious mind, and, without 
which, the book, though still curious as an 
antiquarian document, is hardly worth the 
learned pains they are so laboriously bestow 
ing upon it. Some of them are so keen- 
sighted that from a few chapters in Genesis, 
and a few slight differences in Hebrew words, 
they can give us the chronology of the Welt- 
alter ; they can detect the cause of the mis 
take that assigns Lamech to the last period of 
the Cainitic instead of his true position in the 
commencement of the Sethic cycle.* From 

* See the Ninth No. of the Jahrbiieher der Biblischen 
Wissenschaft von Heinrich Evvald, 1857, 1858. 


these data although so hidden in the letter, 
their learned and fertile imaginations deter 
mine satisfactorily the true relations of the 
Sethic to the Shemitic Welt-alter ; they know 
all about the Jahvethum, and the Antedilu 
vian religious sects of the Jahveists and the 
Elohists ; they can go back of the writer, or 
writers, and tell us what were the ethnolog 
ical conceptions which these early " sages" 
meant to represent in their fragmentary and 
badly-connected myths ; yea, from their own 
higher " stand point" they can even concede 
to them a kind of inspiration, but it is the 
inspiration of great "historic ideas," which 
in those primitive times could embody them 
selves in no other forms but those of a myth 
ical genealogizing. All this they can sec 
very plainly : those primitive sages, the) 
have discovered, were pure idealists ; the} 
were even then thinking out, and expressing, 
in their mythical way, a Philosophy of His 
tory. But the great idea, that which was 
truly expressed, and has ever since, more or 


less, affected the world s religious thinking, 
for this our rational critics have no eyes. 
They see nothing wonderful in that earliest 
prediction of the earliest Welt-alter, that the 
" Seed of the woman shall bruise the ser 
pent s head, 77 that one who is divine from 
his very work, and yet the Son of Man, shall 
vanquish the power of evil and redeem his 
suffering brethren from its long and cruel 
dominion. Wise are they, even above all 
that is written, in regard to this first twilight 
of the world s chronology, whilst they fail to 
understand how this book of Genesis, scanty 
as are its records, thus furnishes the key to 
all following history, and discover nothing 
worthy of their profoundest thought in the 
fact, that these "myths "of the early and 
distant East are still exercising such a power 
over regions, and ages, and manners, and 
institutions, so different in outward form, so 
far removed, in space and time, from those 
to whom they were first given. 

C H A P T E 11 IX. 

other Books --The Paradox The most National and at the same 
time the most Cosmical of Writings Its World- Life Its Early 
Seclusion The "Going Forth of the Law from Zion " Sudden 
and Powerful Effect upon the Greek and Roman World Hindoo 
and Persian Scriptures, no Life out of India and Persia The 
Koran Next to the Bible in Catholicity This comes from its 
Shemitic Character Reasons in the Bible itself for its tenacious 
Life No Book so Translatable Other " Sacred Books" shock 
usbythe Monstrosity of their Human -Their Inhuman-;/^ The 
Grotesque and Want of Dignity in their Supernatural In the 
Scriptures the Marvellous is the Presumptive The Supernatural 
becomes Easy of Belief. 

THE other writings to which the Jewish 
Scriptures have been compared never did 
exert, and never could have exerted such an 
influence. No historical events could ever 
have given it to them. It was not from the 
want of opportunity that their hidden life 
had been denied its true manifestation. The 


books of the Bible were originally as seclud 
ed as tbese, yea. more secluded, we may say, 
more strictly national ; but this only makes still 
more marvellous the mystery of that mighty 
dominion they exercised, when in God s 
good time the seals were loosed, and these 
strange Eastern writings, so unphilosophical, 
so unlike anything that ever came from the 
schools, were disclosed to the Western world. 
For ages had they been shut up in the 
mountains of Judea, w iivi fiaqfiactr/.w TOTTOJ 
no()()a) TCOV OVTI tvfe riuetbQas fc : 7r6Tf t wg, if we 
may accommodate that remarkable language 
of Plato ::: in which he seems to indulge in 
something more than a conjecture, that in 
some distant region, and coming from some 
distant past, ? v vivi ansiqy TO) naqtl.ri\v&b r ti 
XQovc), there might be a wisdom unknown to 
the Greek and yet to be revealed to the 
world. (5) There for ages had they remained, 

* See the whole of this remarkable passage. Plato 
Rep. vii. : 498, c. In some barbarian region far away. 
In some part of the immense tim, that is past. 


a " garden enclosed, a fountain sealed," until 
" the everlasting doors were lifted up," and 
the commandment came that " the Law should 
go forth from Zion, and the Word of the 
Lord from Jerusalem." How sudden, how 
irresistible the effect ! How few the genera 
tions before this Chronicle of Redemption, 
this old Epic of " the Chosen People" and 
their Hero Messiah, together with those 
later yet still Jewish writings that contained 
the world-interpretation of the more ancient 
national covenant, filled and vivified all the 
literature, all the philosophy, yea, all the 
thinking of the vast Roman empire ! How 
soon it modified, yea, completely transform 
ed, that whole historical state out of which 
arose our modern Europe and our modern 
civilization ! What divine energy was this, 
that so far surpassed all former powers that 
had arisen out of the Occidental mind, and 
might, therefore, be supposed so much better 
adapted to it? Plato, Aristotle, Zeno, Socra 
tes, Academics, Stoics, Rhetoricians, Moral- 


ists they had never so stirred the world, 
they had touched no universal chords in hu 
man souls, although nothing could seemingly 
be more abstract, and, therefore, more uni 
versal, than the language of their precepts. 
Their speculations, though in appearance so 
general and so profound, did not, after all, 
reach down to that which underlies all human 
nature, as human nature, in its constitution 
and its wants. They had no Fall to tell of, 
no Redemption. The former might have 
been dimly shadowed in some of their poetic 
myths, but the latter had no place in their 
philosophy. The world was caring little 
about them or their systems ; it was fast 
sinking into darkness, with all the light they 
gave ; it was becoming more corrupt, more 
worthless, with all they said about the excel 
lency of virtue and the dignity of reason ; 
more deformed and false, with all their talk 
about the " true, the beautiful, and the good." 
But when Christ and Moses came, when the 
prophets came, and He of whom they wrote, 


when Evangelists and Apostles came, how 
mighty the change, and how soon did it 
manifest itself in so great a revolution of hu 
man ideas ! Will some of the men who talk so 
much of development, explain this mystery 
that has withstood all the " sneers of Gibbon, 
and stands yet the inexplicable fact of the 
world. 7 Development is the magic word ; 
but development from what ? From what 
seed grew this sudden and mighty tree ? 
From what seed in the Greek mind in the 
Roman mind, in the Jewish mind simply as 
historically exhibited in the days of Christ, 
and without reference to any new divine 
power, or to the spirit of their ancient Scrip 
tures? There is development, surely, a 
divine development, involving, however, an 
effect, and necessitating a cause, than which 
there could be nothing more opposed to all 
the ideas the rationalist must assume as the 
elements of his hypothesis. 

And so, too, the Hindoo scriptures, of 
which our transcendentalists talk so much and 


so ignoraiitly, have no meaning, no life out 
of India. In the West, they have been, and 
ever will be, but matters of learned curiosity ; 
and even this interest they fast lose the more 
intimately we become acquainted with them. 
It would be impossible, by any " accommoda 
tions/ by any associations, to make out of 
them a book adapted for any Occidental in 
fluence, either moral, religious, or philosophi 
cal. It is fast becoming more and more evi 
dent that their only theological dogmas of 
any religious power, or even philosophical 
interest, are but the almost defaced remains 
of ideas belonging to the old patriarchal rev 
elation of the World-Deliverer, and which 
are brought out in all their sublimity in the 
Christian doctrine of the Incarnation. In all 
other respects, in their monstrous mythology, 
in their mind-destroying pantheism, above all, 
in their revolting impurity, they are what 
the depraved Hindoo mind has made them, 
and what they, in their reaction, have made 
the present Hindoo race. The same local, 


partial nature may be affirmed, though less 
strongly, of the Koran. It is a far more 
catholic book, however, that is, has more of 
a world-life, than the Hindoo scriptures ; 
but this comes solely from its Shemitic de 
scent, and from its being such a reflex of the 
old Shemitic revelation. It would not be far 
out of the way to regard the Koran as one 
of the apocryphal books of the Bible. It is 
from its oft-asserted claim to be the religion 
of Abraham, " in whom all the families of 
the earth were to be blessed/ 7 that this sub 
lime poem of Mohammed (for with all its 
falsehoods it is in truth a sublime production) 
has its real power, its wide-spread, long- 
enduring hold in so many parts of the older 
continents. (6) Still, to a great extent, may 
the same character be applied to all the 
religious books of the world, except that one 
which proves its humanity, and so, its true 
divinity, or the divine in the human, by its 
universality. Of all the others it may be 
said that they are local, partial, periodical. 


Each has its peculiar phase, chronological 
and ethnological, out of which it cannot be 
transplanted. The Bible alone makes disci 
ples of every race. It would be hard to 
decide where it had more strongly displayed 
its subduing power, on the Asiatic, the Af 
rican, or the European mind. Descending 
with the ages, and through every phase of 
humanity, it has met them all, it has warred 
with all, and its uniform triumph warrants the 
induction, even aside from faith, that it will 
surely survive them all. Of such a history 
it is but sober eulogy if we employ the lan 
guage of that strange believer, Sir Thomas 
Browne, " Men s works have an age like 
themselves, and though they outlive their 
authors, yet have they a stint and a period 
to their duration. This only is a work too 
hard for the teeth of time, and cannot perish 
but in the final flames when all things shall 
confess their ashes." 

There is a divine guardianship of the Bible ; 
so we must hold as consistent believers; 


but aside from this, there is in the book it 
self a reason for its tenacious life. The 
secret of its lasting hold upon the human 
mind may be found in this striking union of 
the closest specialty with the widest univer 
sality. Here we have what may be called the 
paradox of the Scriptures. Addressed pri 
marily to the most separate as well as the 
most peculiar people on the face of the earth, 
(and one that still maintains its separateness 
and its peculiarity, as a standing witness to 
this remarkable divine economy,) these writ 
ings have nevertheless such a wonderful 
adaptation to all people, to all ages, to all 
individual men ! There must be something 
in them that goes far below all outward 
form, all outward dress of age or nationality, 
something that penetrates the deepest de 
partment, the most interior chamber, or 
sanctum sanctorum of the universal soul. 
They "try the reins;" "they reveal unto 
man his thought;" "they teach wisdom in 
that hidden part 7 where each individual 


spirit finds its connection, its identity, we 
might almost say, with the universal human 
ity. Hence so concrete, and yet so abstract. 
It is not, however, through logical language, 
so called, but by the very intensity of their 
sense imagery, that they pierce through the 
sense, as it were, " reaching even to the 
division of soul and spirit, 7 the dividing line 
of yv%r\ and nvevjua, and thus becoming " dis- 
cerners of those thoughts and intents of the 
heart" that lie below the ordinary conscious 
ness, but which, when discovered, are recog 
nized to be the most intensely individual, as 
they are the most profoundly generic, in the 
human constitution. 

Hence it is that no book is so translatable 
as the Bible. It runs with the least difficulty 
into all languages, East or West. When it 
fails to meet wi h idioms that are perfect 
equivalents, it w 11 always be found that its 
own may be successfully transplanted, and 
that they will grow with surprising freshness 
and vigor in the new soil. Hence no so 


ready a way to enrich a language, even an 
old and copious language, as to translate the 
Bible into it. We are not generally aware 
how many of our own most life-like idioms 
are in fact orientalisms thus introduced into 
our remote Western world. The reason of 
this may be sought in the seeming paradox 
before alluded to. It is the "Living Word,"* 
6 hbyoq toi) Otov cai> Y.OI eve^y^g, "the Word 
of God, quick and powerful, 7 yet clothed in 
humanity ; and hence it is so intensely human 
because it is the divine in the human. In 
other words, it could not have been so hu 
man had it not also been divine. Only a 
power high above us could have so looked 
down into the very depths of our nature. 
Other or pretended revelations prove their 
falsehood by their monstrosity, by their in- 
humanness, if we may use such a word, their 
distorted apprehensions of man, as well as 
their absurd notions in respect to God. In 
their ambitious attempts to rise above the 
human, they get lost in a dreamy pantheism, 

* HeK 4 : 12. 


or a grotesque mythology, both of which, 
while they fall in with a partial order of 
thought, or a peculiar style of imagination, 
are alien to the early and natural, to the most 
uniform and universal, thinking of the race. 
In the Bible, on the other hand, even the su 
pernatural we may say it without a paradox 
is most natural. It is in such true keeping 
with the times, with the events and doctrines 
it attests, with all the surrounding historical 
circumstances as they are narrated, that we 
almost lose the feeling of the supernatural 
in the admirable harmony and consistency of 
the ideas and scenes presented. It seems to 
be just what might have been expected ; it 
would be strange that it should be otherwise ; 
the marvellous here is the presumptive, the 
extraordinary becomes the easy of belief. 
The supernatural assumes the familiar ap 
pearance of the natural, and God s coming 
down to us, and speaking to us, seem less 
incredible than that far-off silence which, 
though so unbroken for our sense, is so per 
plexing and unaccountable to our reason. 


THE BIBLE SUPERNATURAL Illustrations The Supernatural at 
Sinai The Burning Bush Moses at the Red Sea Compare 
these with the Hindoo, Greek and Scandinavian Myths The 
Moral Grandeur Elijah the Tishbite The very Natural rising 
into the Supernatural The Supernatural in the Life of Christ 
Its constant Indwelling Presence More Impressive than any 
outward Miraculous Manifestation "Thou art the Christ the 
Son of the Living God " Commands to conceal the Supernatu 
ral Power The Transfiguration Christ Walking on the Sea 
Was it meant for a Display? Or was it the true Outgoing of an 
Ecstatic Spiritual Condition? Mark 6:48, "He would have 
passed them by" It followed a Night of Prayer Was this an 
Isolated Case ? The Scriptures give us but Glimpses even of 
Christ s Natural Life. 

THE thought presented in the close of the 
preceding chapter receives its illustrations 
in almost every part of the Scriptures. Its 
importance demands that they should be 
given at some ^ength, although it may re 
quire for that purpose many consecutive 
pages. Let us commence with the stupen- 


dous exhibition that was made on Sinai. 
Taken by itself it might seem utterly incredi 
ble, although its superhuman grandeur would 
ever prevent its association with the myths of 
any other religion. Such a breach in nature, 
we say, surpasses belief when viewed alone. 
But when we have read all that precedes, 
when we have followed on in that flow of 
events, ever deepening in the intensity of its 
interest, ever taking in a wider field of vision, 
ever rising to a loftier region of thought, 
when the mind has thus become filled with 
the utmost power of the attending associa 
tions, when it is lifted up to the spiritual alti 
tude of the scene, then all things else assume 
a like elevation ; the darkness and the flames, 
the fearful thunderings, the quaking earth, 
the " sound of the trumpet waxing long and 
loud," even the awful voice, become consistent 
and probable events ; yea, they would even 
seem to be natural events. When, moreover, 
the thought is carried onward to the remote 
historical consequences of that great an- 


nouncement of a law from heaven, when we 
take into view the influence it has exercised 
and still exercises in our world, then it is that 
the wonder ceases we were going to say, 
but no, the grandeur, the mystery, the sur 
passing marvellousness. remain undiminished : 
it is the incredibility that has vanished ; for 
the marvellous, the extraordinary, may be 
credible, yea, under certain conditions, the 
most credible of supposed occurrences. When 
the soul is thus filled with both the emotion and 
the reason of the scene, it seems to us just 
the right interposition, at the right time, in 
the right way, and for the most rational ends. 
God proclaiming a law to a people chosen as 
the conservators of the highest religious 
truth ; what more reasonable than this ? His 
accompanying that proclamation by an out 
ward attesting majesty as shown in corres 
ponding phenomena of the outward physical 
world ; what in itself more credible ? Would 
it not, on the other hand, be something 
strange to think of, that a world should be 


created, a race of intelligent and religious 
beings brought into existence, and that race 
pass away without any such communication 
from its unseen maker, without any exhibition 
of unearthly glory to cast a ray upon its be 
wildering night of nature, or to relieve the 
dreary materiality of its long unvaried physi 
cal continuance ? There are two positions 
which are out of harmony both for the rea 
son and the imagination : the astoundingly 
supernatural in the creation of man, the un 
broken natural, or the total absence of the 
superhuman, in all God s dealings with him 
since. One or the other of these must be 
given up. The human race is uncreated, or 
He who made it can speak to it, and does 
sometimes speak to it. Nature is from eter 
nity, or it may be interrupted, and has been 
interrupted, in time. The rejection of the 
supernatural all the way up to creation, is 
the rejection of creation itself, both for man 
and the world. It is well for the truth, that 

in these latter days of keen inquiry, all un- 

7 * 


tenable middle grounds are clearing up, and 
the mind is being brought face to face with 
sharp and decisive issues. 

But to proceed with our illustrations ; there 
is, perhaps, nothing in the Scriptures that 
presents more clearly the holy, religious 
supernatural in distinction from what may be 
called the monstrous, or the legendary, than 
that wondrous sight of the desert, " the 
bush that burned with fire and was not con 
sumed." On the scale of magnitude and 
outward force it is surpassed by the convul 
sions of nature that took place in the deluge, 
or that attended the descent of God upon 
Sinai ; but for silent grandeur there is noth 
ing beyond it in the Bible. So noiseless and 
motionless the scene, so calm in its impres- 
siveness, it would seem, in outward display, 
hardly to rise above the natural, the strange 
natural, we may say, that belonged to that 
remarkable place. The rationalist might, 
with some plausibility, attempt to explain it 
as a mirage of the desert. It is its unearth- 


liness, its ghostliness, if we could keep the 
full power of that old word, that so deeply 
affects the mind ; like "the still small voice" 
that came to Elijah, or like Christ walking 
on the nightly waters when "the disciples 
cried out for fear, thinking that they had seen 
a spirit." Such was the effect upon the mind 
of Moses. The prophet s shepherd life had 
shown him many weird aspects of nature in 
that wild region ; he had felt the awe of that 
lonely spot, held sacred and oracular, even 
then, from a long antiquity. (T) But this ap 
pearance had in it more of the religio loci than 
he had ever felt before. "And Moses said, 
I will turn aside now and see this great sight," 
mn fcian rran&n, visionem hanc magnam, c why 
it is the bush is not burned. And the Lord 
said unto him, come not nigh, put off thy 
shoe from thy foot, for the place whereon 
thou standest is holy ground. 7 The poetic 
interest is, indeed, of the highest order ; 
there is a sublime beauty in the pictured 
scene that might vividly impress the imagina- 


tion of the reader, though without necessarily 
producing belief. But when there comes 
forth from the mysterious flame that an 
nouncement of the Eternal, "I am that I 
am," I am Jehovah, " this is my name, and 
this my memorial to all generations," how 
perfect is felt to be the harmony between the 
supernatural and the transcending revelation 
of which it was made the sign. We allude 
not here to the mystical or typical, which 
some, perhaps, would find in the special form 
of this representation ; it is enough for our 
present view that we simply regard it in its 
credibility as an act above nature, employed 
as a witness of the holiest spiritual truth. 

Again : When Moses " stretches out his 
hand over the sea," when he says unto the 
people, "Fear ye not, stand still and behold 
the salvation of the Lord," we expect the 
retiring of the waters ; the event as narrated 
does not surprise us even by its strangeness- 
it is in such perfect unison with the sustained 
grandeur of all the acts and all the divine 


teachings that precede and follow it. But, 
says the objector, these stories do not sur 
prise us because they are in our Scriptures, 
which we have been accustomed to regard as 
full of the marvellous : Has not every nation 
had its supernatural ? were not the heathen 
myths also believed, and are they not still 
believed ? It is, indeed, true, that every 
nation has had its supernatural ; but this 
only shows how deeply the tendency to be 
lieve it, and to regard it as probable in cer 
tain conditions, has its ground in the human 
soul. The general answer meets broadly, 
but conclusively, the general objection. In 
reply to the more special parallel it might be 
said, that these heathen myths were not be 
lieved as the Bible narrations are credited ; 
they are not believed in the same way, they 
are not believed by the same class of minds, 
they do not thus retain their hold upon the 
most cultivated, the most profound, as well 
as the most religious thinkers of past and 
present ages. But there is an easier, as well 


as more conclusive reply. We take the most 
direct and promptly decided issue. The cases 
are utterly unlike in their ground statements. 
There is no resemblance between such narra 
tions as these we have cited from the Bible, 
and the deformed Hindoo, Greek, or Scandi 
navian "myths 77 that some would compare 
with them. The easy unexamined assumption 
of such similarity confounds the unthinking 
and the unlearned ; but all investigation 
proves that the difference is immense, total, 
we might say, in every aspect. Would we 
see this resemblance, place them side by side. 
As Jehovah to Thor, as the Holy One of the 
Prophets to Vishnu, as the God and Father 
of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to 
Zeus, as the Hebrew Prophecy to the 
Grecian Epic, as the Psalms of David to the 
Odes of Pindar, as Moses to Minos, as that 
unique drama in which powers earthly and 
unearthly are striving for the integrity of 
Job to the myths of the ^Eschylean tragedy, 
as the idea of <( Covenant 77 to the idea of 


Fate, as the idea of a Messiah to the idea of 
a Hercules, as the Olympic games to the 
" Fight of (Faith," so is the sublime super 
natural of the Bible to the monstrous, im 
pure, or merely fanciful conceptions of the 
heathen. The difference is every where, 
in the essential reason* in the inward spirit, 
in the outward form. He that hath eyes to 
see must see it ; he that hath a soul to feel 
must understand it. We could ask no 
higher earthly evidence of the unearthliness 
of the Christian Scriptures than just this 
parallel. They are not merely arbitrarily 
selected points. As in the examples cited, 
so is it with the supernatural of the Bible 
every where. It is never monstrous, gro 
tesque, legendary, unmeaning, fanciful, but 
ever dignified, solemn, pure, holy, in strictest 
keeping with every accompanying emotion, 
and so preserving that marvellous air of fact, 
that feeling of truthfulness, that sober im 
pression of reality, that comes from the con 
sistent however high its sphere, and is, there- 


fore, ever present, in the most astounding as 
in the most ordinary narrations of the Scrip 

A similar feeling comes over us as we read 
the story of that lone, fearful man, Elijah the 
Tishbite ? How terrific in its justice, yet 
how majestic in its consistency, is the divine 
interposition against the idolatrous priests, 
when the worship of the true God was dying 
out in Israel, and but few were known as re 
maining who had not bowed the knee to 
Baal ! Even we had a religious interest in 
that remote scene. The natural had come 
to such a pass as to demand the interven 
tion of the supernatural. The "Lord must 
come forth from the hiding-place of his 
power," or the light goes out from the only 
altar that was to be kept ever burning for 
the ages and generations to come. But 
throughout the whole history of this un 
earthly Seer, what interests us in a most pe 
culiar manner is the striking harmony of the 
highest miraculous with the simplicity and 


truthfulness of the ordinary life. What a 
charm they have for us, and, at the same 
time, how morally impressive these life-like 
pictures of the ancient Israel ! The Prophet s 
sojourn " by the brook Cherith that is before 
Jordan," his journey to " Sarepta, a city 
which is near unto Sidon," the widow s un 
failing cruise of oil, long since passed into a 
proverbial saying to denote the unfailing 
providence of God, that graphic scene where 
Elijah sends his servant to watch from the 
top of Carmel the signals of the coming rain, 
the repose under the juniper tree, the 
heaven-provided sustenance, the Lord s talk 
ing with the Prophet at the cave in Horeb, 
the familiar yet startling question, "Where 
art thou, Elijah ? how life-like is it all ! how 
truth-like in the midst of the most astound- 
in gly marvellous, how minute in circumstan 
tial fact, and yet, with no loss of dignity, no 
abatement of ever-thrilling awe ! And then, 
that pure religious teaching present in every 
act ! it is this that gives it such a moral con- 


sisteucy, taking away its incredibility, and 
making it so unlike the unmeaning and im 
pure wonders of a false religion. 

Thus, especially, does that most remark 
able scene in Horeb rise to the very height 
of the natural as well as the sublime. It is 
just what we are led to expect, Deity so 
holding converse with his faithful servant, 
the ever-present One thus talking in the 
solitude of nature to the man who, for his 
sake, and for his worship s sake, had fled 
from the world ! If it is not so with us in our 
own personal experience, we cannot help 
feeling that there must be a lack of that re 
ligious intercourse, that personal nearness to 
God, which would make it seem as probable 
as it is in itself both rational and true. But 
how easy, we may say, are such associations 
of thought and feeling in connection with 
these striking narratives. The two depart 
ments of the world seem to blend together. 
In its association with the deeply and fear 
fully religious, the natural acquires a new 


dignity ; it seems to rise up into the region 
of the supernatural. On the awful summit 
of Horeb nature becomes divine ; and we 
can hardly tell which has most to impress 
the soul, the " fire, the wind, the earth 
quake," or the still small voice that attests 
the near presence of the higher power. We 
are lifted up to a plane of thought where 
much becomes credible that would altogether 
transcend belief if viewed from the lower 
horizon of the soul. It is just because the 
constant reading of the Scriptures produces 
this elevation of thought, that its miraculous 
retains that hold upon the Christian faith 
which the sceptic cannot understand. 

But it is in the history of Christ that the 
idea on which we are dwelling receives its 
most powerful verification. A life so un 
earthly, so heavenly, so spiritual, so tran 
scending nature, so full of a divine power 
manifesting itself in every word and act, so 
spent in nights of prayer, and days of sub- 
limest teaching ! how out of all keeping 


does it seem, that to a state so earth- tran 
scending in its spirituality, there should be no 
corresponding witness of the supernatural ! 
There has ever been on the earth some feel 
ing of this kind in respect to men esteemed 
superlatively holy ; but these have been 
saints just so far as they followed Christ, or 
were in Christ, to use those Scripture words 
to which nothing else in language is equiva 
lent. Christ was the original power, the 
fountain of all earthly holiness ; He " was 
the Life," the new transcending life, as it 
"came forth from the Father into the 
world. 7 As we read this life in its natural 
or unmiraculous aspects we now mean we 
recognize the association of the superhuman 
as we do not in other cases. There is a 
demand for its presence, as not only a fitting 
but an indispensable accompaniment. The 
idea cannot be complete without it. Such 
power over the soul ! it must extend to the 
body and the physical life ; the absence of 
this healing energy would have been the 


difficulty to be explained, the feature in the 
narrative not easy of belief. Such a life and 
such a death ! the resurrection is the only 
appropriate sequence of a career on earth, 
yet so unearthly ; the ascension into heaven 
is the only appropriate finale to a drama so 
heavenly and divine. 

The serious reader cannot help feeling that 
in the life of Christ, as given to us by the 
Evangelists, there is something more than a 
supernatural gift, or the occasional power of 
working miracles, as something imparted 
from without, or only exercised by himself 
through special effort in each particular case. 
We are impressed, rather, with the idea of 
the constant supernatural, as a veiled power, 
not so much requiring an effort for its mani 
festation as a restraint to prevent it beaming 
forth before unholy eyes that could not bear, 
or might profane, the sight. In that earthly 
tabernacle there was the constant dwelling of 
the Shekinah, more powerfully present when 
alone, perhaps, or with a few chosen ones of 


assimilated spiritual temperament, than in 
the city or the rural crowd. Such must have 
been the feeling of the more devout souls 
admitted to nearest intercourse. " Thou art 
the Christ the Son of the Living God," is an 
exclamation called out more by the over 
powering effect of this constant presence, 
than by any great public displays of miracu 
lous power. It is this, more than anything 
else, that is attested by the holy Apostle 
John in the beginning of his First Epistle 
" That which was from the beginning, which 
we have heard, which we have seen with our 
eyes, which our hands have handled of the 
Word of Life ; for the Life was manifested 
and we saw it, and we testify, and tell unto 
you of that Eternal Life, which was with the 
Father and was manifested unto us. 7 The 
reference is not so much to striking outward 
displays as to the constant spiritual efful 
gence ever beaming on the soul of the 
spiritual disciple, and sometimes, perhaps 
even to the eye of sense, surrounding the 


person of Christ with an outward glory. 
From the inward supernatural, as from a 
never intermitting fountain, proceeded the 
outward miracle-working power, as exhibited 
in distinct acts. There is, at times, strong 
evidence of an effort to veil even these from 
public knowledge. Again and again are 
persons charged "to tell no man what they 
had seen and heard." As the thought can 
not be for a moment entertained that this was 
either affectation or policy, it can be explain 
ed on no other ground than the one here 
taken. Thus, too, are we told of a constant 
virtue dwelling in the Saviour s person ; as 
in the story of the woman who " touched the 
hem of His garment that she might be heal 
ed." Her spiritual state, that is, her pure 
faith, brought her in a living relation to this 
power so veiled to the unbelieving or merely 
curious multitude. It was not mere super 
stition on her part, as some would explain it, 
or a false feeling, though mingled with some 
degree of a right faith. Our Saviour does 


himself sanction her thought when he says 
(Luke 8 : 46), "For I know that power 
(dfoafiiq) hath gone forth from me" not 
failed, certainly, or lost, but spoken of as 
having flowed forth from himself to some 
spiritual recipient. We have a Protestant 
fear of the Romish abuse of this view in their 
doctrine of relics, and of a wonder-working 
agency proceeding from the bodies of the 
saints ; but this fear should not blind us to 
the clear import of such plain Scriptures. 
The Romanists ascribe it to dead bodies, to 
the dead bodies of men who when living had 
an imperfect personal righteousness ; but here 
was the Life itself. It is credible, it is even 
to be expected that the supernatural should 
shine out through a natural so elevated 
above the ordinary condition of humanity, 
a natural, human indeed to its utmost core, 
and yet so different from that of the fallen 
world around it. 

There is a deep mystery even in our com 
mon physical energy. The strength of the 


body is, in its ultimate resolution, a power 
of the quiescent spirit. Activity, force, yea, 
even, in some sense, motus, or outgoing 
energy, are attributes of soul, even when at 
rest, as much as thought, or will, or emotion. 
The present bodily organization, instead of 
a necessary aid, may be, in fact, a limiting, 
a restraint upon a tremendous power, that 
needs to be confined as long as it is joined to 
a selfish or unholy will, even as we chain 
the madman in his cell. Sometimes, even 
in common life, there are fearful exhibitions 
of the loosening of these material bonds. In 
the last stages of bodily weakness, appar 
ently, some delirium of the soul, if we may 
call it such, brings out a power of nerve and 
muscle irresistible to any ordinary strength, 
inexplicable to any ordinary physiological 
knowledge. The cases, indeed, are vastly dif 
ferent, and yet there is some analogy. Such 
views of the common organism do not at all ac 
count for the higher power that may dwell in 
a perfectly holy spirituality ; but they render 


it credible ; they prepare us to believe in it, 
yea, to feel it as a spiritual dissonance if there 
be wholly lacking some high command of 
nature in connection with a perfect faith and 
a holy will ever in harmony with the divine. 
It is the Scriptures, however, that must 
furnish our only reliable ground of argument 
on this mysterious subject ; and here we find 
no small proof of such a constant indwelling 
glory of the supernatural as distinguished 
from an occasional miraculous gift. In cer 
tain passages there is the strongest expres 
sion of Christ s unwillingness to gratify 
curiosity by the display of an outward sign ; 
in others there is shown an evident reluc 
tance to have this holy influence the subject 
of any profane or gossiping rurnor. But 
again, he exhibits it of his own accord to 
chosen disciples, and then it has the appear 
ance of a manifestation, to favored souls, of 
a power and a spiritual glory ever more truly 
present in his retired than in his public life. 
Such is the impression left upon the mind by 


the account of the Transfiguration. "Jesus 
taketh Peter, and James, and John, into a 
high mountain apart (xa-r idiav). And he 
was changed," transformed (^eTa^oQcpcjj^) 
before them." The jwo^fj dovlov* could no 
longer hide the jUOQcprj Otov that was com 
monly veiled beneath it. " And his face 
shone as the sun, and his raiment became 
white as the light." It was that same ap 
pearance then, which seems to have become 
the permanent manifestation of his glory in 
all earthly visits after his ascension. It was 
thus that he shone in the vision of Patmos. 
It was in such a robe of light that he made 
himself visible to Paul on his way to Damas 
cus. It could not have been merely assumed 
for the occasion. It was the glory that he 
ever had, his constant glory, once veiled, but 
then without a shade. "He was transform 
ed before them. 1 It is the fact of their 
presence on which, in reading, we must lay 

* " The form of a servant."" The form of God." 
Phil. 2 : 6, 7. 


the emphasis ; this glorious manifestation, 
not new to Christ, not unusual, perhaps, in 
his earthly state, they for once are permitted 
to behold. Peter, and James, and John, are 
selected to witness one instance of the 
Saviour s intercourse, it may be his frequent 
intercourse, with celestial beings and the 
holy departed. The glory of Tabor may 
have been often with him in his rapt de 
votional hours, a glory known to himself 
and seen by heavenly eyes. Often may He 
have talked with Moses and Elias, often 
" been seen of angels," often had around him 
" voices from the excellent glory," often heard 
the chanting of the response, "This is my 
beloved Son in whom I am well pleased." 
Could we have the history of Christ as written 
from the celestial side, his spiritual life as it 
may one day, perhaps, be revealed to us in 
the Gospels of Eternity, it might be seen 
that there were, indeed, many such heavenly 
visitations, with their heavenly messages, at 
tendant on his nights of prayer and days of 


holy meditation on the mountain top or in 
the desert waste. 

Something, too, of the same feeling comes 
over us as we read the account of Christ 
walking on the waters : " And in the fourth 
watch of the night Jesus came to them walk 
ing on the sea/ jieQtTtat&v, or, as he was 
walking on the sea. Not with philological 
conclusiveness, perhaps, yet still quite strong 
ly, does the participle here suggest the 
thought of usual or frequent action, of which 
this was one example, striking, chiefly be 
cause of being the one, the only one, that 
was witnessed by the disciples. We want to 
give the word the same rendering, and there 
is no reason why we should not take the 
thought in the same way as it comes to the 
mind in Matt. 4. 18: "And as Jesus was 
walking by the sea of Galilee he saw two 
brethren." It was not the only walk he had 
ever taken by the shore of that oft-frequent 
ed lake ; the impression is rather the con 
trary, and that, too, as derived from the very 


form and force of the word, the same in both 
these examples. On one of these occasions, 
" he saw two brethren." So here, " In the 
fourth watch came Jesus unto them as he 
was walking on the sea." Was this a mere 
wonder-making ? Was it done to frighten 
those timid men ? or was it needed, in addi 
tion to his other miracles, for the confirming 
of their faith ? There is no evidence that 
he designed to meet them there for any such 
purpose. Indeed, the contrary is quite 
clearly intimated in the parallel passage 
(Mark 6 : 48), xal tj^eta naQskQelv avtovq, 
"He would have passed them by," or, "It 
was in his mind to pass them by," as it may 
be truly rendered with a clearness and 
simplicity in strange contrast with the diffi 
culties that a contrary assumption has 
caused commentators to find in this most 
plain yet significant passage. But why 
came he at that hour walking on the 
waters ? Elsewhere, as in Job 9 : 8, it 
is presented as a peculiar power of Deity, 


^j yn, o itoqincwaw n 

"He who walketh upon the heights, or high 
places of the sea." It was the sublime, 
mysterious, spiritual act of a soul in a highly 
rapt or supernatural state. We might as 
well ask, Why went he up in the mountain 
apart ? Why, even in the days of his child 
hood, did he tarry alone by himself when 
" friends were seeking him sorrowing ?" No 
answer can be given or imagined in either 
case, that does not refer us to the Redeemer s 
own subjective state. Why walking thus at 
that deep time of night over the wild and 
lonely waves ? It was the unearthly act of 
one filled with unearthly thoughts, and seek 
ing a correspondence to them in the more 
unearthly, or, as we might even call them, 
supernatural aspects of the natural world. 
If the answer cannot well be given in any 
thing out of himself, why should we fear to 
say that it was a rapt physical state, in har 
mony with an elevated spiritual frame that 
demanded it as its fitting outward action? 


The ecstasy of the soul lifts up the body. 
There is something of this in the mere earthly 
human experience. There is a spiritual con 
dition that seems comparatively, if not abso 
lutely, to loosen the power of gravity, to set 
volition free, and release even the flesh from 
the hold of earthly bonds. How much more 
of this etherial soaring must there have 
been in the ecstasies of Jesus? In the human 
spiritual power, as known to us, there is, 
indeed, nothing that can be strictly compared 
with it ; and yet there is enough to render 
credible such an absolute triumph over mat 
ter in the case of one so holy and so heavenly 
as Christ. There is an exquisite harmony of 
thought in regarding the purer etherial ele 
ment as the appropriate medium, and the 
undulating waters as the fitting pediment 
of one so lifted up above the grossness and 
earthliness of the common humanity. 

The writer would be cautious here. On 
such a subject there is no safety in any specu 
lations unless they keep near to the Scrip- 


tures and their fairly suggested range of 
thought. On this account we may feel the 
more confidence in noting the remarkable 
connection of the passage. Thus, we are 
told in the verse before, " And when Jesus 
had sent away the multitude he went up the 
mountain apart by himself to pray, and 
when it was evening he was there alone." 
It was in the fourth watch of the night thus 
spent that Christ went forth in his ecstatic 
walk upon the sea. The coincidence could 
not have been a casual one ; the inspired 
writer could not have so regarded it : with 
all reverence, then, may the reader hold the 
belief that the supernatural bodily state was 
not so much a sign, or attesting miracle, as 
the harmonious accompaniment to the rapt 
devotion of the preceding hours. Why 
should not the supposition be entertained 
that Christ may have often thus walked upon 
the waters ? Of his ordinary or natural life, 
the Scriptures give us but glimpses ; how 
much more, then, of his extraordinary or 


supernatural being may we regard as kept 
beneath the vail. 

We think there is no irreverence in such 
thoughts. At all events, without any special 
reasoning about spiritual and physical con 
ditions, there is in Scripture itself good evi 
dence that the human nature in Christ was 
ever in this connection with the supernatural, 
and that the special miraculous acts were 
unveilings of a constant hidden power, rather 
than special enablings or special efforts in 
each particular case. Christ s own words 
convey this thought "He is the resurrec 
tion and the life. 77 It is the fair import of 
the Scriptural language. Even when veiled 
in human flesh, he is still the anavyaoiia, 
the brightness of the Father, the express 
image of his hypostasis. " We beheld his 
glory, 77 says John, " the glory as of the Only 
Begotten, full of grace and truth. 7 The 
humanity, too, is a true humanity ; no one 
was ever more perfectly human ; and yet so 
wondrous is he, even in his manhood, that 


it forces the idea of the superhuman and the 
supernatural as not only the causal explana 
tion of such an existence, but its own fitting, 
yea, necessary complement. 


NATURAL Illustrations The Antediluvian "World Its Giant 
Power of Crime -The Patriarchal Life Its Simple Ethics and 
Theology Its " Faith Counted for Righteousness" How far 
from the Cloudy Pantheistic Ideas The Xth of Genesis and it ? 
Ethnology Ewalds Welt-alter Joseph The Israelites in 
Egypt Pharaoh and Moses The Life in the Wilderness 
The Heroic Age of Joshua Days of the Judges From 
Samuel to Ezra We look right into that Old World Its 
Vivid Truthfulness The Prophets The Monstrous Hypothe- 

AND this presents the argument to whose 
general statement much of what has been 
said in the preceding pages is but prepara 
tory. Given the natural in the Bible, the 
supernatural follows as a logical or necessary 
consequence ; given the credible, or that 
which is to be received on grounds of ordi 
nary belief, and the marvellous cannot be 


rejected. Or, to give the statement another 
form : setting aside, or passing over all that 
can be called supernatural in the Bible, or 
leaving it out of view in the first premiss, we 
have remaining a series of narrations to 
which no candid man can deny an inherent 
truthfulness, a strong life-likeness in the de 
lineation of events, in a word, a rational 
historic probability unsurpassed by that of 
any other writings ancient or modern. We 
say no man can deny this who has truly 
studied the phenomenon, or has a right feel 
ing of what is deepest yet most human in 
our human nature. Other religious books, 
so called, destroy our belief in their super 
natural, not more by its own wildness and 
grotesque monstrosity than by the unnatural 
and inhuman representations they connect 
with it of the ordinary or natural life. With 
the Scriptures it is just the reverse. Aside 
from the miraculous, and all this may be 
taken out without interrupting the history 
or destroying the earthly consecution of 


earthly facts, no narratives are so natural, 
so human, so inherently credible, as those 
given to us in the Old and New Testaments. 
Turn we first to that most scanty yet most 
graphic picture of the Antediluvian world. 
A bare skeleton indeed ; but what more 
probable, what more credible, than^that the 
race, if it ever had any beginning at all, 
should have had some such beginning, some 
such introduction into the world, some such 
early condition as is there ascribed to them. 
It is true that here the supernatural cannot 
be wholly left out, for even science forces it 
upon us ; but barely conceding the fact of a 
creation some way not many thousand years 
ago, and what a most perfect keeping in all 
that follows, the long life of the new man 
hood, the early fall into evil, the early pro 
clivity to sensualism, the speedy corruption, 
the mingling of the virtuous and the vile, the 
greater velocity of the downward earthly 
tendency, the predominance of the animal 
after the first rebellion against truth and 


conscience, the small number of the pious, 
the few words touching that lonely man of 
whom the reverence of after years "testified " 
that " he walked with God and was not seen 
to tarry long on earth, for God had taken 
him away/ the strifes and separations, the 
great increase of population, the sudden 
growth of wickedness outwardly accelerated 
then by the want of that dear-bought ex 
perience which teaches men in this old age 
of the world the prudential policy of indi 
vidual and social restraint, the giant power 
of appetite and passion in the early vigorous 
human frame contributing to the same result, 
the giant forms of vice, and, perhaps, the 
monstrous physical births that were the con 
sequence, the earth at last filled with vio 
lence, " all flesh corrupting its way/ 7 and 
hastening on to the utter physical as well as 
moral ruin, if some power interpose not to 
save a remnant by the necessary excision of 
the multitude, and thus preserve a chosen 
seed for a future and more hopeful world. 


How natural, how human, how true to the 
life, as judged by all we now know of man, 
or can easily conceive of him in that early 
time, when sin was young, and passion 
strong, and the morals of expediency had 
not yet been reduced to a system on the 
earth ! Can we believe in such a deluge of 
evil ? then is it also easy to believe in that 
deluge of cleansing waters as the great 
means both of physical and moral regenera 
tion to a ruined world. The life of man was 
shortened, but a check was given to that 
predominating animality which might have 
reduced our nature to the condition of the 
brute intensified by the malignity and intel 
ligence of the daemon. 

Or turn we next to that postdiluvian 
patriarchal life, so simple, yet so grand in 
its simplicity, so religious, as we might well 
expect men to be after the traditions of such 
a catastrophe, so fearing God, the One Great 
God, El Shaddai, El Olam, El Eliun, Al 
mighty, Eternal, Most High, and yet with a 


creed extending so little beyond this prime 
article, whether we regard it as natural or 
revealed. u Shall not the Judge of all the 
earth do right ?" This was the substance of 
their ethics, as well as the sum of their the 
ology. "They were pilgrims and sojourn- 
ers upon earth ;" He who was their God, 
the "God of the living, 7 was also the God 
of the pious departed, who in some way, 
they knew not how, still " lived unto Him. 7 
This was the length and breadth of their 
creed respecting a future state and a future 
salvation. They trusted in God ; " they be 
lieved God, and this was counted unto them 
for righteousness." Such a faith we may 
concede unto them, and call it natural if we 
please. It is most natural, if by the term 
we mean that which is most fitting, and, on 
that account, most credible. It could be 
shown that nothing would be more unnatural 
than any connection of pantheistic ideas, or 
of a symbolical polytheism, with that simple 
patriarchal life. Both are monsters born at 


a later day, and generated in depraved 
spiritual conjunctions unknown to the 
earliest thinking. Let their religion, then, 
be called the religion of nature ; we would 
prefer, for our argument s sake, to have it 
so. They believed in God ; but beyond this 
exclude all the supernatural in act that has 
found place in their Bible history. Leave 
out the visions of angels, the hearing of 
divine voices, and how truthful is it in all 
that remains ! How strongly does this 
ancient life impress us with a feeling of its 
graphic and most intense reality ! What 
mind could have drawn the picture without 
having drawn from the life, whether that 
life came to it from tradition or from inspi 
ration ! 

And so of the collateral records. One 
may be defied to imagine anything more 
probable, in itself, than the ethnological 
chart given to us in the Tenth of Genesis. 
With what transport of delight would our 
learned world have received it, how un- 


bounded would have been their confidence 
in its correctness and its value, had it been 
dug out of some Assyrian ruin, or decypher- 
ed from some crumbling Egyptian monu 
ment! A certain modern school has become 
wonderfully familiar with this early world. 
They have a sort of intuition that enables 
them to go up far beyond where Herod 
otus, and Manetho, and the Bible, and even 
the hireoglyphics, fail them. There they 
take their interior post of observation, and 
think it all out for themselves. Very in 
genious are they sometimes ; but what Ger 
man mind so prolific in welt-alter, or what 
Westminster reviewer can furnish us, from 
any of their "subjective stand-points," a 
hypothetical account of the early divisions 
and races of mankind, more rational, more 
likely in itself, more perfectly consistent with 
all known subsequent history, than just the 
one presented in this remarkable document 
beyond all doubt so far surpassing any 
known antiquity. 


The same features of inherent verity meet 
us in the record of the Israelitish bondage, 
and in that clear page of Egyptian history 
standing out like some old-world geological 
relic, we might say, so long before any 
known chronicles of the later times ! Ro 
mantic, indeed, but what a life-like romance 
is the story of Joseph! Strange, indeed, 
the coincidences, though not more remark 
able than have taken place in more ordinary 
life ; but in what other narrative have the 
good and evil of the human soul been ever 
blended in such truthful consistency of 
thought and emotion ? been ever painted in 
such perfect harmony with the universal 
human consciousness ? Take away the 
dreams, and what has more the air of veri 
table history, more of that minute detail 
and circumstantial coloring which the geog 
raphy and chronology of Egypt could alone 
impart to it, than the story of the plenty 
and the famine ! We may dispense with 
Herodotus and the monuments, in our in- 


quiry after the origin of the Egyptian land 
divisions, and the cast privileges of the 
priests. Here we have it brightly limned ; 
the traditional copy of Manetho had become 
sadly defaced in time ; we can, however, 
restore it by the aid of Moses. But let us 
travel down to a later dynasty, to the days 
of that new monarch " who knew not 
Joseph." Look at that world-ideal of the 
irresponsible tyrant. No fancy ever made 
him ; no human imagination could have kept 
up a consistency, so well sustained, of char 
acter and destiny. Leave out, if you please, 
all that is miraculous in the plagues, or re 
solve them into strictly physical events 
coming at longer seeming intervals, and 
having a miraculous air by being crowded 
upon a brief historical canvas. There still 
remains something that cannot be effaced 
without effacing human nature. There 
stand the figures of the prophet and the 
king ; we have before us that truest of des 
pots, that grandest of seers, that pride- 


hardened heart, that lofty enthusiasm or, 
if you please, that stern fanaticism that 
burthened people, with their vile, yet most 
human-like, ingratitude towards their heroic 
defender, that fearful retribution, that over 
whelming fall, that song in the desert, when 
" the horse and his rider had been cast into 
the depths of the sea. 7 In the midst of such 
scenes, as they are presented to the reader s 
imagination, the avenging angel seems like a 
demand of nature, and to fall into the rank 
of expected events. But leaving out, we 
say, everything of that kind, and where else 
was there ever presented a narrative of 
deeds on that high scale so like the truth ! 
The account has become familiar to us, but 
that is not the secret of its power. Pharaoh 
and Moses, we image them, at once, as 
forms of living men ; they have more life 
for us than Solon and Croesus, than Socrates 
and the Athenian judges, than Seneca and 
Nero, than any characters that were ever 
drawn by the genius of Homer, or sketched 


by the graphic pen of Tacitus. The scenes 
are so vivid, though so far away ; so life-like, 
though of such high proportion ; so natural, 
though so grand, that we can hardly con 
ceive their falsehood. What convergency of 
scattered myths could have grown into such 
a consistent whole ? What single mind 
could ever have created a picture so de 
fiant of the antiquating power of time ! It 
has the same life for us now, in this remote 
Western world, that it had more than three 
thousand years ago on the banks of the Nile. 
There it stands right before us, as though 
written yesterday, clear as the pyramids, 
fresh as the sculptures on the Karnak, and 
with a meaning for the world how far be 
yond any wisdom we may ever hope to get 
from folios of monumental learning. It is, 
in fact, a painting that never can grow old ; 
for it is engraved, photographed, we might 
say, in our human nature ; age only adds to 
the brightness of its coloring ; the most 
minute inspection, under the highest lens of 


antiquarian learning, only reveals its perfect 
accuracy of line and shade. Can it be pos 
sible that such a living sketch could have had 
no original among the realities of the world ? 
We pass on to the migration in the wilder 
ness, the rebellion of the people against their 
prophet, their murmurings against their God, 
startling to the superficial view, yet how 
credible when judged by the deeper knowl 
edge of our greatly-depraved, and, with all 
its powers of reason, ofttimes most irrational 
humanity. Then naturally rises before us the 
succeeding epoch, the return of the descend 
ants of the Patriarchs to the old Fatherland, 
and the divison of the reconquered inheri 
tance. The first chapter in the heroic age is 
past, and we find ourselves in the days of 
the "Judges," the second race of hero chief 
tains still filled with the traditional spirit of 
the earlier day. They were men, and women, 
too, of mightiest courage, of most lofty en 
thusiasm ; the Scriptures say it was the Spirit 
of the Lord that came mightily upon them ; 


but call it what you will, they were just the 
men and women for the times, and their 
spirit was just what was demanded for the 
exigencies of the times, " when there was no 
king in Israel, and each tribe and family did 
that which was right in their own eyes." 
How does each part of the sketch supply the 
apparent defect of another, until all the por 
tions combined blend into a whole of irresist 
ible truthfulness ? The weakness of the 
mere political bonds, the strength of the 
ethnological affinities, the civil strifes, the 
ancestral remembrances holding them to 
gether in spite of all dividing causes, the 
warrior faith of Gideon uniting " all Israel 
as one heart and soul," the reaction to this 
high state exhibiting itself in the demagog- 
ism of Gaal the son of Ebed, the meaner or 
unheroic traits that followed the great wars, 
as shown in " the evil spirit that was put be 
tween Abimelech and the men of Shechem," 
the frenzied curse of Jotham fulfilled in the 
cruel strifes of the men who had murdered 


the children of their deliverer, the days of 
Joshua again called to remembrance by the 
religious heroism of Jepthah, the lawless 
Danites who in all their filibustering wick 
edness must have a priest and a Levite even 
if they stole him, the terrible fruits of an 
archy as shown in the revolting crime of the 
" men of Gib^eji," and that sublime national 
vengeance which brought together all Israel 
as one man to punish these sons of Belial 
and the tribe that refused to give them up, 
we see it all ; from our distant place of ob 
servation we perceive precisely the relations 
of cause and effect in all their harmonious 
play and fair analogies as presented to us in 
these old-world scenes. Their plain chron 
iclers had no philosophy of history ; but they 
were inspired for a higher office, to set be 
fore us a perfect representation of humanity 
as the materials from which others might 
construct a philosophy, deep or shallow in 
proportion as they can enter into the spirit 
of this strange people, so intensely human, 


and yet, in many striking respects, so differ 
ent from all other men. 

And then the national history in Palestine 
from Samuel to Ezra. We venture the as 
sertion, that never in the annals of the race 
has there been so much of nature, of pure 
humanity, yea, of the most important his 
torical ideas, so compressed, yet so graphi 
cally given, in the compass of so few pages. 
There is a light in truth, a self-evidencing 
light, that helps us to see across that wide 
chasm of centuries ; we discern objects 
plainly on the other side ; we look right into 
that old world ; so perfect is the diorama 
that we see it to be a real, living, moving 
world, with a wondrous life impressing us 
with a sense of its distinct reality more 
strongly, perhaps, than any page that comes 
nearest to us in our own most modern his 
tory. To come down to later times, what 
can be more stirring, more like a veritable, 
undeniable thing, whose falsehood, when 
once the image has been distinctly formed, 


it is more difficult to conceive, than the rapt 
enthusiasm and burning harangues of the 
Jewish prophets. We refer now to their 
subjective state as an intense human reality, 
irrespective of any supposed supernatural 
cause, or of any assumed truth of their pre 
dictions. In those impassioned appeals the 
whole national and genealogical history 
comes over again. About this time, as some 
hold, the Pentateuch and the earlier parts 
of the Old Testament were written, in other 
words, the whole Jewish history created. 
But what a monstrous proposition this ! 
When carefully examined, or even barely 
looked at, can anything surpass it in improb 
ability, did anything ever come from the 
learned lovers of paradox, that presented 
such a demand upon our credulity ? We 
must imagine the almost unimaginable ab 
surdity of a whole national legislation, with 
all the manners and peculiarities and modes 
of thought that might be supposed to grow 
out of it in the course of ages, a national 


archaeology full of supposed glorious remi 
niscences, a national poetry seemingly in 
spired by these shadowy nonentities, a na 
tional didactic or ethical literature seemingly 
grounded on such a baseless ancestral wis 
dom, a national culture hypothetically the 
growth of historical centuries that never had 
any existence, or any adequate existence for 
such a purpose, we must imagine all this, 
we say, from Genesis to Ezra, to have been 
a compilation, if not an entire forgery, of 
the latest prophetic period itself, or else the 
Hebrew prophets give us the most truthful 
as well as the most animated picture of a 
national life that was ever painted in the 
annals of the world. 


potheses 1. A Veritable History 2. An Entire Forgery 
3. A Traditional Compilation The Second Imposs.ble 
Keasons Peculiar Character of Historical and Literary For 
geries Wholly Alien to the Idea of that Age If the History 
Forged, how much must be Forged with it The Third Hy 
pothesisImagined Method Difficulties Unfitness of the 
Later Times of Jewish History for such a work Still it is 
Plausible, unless there is some Internal Obstacle There is such 
an Obstacle How History arose in Other Nations Might be 
so Regarded as arising from the Jewish, were it not for a Te- 
culiar Trait The Bible a Book of Numbers Compare the 
Pentateuch with the First Volume of Grote s History of Greece 
Driven to the first Hypothesis. 

LET us dwell on this, for it is deserving of 
our most attentive consideration. The study 
of the Bible, as it ought to be studied, 
brings us to a sharp and unavoidable issue. 
The Jewish histories are the most astounding 
of forgeries, or they are the most truthful 
writings the world has ever seen. This can 
be made clear by simply presenting the only 


three theories that can possibly be had re 
specting them, and which may be thus 
stated : 

1st. It is an authentic and veritable his 
tory, written, as a whole, and in all its parts, 
at the time or times at which they purport 
to be written, and by persons having a near 
knowledge of the events recorded, whether 
that knowledge came from inspiration, or 
personal acquaintance, or accurate tradition 
carefully preserved and capable of being 
tested by its close contiguity with the acts 
recorded, on the one hand, and the first re 
cording chronicler, on the other. 

2d. It is an entire forgery, made in the 
later periods of the Jewish nationality in 
order to give to it an ancestry and an 
tiquity to which in truth it had no claim, 
all its details being sheer invention, its 
archaeology, its chronology, its geography, 
its political and social delineations being 
the work of some single mind or minds 
conspiring for that set purpose, and setting 


themselves deliberately to the work of so 
minute and comprehensive a falsehood. 

3d. It is a compilation made in the latter 
days, but from sources existing before. 
These are traditions and fragmentary rec 
ords, of which the latter are to a good de 
gree, though not entirely, mythical, and the 
former had grown out of obscure ancient 
events, having some ground of truth, and so 
honestly believed, but exaggerated from age 
to age, with a continual addition of the 
marvellous and the supernatural, until at 
last their growth was checked by their being 
incorporated into a more comprehensive and 
methodical history. 

One of these is true, for here are the 
books ; here is the Jewish nationality, as 
it has been for ages crystallized in the very 
heart of history. The first, then, we say, is 
possible, involving no absurdity (even if we 
connect the supernatural with it), and must 
be received as against the second, or if the 
issue is confined to them alone. The second 


is utterly incredible, unimaginable in design, 
impossible in execution. No one would even 
think of it, who has formed any conception 
of what it actually involves. The third is 
probable, natural, apparently consistent with 
what is known of the formation of other 
early history, and would have a fair claim to 
be received, if there is no higher opposing 
evidence, or if there is not something in the 
Bible history that altogether shuts out any 
such comparison with apparently correspond 
ing annals of other nations. That there is 
something of this kind, and that, too, patent 
on the very face of the Jewish Scriptures, 
we think can be clearly maintained. In 
short, there is a serious difficulty in the 
plausible third, which, equally with the utter 
impossibility of the second, drives us back to 
the first as the only hypothesis consistent 
with nature and truth. 

The absolute, wholesale forgery must be 
rejected. It is incredible in itself; it is 
incredible from the outward difficulties that 


must attend such an undertaking. It is in 
herently incredible. No motive can be as 
signed for it. Let us imagine it, if we can. 
Let us carry ourselves back into the period 
supposed, with all its surroundings, as far as 
they may be known from other sources ; let 
us try to think of some single scribe, or 
some number of scribes, in the days of Heze- 
kiah, preparing pens and parchment rolls for 
such a purpose, even to impose upon a 
nation a history unknown to the national 
life, a religion and a worship unconnected 
with any previous sentiments either of rev 
erence or superstition. The very difficulty 
of the conception shows the far greater 
difficulty of anything like success in the exe 
cution. The story of Samson is far less in 
credible ; the worship, by the Jews, of the 
Egyptian Apis, or of the calves of Jeroboam, 
would be even less irrational and absurd. 
Historical and literary forgeries belong to 
a peculiar state of things very different from 
anything we can conceive of as existing 


among the Jews in the days of Ezra. There 
is ever some wide age-agitating interest, 
some sharply controverted world-idea, to 
which they are brought in aid. It is on this 
account that they are ever collateral, never 
wholesale ; ever fragmentary, partial, remote, 
avoiding direct connection with the present 
state of things, never creating de novo not 
only the collateral aids but also the entire 
cause to which they are brought in aid. 
Hence they are ever assigned to an antiquity 
cut off by deep intervening chasms from any 
present emergency they are cited to explain. 
Thus the forgeries charged upon the Patris 
tic period were broken Sibylline verses, or 
scraps of oracles ; they were fragments from 
the days of Orpheus, as was supposed, or 
the Egyptian Trismegistus. But these Jew 
ish forgeries must be forgeries all the way 
down to the days of the forgers. They con 
nect themselves with an immediate past of 
which they to whom they are addressed have 
no knowledge. They are wholesale, too, as 


we have said ; they must include, and do in 
clude, if this most difficult theory be correct, 
not only a forged history, but along with it a 
forged poetry, a forged national literature, 
a forged ethics, a forged religion, a forged 
worship, forged prayers and hymns, a forged 
ritual system all made to suit, forged nation 
al songs for forged deliverances, a forged 
geography, at least in its names as adapted 
to ancient local events, a forged chronology, 
together with the forgery of many thousand 
proper names of men all having a signifi 
cance in the vernacular language, and that 
significance corresponding so wonderfully to 
the times and circumstances in which they 
are supposed to be given. Even the lan 
guage itself must, to some extent, be forged ; 
it must be cut over like an old garment and 
made to fit the earlier as well as the later 
body. Old words must be forged, and obso 
lete grammatical forms, and obscure passages 
made on purpose, such as to demand the 
Scholiast s aid, and all this by men in whose 


language there had been previously no writ 
ing, no books, no literature, and, of course, no 
means of culture either for the individual or 
the common mind. We cannot receive this. 
The Jews had books, they had varied writ 
ings, they had a poetry, a history, a religion, 
they had schools and public teachers, they had 
men who wrote and were known as writers, 
they had all this in the days preceding 
Ezra, and must, therefore, have had it long 
before, and we must believe that they had 
it, just as their history implies, or else admit 
all these absurd and impossible ideas. 

There is a story of a man, and of some 
learning, too, who maintained that all we 
have, or seem to have, of classical antiquity, 
was a wholesale forgery committed by some 
monks of the middle ages. It was not so 
extravagant as this idea of a Jewish forgery 
inasmuch as there is in the Jewish nation 
ality and its collateral life a much more 
truthful coherence than we find in Greek and 
Roman history. It is less extensive indeed, 


but loftier in its aim, far deeper in the 
grounds and consistency of its national ex 

But why dwell upon this view ? It is not 
only incredible ; it is utterly impossible, and 
the idea is to be dismissed at once. We be 
lieve that no man of standing as a scholar 
or a thinker now really holds it, however 
much he might be willing to give such an 
impression favor with the common mind. 
The more thoughtful among the German 
rationalistic interpreters see its utter absurd 
ity, although some of their speculations can 
be maintained on no other basis. In short, 
take all the Old Testament supernatural, 
separate or combined, and it cannot present 
a problem so hard for our understanding, or 
a statement so difficult for our faith, as this 
hypothesis when carried out in all its legiti 
mate deductions. 

There remains, then, the first view, unless 
there be some good ground for resting in 
the third. Is the Jewish history a compila- 


tion ? not a forgery, but an honest gather 
ing of national traditions, and some few iso 
lated and fragmentary records made from 
previous traditions, though none of them, 
except perhaps those that belong to the 
latest times, coming from persons contempo 
raneous with, or near in time to, the events 
narrated or recorded? A mere recension 
of writings all existing before, though now 
arranged in order, would not suit the hy 
pothesis. It would not differ enough from 
the common view of the scriptures to make 
a difference of argument. Historical tra 
ditions having a strong outline character, 
national laws and customs connected tra 
ditionally with supposed early events, these 
events thrown into an unknown antiquity, 
regarded indeed as old, but with an absence 
of any definite or consistent chronology, 
add to these local traditions, family tradi 
tions, together with some few writings of a 
lyrical rather than a documentary character, 
songs of war or hymns of devotion, with 


here and there, perhaps, a monumental rec 
ord rudely carved on rock or temple, and 
we have just the materials for our third view 
arid the arguments demanded for its consis 
tency. The question then is, did such a work 
of compilation, or gathering and shaping of 
all floating historical element, take place in 
those later times to which some would give 
the name of known or authentic history, 
(even calling it "the historical 7 emphati 
cally in distinction from the mythical,) al 
though it is, in fact, just that period of the 
Jewish nationality which is the least known 
and most confused of all. 

It is certainly a very remarkable thought, 
not indeed wholly subversive of this view, 
but suggested immediately by it, that the 
beginning of a nation s written or authentic 
history should be the beginning of that por 
tion which is the darkest in its entire annals. 
For such in the subjective effect, certainly, 
or the truthfulness of its impression is the 
character and position of the four or five 


centuries of Jewish history between the 
captivity and the coming of Christ. It stands 
like a dark hiatus between the clear pictures 
of the Old and New Testament ; on either 
side a well-defined and cultivated territory, 
between them a pathless and tangled forest. 
What a light is there about Moses, and 
David, and Solomon, and Hezekiah, and 
Isaiah, as compared with Onias, and Hyr- 
canus, and Aristobulus, and other dark figures 
that flit about in the chaotic waste over 
which, even with the aid of Josephus, we 
find it so hard to make our way. Every 
reader of this last named author must have 
felt something of this. How sudden is the 
transition, and how sensible we are of it, 
when he passes from the known field of the 
canonical writings ! It is as when the travel 
ler leaves the fertile land, or the border of 
the green oasis, for the arid Sahara. If the 
Jewish written history first commenced with 
this period, then was the morning the be 
ginning of the night. 


But waving all these considerations, let 
us proceed with the hypothesis, and see 
what its completion involves. In the days 
of Ezra, then, or within a generation or two 
either way, some of the wiser men of the 
Jewish nation sat themselves down to this 
gathering of the national memories before 
they should be forever lost. They talked 
with the old fathers of every tribe, they 
visited monumental places, they examined 
carefully the scattered current traditions, 
they hunted out every written scrap they 
could find of the national songs ; they lis 
tened to the Prophet or poet, the Hebrew 
Ish Elohim or inspired " Man of God, 7 the 
Ouoc, avr}Q, or national bard, as he chanted 
the old unwritten melodies, or those peculiar 
Messianic Oracles in which this strange race 
had ever claimed for themselves a world- 
destiny ; they looked into the traditions of 
other neighboring nations supposed to be 
remotely though genealogically allied, and 
through them endeavored to ascend to a 


higher patriarchal age, giving themselves the 
rank of First Born among the Sons of Men. 
These materials they endeavor, as well as 
they can, but with all honesty, to get into 
some chronological order. This would be, 
indeed, their hardest task, but having suc 
ceeded in it, as they supposed, with tolerable 
fidelity, though necessarily leaving much un 
known and still more that was utterly ir 
reconcilable, they next supply, but honestly 
supply, from their best conjectures, the old 
national ideas, religions, laws, that could 
alone account for such remarkable traditions, 
and for such a peculiar attitude as they must be 
conscious of having toward the other nations 
of the earth. Now in all this we have sup 
posed them honest ; for it is, in fact, essen 
tial to the integrity of the hypothesis, and 
becomes of great importance to the ques 
tion whether the Jewish history as we have 
it now lying in our Bibles could ever have 
been compiled by truthful men from such 
materials, and to the still further and in- 


volved question whether, therefore, this 
third of our suppositions does not, after 
all, contain a difficulty equal to, if not still 
greater than, anything in the second. Still 
they might be honest, and yet exaggerate. 
They might have no idea of direct or sys 
tematic forgery, and yet the national pride 
might lead them unconsciously to give a col 
oring to certain traditions, and perhaps, 
without intending any cheat, to enhance the 
marvellous that had already been growing 
through ages of successive transmission. 

As an a priori supposition, then, this third 
scheme, as we have presented it, and very 
fairly presented it, we think, looks extremely 
probable. If we had never opened our 
Bibles to see how strange a history they 
actually contain, how different from that of 
any other ancient nation, we should regard 
it as a most rational mode of accounting for 
the matter. There is an inherent plausibility 
in the thing ; it is so like the way in which 
history may have arisen among other peoples, 


that we are inclined to receive it if there be 
nothing in the way, no formidable obstacle, 
at least, in the very history supposed to be 
the result of such a process. 

But there is something in the way ; there 
is just such a formidable obstacle. If they 
have produced this history we now have 
in our Bibles, then the compilers of these 
Jewish annals (if they are but compilers) can 
not be so relieved from that charge of direct, 
palpable, and conscious forgery which we find 
it so difficult to believe of them, and for the 
sake of avoiding which this third hypothe 
sis was resorted to. There is that peculiarity 
in the Jewish Scriptures, and in the Jewish 
history throughout, which brings into the 
third scheme all the difficulty, or the greatest 
difficulty, of the second, and that, too, with 
out its consistent boldness of design and 
execution. It is not hard to conceive how 
the early Greek history thus grew up, or the 
Greek myths as they may well be called, and 
how they were afterwards arranged in the 


best chronological order and political method 
that could be obtained from such chaotic 
materials. It is all very much as we should 
a priori expect to find it; gleams of light 
appearing here and there, a few consecutive 
lines of historical strata running on with 
tolerable clearness and consistency, then in 
terrupted by sudden faults or abrupt inter- 
minglings which no clue that we can find 
enables us either to separate or unite, a 
chronology in perfect disorder, sometimes, 
by reason of its overlappings, running up to a 
pretentious and impossible antiquity, again, 
by reason of some vivid impression it had 
made, bringing some very ancient event 
away down into the very foreground of these 
mythical groupings. And so of all the early 
stories given by Herodotus, as derived by 
him from the priests, and poets, and popular 
traditions of the various nations that he 
visited. The very cloudiness that surrounds 
them, the disproportions of arrangement, the 
predominance of the fanciful obscuring and 


sometimes putting beyond all recovery the 
idea or historical fact they might be sup 
posed to represent, the legendary features 
every where prevailing, the manifest air of 
the marvellous and the extraordinary unre 
lieved by pictures of the common and 
familiar life, the unmistakable aim of the 
chronicler or traditionist to call atten 
tion to the mere wonder whilst casting 
in the back-ground the moral or religious 
lesson whose prominence in the Jewish 
i{ myths" gives the supernatural the subordi 
nate place, and thus, as we have shown be 
fore, imparts to it its air of strange and 
almost supernatural credibility, all these 
things, as we find them in the earliest ac 
counts of other nations, are just as we ex 
pect. There is just that misty, magnifying, 
distorting, wonder-making, legendary, myth 
ical air, confounding all chronology, and all 
geography, that absence of dates, that con 
fusion of places, that blending of events far 
distant from each other in time and space, 


which show the want of all attesting means 
of knowledge, whilst they bear witness to 
the fertile imaginations, the excited feelings, 
in fact, the subjective truthfulness of these 
mythical story-tellers, as it appears in the 
very disproportions and exaggerations of 
their narratives. Instead of having any 
accurate chronicles of years, these koyoyqayoi, 
do not even make any pretence to it ; they 
would seem to have regarded any such pre 
cision of places and times as at war with 
that feeling of the wonderful that filled their 
minds, and which dwells chiefly in the vast 
and the obscure. 

Such is all ancient mythical history, and 
we are not surprised to find it so. Nothing 
but some supernatural knowledge and super 
natural guidance could have made it other 
wise. But such is not the scripture history, 
either in its earliest or latest stages, and 
whether we regard its narratives as traditions 
or as having been the subjects of recording 
at the time of occurerice. The moment 


we open these "Jewish myths, 77 so called, 
there is discovered a most remarkable dif 
ference lying patent on every page. This 
peculiarity, so obvious to the least re 
flecting reader, is what may be called the 
statistical character of the Scripture Chroni 
cles. The Bible is a Book of Numbers. It 
is a trait maintained consistently through 
out. From the exact nativities of the 
Antediluvian ages, from the precise dates 
of the rising and subsiding waters of the 
flood, from Noah s almanac, as we may 
say, down to Haggai s diary, or careful 
noting of the very year, and month, and 
day of the month, in which the word of the 
Lord came unto him, it is all of a piece, one 
consistent number- giving, time-keeping rec 
ord. The Jews, if there is any truth in 
their history at all, were a journalizing 
people, a genealogizing people ; the Bible is 
their family book of entries, just as we now 
employ certain pages of it as a register of 
births and deaths. Precise statistics are 


every where, and every where purporting 
to be from men who knew, and who are, in 
the main, supposed to be recording known 
present or passing facts. There is nothing 
like it in the history of any other people on 
earth ; certainly not in any early history. 
All the way up to the flood, with a few gaps 
which seem to have been left designedly to 
baffle human curiosity, there is a regular 
chronological track. 

Now let any one compare the first volume 
of Grote s History of Greece with the Pen 
tateuch, the confused and utterly unchrono- 
logical annals of the Doric, Hellenic, and 
Eolic races, with even the earliest part of 
the Mosaic writings, or the history of the 
Patriarchs, and he will see at once the differ 
ence on which, in view of its most important 
consequences, we are so strongly insisting. 
Darkness, confusion, shadows, deformities, 
painful perplexities, or hopeless riddles, in 
the one, the clear geography, the direct 
chronology, the fact consistency, the life-like 


minuteness of coloring, the strange combina 
tion of the marvellous in such perfect affinity 
with the familiar and the domestic that it 
loses its marvel, all this in the other. 
Even after the commencement of what is 
called the " historical period," or the intro 
duction of the Olympiads, the Grecian 
chronology is full of obscurities. It is not 
easy to fix the times of the historians them 
selves ; there is a doubt about Herodotus ; 
the Heraclidae and Lycurgus fail of being 
precisely determined by some centuries ; but 
more than a thousand years before Herod 
otus, the Hebrew writings set forth a regu 
lar chronology. Before Hellenians and Dori 
ans had set foot in Greece, many centuries 
before even the Pelasgi " were in the land/ 7 
we are told the time of life, and have the 
means of reckoning the very year, when 
Abraham went forth from Ur of the Chal- 
dees. No, there is no escape from it : the 
Jewish history is the boldest of lies, the 
most unscrupulous of forgeries, and, at the 


same time, the most inexplicable of literary 
enigmas, or it is the truth, attested inwardly 
and confirmed outwardly, as no other ancient 
historical account was ever attested in the 
multiplied annals of the race . 


SCRIPTURES The Antediluvian Genealogies The First 
Obituaries The Dates and Numbers of the Deluge Its 
Graphic Description The Gradual Rising The Scene Pic 
tured by an Eye- Witness The Minutely Inventive Style be 
longs to Much Later T.mes The Most Truthful of Narratives 
or the Most Monstrous of Lies Subjective Truthfulness The 
Jewish Year Its Early and Remarkable Accuracy More 
Acurate than the Greek or Roman The Weekly Division of 
Time Purely Shemitic in its Origin. 

IN the very beginning of Genesis, in the 
very frontispiece, we may say, of the whole 
Scriptures, we find this statistical character. 
"And Adam lived an hundred and thirty 
years, and begat a son in his own likeness, 
after his image, and called his name Seth ; 
and all the days that Adam lived were nine 
hundred and thirty years, and he died. 
And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and 
begat Methusaleh ; and Methusaleh lived an 


hundred and eighty and seven years, and 
begat Lamech ; and Methusaleh lived after 
he begat Lamech seven hundred eighty and 
two years, and begat sons and daughters ; 
and all the days of Methusaleh were nine 
hundred and sixty and nine years, and he 
died." And so on through the births and 
deaths of this old Antediluvian Patriarchy. 
There is, too, a moral lesson here, impressive 
and sad, and giving to these dry numbers 
a sublime moral dignity. It is not ob 
trusive, indeed ; it is not suspiciously forced 
upon the notice ; to the dull reader these 
details and repetitions may seem as barren 
as the fragment of Berosus, which is evi 
dently an imitation of this older document ; 
but to the man whose spirit is awake, it 
is the solemn record of execution on the 
great judgment pronounced in a previous 
chapter ; it is the commencement of that 
long death which our humanity has been 
dying ever since. It is the first great obitu 
ary, recorded, not on blank, intervening 


leaves, but " in capite libri" in the beginning 
of " the volume of the book." It is the title- 
page to that true history of the world, writ 
ten on the tombs, and preserved where all 
else perishes, even in the dust of the earth. 

There is the same character, though car 
ried to a still farther degree of graphic 
minuteness, in the account of the Deluge. 
We have the exact year, the month, the day 
of the month, when the great rain commenc 
ed upon the earth, and Noah went into the 
ark. Were ever the pictorial and the 
statistical combined in so life-like a de 
scription ? 

" On the self-same day entered Noah, 
and Shem, and Ham, and Japhet, the sons 
of Noah, and Noah s wife, and the three 
wives of his sons with them, into the ark ; 
and the flood was forty days upon the 
earth ; and the waters increased and bare 
up the ark, and it was lift up from the 
ground ; and the waters prevailed and were 
increased greatly upon the earth, and the 


ark went (^tn walked forth, 
upon the face of the waters ; and the waters 
prevailed exceedingly upon the earth, and 
all the high hills that were under the whole 
horizon were covered j fifteen cubits up 
wards did the waters prevail after the moun 
tains (or the highest hills) were covered. 
And all flesh died that moved upon the 
earth ; and Noah only remained alive and 
they that were with him in the ark ; and 
the waters prevailed upon the earth an hun 
dred and fifty days." Surely the man who 
first painted this scene must have been in 
that ark when it was " lifted up," and went 
walking forth upon the waters ; he must 
have been an eye-witness of that irresistibly 
rising wave, those disappearing hills, all 
ending at last in that sky-bounded waste. 
" Under the whole heaven"- who that has 
any true love or reverence for the Bible, 
would raise an argument, on these words, 
either for or against the absolute universal 
ity of the deluge, or think of interpreting 


the writer at all by either our modern ge 
ography or our modem astronomy ! It was 
all of earth he knew, or that was known to 
Moses after him. The divine Spirit that 
employed his vivid conception, as well as 
his vivid language, has given it to us as the 
measure and the assurance of his truthful 
ness. The absolute geographical extent is 
to be determined by other proofs and other 
passages. But here we have that which 
filled the writer s eye ; it was the optical 
carried out to the fullest extent of the known 
or the imagined ; and it is just that truthful 
ness which, in such an account as this, is of 
the highest critical value. He who deals 
with it in any other way, ruins one of the 
most precious evidences of the Scriptures. 
It will bear no scientific reconciliation ; it 
utterly rejects the aid of any rhetorical 
addition. We may be chargeable ourselves, 
to some extent, with the very fault here im 
puted ; still are we deeply conscious that 
any attempt to put the account in other 


language than that of this eye-witness, and 
especially as it lies in the inimitable Hebrew, 
only mars the picture. They are the words 
of that high emotion, that calm emotion, we 
might say, that could not bear exaggeration ; 
it is the utterance of that clear spiritual im 
pression that shapes its own first language, 
never to be improved by any other. 

In perfect keeping, too, is the account of 
the subsiding flood. Let the infidel look up 
his favorite story of Deucalion and Pyrrha, 
and see, if he is capable of seeing, the mighty 
difference ; let the rationalist read over again 
his Hindoo myths of the deluge, and be ut 
terly ashamed of his comparisons. " And 
God remembered Noah, and every living 
thing, and all the cattle that was with him in 
the ark ; and God made a wind to pass over 
the earth, and the waters assuaged ; the foun 
tains also of the deep and the windows of 
heaven were stopped, and the rain from heav 
en was restrained ; and the waters returned 
from off the earth continually; and after the 


end of the hundred and fifty days the waters 
abated." Returned continually, "awi "rftn to 
go and return," " going and returning ;" such 
is the expressive idiom of the Hebrew ; it is 
most pictorial language, and denotes a sort 
of ebbing subsidence having its intervals of 
standing and sinking until it reaches the low 
est and settled state. " And the ark rested 
in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day 
of the month, upon the highlands of Ararat ; 
And the waters kept going and retiring ^n, 
-nom ibant et decrescebant , until the tenth 
month : in the tenth month on the first day 
of the month were the tops of the mountains 
seen," apparuerunt cacumina montium. The 
utmost intention of plainness and simplicity 
cannot prevent the language from rising into 
the poetical. "And it came to pass at the 
end of forty days that Noah opened the window 
of the ark ; and he sent forth a raven which 
went to and fro (Heb. going out and returning, 
or, back and forth) until the waters were dried 
up from off the earth. Also, he sent forth a 


dove from him to see if the waters were 
abated ; but the dove found no rest for the 
sole of her foot, and she returned unto him 
in the ark, for the waters were on the face of 
the whole earth ; then he put forth his hand 
and took her, and pulled her in unto him 
into the ark ; and he staid yet other seven 
days, and again lie sent forth the dove out 
of the ark ; and the dove came in to him 
in the evening, and lo, in her mouth was an 
olive leaf plucked off ; and Noah knew that 
the waters were abated from off the earth ; 
and he staid yet other seven days, and sent 
forth the dove which returned not again unto 
him any more. And it came to pass in the 
six hundredth and first year, in the first 
month, the first day of the month, the waters 
were dried up from off the earth : and JSToah 
removed the covering of the ark, and looked, 
and, behold, the face of the ground was dry ; 
and on the second month, on the seven and 
twentieth day of the month, was the earth 
dried. 7 


How can any serious soul fail to be struck 
with this strange combination of the minutely 
familiar and the inexpressibly sublime ? To 
think of a man s deliberately sitting down 
thus consciously to forge all this numerical 
exactness, and yet preserving that other aw 
ful feature so inconsistent with the meanness 
and littleness of known and intended lying ! 
For such, if it be not strictly true, must have 
been the character of this account when first 
written, unless thus filled in by our supposed 
compilers. A wilful forger, earlier or later, 
could not have so described it ; he must have 
betrayed the un truthfulness of his position. 
A mere wonder-making traditionist could not 
have given us the story in a manner so differ 
ent from that of the early Greek logographer, 
or Hindoo mythopceist ; the legendary would 
have manifested itself ; for that art o/ fictitious 
writing, which could alone have kept back 
its untruthful aspect, was not invented until 
ages after, and has only in the latest times 
arrived at its perfection. Yet nothing in the 


most modern times, whether fictitious or real, 
could surpass it in this air of simple verity. 
We cannot avoid being struck with the un 
pretending calmness, the simple majesty, the 
utter absence of the swelling, the pretentious, 
the wonder-showing, in a narrative that re 
lates such marvels. An account in one of our 
newspapers of an inundation of the Missis 
sippi shall have ten times the air of hyper 
bole, shall go utterly beyond it in all those 
turgid features of narration which betray on 
the part of the writer the feeling that he has 
something very great to tell, and an evident 
delight in making his readers share in the 
same emotion. For a truthful man, thus 
perusing the account of the flood, it is diffi 
cult to divest the mind, at least for the mo 
ment, of the idea of the substantial subjective 
truthfulness of the story itself. We mean by 
this, its perfect honesty as reflecting the hon 
esty of the first narrator, however defective 
he might be in science, or however mistaken 
in regard both to the natural and super natu- 


ral causality. He narrates things as he saw 
them and felt them ; he gives us truly the 
appearances and the emotions, the latter not 
as subjects of introverted description, but as 
exhibited in the style and language called 
out by the phenomena. This is enough for 
our present argument ; when it is complete 
and carried throughout the Bible, then let 
any one resist the impression of the super 
natural, if he finds it easy to do so. But in 
reading this story, so simply yet so grandly 
told, we are impressed, as by a real passing 
scene, with the belief that there actually was 
such a man as Noah in the early world, a 
very righteous, honest man, who had on his 
mind, whether deceived in his idea of inspi 
ration or not, a real conviction that there 
was coming such a flood of waters over the 
whole known land, that, under the influence 
of this belief, he built a vessel, that he took 
into it his family and the known animals of 
the surrounding country, that in all this he 
religiously regarded himself as prompted by 


a divine power, that the waters did come, 
that they rose gradually as is so graphically 
described, that they as gradually abated, that 
he sent forth the dove, that she returned 
with an olive leaf in the evening as is so touch- 
ingly told, that he " put forth his hand and 
took her and pulled her in unto him in the 
ark, 7 that " he waited other seven days," and 
finally came forth from the ark on that very 
month, and day of the month, of which he 
had made so careful a register for those who 
were preserved with him, and for the sake 
of those who should be after him upon the 
earth. How monstrous the lie if it be not 
the honest truth ! We mean not, how mon 
strously false in its marvellous, but in its 
minute dates and details, in those circum 
stantial lies that must have been all along 
accompanied with such a consciousness of 
falsehood on the part of the narrator. The 
marvellous might have grown from some 
traditionary small beginning, and the first 
writer been very honest in his belief of it : 


we can easily understand that : it would be 
no impeachment of the logographer s truthful 
ness, but rather a proof of it, had he allowed 
the wonderful to make some increase of mag 
nitude in his own mind, and thus been led 
to bring into the narrative rather more of the 
supernatural than it possessed when it came 
to him. Such a natural growth is easy to be 
conceived ; but the other idea is quite incred 
ible, we mean, except on the supposition 
of its being an absolute and entire forgery, 
where invention becomes natural and predom 
inant. Traditionists, or the chroniclers of 
traditions, do not thus conspire. They may 
enlarge, but they do not thus minutely fill 
up ; for the very consciousness of what they 
are doing must destroy their belief in the 
story, and take away from them that charac 
ter of subjective truthfulness which the sup 
position demands. The human inventive 
faculty may, indeed, go a great way, but it 
is not employed in such a manner, and from 
such a motive. Its end is amusement, some- 


times, the exhibition of its power, or there 
is some collateral purpose which cannot be 
conceived of in such a case as this. The 
minutely inventive fictitious style of writing 
is an art of slow growth. From such clumsy 
beginnings as we find in the earliest efforts, 
more unnatural in fact than the wild mythi 
cal legends that aim at no such character, 
they require ages to bring them to that easy 
finish which is now sought for in this kind 
of composition. In fact, the Defoe style 
belongs to the very latest period of the world s 
literature, it is a species of Flemish painting 
that comes after the great old masters ; it is an 
introversion of human powers seeking a new 
occupation when the sublimely truthful, or 
the simple in history, as well as the sublimely 
marvellous, had ceased to charm. The sup 
position that it existed in the days of Moses, 
or for a thousand years after Moses, is more 
incredible than any thing for which it may 
be brought to account. It is utterly incon 
sistent with any feeling, or motive, or state 


of mind, that we can imagine for those early 
days. It must have a consciousness of false 
hood staring it in the face with every unit, 
and ten, and hundred, it employs, and this 
debasing effect is directly at war with those 
sublime religious conceptions, whether true 
or false, that are mingled with it. 

Every reader of the Bible must be familiar 
with the great number of other examples 
that might be given of this same statistical 
character. There is the Jewish year, pre 
senting quite a question for the learned, if 
they will but carefully look at it. The 
adjustment of the current annual time had 
a difficulty for the early days, of which we 
can form some conception when we bear 
in mind that our familiar almanac knowl 
edge has been, in fact, the growth of cen 
turies. But this unscientific people seem to 
have settled this problem, at least for all 
practical approximations, or to have had it 
settled for them, even before the Exodus. 
Ever after, the calendar of their months and 


festal seasons seems to have had almost the 
modern accuracy, while the Greek and Ro 
man year remained for centuries later in 
great confusion, and the Egyptian, if we 
may judge from what is said by Herodotus, 
was hardly in any better state. The inter 
calation of five days, the b^ot method then 
known, must have produced a disorder of 
nearly a month in a century. The Israelites 
had certainly some better way. The learn 
ed Arabian Makrizi, who goes very fully 
into the matter, gives us an account of the 
methods employed by the later Rabbins, but 
these could not have produced the remark 
able accuracy that must have existed in their 
festival-keeping before the captivity. A 
mere observation of the new moons would 
not have kept their time from floating if 
there had not been some method of fixing 
the solar year, whether from astronomical 
means, or some unerring signs of vegetation. 
If this calendar accuracy, as we may call 
it, had stood out by itself, an isolated 


characteristic, there might be some plausi 
bility in regarding it as a forgery of a later 
age. But it is in keeping with the whole 
style of the Jewish records. It is in har 
mony with the genealogical, festival- observ 
ing, census-taking character of the nation, 
from the days when Jacob and his seventy 
descendants went down into Egypt, until 
the time when the families were numbered 
on their return from Babylon. The antiquity 
of all their public days stands or falls with 
it. There is no place where we can stop and 
say, here ceases the mythical, the unchrono- 
logical, and here the chronological com 
mences. From the beginning, from the 
first intimation of a weekly division of time, 
from the first mention of a Sabbath, and its 
subsequent recognition in the heart of the 
national code, it is all of a piece. Creation 
is recorded diurnally and chronologically, 
whether we suppose it to be on the greater 
or the lesser scale of the world-times. One 
great earthly use assigned in the appoint- 


ment of the celestial luminaries is, that 
"they may be for signs, * and for days, and 
for years. 7 Besides the general divisions of 
time produced by the sun and moon, and 
which were employed, with more or less 
accuracy, by all nations, the weekly division 
is acknowledged to have been purely Shemitic 
in its origin. It is so admitted by Humboldt 
in his Kosmos. The hebdomadal period, 
though there are intimations of it in other 
ancient writings, is found in the Bible as in 
its native place. They^is accompanied by 
its reason, and both are treated as well 
known from the beginning. In the event 
there recorded it had its origin, and as there 
is nothing astronomical in its character, there 
could have been no other foundation for 
such a division than the early knowledge or 
announcement of the great fact with which 
the Scriptures connect it. 

* Gen. 1 : 14, tjt| signs marked periods epochs. 


sus-taking People Their Minute Ritual The Offerings of 
the Heads of Tribes, Numbers VII. r lhe Legal or Documen 
tary Style of the Record Why this Style, in all Languages, 
tends to Prolixity A Solemn Memorial Wherein it differs 
from the Style both of Legend and of History Significance of 
the Names mentioned, Numbers VII. Great Number of Prop 
er Names in the Bible Surpassing those of our Classical 
Dictionaries Their Significance a Sign of the National Charac 
ter Compared with the Proper K ames of the Greek Both 
Significant, but in how different a Way ! The one mainly 
Warlike, the other mainly Religious Compounded with the 
Divine Names Jah and El Include so generally the Ideas of 
Promise, Covenant and Election They ever remind the 
Bearers of the Early Patriarchal Times and the National Seclusion 
- Named after God Argument from Numbers VII. The 
Religious and Spiritual Character of the Days of the Bondage 
Geographical Accuracy Knowledge on the Spot, Knowledge 
at the Time. 

IN no other people of antiquity, if we except 
the later Romans, is there anything like that 
exact census-taking which distinguishes the 
Jewish chronicles, that enrolling, not of 
individuals only, but of ages, and classes, 
and tribes, and families, and priesthoods, 


and Levitical services, those exact inven 
tories of all things required in the ritual and 
festal worship. Along with this, there is 
something well calculated to arrest our at 
tention in the proper names of persons, so 
astonishing in their number and their signifi 
cance. Has the reader ever thought how 
many more such names are to be found in 
this compressed history than in all the 
poetry and history of classical antiquity ! 
Their strange meanings, too ! It is not the 
mere fact of their having a meaning that is 
wonderful, for this has been the case more 
or less among all people ; it is the peculiar 
aspect of their significance, so deeply relig 
ious, so intimately and almost universally 
associated with the divine names and divine 
things. For an illustration of this census 
character, as exhibited in almost all the 
particulars here mentioned, we might take 
the Seventh chapter of Numbers. Let any 
one study it carefully as it lies among its 
contexts, and reconcile it if he can with the 


theory of its having been made seven hun 
dred years after the professed times, whether 
as a document entirely new, or as a tradition 
ary compilation. After the long and ex 
ceedingly minute accounts of the tabernacle 
and its furniture, the ark, the altar, the 
sacrifice, with all the institutions of Jewish 
worship, we have what may be called the 
solemn national and tribal inauguration of 
the whole service. Each head of a tribe, 
his name given and that of his father, just 
as we find these same names in their genea 
logical records elsewhere preserved, brings 
his representative offering of silver and gold 
and sacrificial animals, all precisely enumer 
ated, with the measures and values of each. 
"And the Princes offered for dedicating of 
the altar in the day that it was anointed, 
even the Princes offered their offering before 
the altar. And the Lord said unto Moses, 
they shall offer their offering, each Prince on 
his day, for the dedicating of the altar. And 
he that offered his offering the first day was 


Nahshon the son of Amminadab of the tribe 
of Judah : and his offering was one silver 
charger, the weight thereof was one hundred 
and thirty shekels, one silver bowl of seventy 
shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary ; 
both of them were full of fine flour mingled 
with oil for a meat offering : one spoon of 
ten shekels of gold full of incense ; one 
young bullock, one ram, one lamb of the 
first year for a burnt offering ; one kid of 
the goats for a sin offering : and for a sacri 
fice of peace offerings, two oxen, five rams, 
five he goats, five lambs of the first year : 
this was the offering of Nahshon the son of 
Amminadab. On the second day Nethaneel 
the son of Zuar Prince of Issachar did offer," 
&c. In this very peculiar document, the 
very same language, with merely a diversity 
of the proper names that fill the intervals, 
is repeated twelve times without abbreviation 
or any attempt at compression. It might be 
thought a very tedious paper were it not 
for the ideas it suggests to the thoughtful 


reader. It has the diction of a solemn 
memorial. Yiewed in that light there is a 
reason in the repetition. It is that demand 
of emphasis which among all nations, ancient 
or modern, has given an air of prolixity to 
the law style, as we call it, or documental 
language. We see something of it in the 
verbal covenanting of earlier times, as be 
tween Abraham and Abimelech, and Abraham 
and the sons of Heth in the purchase of Mac- 
phelah. Here it becomes very striking. In 
stead of all these precisely similar statements 
being thrown together with a general cap 
tion, or all the later ones referred to the 
first, which would have been as clear, one 
would think, and much more convenient, 
each stands separate and full, so that each 
tribe, and the descendants of each tribe, may 
see their ancestor s name written out dis 
tinctly, with his precise offering, the number, 
measure, and value, all put down by itself, 
as though he were the principal name, as he 
is to them the most interesting name, in all 


the roll. Now even aside from all this ap 
pearance of circumstantiality, no one could 
regard it as a tradition handed down in 
memory, or made, wholly or partially, so 
many centuries after. It would have had, 
in the one case, the style of legend, in the 
other, that of history ; and both these are 
different from that of memorial or attestation. 
If it is impossible to regard it as a forgery, 
then let one try the other idea of its being a 
tradition, so precise a thing coming down 
with all its names and measures, and its ex 
act order preserved for centuries. If he 
finds this too hard of belief, then let him 
take this Seventh of Numbers, and, viewing 
it as a true memorial, made at the time, let 
him study it carefully in its connections be 
fore and after, and see how much he is com 
pelled to take with it, in other words, how 
much throughout the Pentateuch must be 
held as genuine, if this is genuine, how much 
of all those other books, away back to Gen 
esis, must be taken as a studied preparation, 


all made to suit, in fact, if this be a forgery, 
and then how some of these other passages 
necessitate still the same thought in respect 
to others, and so on, throughout these strange 
writings so fragmentary in some of their ap 
pearances and yet found to be, on closer ex 
amination, so wondrously coherent. If this 
document is a reality, made at the time, then 
is the preparatory work and ritual all a re 
ality, then is that wilderness life a reality, 
then is that solemn law-giving a reality, Sinai 
is a reality, and so is the Exodus, and the 
bondage, for they are all commemorated here 
or in the closely-connected antecedents ; and 
then Moses is a reality, and Joseph, and the 
Fathers ; then, above all, are the old prom 
ises a reality, and the "Covenant" a re 
ality, for they pervade every part as the 
meaning and life of the whole. Let the 
reader think, too, what an immense amount 
of statistical fact must have been carried 
down floating in the memory if this were 
so carried down, and how different that 


Jewish memory must have been from the 
magnifying, coloring, myth-making memory 
of all other ancient nations. Let any one 
thus study the passage in connection with 
these ideas, and he will find, we think, that 
there is but one conceivable solution of the 

We cannot pass over this chapter without 
dwelling briefly on some striking thoughts 
presented by its proper names. To set them 
in their strongest light we give them in the 
original and with their translations, though 
of the latter it must be said that we can only 
be certain of the two fundamental ideas that 
enter into each name, the manner of connect 
ing them being that about which philologists 
may differ. Thus Eliab has the two ideas, 
God and father ; but we cannot certainly 
decide whether the significance intended 
was " God my Father" or " God of my fa 
ther" Almost every name in this list has a 
clear meaning. There is first, of the tribe 









Nahshon, Blessed Omen, 

son of 
Amminadab, The 

Princely : 
Netlianeel, God hath 

given, son of 
Zuar, The Little One, 

the Lowly : 

Eliab, God my Father : 
Elizur, God my Rock, 

son of 
Shedeur, the Almighty 

my Light : 
Shelumiel, God my 

Peace, son of 
Zurishaddai, The Al 

mighty my Rock : 
Eliasaph, God will in 

crease, son of 
Deuel, Calling on God : 
Elishama, My God will 

hear, son of 
Ammihud, My People. 
Glory : 


Manasseh, bapbaa Gamliel, God will rec 
ompense, son of 
mrns Pedahzur, Rock Re 
demption : 

Asher, baws Pageel, God Interces 

sion, son of 

1?^ Okran, Trouble or Sor 

What a religious aspect do they possess ! 
Bad men may have godly names ; bad parents 
may give their children godly names; but 
their general prevalence does prove that not 
many generations back there must have been 
a somewhat generally diffused spirit of piety, 
or some strongly theistic national ideas, to 
account for them. So among the Greeks, 
cowards may have had warlike titles, but the 
general prevalence of corresponding appella 
tions is very rationally taken as a proof, if 
there were no other, that the Athenians were 
a military and naval people. What then is 
the just inference from the Jewish names 
as compared with the Greek arid Roman? 


What is the real historical significance of their 
deeply religious character, their strong the- 
istic, or rather monotheistic aspect, their 
continual expression of faith and hope, their 
so frequent allusions to the ideas of covenant 
and redemption ? The hypothesis of the ra 
tionalist utterly fails here ; his data are alto 
gether too narrow to account for the strange 
difference in this apparently so simple a mat 
ter of naming. And why too, we may ask, 
do so many of these appellations end in El 
and Jah, ever calling up the two great divine 
names with their most holy ideas ? Let the 
reader ponder well the fact, and see if he can 
find any other reason for this national seal, 
this naming after the Lord, as we may call 
it, than the great all-explaining fact that 
they were, indeed, " a chosen people," an 
"elect people, whom, for high and world 
wide reasons, God had taken as his own 
"when he separated the sons of Adam and 
gave the nations their inheritance. 7 

The heads of tribes mentioned Numbers 


vii., must have been born in the days of the 
bondage. Now we generally associate with 
that period the ideas of religious or spiritual 
decline. They are thought to have been a 
vile, ungrateful, murmuring people, who had 
forgotten, or had never known, their ances 
tral history, and how very religious it was. 
But here is a little beam of light thrown back 
upon that dark passage in chronology. In 
the later days of the bondage they may have 
become, indeed, debased. Such would be a 
natural effect of their servile condition. But 
in the times that followed the death of Joseph, 
there may have been, there probably was, 
much religious feeling among them. This 
style of naming points to such a period. 
Jehovah my Light, the Redeemer my Rock, 
God the Intercessor, or He who intervenes for 
relief in the day of trouble, the Gift of God, 
the Son of the Lowly : Such appellations 
might have become matters of formality, as 
is doubtless the case often with names that 
have come down from a Puritan ancestry, but 


they had their origin in the spirit and re 
membrance of the old never to be forgotten 
promises. There is faith in them somewhere, 
such faith as Paul sets forth in his long list, 
Heb. xi., such faith as was counted " to them 
for righteousness. 77 They are connected, we 
say, with the divine appellations as seals of 
the national "covenant," as a standing me 
morial, handed down from generation to 
generation, that " this was the people whose 
God, 7; whose El or Mighty One, " was Jeho 
vah. 77 They came from men who remem 
bered the Preserver of Joseph, who had 
heard of the visits of Angels, the dream of 
Bethel, the Hope of Jacob, the Fear of Isaac, 
the Faith of Abraham, the God of the Cove 
nant, who had been their fathers 7 God, and 
who had given them those glorious promises, 
uneffaceable by the bondage of generations, 
that in them and their seed all the nations 
of the earth were to be blessed. Such must 
have been their source. Or will the " ration 
alist " rather seek the ground of these ideas, 


so pure and holy, so full of hope, of simple 
yet majestic faith, in the monstrous symbol 
ism of old Egypt ? "Were they seminated in 
that same Nilotic bed so prolific even then 
in those physical and spiritual deformities 
which reached the consummation of all im 
purity in the unclean worship of Osiris and 
the dog Anubis ? 

There is the same peculiarity in the names 
of places, in the statement of distances and 
directions. If it be all a compilation, how 
vast must have been the knowledge of these 
compilers ! The strictest research of modern 
times, had they enjoyed the benefit, could 
not have given them an ethnological and 
geographical accuracy so perfect that the 
most learned criticism fails to detect a mis 
nomer or an anachronism. It could not be 
so, unless it were taken from the life. It is 
knowledge on the spot, knowledge at the time, 
and yet, in some cases, showing such a his 
torical relation, not simply to later, but to 
the latest times, even to our time, and times 


beyond it, that it must have been the dual 
work of an eye-witness writing for the then 
present, yet guided by a higher mind that 
looked far down into the remotest future. 
There is a peculiar clearness in the giving of 
marked chronological periods, whose impor 
tance, though simply Jewish at the time, is 
now seen to be so closely connected with the 
general chronology of all history. Thus we 
have the precise date of the building of Sol 
omon s Temple, and the interval between it 
and the Exodus ! It comes in most naturally, 
and in strictest keeping with the solemnity 
of the transaction. Doubtless there had been 
a most thorough examination, for that pur- 
pose, of all known records, and of those 
tribal and family genealogies in the keeping 
of which the whole history of the Jews shows 
them to have been so exact. But this date, 
though so strictly national, becomes an epoch 
from which the history of the world looks 
both back and forward ; whilst from its con 
nection with Tyre, and the reign of Hiram, 


it becomes also one of the noteworthy side 
points from which we connect the separate 
and secluded Jewish, with the world s chro 


GERIES, OR WHOLLY TRUE Illustrations from the Prophets 
Isaiah s Vision, " in the year that King Uzziah died " Natural 
ness of this Mnemonic Date "Why the Prophet should remem 
ber it Peculiar History of Uzziah, the Leper King Dates of 
the Prophetic Visions The Day, the Month, and the Year 
Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Argument from these Facts The 
Wholesale Forgery easier of Belief than this minute Filling up 
Would betray a Consciousness of Falsehood inconsistent with 
any subjective Truthfulness Driven to the First Hypothesis 
Comparison with Homer The Homeric Truthfulness Why 
does it not also prove the Homeric Supernatural Difference 
between the Homeric and the Bible Supernatural Parallel be 
tween the Greeks and Jews What necessary to make it com 
plete The Greek Zeus and the Hebrew Jehovah The Greek 
Idea of Fate, and the Jewish Ideas of Covenant and Election 
The Greek Oracles, the Hebrew Messiah The Hebrews a 
World-nation, The Greeks had no World-idea. 

FURTHER illustrations of this statistical char 
acter we find in the reigns of the Kings, and 
in the dates of remarkable events as referred 
to some striking time or fact in those reigns ; 
the truthful impression being, in most cases, 
made stronger by the informal and inciden- 


tal manner of their introduction. In dry 
history this style of reference, or incidental 
date-giving, would not so much surprise us ; 
but we meet with it in the very visions of the 
Prophets. "In the year that King Uzziah 
died," says Isaiah, "I saw the Lord sitting 
upon a throne high and lifted up, and his 
train filled the temple. Above it stood the 
seraphim, and they cried, one to the other, 
saying Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord of Hosts, 
the whole earth is full of his glory." Let any 
one have his mind impressed as it ought to 
be impressed with this seraphic glory ; let 
him think of the high state of soul necessary 
even for the conception of such a vision with 
its air of ineffable holiness, and then, if he can, 
connect it, and its inseparable associations, 
with that meanest of all falsehood, the petty 
circumstantial lie. But take away this re 
volting thought (though necessary to the idea 
of a mere filled up compilation) and every 
thing lies before us in grand consistency. 
The date mentioned is the last one that would 


have been selected by a forger, or guessed by 
a compiler, to give a mnemonic importance to 
any incident ; but to Isaiah himself it had a 
mournful interest. " It was in the year that 
King Uzziah died/ that old leper-stricken 
king, who had so long u lived in a separate 
house, 7 where, "free among the dead," he 
had poured forth his sorrows in that mournful 
88th Psalm so strikingly descriptive of his sad 
condition. ( 8 ) His passing away, at last, would 
be a much more eventful remembrance to 
the Prophet than to the nation at large ; 
for lie had long been civilly dead. Dur 
ing the latter part of his long reign of fifty 
and two years, he was entirely cut off 
from public business, and " Jotham his son 
was Regent over the king s house, judging 
the people of the land." The superseded 
father must have been nearly forgotten by 
the multitude, and his death and hasty un 
royal burial could have made but little im 
pression upon their minds. But Isaiah had 
been his counsellor, sometimes his reprover ; 


he had written the history of his earlier active 
life. He had thought much of the old mon 
arch, of his better days, when " he sought 
the Lord and God made him to prosper," 
of his more peaceful days, " when he digged 
wells, and had cattle in the low country, and 
vine-dressers upon the mountains, for he loved 
husbandry," of his grand, warlike days, 
when he fought with the Philistines, and 
brake down the wall of Gath, and strength 
ened Jerusalem with towers, and srnote the 
Arabians that dwelt in Gur-baal, and built 
Eloth, and spread his name and power even 
to the entering in of Egypt." He had often 
pictured, if he could not visit, him in his lone 
leper-house ; he called to mind that offence 
against the divine ceremonial holiness for 
which he had been smitten with unapproach 
able impurity ; and it was in the year so well 
remembered from all these sad and humbling 
associations, the year when this old forgotten 
monarch " slept," at last, " with his fathers," 
that Isaiah had that vision of ineffable holi- 


ness, too bright for impure eyes to see, for 
11 unclean lips to tell." The vision is a reality; 
that is, the Prophet did see the Throne, the 
Glory, and the burning Seraphim, whether 
it were from a divine afflatus or his own in 
ward rapt enthusiasm. We are not afraid 
thus to state the case, because deeply con 
vinced that one who can thus receive fully 
the subjective, will find himself unable to 
resist the belief of the absolute truthfulness. 
The vision is a reality ; the Prophet is a 
reality, and then the dying king is a reality ; 
Uzziah s reign is a reality, and then that 
which made it what it was, even the reign 
of " Amaziah his father, whose mother s name 
was Jehoaddan of Jerusalem," that, too, was 
a reality, and the reign before it was a reality, 
and so on. For there is no place where we can 
stop, until we find the consistency of all sub 
sequent Jewish history, the seminal elements 
of its strength and weakness, in the reigns 
of David and Saul, and the events of those 
times all prepared by the events before them, 


and so on, until we come up to the recorded 
life of him who first wrote in his book, or 
received from older books, that " in the be 
ginning God created the Heavens and the 

And so is it with the Prophets throughout. 
They keep a diary of their visions, and if it 
is false, it is far more false, more incredibly 
false, than either their rapt subjective states 
or their wild harangues. Jeremiah and Eze- 
kiel manifest this trait more strikingly than 
Isaiah. Everywhere do these seers record 
the dates, the year, the month, the day of 
the month, the attending chronological cir 
cumstances of the burthens and messages 
with which as they allege they have been 
commissioned by the Lord. If these dates 
are put in by themselves, then is it all, sub 
jectively, one harmonious consistent picture 
of life. If supposed to be put in by com 
pilers, long after the times of the prophetic 
visions, then there is no reason for it, no 
meaning in it. It is not only incredible but 


absurd. It destroys its own credit, and the 
credit of that which it would attest. It is 
an easier theory that every word of the Pro 
phetic writings had been forged. If that is 
incredible, then this is most incredible. There 
is but one other supposition : the dates and 
the visions are from the same persons, and 
these are the prophets themselves writing 
and speaking at the times they profess to 
write and speak, and in relation to actual 
existing events that form the subjects of their 
warning. The seers, the times, the nation, 
the national life, it is all one true picture, 
in its parts, most truthful and natural, in its 
whole, suggestive of an extraordinary and 
difficult problem. Let any man attempt to 
explain its natural without bringing in its 
supernatural, or some other supernatural 
if he can. 

Either of these suppositions, except the 
first, tries our credulity to its utmost strain. 
To suppose that this amount of statistical 
statement, from Seth to Malachi, all came 


from tradition alone, and was carried down 
by tradition, or was ever assumed to have 
been so carried, or that all these numbers, 
round and mixed, these dates, these minute 
coincidences of events, this immense body 
of proper names, surpassing, we think, all 
that are to be found in classical dictionaries, 
these countless genealogies, were all carried 
in the popular or the individual memory until 
the later times of the Jewish history, this 
is beyond all belief. Equally incredible, 
more incredible, we think, that they should 
have been put in by late compilers as the 
arbitrary or conjectural filling up of outline 
historical events traditionally received. 

The wholesale forgery is the easier of be 
lief, the forgery in which the great facts as 
well as the minutest statistics are all sup 
posed to be mere creations of the imagina 
tion. There is, too, less wrong to conscience. 
A man must feel less guilty in producing a 
whole and continuous work of fiction, than in 
thus tampering with, and perverting, what 


is supposed to be true ; if it can be supposed 
to be true by one who could thus deliberately 
deal with it. There must be felt to be in this 
circumstantial falsehood, thus thrust into a 
traditionary outline, a crime and a meanness 
that does not attach to the bolder work. 
Hence, viewing it as myths, or detached na 
tional stories thus falsely filled up, we cannot 
have even as much respect for the Jewish 
history as for the early Greek so truthfully 
left in its natural cloudiness, its wild legend 
ary state, without any attempt to give it a 
minuteness of detail it could not naturally 
and truly possess. The bolder forgery, we 
say again, has the less difficulty. The view 
of Paine, and of others like him, though it 
be called crude and unlearned, though it be 
stigmatized as " vulgar infidelity, " is really 
easier than some theories that have been en 
tertained by the Straussian and Westminster 
schools. It is easier to believe in the making 
an entire new temple, incredible as that may 
seem when we think what a temple it is, than 


in the filling up an old tumbling ruin with 
such elaborately- wrought cornices and carved 
work, to say nothing of Cherubim and Sera 
phim, and holy symbolism, so utterly out of 
place unless regarded as representative of 
ideas that must have constituted the ground 
and reason of the whole structure. 

And now, if such wholesale forgery, as we 
first showed, is really beyond all belief, then 
there remains but one conclusion. The first 
of our three suppositions is the only solution 
of the difficulty. The whole Jewish history is 
true, as true in its details, its dates, its 
numbers making all allowance for human 
injuries in transcription as in its general 
outlines. The evidence for the one part 
cannot be taken out, without rending away 
all foundation for belief in the other. But 
take it all away, and there is no possible 
means of solving the greatest problem that 
history presents, namely, the influence of 
this imagined nation, this ideal religion, upon 
the whole course of human affairs and human 


thinking. Receive it as a whole, and it has 
a strange supernatural light, a world-light, 
that we receive along with it. It explains 
itself and vastly more in history besides. 
Take it in any other way, it not only leaves 
us in darkness, but becomes itself the most 
inexplicable problem ever presented to the 
human mind. 

The only writer in all antiquity who makes 
any approach to this Bible finish, though still 
at a vast distance from it, is Homer ; and this 
is the very reason why we are so impressed 
with the truthfulness of his descriptions of 
life. In his catalogue of the Grecian ships 
and armies, (although in the main employ 
ing round numbers,) in his accurate geogua-, 
phy, in his graphic local touches, in his 
family stories, he presents a picture, whose 
falsehood it is difficult to conceive. We do 
not hesitate to say it we believe in Homer, 
and no common effort of sceptical literary 
dissertation would make us yield the faith. 
We have more trust in many of the scenes 


of the Odyssey than in the relations of some 
modern travellers. His wild and fanciful 
supernatural sits loose from his descriptive 
narrative. It is not so religiously and mor 
ally interwoven as in the Bible histories. It 
is, therefore, quite easy to separate it, and 
when we do so, the thoughtful reader who 
can enter into the Homeric spirit, cannot 
help feeling that in other respects, the Iliad 
and the Odyssey are among the most truth 
ful of books. If it were not so, no amount 
of the mere marvellous would ever have 
given them such a lasting place in the heart 
of the world. 

But why not, then, take his supernatural 
too, on the grounds of the argument we are 
now using in respect to the Bible ? The 
answer is easy, and we think conclusive. 
There is first, that immense and essential 
difference between the two supernaturals on 
which we have previously insisted. Every 
candid, thoughtful mind, certainly every 
truly religious mind, must see and acknowl- 


edge it. The Jehovah of the Scriptures, and 
the Zeus of Homer ! the angel visits of the 
Old Testament, and the Homeric deities sink 
ing below the human in the part they take 
in the strifes of men ! the divine guardian 
ship of a chosen nation, as preparatory to a 
chosen church to be gathered from all na 
tions, and the petty providence of the god of 
Ida which, though extending much beyond 
the blind selfish passions of the other powers, 
is yet so limited by the Trojan and Grecian 
camp ! let go the mere scenery and take 
alone the moral conceptions ; bring them 
fairly before the mind and we need say no 
more. But why is the supernatural of the 
Bible so different from that of other ancient 
nations, so greatly different, that in the ab 
sence of other reasons, and no others can be 
found, it can only be explained on the 
ground of the supernatural itself? The 
whole case might here be rested, but the 
question may demand, and we are willing to 
give, a wider answer. We say then, to make 


the cases wholly parallel, had there been 
connected with the Homeric stories through 
out, had there preceded and followed them 
in Grecian history, a supernatural like that 
of the Bible, possessing every where the 
same high moral reason and the same relig 
ious dignity, we should have been compelled 
to receive it on the same ground. But to 
fill out the parallelism to its widest extent, 
we must make a supposition long in time 
and corresponding to the whole collateral 
field. We say again then Had there been, 
not only in Homer, who gleams upon us like 
a light in the desert, but in a series of Hel 
lenic writers before and after him, the same 
ever consistent mingling of their earthly his 
tory with a high superhuman providence, 
and an eventful human destiny ever held 
forth as the religious ground of the national 
life, had there been a Father of the Faith 
ful, like Abraham, among the y^/evctg or old 
ancestral stock of the Athenians, had the 
days of the Sons of Hellen presented some- 


thing like the Patriarchal life with its pure 
trust in the One most high God, had some 
grand pyramidal figure like Moses towered 
up amid those chaotic myths of the Dorians 
and lonians, had there been a Noah among 
the old Pelasgi, or some traditions of an 
Enoch who "walked with God " and was 
taken away from a sin-deluged world, had 
there been in the early Grecian "mythical 7 
something like the visits of angels to rest- 
seeking, world-weary pilgrims, and divine ap 
pearances for righteous retribution instead 
of the fanciful, unmeaning apotheoses of a 
Bacchus or a Hercules, had "the sons of 
Javan and Elisha and Kittim and Dodanim " 
brought with them from the East, and ever 
preserved among their descendants, such a 
holy genealogical record as has been carried 
down by their early consanguine! the Sons 
of Eber, had this ancient document thus 
preserved by them furnished the only key 
to a universal ethnology, or assumed to do 
so, above all, had there come out of these 


Javanic or Ionic roots (for they are the same 
original word) such a nation as the Israelites 
with their wonderful monotheism and their 
most religious law, carrying down with them 
in their earliest records, and as repeated con 
tinually in their later writings, such catholic 
promises that " in them all the nations of the 
earth should be blessed, 77 had there been 
ever prominent in Grecian thought, instead of 
fate and destiny, the ideas of covenant and 
election, had there been all along in place 
of Dodonean triflings and petty Delphic 
cheats, a grand series of Messianic oracles, 
commencing with one older than Prome 
theus, and holding forth the ; Desire of all 
nations," not merely as an artistic or scientific 
civilizer, but as the long-expected spiritual 
deliverer of our sin-burdened humanity, 
had these Messianic oracles kept growing 
clearer and clearer, pointing more and more 
to the unearthly and the heavenly, until 
there had at last arisen in this favored Hel 
las, this land of " the covenant," some one 


so human yet so superhuman as to be justly 
claimed as their fulfiller, and in whom might 
have been discovered a resemblance, not to 
Pythagoras, or Plato, or to Socrates even, 
but to Jesus of Nazareth, could we thus 
fill up the parallel (and who can take excep 
tion to the mode of doing it) then would we 
be prepared to answer the question fully, we 
think, satisfactorily, conclusively. Had the 
supernatural of Homer and the Greek lo- 
gographers been of this kind, had it been 
grounded on such a "covenant," supported 
by such promises so anciently uttered and 
for all humanity, had it contained such 
world-oracles, and had the great series of 
events connected with them terminated in 
the advent of such a Messiah, then could we 
have believed in a Grecian supernatural, and 
regarded the Sons of Javan, or the Hellenic 
race, as "Chosen of God," the "Elect of 
God," the First Born among the nations, as 
the race called out from the common heath 
enism, supernaturally ruled of heaven, des- 


lined to be a light to the barbarians and to 
all people who sat in the darkness of idolatry 

and sin. 


The Visit of the Magi The Legendary Aspect has come 
from the Romish Traditions How Different the Bible would 
have been had it been compiled in a Later Age Saint Stories, 
The Talmud The Universal Eastern Belief in the Coming 
of a Hero Messiah, or El Gibbor The Angels and the Shep 
herds No Human Invention these Sublimity of the An 
nouncement " Glory to God in the Highest ; on Earth Peace, 
Good Will to Men" The Temptation Its Truthfulness, 
Subjective and Objective The Crucifixion " Then sitting 
down they watched him there." Holiness and Suffering un 
surpassed How strange if there had been no Outward Witness 
ing of Nature This Human, this Natural, the Whole of it ! In 
credible God Beholding yet Indifferent ! Still more Incredi 
ble Beholding with Interest, yet that Interest never mani 
fested, never to be manifested ! This surpasses all belief A 
Divine Interest immeasurable in its Intensity The Incredible 
of the Sense as opposed to the Credibility of the Higher Think 
ingor the Incredibility of the Reason. 

ON the supernatural in the history of Christ 
we have already partially dwelt. Take out 
all the directly miraculous, and there is 
nothing on earth so human. Nowhere, too, 
does this show itself more strongly than in 


the midst of the most astoundingly marvel 
lous that accompanied his birth and cru 
cifixion. Where every thing would have 
tempted to the wonder-making style, it is 
there precisely that we have all that is most 
sober in the manner of the narration, most 
truthful and probable in the connection with 
it of the antecedent and surrounding events 
of history. The story of the Magi, and 
especially, as some would regard it, the 
oriental style of its commencement, might 
seem an exception to this. " Now when 
Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in 
the days of Herod the King, lo, there came 
wise men from the east to Jerusalem." It 
does appear, at first view, to have a little 
of the legendary look ; but when we exam 
ine carefully the source of such a feeling, it 
is found to have come from the legends that 
the Church of Rome has made out of it, and 
which we associate, in style if not in fact, 
with the original picture. In the same way 
has there been given to the passages that 


speak of the Virgin a coloring of thought 
different from what they would otherwise 
have possessed. There is, however, an im 
portant view of Bible truth to be learned 
from this. We see from these Romish leg 
ends what the New Testament would have 
been, or rather what a different aspect would 
have been given to its narrations, had its 
early materials been left floating until they 
had been gathered into a written form by 
these traditionists. How very different from 
the plain histories of Matthew, Mark, Luke 
and John, would have been our Gospels, 
had they been first compiled in the Fifth or 
Sixth century ! There might not, perhaps, 
have been more of the miraculous, but it 
would have had another style ; it would 
have been the predominant thing, and by its 
swelling features have betrayed this false 
position. The actual presence of the super 
human, or its close proximity, made the spirit 
sober ; the deep conviction of the evangelical 
writers, so different from the inflating leg- 


endary faith, kept down the tendency to the 
mere wonder-feeling and wonder-making. 
These are aspects of style inseparable from 
narrations of the supernatural made long 
after the miraculous epoch has passed away. 
They betray the fact that the reality to 
which they refer is removed to a great dis 
tance. They show effort, perhaps uncon 
scious effort, to make up for this distance, 
and the loss of the near impression, by dis 
proportion and exaggeration. Thus we see, 
too, what the truthful histories of the Old 
Testament would have become under a simi 
lar process in the hands of the later Rabbins. 
The Talmud and the Romish saint-stories 
are proof enough of the kind of shape the 
whole Bible would have taken, had not su 
perhuman power intervened continually for 
the preservation of its human truthfulness. 

For the reasons given, this story of the 
11 Wise men from the East" has at first some 
thing of the legendary aspect, and yet, when 
we come to view it in all its connections, 


there is no event that fits more exactly, not 
only with the Jewish, but with the consist 
ency, and most sober aspect, of the world s 
general history. We are assured by a Roman 
author well acquainted with the fact about 
which he writes, that at this time there pre 
vailed, throughout the East, an opinion that 
some great one was about to arise who should 
possess the dominion of the world, and that 
Judea was the country in which his birth was 
to be expected " percrebuerat Oriente toto 
vetus et constans opinio, esse in fatis, ut eo 
tempore Judea profecti rerum potirentur." 
This vetus opinio, or ancient belief, was but 
the expansion of the great Messianic idea 
of the Hebrew Prophets, or of the still older 
idea that had coine from the earliest times, 
even from the days of that primitive patri 
archal revelation of which every Eastern na 
tion had preserved some remains. In the 
Book of Job we have evidence that it was 
not confined to the Jews. The visions of 
Balaam show that it was common to the 


earliest seers, and had place among " the 
Children of the East." Aside from direct 
history, aside from the Messianic oracles 
whether of the Jews or of other nations, 
aside from the Messianic tradition as more 
or less appearing in the distortions of all the 
Eastern religions, aside from all this, what 
more natural and probable than the idea itself, 
even if we suppose it to have arisen sponta 
neously, without oracle or special revelation, 
in the human mind ! What more consistent 
with the highest truthfulness of human con 
ceptions, than this thought of a Saviour, a 
Redeemer, a hero, a mighty one, who should 
come in the latter day for the deliverance of 
our sin-wearied humanity! This feeling 
would reach its crisis when the whole politi 
cal power of the world was seen gathering 
to one head. No wonder that the more sec 
ular and ambitious minds interpreted the old 
wide-spread oracle of the Roman emperor. 
The more thoughtful souls looked in a differ 
ent direction. Many things would turn them 


to the land of Judea. The Israelitish nation 
had become, from various reasons, an object of 
special attention. They had begun to make 
a conspicuous chapter in Roman history. 
Their captivity in Babylon and Persia had 
left remembrances such as had accompanied 
no other nations conquered by those strong 
empires. Wherever they were known, and 
they were now beginning to be known quite 
widely, they were recognized as a " peculiar," 
a very " peculiar people." There was at this 
time a Jewish school in Babylon, which was 
among the chief controllers of thought in the 
East. Isaiah shows a knowledge of the Per 
sian ( 9 ) doctrine of Good and Evil, and 
nothing is more probable than that the fol 
lowers of Zoroaster, or the Magi, or " Wise 
Men," as they are called in the gospel, should 
have had some knowledge of his glowing 
prophecies respecting the wondrous child to 
be born of a virgin, and who was to be called 
The "El Gibbor," the " Mighty One," the 
"Prince of Peace. 7 Under such a thought, 


too, the pilgrimage undertaken was an event 
in perfect keeping with the thinking and 
feeling of those countries and those times. 

Turn we now to a different scene, in har 
mony with, and yet presenting a most impres 
sive contrast to, the one we have already been 
contemplating. This world-wide story of a 
Messiah to be born was not only the study 
of the Eastern sage, but formed the topic of 
nightly conversation among the shepherds in 
"the hill country of Judea." "And there 
were in the same country shepherds abiding 
in the field, keeping watch over their flocks 
by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord 
came upon them, and the glory of the Lord 
shone round about them; and thej^were sore 
afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear 
not ; for behold, I bring } T OU glad tidings of 
great joy which shall be to all people. For 
unto you is- born this day in the city of David, 
a Saviour which is Christ the Lord. And 
this shall be to you the sign ; ye shall find 
the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying 


in a manger. And suddenly there was with 
the angel a multitude of the Heavenly host 
praising God and saying Glory to God in the 
highest, and on earth peace, good will ( 10 ) to 
wards men. 11 No human faculty of invention 
ever invented this ; no human imagination 
ever filled it up, or magnified it from some 
rudimentary fact or scene. We feel that the 
picture is perfect ; to touch is to deface it. 
It is unique in itself ; it never had additions 
or alterations ; it never grew. The scene is 
one total impression. There is no one part 
we can select as the germ of the rest. There 
were shepherds watching their flocks by 
night, and discoursing with each other about 
certain strange rumors that then filled the 
whole " hill country of Judea." They had 
heard the story of Zachariah. They knew the 
universal expectation in regard to the Son 
of David, and the universal feeling that his 
advent was near at hand. Their views of 
Him may have been very erroneous, but 
their hearts were full of the expected glory. 


Is it strange that they saw a light in the 
heavens ? Call it fancy if you will, an ex 
cited imagination ; we are only arguing here 
for the subjective truthfulness of the narra 
tion. Is it strange that they heard voices in 
the air around them and above them ? Say 
if you will that their awed feelings, and their 
wondrously elated hopes, shaped these sounds 
into the glorious words that are recorded. 
Here is the great, the real wonder. It is the 
spiritual marvel that throws in the back 
ground the physical strangeness. "We believe 
in the miracle on the ground of the doctrine 
conveyed ; we find it easy to give credence 
to an outward supernatural as attested by 
the sublimity of such a message. It is nothing 
so strange that shepherds should see lights 
in the heaven, that they should hear voices 
in the air ; but such voices, such words, ar 
ranged in such a sentence, that has not yet 
ceased, and never will cease, to vibrate 
through the heart of humanity "Behold, I 
bring you glad tidings of great joy which 


shall be to all people, Glory to God in the 
highest ; on earth peace, good will toward 
men. 77 We leave out of the account the idea 
of sheer forgery as something too incredible 
for any sane mind to entertain. A light was 
seen sounds were heard, whether by the ear 
of the sense, or the ear of the imagination, or 
the ear of the most truthful inner spirit. The 
scene thus far was a reality, the light was a 
reality, the voices a reality ! If wholly sub 
jective, it is only the more wonderful reality. 
What was there in the common thought of 
these shepherds, in their culture, their associ 
ations of ideas, that should have so shaped the 
vision, and brought out upon the airy undu 
lations that sublimest collocation of words the 
world had ever heard, that message of divine 
peace so far beyond what philosophy had ever 
conceived, or poetry had ever dreamed. It 
drives us to the outward supernatural as the 
easier explanation of the mystery : Why should 
there not have been a light from heaven, and 
a voice from heaven, when such a truth was 


uttered ? If convinced that it is subjectively 
true, then, for the mind that truly conceives 
the scene and the idea, it is difficult to with 
hold assent from the full reality, in the widest 
sense of that Protean word. We have ever 
been led to regard this narration in Luke as 
one of the key passages of the Scriptures, or 
one of those infallible proof texts where the 
divine beauty and glory so shine out that we 
cannot easily conceive of falsehood. Heaven 
is here come down to earth it lies all around 
us ; how pure the air, how clear the light, 
how holy the revelation ! Glory to God in 
the highest ; on earth peace, good will to men. 
If this is unreal, what then on this poor 
earth of ours can be regarded as real ? There 
is a power in truthful representation, when 
we can conceive it aright, that is irresistible. 
We know it as we know the sun that shines, 
the heat that warms, the emotion that we 
feel, the very thought we are thinking. And 
thus there is a conviction that enables us to 
say with boldness, if this passage in Luke is 


an unreality, then is our whole life an un 
reality ; philosophy, and science, and his 
tory, and theology, and all opinions, and all 
religions, are but the veriest dreams of a 
visionary, unsubstantial existence. 

In the same manner, too, may we separate 
the subjective from the objective truthfulness 
in the history of " the temptation ;" and this 
not for the purpose of denying or under 
valuing, but of confirming the outward nar 
rative. The Child of such a birth, so strange 
and said to be so strangely heralded, we 
cannot wonder that from his youth he should 
have been filled with the idea of a divine 
mission, and that even at the tender age of 
twelve years he should have felt that "he 
must be about his Father s business." Then, 
too, does it cease to be strange that he, as 
well as those he came to deliver, must have 
a struggle with the Great Power of evil. 
This admitted, the fasting, the wilderness 
life, are all truthful for such a character, all, 
too, in strict accordance with the ascetic 


ideas of those who were esteemed most 
pious, most unearthly in that age. "And 
when he was an hungered the devil came 
unto him." Say, if you please, that it was 
a vision occasioned by his abnormal physical 
state. It may have been none the less real, 
none the less designed by God as the very 
means for its production. But the inward 
conflict the soul strife how truthful the 
representation of that war in the spirit, how 
grand the lesson that he who saves us from 
sin and temptation had himself to go through 
the process by which he was to know, not a 
priori, from known or conceived causes, or a 
posteriori, from seen effects, but in se, in 
prasenti, from actual personal experience, 
what temptation is, and how the soul feels 
when assailed by it. Such a High Priest 
became us who was tempted in all respects, 
xata navTa %a$ biLoibtrfia, as we are 
tempted, yet without sin. This is the essen 
tial reality ; and when this is conceived as it 
ought to be, how easy to believe the less 


reality of a true personal objective presence 
as the accompaniment and representative of 
so mighty and real a power ! The writer 
thinks he cannot be misinterpreted in the 
views here given. He does not deny the 
objective ; he holds to the objective ; but he 
would wish to present strongly the greater 
wonder of the natural and human working, 
as that which makes not barely credible only, 
but easy of belief, the supernatural and su 
perhuman accompaniment. Let one believe 
in the perfect truthfulness of the Magi visit, 
the shepherds 7 annunciation, the spiritual 
struggle with the tempting power, and then, 
the moving meteor, the celestial glory, the 
demon appearance, the angelic voices, be 
come, at once, expected and harmonious ac 
companiments of the higher reality. If one 
does not thus believe in the human, if he 
does not know enough of the human, his 
own human, or the human in general, to 
make such conceptions possible to him, and 
to give them the high air of reality, then 


would all supernatural manifestations be in 
vain. " He would not believe truly, though 
one rose from the dead. 7 He would not be 
lieve because there is for him nothing in the 
credible of the reason, of the conscience, or 
the spiritual discernment, to carry him 
against the incredibility of the sense. 

There is no page in the Bible more in 
tensely human than that which records the 
crucifixion of Christ, and yet there is no one 
that so directly draws the mind to the 
thought of the unearthly and the supernat 
ural. The malice of the Priests, the cruelty 
of the fickle multitude, the wrath of the 
national prejudices, the Roman "caring for 
none of these things," Caiphas, PilaTe, Pi 
late s wife, the soldiers, the frightened disci 
ples, the clamoring mob, how human are 
they all ! The sufferer, too, in their midst, 
keep out of view all higher thoughts, and 
where was a more perfect manhood ever ex 
hibited to the world ! How different from 
the humanity around him, and yet how truly 


man ! Take up the book and read. Does 
a shade of scepticism cross the Christian 
mind, we know of no better prescription for 
such a disease than this : Take up the book 
and read the story of the crucifixion. There 
is no need of retouching the picture. Noth 
ing can add to the divine limning of the 
scene as presented in the Evangelists. Thus 
far, we venture to say, no sane mind can 
have any more doubt of its reality than of 
any event of yesterday narrated by the most 
authentic of human testimony. Thus far 
there is nothing in Thucydides or Tacitus, 
nothing in Robertson or Prescott, nothing 
in any book of Memoirs, nothing in any Bi 
ography, ancient or modern, to be compared 
with it. We feel throughout the power of 
a graphic truthfulness that is wholly irresist 
ible. But there is one point in which it 
seems to be all condensed. It is the close 
of the drama so far as the mere human 
agency is concerned. The soldiers more 
active work is done. With stolid indiffer^ 


ence have they nailed him to the cross, then 
raised it high in air. " They parted his gar 
ments among them ; " and then, says the 
author of this inimitable narrative, "then 
sitting down they watched him there." It 
was with no feeling of compassion. All that 
they had now to do was to await with mili 
tary patience that lingering agony they so 
well knew, and to which they had become so 
indifferent. The beginning of the work is 
put for the consummation. " They crucified 
him," says the Evangelist ; " then sitting 
down they watched him there." 

Here is the end of the human, the natural. 
So far all is credible, probable, irresistibly 
truthful. But can the mind rest here ? Will 
it not become incredible again if there is 
nothing more ? The series of events culmi 
nates in this one scene presented to their eyes, 
now presented to our imaginations. What 
have we before us ? A holy and innocent 
being, the most holy the world had ever 
known, made to suffer the most lingering 


and agonizing pain. Now turn we from the 
credible of sense and nature to the higher 
credible, the higher truthfulness demanded 
by the moral reason and the conscience. 
Here is the spectacle ; and now we ask, 
Which is the greater wonder, that this 
should be the whole of it, all finished here 
on earth, with nothing more in any world 
beyond, in any heaven above or hell below, 
in any time then present, in any time to 
come, that this should continue to be the 
whole of it, this natural, this human merely, 
or that there should be some manifestation 
from a higher sphere in attestation of some 
higher ideas than those that filled the minds 
of revengeful Jews, or the watching Roman 
soldiers ? The bare sight, the bare concep 
tion of the outward scene, has of itself a 
strangeness, an a priori incredibility which 
even the familiarity of sense cannot wholly 
take away. A holy soul thus suffering ! But 
add another thought. Thus suffering all 
alone, no higher soul beholding ! How the 


wonder rises! Beholding, yet indifferent! 
It passes all belief. Beholding with inter 
est, with interest most intense for no move 
ment of the Divine soul can be either small 
or measurable and yet that interest never, 
never manifested, and never to be manifested 
in any outward sign. We have reached the 
utmost climax of the marvellous. But grant 
ing it to be conceivable, still the question 
returns : Is this the less wonder, or that the 
earth should quake, the rocks should rend, 
and darkness cover all the land, when the 
Omnipotent Holiness is thus defied, and the 
proof is challenged, as it were, that the 
higher world is not, and cannot be, indiffer 
ent to such a spectacle ? We cannot bear 
the thought, when w r e think and feel aright. 
No miraculous in nature can surpass it in in 
credibility. There is mind somewhere, some 
higher mind, some universal soul, to whom 
such a scene is matter of intensest interest ; 
and just as strongly do we feel that this 
interest must display itself. The publicity of 


right, the manifestation of right, is just as 
much a demand of the reason as the abso 
lute existence of right. It must become 
objective, or the essential idea is marred. 
At some time, in some way, will it so come 
out, that not only will the reason acknowl 
edge it to be a truth, but the eye shall see, 
the ear shall hear, the inmost sense shall 
feel it as the deepest fact, the highest reality, 
of the universe. It may not be now, nor 
nigh, yet such objective manifestation will 
surely be. Even in ordinary cases of wrong 
we cannot keep out the thought. Things 
will not pass away, the universe will not go 
on its eternal course with any wrong, the 
least wrong, buried in eternal indifference, or 
forever hidden subjectively in the mind of 
God, or having its retribution only faintly 
signalled in some obscure and hard to be in 
terpreted arrangements of unvaried physical 
law. No soul is ever really satisfied with 
the common babble about the retribution of 
nature. The reason, too, has its law, and 


this demands the supernatural manifestation. 
Before the world ends, before even nature 
ends, there must come some higher and 
more distinct sign, some unmistakable show 
ing that the least moral evil is of more mo 
ment than any order, or any disorder, of the 
material universe. 

Thus are we compelled to think even in 
respect to common wrongs. Here ordinary 
experience seems to be against what would 
otherwise be the decision of the reason ; and 
so, "if the vision tarry we wait for it," 
the higher, though for the present overruled, 
faculty of the soul gathering from the very 
delay accumulated argument for the great 
final manifestation. But in such a case as 
this of the crucifixion, we feel that the scale 
of credibility turns the other wa}\ The 
present becomes more easy of belief than 
the suspended manifestation. The super 
natural surprises our sense ; it is oppos 
ed to the associations of the lower though 
the more common experience, and this, its 


lower incredibility, is the ground of Hume s 
vulgar argument against miracles. On the 
other hand, the entire absence of any such 
manifestation in such a case as this, gives a 
shock to the higher thinking. It is a higher 
incredibility that Hume and Bentham were 
utterly incapable of estimating. Such ab 
sence would be a wonder we might receive 
with a submissive faith, humbly trusting to 
the revelation of some distant day ; still in 
itself, and to a right mind, would it be a 
higher marvel, requiring a higher exercise 
of this faith than is demanded for crediting 
any of the wonders in nature recorded by 
the Evangelists. 


Christ The Appearance to Mary At the Sea of Galilee 
Subjective Truthfulness of the Stories of the Resurrection 

Commencement of the Historical Chasm "The Acts of the 
Apostles" Its Scanty Eecords How Little \ve know of the 
Apostolic Age I The New Life in the World Had come 
from the Grave of Christ The Historical Silence like the 
Chasms discovered in Nature s Progress The Silent Super 
natural coming between the Old and the New Creations 
Separates the Inspired from the other Writings of the Church 
The Light seen again towards the days of the Apostolical Fathers 

A new Power had worked mightily between Whence came 
it? The Apostles carried with them something more than 
Truth Beside the Doctrine, they had with them the Risen Life 
itself of the Crucified The Phrase kv Xptorti Xpiarbe kv 
vfuv Early Christians styled Christophori, Christ-bearers 
Justyn Martyr The Language means more than Discipleship 

Unknown to the World before A new Thought demanded 
new Words Favorite Language of Paul " The New Man " 

"The Man in Christ" Christ in the Church We study 
Christ in Paul Comes nearer to us than in the Evangelists. 

"HE was crucified, dead and buried. Here 
ends the natural, or as we have styled it, 
the ordinarily credible, in the history of 
Christ. " When Jesus, therefore, had re 
ceived the vinegar he said, It is finished ; 
and he bowed his head and gave up the 


ghost." The soldier had pierced his side to 
ascertain the fact that he was unmistakably 
dead. " He who saw it had borne witness" 
in his own loving and mourning memory to 
the never to be forgotten event. The rich 
friend of Arimathea had begged the body of 
Pilate and taken it down from the cross. 
The honorable friend Nicodemus, despond 
ing but no longer afraid, had brought " his 
aromatic mixture of inyrrh and aloes about 
an hundred pounds weight." " Then took 
they the body of Jesus, and wound it in 
linen cloths, with the spices, as the manner of 
the Jews is to bury. Now in the place where 
he was crucified there was a garden, and in 
the garden a new sepulchre wherein was 
never man laid. There laid they Jesus, 
therefore, because of the Jews preparation- 
day ; for the sepulchre was nigh at hand." 
Who can doubt this ? What motive to 
doubt it? What reason to doubt it that 
would not involve in scepticism every nar 
ration of a death and burial ever given to 


the world? As well doubt that Socrates 
drank the poisoned cup, or that Washington 
was entombed at Mount Vernou. 

Here ends the scene, we say, in its natu 
ral or earthly aspect. Most grave is it, most 
solemnly impressive, yet within the limits of 
the ordinary or sense credibility. Certain 
events are recorded as transpiring after 
wards, but they belong to the unearthly or 
supernatural chapter. It is a part of our 
present argument to pass them by, though 
without at all losing sight of them. They 
are, indeed, supernatural, as viewed in their 
absolute verity, but it is sufficient, at pres 
ent, to advert to the subjective truthful 
ness of the narrative. There is the story of 
a reappearance upon earth, of the body 
being strangely missing from the sepulchre, 
of the wonder of the disciples when this 
startling rumor is brought to their despond 
ing minds. One saw the empty grave, and 
believed that its tenant had risen from the 
dead. The others, as is evidently implied, 


went away again to their own homes, still 
desponding, still unbelieving, "for they 
knew not the Scriptures, 7 they knew not 
the glory of that new kingdom, of that new 
life for the world, which, as we now know, 
beyond all doubting, did truly arise out of 
that garden sepulchre. The narrative tells 
of one who had a stronger faith, even that 
faith whose energy and vitality is love. It 
was " the woman, the sinner," who " loved 
much because she had been forgiven much. 1 
It might have been this faith stripped even 
of hope, and reduced to its rudimental ele 
ment of holy affection, it might have been 
this faith, outwardly desponding, yet in 
wardly still alive, that caused her to see and 
hear what others saw and heard not. And 
so might the sceptical objector maintain that 
it was her own loving fancy that through 
the dim grey mists of the morning gave 
shape to the ever-remembered One who had 
once so tenderly pronounced her sins for 
given. It was her own loving fancy that 


gave this shadowy form the well-known 
voice, when it "said unto her, Mary, and 
she turned herself and said unto him, Rab- 
boni, which is to say, Master." There is a 
ghostly, imaginative air about it, the critic 
may say, and with some plausibility ; but 
who can deny the heavenly strain of the 
message that follows this brief and touching 
allocution ? She had started to grasp the 
body, or the figure, call it what we will, 
when Jesus saith unto her, " Touch me not, 
Mary, for I am not yet ascended to my 
Father ; but go to my brethren, and say 
unto them, I ascend unto my Father and 
your Father, and to my God and your 
God. 7 Fraud here is out of the question ; 
no soul that has not utterly lost all feeling 
of the pure and truthful can entertain such 
a thought for a moment. Fancy may have 
raised the form, but could any supposed 
fancy have created such a voice and such a 
declaration ? Granting, however, that such 
a solution might seem probable if we had to 


judge of the story alone, without regard to 
its antecedents or its consequents, yet, in 
view of these, now so clear and so well 
established, how greatly increased the 
gravity, how essentially changed the whole 
aspect, of the testimony ! We do now know 
that there has been, for eighteen hundred 
years, coming forth from that grave a power 
most unearthly, most superhuman ; a power 
that none but the most ignorantly obstinate 
can doubt ; a power that has changed, and 
is still changing, the face of the world. It is 
this fact, this knowledge, which may well be 
regarded as rendering, for us at least, such 
an objective declaration at the time one of 
the most credible events that ever happened 
in human history. The incredibility of the 
sense and the imagination is lost, yea, over 
come an hundred fold, in the higher credi 
bility of the reason, in view of the ac 
companying truth, and the superhuman 
historical effect. 

And so of the other appearances the 


coming into the midst of the watchful com 
pany " when the doors were shut for fear 
of the Jews/ the familiar voice so readily 
distinguished from its well-known salutation, 
" Peace be unto you," the " burning hearts" 
that felt a friend was nigh, though " the eye 
was holden" from recognizing the changed 
form that so mysteriously travelled with 
them from Emmaus to Jerusalem ; the sud 
den clearing up of all that seemed dim and 
phantom-like as they witnessed the familiar 
yet solemn act of breaking bread. There is 
the same feeling as we read the account of 
that early morning visit at the Sea of Galilee, 
when again the disciples knew him not until 
the beloved one recognized the Master s 
speech in the tender question, "Children, 
have ye any meat ? " " Then were the dis 
ciples glad when they saw the Lord." Is this 
the language, this the style of narration, of 
wonder-makers or legendary mythopoeists ? 
Call it imagination if you will it may be con 
fessed that there were some grounds for its 


excitement but how pure the imagination, 
how heavenly ! If it were subjective merely, 
how holy that subjective ness ! how calmly 
restrained by some most unusual, if not un 
earthly influence ! What can be more truth 
ful than the manner of narration, and what 
more incredible than that it should have 
been so told by men who knew that it was 
all a lying picture, whose most minute and 
tender touches would, on such a supposition, 
be the grossest of all mendacities ? To think 
of such a story, and so told, by men who had 
stolen their Master s lifeless body, and knew 
that it was lying concealed somewhere, a de 
composing corpse ! To think of such truth 
ful simplicity, such enthusiasm, such earnest 
ness, such courage, such elevated thought, 
such holy emotion, such a heavenly life of 
love, such martyr deaths coming from such 
a source ! of so much unearthly vitality, 
in short, proceeding from a mouldering 
death, so much spiritual splendor from the 
darkness of a hopeless grave ; so much 


heavenly truth, or truth that seems so 
heavenly, from known lies, so revolting to 
any pure conscience, so alien to all elevated 
hope, so inconsistent with any moral hero 
ism, so utterly destructive of any martyr 
spirit, of any soul-sustaining faith ! Incred 
ible, most incredible ! Almost any miracle 
is more worthy of belief ; while, in contrast 
with it, the holy, the consistent, the har 
monious supernatural of Christ s real object 
ive resurrection becomes the most credible, 
or, to use again our seeming paradox, the 
most natural of events. 

The story of the resurrection is subjectively 
the most truthful of narrations. No honest 
mind can avoid feeling this. These men are 
telling what they firmly believe to be facts. 
Such visions were seen, such voices were 
heard, whether subjective or objective ; it 
would be a wrong to our moral nature to 
doubt it ; such an influence was felt as of 
one breathing upon them a heavenly power 
and spirit; whether as undulations of the 


air without, or proceeding from agitations 
moving from the spirit within, such words 
did sound in their ears ; they heard them 
distinctly saying, "Go ye forth and teach all 
nations, baptizing them in the name of the 
Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy 
Ghost. Whether coming, we say, from the 
inner man, or from outward impressions, 
these sights, these sounds, these words in 
their sublime coherence, their heavenly 
thought, were veritable facts in their psycho 
logical experience. They lived in their be 
lief, they conquered in their power, they died 
in their obedience. Is it held to have been 
all subjective or imaginative ? Be it so. 
We believe that no honest mind can hold to 
the inward here and yet long resist the im 
pression of the outward truthfulness. But 
the first feature is sufficient for the general 
argument that has been maintained in this 
book, and, on this account, we are willing 
to pass by, for the present, those narrations 
in the gospels that are subsequent to the 


death of Christ. Aside from its extraordi 
nary yet most natural antecedents, severed 
from its remarkable consequents, judged 
simply as a very marvellous event depend 
ing merely on such an amount of human 
testimony, it would present a different aspect, 
and might, perhaps, rationally allow some 
degree of honest scepticism. It might be 
ascribed to a variety of outward and inward 
impressions without making it thus a greater 
wonder than would be the admission of its 
actual objective truth. But such is far from 
being the case before us. It had these 
strange antecedents, it had these wondrous, 
and, except on one supposition, inexplicable 
consequents. To these, therefore, let us 
pass, in accordance with the method steadily 
pursued of making the natural, the human, 
or the anthropopathic in the Scriptures, the 
ground-work of the entire and continuous 

"He was crucified, dead and buried." 
And here the remarkable history we have 


traced so far might seem to have corne to a 
sudden termination, or rather, to present 
a most mysterious chasm. Comparatively 
might this be said with truth, although there 
is a narrow line of continuance contained in 
the book called " The Acts of the Apostles," 
and the scanty records it gives us, confined 
mainly to a portion of the labors of but one, 
and he the last commissioned of the Chris 
tian messengers. Has it occurred to the 
reader how little is told us anywhere of the 
other apostles, and how very small a part 
this book must be of the whole history of 
the establishment of Christ s kingdom on 
earth ? A priori we must believe that the 
solemn commission did not remain a dead 
letter, but must have been most faithfully 
and extensively fulfilled. The remains of 
ecclesiastical tradition, above all the labors 
unrecorded yet proved by their effects, the 
new life everywhere made known, the 
churches planted from Malabar to Britain, 
from the Goths to the Arabians and Abyssin- 


ians, attest the presence of other messen 
gers, but of the same message, the same 
preaching, the same story of the cross, the 
same central doctrine of one who had risen 
from the dead, and become a newly risen 
life in all who received him into their souls by 
faith ; but of all this there are no authentic 
contemporary records. Leaving out, then, 
for the present, this narrow stream which 
we find in the book of the Acts of the 
Apostles, we have, in the main, and for the 
greater part of the world and of the Church s 
history, the wondrous fact to which we would 
here call attention. 

"He was crucified, dead and buried." 
Here, then, with the exception mentioned, 
begins one of the strangest chasms in history, 
the stumbling chasm to some, and yet, to 
a right view, methinks, more truly marvel 
lous, and thus more faith-confirming, than 
any filling up, had it been all as fully given 
as the narrative of Paul in the Acts. But 
even this soon leaves us. The continuation 


after Christ left the earth is like a narrow 
bridge over a strange depth, and even that 
terminates before it spans half the dark 
abyss. How little this is, every intelligent 
reader feels, and yet it is all we have till we 
come down nearly to the days of Justin 
Martyr. But what a mighty work had been 
accomplished between ! Our first feeling is 
that of subdued complaint. Why could not 
more have been given us of this deeply in 
teresting period? Why could it not have 
been filled up, if for no other reason, to 
baffle the Anti-Christian critics who would 
build in this historical waste their imagina 
tive theories, and find room therein for the 
dates of their traditionary and apocryphal 
gospels ? But there it stands, the unbridged 
chasm over which no critical research can 
find a way. On one side the death and 
burial of Christ ; on the other this new and 
wondrous life now working such moral 
miracles in the Roman world. A greater 
wonder, we repeat it, than any filling up. 


The slender narrative alluded to, though ex 
tending so little of the way, and so abruptly 
terminating, is sufficient to show the un 
earthly spirit, and the irresistible energy of 
this new power, whilst the silent blank that 
remains prepares the thoughtful mind for 
the contemplation of that real marvel, 
which, though Gibbon could not see it, is, 
in fact, the greatest miracle in the chronicles 
of our earth. Here was wrought the great 
est change in the ordinary flow of human 
acts, and human opinions. The dividing 
of the Red sea, the turning back of the 
waters of Jordan, did not equal it. Never 
was there such an apparent effect in the 
absence of all assignable earthly causes, 
natural, moral, social, political, or philo 
sophical ! Such a transition period stands 
alone in history. It is like one of those 
awful pauses in the physical progress, where, 
in the mighty visible effect, science traces 
the existence of a new creating power, and 
yet that power has worked unseen. It hath 


veiled its operation, until it stands revealed 
in the new result, the new order of things it 
has initiated in nature. The new light 
shows the hidden power. It is more start 
ling than though all along this transition in 
terval there had been a series of visible 
miraculous displays, linking the old with the 
new order of things. We come down to 
the brink of the last traceable causation, 
and we know that the supernatural, though 
we see it not, must somewhere have come 
between, for here is something which the 
old nature, the old causation, never could 
have produced. Such is the effect of this 
blank, or apparent blank, in the Church s 
history. To the thoughtful mind folios of 
miracles, and of minute details of apostolical 
labors, would not produce a deeper feeling of 
the wonder-working power of God. 

It is, too, well worth bearing in mind, that 
it is this interval which separates the in 
spired from the human writings of the 
Church. May we not say, with all reverence, 


that in this, too, may be discovered marks 
of a superhuman wisdom ? Had there been 
an uninterrupted continuance of writings, 
and ecclesiastical annals, there might have 
been some ground for the argument which 
would blend them all in one, and place the 
patristic on the same or a similar ground of 
authority with the apostolical. This sharp 
line coming between, or, rather, this im 
passable interval, was necessary for that 
feeling of reverence which puts the one 
class of books at an unapproachable distance 
from all others. They are parted in time 
and position, as well as by the awful 
superiority of thought that characterizes the 
immediate messengers of Christ. Hence 
that veneration for the apostolical writings 
so remarkable in the earliest subsequent 
writings of the church. In the days of 
Clement, "Holy Scripture is quoted as the 
inspired word of God, separate from all 
other books, and with as religious a rever 
ence as even now after an awe-creating 


lapse of eighteen hundred years. Such is 
the voice of the true tradition, setting aside 
the claims that are falsely made for it as of 
equal, or even collateral, authority with the 
Scriptures. It is, indeed, the earliest and 
most universal tradition, superseding all 
other traditions, that the books of the old 
and new Testaments, the latest of which are 
the apostolical epistles, stand apart from all 
human writings however religious, that 
they are, in truth, the books that contain, in 
the most unrivalled degree and manner, the 
divine faith, or the mind of God as revealed 
to man. 

" He was crucified, dead and buried." 
We left the Saviour sleeping in the tomb of 
Joseph. A brief history follows, and then 
all is dark. Now look down the intervening 
waste. We discover the light again in the 
brief writings and still briefer accounts of 
the earliest fathers. It is enough to show 
that the world has changed ; a new era has 
begun. The new force has not yet become 


very visible in political history, but it is be 
yond all doubt alive and working mightily. 
It is manifesting itself in signs of portentous 
change. The ages have taken a step in pro 
gress from which they can never wholly go 
back. Unknown as yet to statesmen and 
philosophers, the transforming power is intro 
ducing elements of thought and feeling that 
must soon affect the whole outward face as 
well as the deep foundation of Roman society. 
Whence came it ? From philosophy ? That 
had virtually died generations before ; the 
schools had become barren ; it was centuries 
since they had borne any children like Pythag 
oras, Socrates, or Plato ; the questions dis 
cussed by wrangling Stoics and Epicureans 
were dead scholasticisms ; Sophists yet talked 
of a^e-n), and disputed about the summum 
bonum, but no one expected that their lives 
should correspond to their ethical precepts. 
The whole story is told by Lucian, scoffer 
as he was against Christianity as well as the 
old mythology. Did this mighty change 


originate in any silent working of any po 
litical or social movements? These were 
all tending to anarchy or despotism. Phi 
lanthropy hardly existed even in theory, and 
morality had almost perished from the earth. 
But a new morning is certainly breaking on 
the world. The ancient vision is drawing 
nigh. The New Jerusalem is coming down 
from Heaven. The " feet of the Messengers 
are seen on the tops of the mountains. 77 
Arise, City of our God "Arise, shine, 
for thy Light is come, and the glory of the 
Lord is dawning upon thee. For lo ! dark 
ness covers the earth, and thick darkness the 
nations, but the Lord is rising upon thee, 
and his glory is seen upon thee. And the 
Gentiles are coming to thy light, and kings 
to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine 
eyes and see ; they are hastening to thee, 
thy sons from far, thy daughters are carried 
at thy side ; the multitudes of the sea are 
turning to thee, the powers of the nations 
are becoming thine." Whence, we may ask 


again, this new light ? It has shone forth 
from the darkness of that garden sepulchre. 
Whence this new life ? It has come from the 
tomb of that crucified One. Here was, in 
deed, a resurrection undeniable. It brings its 
own attestation ; it has come down the stream 
of ages ; it is now with us, this unearthly 
power ; the books that record its early deeds, 
the strange doctrines so different from any 
thing conceived by human thought, and 
which have ever accompanied it these are 
still with us, still, as of old, challenging the 
intellect of the world to account for them on 
any known natural process of mere human 
development. In our reason s awe, if not in 
our sense-wonder, can we still feel the power 
of this standing miracle ; and, thus prepared, 
it is not difficult for us to believe in the per 
sonal resurrection of that divine man from 
whose grave there has certainly flowed forth 
such a life-giving, earth-transforming force. 
Thus prepared, we feel that this resurrection 
of which the Apostles say so much, must be 


something more than a figure, more than a 
mere rationalistic revival of truth however 
transcendent. Examine it as we find it in 
its early transition state, examine it as it 
appears when the current of the world s his 
tory embraces it never more to be lost. It 
was not such an influence as came forth from 
the grave of Socrates. It was not a school, 
a doctrine merely, a system of philosophy. 
Nothing of this kind, no mere truth, or 
truths, addressed to the intellect, had ever 
before possessed, or would then have possess 
ed, the power of thus stirring and trans 
forming the souls of men. It was a real life, 
and no figure ; it was something more than 
even divine truth regarded in its rational and 
moral effect ; it was a motion in the world, as 
real and vital a motion as ever flowed in the 
physical creations, or in the old humanity. 
The bearers of this new energy did not regard 
themselves as merely messengers of truth 
however high and heavenly. This was, in 
deed, an important part of their mission, but 


not its essence. They carry with them him 
who was not only " the Way and the Truth," 
but also "the Life." They bring into the 
world a new vital power and the divinely ac 
companying grace of dispensing it. It is the 
life of a man who died that^it might be thus 
imparted. This risen life, risen in the power 
of the Spirit, risen in the quickening of the 
flesh, this new humanity, they proclaim, they 
offer, they actually bring to men. How com 
municated, through what media, organic, 
sacramental, ineffable these are questions 
we leave to others, if others shall ever be 
able to settle them. It is the gve&ifact itself 
to which attention is called, the great 
thought we find everywhere in the writings 
and preaching of Paul, and which presents 
itself as the "strange feature of Christianity 
when the gospel stream unites? with the 
moving history of the world. The interest 
taken since the Reformation in the doctrine 
of Justification by Faith, and the vast im 
portance of its revival from the mediaeval 


semi-paganism, have made us lose sight too 
much of this stronger and still more essen 
tial feature of the early Church theology. 
Hence has come such a change of language 
as makes it less easy to understand the 
Patristic writings. But in the primitive 
Church it was a reality affecting every other 
aspect of the Christian truth. Christ was in 
the Christian, as he was in the Church his 
earthly body. It was no figure employed to 
represent a mere following, or discipleship. 
His life was in their life. Hence his suffer 
ings were their sufferings, his resurrection 
not only the pledge but the ground of the 
new life then working in their souls, and 
destined, eventually, to quicken their mortal 
bodies ; and so his satisfaction to law was 
their satisfaction, his obedience their obedi 
ence, his righteousness their righteousness 
imputed to them rightly, because it was 
really theirs as it was really his. They were 
Christophori, Christ-bearers, Theophori. How 
prevalent was this feeling, how universally 


the idea entered into the mind of the early 
Church, may be judged from the fact that 
heathen satirists derided these fanatics, as 
they were fond of calling them, for the mad 
notion that they carried their God with 
them, in their souls. 

The new idea had introduced a new mode 
of speech. Justin Martyr had been edu 
cated in the dialectics of Platonism, but how 
different the style of language employed by 
him, after his conversion, from that of any 
school of philosophy? How different the 
language of the same Justin Martyr, as a 
disciple of Plato and a disciple of Christ! 
He was learning the vernacular of the New 
Jerusalem, that city of our God below, 

" Where Egypt, Tyre, and Greek, and Jew, 
Began their speech and lives anew." 

It was indeed new and glorious truth to 
which he had awaked, but this was far 
from expressing the peculiarity of his new 
state. It was not merely another system 


of philosophy he had found. He is now 
Christophorus, Christ-bearing. The dead 
man s life, given for the Church, had become 
his life ; he lived henceforth in the risen 
vitality of the crucified Redeemer. 

E/co iv avroTg "/ in them" says the 
Saviour, in His intercessory prayer. There 
is the same idea in that frequent language 
of the Apostle, iv Xqiarw, "in Christ," and 
the corresponding expression Xgiov&g Iv 
VfilVj " Christ in you." Are these figures, we 
ask again, or do they denote the most vital 
of realities? The relation of a teacher to 
those who adopted his system of truth, how 
ever high, even though it included, as truth 
merely, the highest verities of the Christian 
faith, such a relation would seem to fall 
below the significance of language so strange, 
so new, so evidently called out by the exi 
gency of a new and strange idea. It may 
come very natural to us now to treat it as a 
figure, but then, it should be remembered, 
it was without precedent in the world. It had 


with it no such associations of thought, either 
for the cultivated or the common mind. The 
language had never before been heard. *> 
MWOTJ, in Moses, would have sounded as 
strange for such a purpose as iv TTkatwvt,, h 
Zfywvi,, in Plato, or in Zeno. Discipleship 
had never been thus expressed before Christ 
said, " Lo, I am with you always, even to the 
end of the world. 7 

Such, then, was their warrant for going 
forth ; they carried the Saviour with them, 
not his teachings, not his truth merely, not 
his doctrines alone, though it were the doc 
trine of the cross, not any mere power given 
to the truth, if we can understand what that 
means, but Christ himself. Teacher and 
taught were alike iv XQIGTM, and the evidence 
that the former was a true Apostle came 
from the fact that his ministrations were 
followed by this new life in his converts, 
whether manifested in the outward miracu 
lous gifts, or the more inward sanctifying 
grace. " Ye seek a proof tf Christ speaking 


in me," rov Iv tfiol kakovvtoq XQLOTOV, says 
the Apostle, 2 Corinth, xiii, 3 : " Prove your 
own selves ; know ye not that Jesus Christ 
is in you unless ye be addxifjioi, unproved 
reprobates ?" 

This style of speech is not employed in 
the Old Testament. It can be traced to the 
influence of no Jewish schools or sects. 
Neither among Pharisees, nor Sadducees, 
nor Essenes, is there to be found anything 
like it. It is as utterly unknown to any 
Rabbinical as to any classical usage. What 
then is its fair meaning? May it not be 
that in modern times we have fallen below 
it, have treated it too much as a mere figure, 
or, if it be a figure, have suffered our ration 
alizing glosses to warp us away from that 
most inward and vital significance which 
alone could have demanded and made uni 
versal so strange a metaphor ? We venture 
to say that this is now the great question of 
the Church. Until this matter of interpreta 
tion is settled, our other polemics are com- 


paratively of little importance. Let it be 
once thus settled in real, and not merely 
rhetorical, accordance with primitive usage, 
and many other theological discords might 
be resolved that now seem utterly unmanage 

It was certainly something more than a 
figure to the writer who so extensively em 
ploys it. The Pauline language and the 
Pauline doctrine seem wholly built upon it. 
From it, too, grows out all the Apostle s per 
sonal experience. He talks like a man who 
would seem to have, in some measure, lost 
his old personal identity. There is still the 
continuity of memory and consciousness ; 
the old Adam is indeed well remembered, 
but along with all this there is a new hu 
manity, as real and as vital as the first. 
After his conversion he is no longer Saul of 
Tarsus, but " a man in Christ." " / know a 
man in Christ," he says so it should be ren 
dered, and not / knewoWa avQQwnov lv 
" I know a man in Christ who was 


caught up to the third heaven :" " Of such an 
one will I glory, but of myself (my old self) 
I will not glory." How few are the verses 
we can read continuously in the writings of 
this fervid Christian without finding some 
thing to remind us of this idea ? Whatever 
may be the matter or doctrine treated of 
how soon does it come round to that loved 
name so constantly identified with his new 
personal being, Christ Jesus, or in his own 
soft Syriac vernacular, Yesu Meshiho, so oft 
in its occurrence beyond what is to be found 
in any other parts of the Bible ! Place the 
Pauline epistles where we may, they might 
be detected, without other proof, by the 
very sight of this word striking the eye in 
every page, and in almost every verse. If 
we are authorized to judge by the force and 
frequency and tenderness with which he 
employs it, Christ was in Paul as really and 
truly as he ever walked by the sea of Gali 
lee, or talked with his disciples in the 
flesh ; as really and truly as he personally 


died on the cross, and rose again from the 

We study Christ in Paul ; may we venture 
to say it? The writer would speak with 
caution here, and yet the opinion may be 
advanced, that we learn more of Christ, of 
the mind and heart of Christ, as he is mani 
fested in this noble Apostle, than in the rec 
ords of the evangelists themselves. He comes 
nearer to us, we see him more distinctly, we 
converse with him more intimately, he is 
more tender, more human, as thus seen in 
the " Christ-bearing" disciple, than in his 
outward words and acts as recorded in the 
gospel narrations. By such language we 
do not underrate those precious portions of 
the Scripture. Christ is near to us, very 
near to us, as he appears in his life on earth ; 
he is still nearer to us may we venture to 
say it? as he is risen in the Church. As 
God the Father conies to us in Christ so may 
we not venture reverently to say ? Christ 
comes nigh to us in his holy people, in the 


souls of true Christians, and, above all, as 
he is so brightly manifested in the words 
and acts of him who labored more than all, 
and who, whilst rejoicing in the new life, 
was ever willing to give his earthly life for 
the Lord Jesus. 


THE APOSTLE PAUL Compared with other Apostles The 
Transformation of Peter Paul compared with James and John 

Paul the Apostle of Faith James of Works John of Love 

Injustice of this Comparison The World regards Paul as 
the Dogmatist Same Injustice, to some extent, in the Church 
The Pauline Ethics Paul the most practical of Moralists 
Abundance of his Ethical Precepts The Heavenly Love as ex 
hibited by John As exhibited by Paul. His Picture of Char 
ity The exuberant Tenderness of his Language The Pauline 
Philanthropy Compared with the Secular Incidents in the 
Apostle s Life and Labors Their Truthfulness Paul no Fa 
natic His Moderation His Preference of the Moral to the Mi 
raculous Thinks more of Charity than of Gifts The Ideal 
unexplained by the Corresponding Actual a greater Miracle than 
the Actual itself. Strauss to be met on his own ground. 

THE labors and writings of the other Apos 
tles would furnish like examples of this new 
soul-phenomenon. What thoughtful mind, 
awake to the wonderful in anthropology, can 
fail to be struck with the difference between 
the epistles of Peter so glowing with divin- 
est thought, and the narrow self-ignorance, 
we might almost say, stupidity, of the same 


man when in the immediate company, and 
enjoying the personal instructions, of the 
Great Teacher on earth ! Peter before and 
after the day of Pentecost what a transfor 
mation, what- a resurrection had intervened! 
Equally true are these thoughts of all the 
others ; but we have dwelt upon the writings 
and works of Paul chiefly because of a strong 
conviction that not only in the world, but in 
the Church, there has been more or less of per 
sonal injustice in the estimate formed of his 
natural and his Christian character. Among 
the irreligious Paul is very generally regarded 
as representing the harsher features of Chris 
tianity. Infidels and rationalists are fond of 
placing him in contrast with Christ; they speak 
of him as bigoted, intolerant, dogmatic, de 
nunciatory, delighting in the stern and gloomy 
doctrinal, in distinction from a practical and 
loving morality, all this in the face of the 
fact, which can be so easily tested, that all 
the Pauline Epistles contain not so much 
that is condemnatory and severe as some 


single discourses of the merciful Saviour. 
And so in the Church ; there has been mani 
fested with some a disposition to compare 
him unfavorably with the Apostle John. 
Paul is indeed commended ; his zeal, his 
Christian heroism are described in the most 
glowing terms ; it is admitted that he was 
il the man for the times." But then he is 
set forth as the Apostle of faith, of dogmas, 
and these, too, of the harsher kind, whilst 
James is the representative of practical mo 
rality, and John of the milder and more 
heavenly principle of love. 

But surely there is a great mistake here. 
Certain habits of thought have led good men, 
and even profound men, into comparisons 
that seem wholly unwarranted when we ex 
amine, for that purpose, the writings and 
histories of the blessed servants of Christ. 
It may be thought irreverent to have any 
preferences among them ; each has his own 
peculiar Christian excellence ; but an impar 
tial examination would show that the prac- 


tical ethical precepts of Paul not only exceed 
those of James, but of all the writers of the 
New Testament, Evangelists and Apostles 
combined. Sublime as is the Sermon on 
the Mount, holy as it is in every line and 
letter, yet is there about it an air of author 
ity ; it has a preceptual, ethical form; and 
these, whilst they render it more majestic, 
more commanding, more divine, do also we 
would say it with all reverence make it 
less human, less tender, than those chapters 
of Romans and Ephesians where the spirit 
of these heavenly canons so lovingly appears 
in the most moving exhortations to the daily 
Christian life. There it was Christ the Law 
giver, the Prophet, the Master, the Great 
Teacher ; here it is Christ the risen Saviour, 
Christ in Paul, giving the same precepts to 
a beloved Church, recognized as his own 
members, his own living body, deriving its 
ethical life from Him as its own living Head. 
Paul, it is said, is the representative of 
faith John, of love. Such a contrast is un- 


just to both. Each of them, it may rather 
be held, represents that "faith which works 
by love," and that love which faith in the 
risen life of the Crucified elevates into a 
vital affection of .fraternity, far transcending 
any abstract benevolence grounded on secu 
lar ideas or any merely secular reasoning. 
In the beloved apostle, this holy affection 
takes more of the quietistic form. It is 
paternal rather than fraternal. It is a sweet 
and calm emotion, having more of the pure 
ly heavenly, and less of that divine-human 
which so powerfully affects us, or should 
affect us, in the burning words of Paul. 
Nowhere else in the Scriptures, unless we 
except the declarations of the Saviour s love, 
can there be found language of such exquis 
ite tenderness. And it is everywhere. 
Hardly can there be found a doctrine, a 
precept, an exhortation, an interpretation, 
from which the writer does not soon turn 
to express his love to Christ ; and nearly as 
frequent is the exhibition of the same Ian- 


guage towards those whom he believes to 
be in Christ, his spiritual kinsmen, his very 
dear brethren, yea, nearer than brethren in 
the natural humanity, even members of the 
same spiritual body, partakers of the same 
heavenly life as derived from the same risen 
and exalted Head. The language of John 
is general ; it specifies not those relations in 
which the emotion of Christian love has its 
peculiarly human intensity. Along with its 
delightful simplicity, it has something of 
the rapt and mystic air. "Little children, 
love one another : he that loveth his brother 
abicleth in the light : he that loveth not, 
abideth in death. We know that we have 
passed from death to life because we love 
the brethren : Beloved, let us love one 
another, for love is of God, and every one 
that loveth is born of God, and knoweth 
God : he that loveth not knoweth not God ; 
for God is love. 7 Here is the transcending 
height of the wrapt contemplative soul. 
But Paul describes the same divine affection 


by its human motions in the Christian con 
sciousness. How heavenly and yet how 
near to our human hearts is such language 
as this : " Love suffereth long and is kind ; 
love envieth not, vaunteth not itself, is not 
puffed up ; love seeketh not her own, 
thinketh no evil ; beareth all things, believ- 
eth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all 
things ; love never faileth." Or he sets 
forth these throbbings of the new life as the 
opposites of the old human selfishness and 
malevolence : " Let all bitterness, and wrath, 
and anger, and clamor, and evil-speaking, 
be put away from you with all malice : and 
be ye kind one to another, tender-hearted, 
forgiving one another, even as God, for 
Christ s sake, hath forgiven you. 7 Again, 
they are presented to us as the richest 
growth of the heavenly grace : For the 
fruit of the spirit is love, 7 and with love 
come "joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, 
goodness, faith ; that Christ may dwell in 
your hearts by faith ; that ye, being rooted 


in love, and built on the foundation of love, 
may be able to comprehend, with all saints, 
what is the length, and breadth, and depth, 
and height of love, and to know that love 
of Christ which passe th knowledge ; that ye 
might be filled with all the fulness of God. 7 
This the language of the dogmatist, of the 
harsh preacher of an antinomian faith! 
How unjustly, how ignorantly, do the world, 
and many professedly in the Church, judge 
of this noble servant of Jesus ! He has 
been regarded as the austere apostle, but 
how he loved even his persecuting brethren 
the Jews ! Hear him, too, how he pours 
out his soul in love for Christians, and 
especially his spiritual children in Christ : 
"For we were gentle in the midst of you, 
even as a nurse nourisheth her children ; 
thus longing for you, lueigbuevoi, being af 
fectionately desirous of you, we were willing 
to impart unto you not only the gospel of 
God, but our own souls, because ye were 
t, very dear unto us ; and ye are 


witnesses, and God is witness, how holily, 
and righteously, and unblamably we behav 
ed ourselves among you that believed. 77 

But in all this there is another question 
than the personal character of Paul. It has 
reference to the origin of these divine ideas, 
and these new emotions associated with 
them, this new love to man so born of the 
still deeper love to a crucified and risen 
Redeemer: " Christ in you the hope of 
glory : " " For your life is hid with Christ in 
God, and when Christ who is your life, shall 
appear, then shall ye also appear with him 
in glory :" f di OVK m fy& 9 f jj di i v i^ l 
Xqia<uo$? li l live, yet no longer I, it is 
Christ that liveth in me. 7 Where did Paul 
get this divine thought, so far transcending 
Plato, of a new and heavenly life lived here 
on earth, tV ty ^rfj aaqxi, "in this our 
mortal flesh ?"f In what school of philos 
ophy did he learn this psychological mys- 

* Galat. ii., 20. f 2 Corinth, iv., 11. 


tery of a new humanity, connecting itself 
vitally with the old manhood, and elevating 
it to its own celestial sphere, so that Chris 
tians here might have their u citizenship" 
with the Ecclesia above, and thus " be made 
to sit together in heavenly places in Christ 
Jesus ?" Call them figures if you will, still 
the wonder remains ; whence these un 
earthly figures, and these unearthly doctrines 
demanding a language so unknown to all 
the world before? There is but one answer 
to these questions, and on that answer is 
grounded the immovable evidence of Chris 
tianity and the Scriptures. 

It is worthy of remark, how, in the hands 
of Paul, even the secular, or merely ethical, 
benevolence rises to a higher spiritual de 
gree. As modified by the new life, and the 
new idea, it is no longer the barren earthly 
philanthropy. Utilitarian it may still be call 
ed, but it is the transcendental or heavenly 
utilities it now brings with it, and which so 
distinguish it from any classical or heathen 


virtue, as well as from any modern casuistry 
that may claim the name. It is the celes 
tial "E^wg, the immortal Love, the love-pro 
ducing love, the virtue-bearing virtue, the 
Grace the mother of other graces. The dead 
antinomian faith says, " Be ye warmed, be ye 
clothed, but giveth not ; the secular philan 
thropy gives warmth to the body, clothing 
to the earthly nakedness; it strives to 
make men comfortable, and in confining it 
self to this, may ofttimes breed that very 
worldliness in which itself as well as all higher 
charity expires. But the Pauline benevo 
lence, the Christian benevolence, warms the 
soul. The secular becomes the subordinate 
value, and, in this way, paradoxical as it 
may seem, is actually increased by being 
made subordinate, whilst the heavenly utility 
appears in the new virtue, the new grace it 
generates, or tends to generate, in both the 
giver and the recipient. How sublimely 
does the Scripture charity here rise above that 
of any classical or heathen morals ! Surely 


must a soul be blind not to see that there 
had now come into the world a new light, 
a new love, a new and heavenly principle of 
action. Its great value is not so much its 
worldly good as its spiritual reproductiveness. 
It produces love in other souls, and, thus 
regarded as a state of the spirit, is a higher 
thing and of higher worth than happiness, 
though necessarily connected with it. Charity 
enriches the giver with grace, and makes the 
recipient a better man. It cherishes devo 
tion, it strengthens faith, brings out a rich 
harvest of thanksgiving to Grod, and thus 
contributes to that great end of moral action, 
the divine glory. Beautifully is all this set 
forth by Paul (2 Corinthians ix, 12); it is 
in fact the idea which renders clear a passage 
that has seemed to some commentators to 
present no little obscurity : "For the admin 
istration of this service (this almsgiving) not 
only supplieth the wants of the saints, but 
superabounds (neQiovtvovoa) through many 
thanksgivings to God ; whilst, by their ex- 


perience of this ministration, they glorify 
God for your subjection to the Gospel of 
Christ, and for your liberal distribution unto 
them and to all men ; and by their prayer 
for you as they long after you (imno&ovvtwv 
Vfiaq), loving you dearly, on account of the 
exceeding grace of God in you : thanks be 
unto God for his unspeakable gift." How 
different the motives for this almsgiving, 
how different, too, the benefits enumerated, 
from those of the ordinary, secular or utili 
tarian benevolence ! The thought of hap 
piness, or of any worldly, comfort, almost 
wholly disappears. It is lost in the glory 
of the higher ideas that come welling up 
from this " s^r-abounding ?; fountain, the 
thanksgiving, the glorifying, the prayer, the 
tender love. We see, too, the train of 
thought that led Paul at the close to break 
out in the rapturous exclamation " Thanks 
be unto God for his unspeakable gift," the 
gift of Christ, God s merciful alms to a poor 
perishing world. From this gift of Christ 


comes the life that warms them all, the gen 
erative power that makes this one virtue of 
almsgiving the mother of so many others. 
The gift of Christ, it rescues us from perdi 
tion, it saves us from pain, it is a source of 
the purest happiness ; but more than all 
and this was the ineffable value that rose 
highest in the Apostle s mind it creates the 
richest virtue in the human soul, and thus 
abounds, and " superabounds, to the glory 
of God." 

No part of the Scriptures would furnish 
better examples of that outward naturalness 
and truthfulness on which we have so much 
insisted than the " Acts of the Apostles, 7 and 
especially those parts that give us, with so 
much lifelikeness of coloring and detail, the 
labors of Paul. If space allowed to dwell 
upon them, we might refer to almost every 
point in his career. How real is every pic 
ture ! Paul at the feet of Gamaliel, Paul 
the zealous Pharisee, Paul at the stoning 
of Stephen, Paul on his way to Damascus, 


Paul seeing visions and a light from heaven ; 
whether subjectively or objectively, we in 
quire not now, but when was a vision ever 
more truthfully narrated ? Or turn we to 
his new life : Paul kneeling before Ananias, 
Paul praying, receiving baptism, speaking 
" straightway with boldness in the name of 
the Lord Jesus, "--Paul with the brethren at 
Jerusalem, again seeing Christ in the temple 
vision, journeying on his new mission to 
Antioch, sent forth to the cities of Asia 
Minor, reading in the Synagogue on the 
Sabbath day, now worshipped as a messen 
ger from heaven, then stoned and left for 
dead by the wayside, Paul withstanding 
Peter to his face, contending with Barnabas, 
distrusting Mark, departing with Silas, 
Paul in perils by land, in perils by water, 
in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in 
fastings, troubled on every side, yet not 
distressed, always bearing about in the body 
the dying of the Lord Jesus/ 7 Paul by the 
sea-shore at Troas, musing on the shaping 


destiny that seemed, in spite of all his pur 
poses, to direct his mighty mission to the 
opposite-lying coast of Europe, Paul seeing 
by night the man of Macedonia standing by 
him and saying, " cross over and help us,"- 
Paul at Athens disputing with the philoso 
phers, at Ephesus in the midst of the raging 
mob, at Miletus kneeling on the beach and 
praying with the elders of the Church, Paul 
at Jerusalem rescued by the Roman captain, 
speaking to the people in his own Hebrew 
tongue, pleading his cause before Felix, in 
all these circumstances displaying that manly 
truthfulness which ever won for him the 
favor of the stern Roman authorities, Paul 
in the deep, a prisoner in chains, yet rising 
through the greatness of his spiritual strength 
to the actual command of the foundering 
vessel ; plain outward facts all of them ; 
how objectively graphic in their narration, 
and yet how suggestive, how full of soul ! 
An uninspired writer, especially a modern 
one, would have inverted the pictures, turned 



them inside out, as it were. He would, per 
haps, have filled his pages with Paul s " sub 
jective, " as it is called. He would have given 
his religious experience. He would have 
told us all how he/dfc, and what he thought, 
as he stood on Mars Hill, or what great con 
ceptions filled his soul as he drew near the 
mighty city of the Seven Mountains. And 
yet what lets us more readily and clearly 
into the inward character and state of the 
man, than the simple objective style of the 
Scripture narrative ? We have before our 
eyes, and distinctly conceived in our thought, 
this most remarkable person in every stage 
and phase of his old and renewed being : 
Paul the youthful Pharisee, "haling men to 
prison," arid stoning them to death, yet verily 

thinking that he was doing God service, 

"Paul the aged," looking to his departure, 
confessing himself the chief of sinners, yet 
maintaining the earnestness and sincerity 
with which he had run the Christian race, 
and fought the fight of faith, Paul, of whom 


even after his conversion, it might be 
thought that no one would be more likely 
to prove a fanatic, or a rash enthusiast, yet, 
instead of this, ever the man of loving mod 
eration, who was willing, in the noblest 
sense, to be all things to all men if so be that 
he could win souls to Christ, Paul the ar 
dent, the excitable, the vision-seeing, and 
who, it might be thought, would have de 
lighted in the miraculous, the wonder-mak 
ing, yet, on the contrary, ever preferring the 
moral and spiritual, however sober, to the 
marvellous, however tempting to the relig 
ious imagination : so truthful was he, so 
loving, so just in the midst of excitements 
that might have affected the strongest un 
supported reason. He could speak with 
tongues more than they all ; he magnified 
the miraculous gifts with which God had 
endowed the Church, even where he turns 
from them and says, " yet show I unto you 
a more excellent way." Then follows that 
picture of Charity before alluded to, that 


heavenly limning, by which alone, if men 
had eyes to see, and hearts to feel, might be 
tested the inspiration of the human soul that 
conceived it, and the divinity of the Scrip 
tures in which it is contained. 

We do not underrate physical miracles, 
when we say they are less wonderful than 
such a character. What influence on earth, 
what school on earth, Oriental, Occidental, 
Greek, Roman, Jewish, could have " devel 
oped " the Apostle Paul as he appears in this 
his own strange transition age ? We might 
rest the evidence of Christianity, as it has 
been most ably and convincingly rested, on 
the utter impossibility of explaining this mys 
tery in the human in any other way than by 
the supernatural and divine. 

The Straussian men should be met on their 
own ground. Given the ideal to account for 
it, this is the problem. We have the ideal 
Christ, the ideal Paul, the ideal Christian 
Church with its superhuman doctrines. They 
are before us in history, they are now with us 



in books, they are seen and felt in the world. 
There is no known earthly development to 
which they can be assigned. Why then 
should we hesitate to admit the divine and 
the unearthly as manifested in some corres 
ponding actual? The former without the 
latter is only the greater wonder. It has 
the doubly miraculous, its own exceeding 
strangeness, and the utter inexplicability of 
its human origin. 


Summation of the Argument from the Natural Such an Exhi 
bition of the Human could not have been without the Super 
human The Jewish as compared with the Greek and Roman 
History The Bible Catholicism in its Adaptation to individual 
States of individual Souls Moses nearer to us, notwithstand 
ing his Orientalism, than the Greek and Roman Legislators 
The Bible Hebrew as compared with the Greek and Latin 
The Remarkable Intelligibility of the Bible Hebrew in the Let 
ter Surpassing, in this respect, the other Shemitic tongues, 
though aided in its Interpretation by them Two Reasons of 
this The Breath of the Lord inspiring it A Second Reason, 
the intense Humanity of its Images. 

THE Scriptures furnish an inexhaustible 
mine of illustration for the purposes of our 
argument ; but the rapid sketches that have 
been given are sufficient to satisfy any 
thoughtful mind, that in the book itself, in 
its "peculiar people" so remarkably con 
nected with the whole destiny of the race, 
in its history so strange yet so truthful, in 
its doctrines so unearthly yet given through 


language so intensely human, in its wonder 
ful position in the very heart of human cul 
ture, in its sudden power when newly 
brought to bear upon the mind and con 
science of an age, and in the lasting tenacity 
of its influence upon the world s best and 
highest thinking, there is, indeed, a mystery 
which can be solved by no explanation short 
of the supernatural and the divine. Thus, 
then, we say in conclusion, take the whole 
Bible, leave out its supernatural that is, its 
supernatural in outward act fix the mind 
upon its earthly history, its unique consist 
ency, its ancient ftovlr] or Oracular Messianic 
purpose so early proclaimed and so steadily 
maintained throughout, let the thought 
dwell upon its inherent truthfulness, its 
strong human probabilities, in a word, its 
great naturalness, and we have before us that 
position which for philosophic wonder, if we 
may use the term, the wonder of the thought 
or reason, surpasses any se?zse-confoundmg 
marvel of the outward supernatural itself. 


For the supernatural is credible ; there are 
times conceivable when the absence of it 
would be more strange than its presence ; 
but such a history, though so natural and 
credible in its parts, is yet, without the 
supernatural as its explanation, incredible as 
a whole, or would be incredible if there were 
not the strongest evidence of its outward 
actuality ; and this we undeniably have, for 
here are the books, and the people of whom 
we speak, and the Church that has been built 
upon them, and the present history, and the 
many centuries of past history that have been 
shaped and made what they are mainly by 
the power that is in these books, or by other 
powers which find their explanation nowhere 
else than in these revelations of humanity to 

Such a people as the Israelites, so strange in 
their secluded history, yet so purely human 
and natural in their national life, so cut off 
from the world s general polity, yet with a des 
tiny, so connected with the highest historical 


development of the race, a destiny announced 
in the earliest prophecy, and which the whole 
course of time has been fulfilling, (11) such a 
separate people, in this sense, and to this 
end called "holy,"* did exist; all history 
has been affected by them ; they exist now 
as a distinct people, though such a fact, 
strange as it may be, is really the inferior 
wonder ; they yet exist, still more vividly 
and emphatically, in the mighty power of 
the past ; we have their books, their litera 
ture, their poetry, their ethics, their theology, 
their most stirring national life ; it lies in 
the bosom of all that is best known of the 
world s culture it would almost seem from 
the very course of events, ancient and 
modern, and even aside from the " sure word 
of prophecy, 77 as though the whole human 
race had been created for the very purpose 
of bringing out the great truths of which 
this people were made the early, and for a 

* Exodus xxii, 31, "And ye shall be holy men unto 


long time the only, witnesses. Now we may 
say that, excepting the outward super 
natural, if we choose to except it, the gene 
ral worldly certainty attending the annals of 
this strange nation is equal to any that be 
longs to Greek or Roman history ; in in 
trinsic truthfulness, it may be maintained, 
it far exceeds them. This, then, being ad 
mitted, as beyond any reasonable doubt of 
any reasonable mind, what is there rationally 
incredible in the thought that such a people 
ever carrying with them such a world-destiny, 
should be the objects of an extraordinary 
divine care, if there is any divine care, or if 
such an idea is credible at all in reference to 
any earthly object ? Why so opposed to any 
strangeness in nature, if we are compelled to 
admit the higher strangeness in the histori 
cal ? In other words, if we can come thus far, 
if there has been such historical superintend 
ence, general or special, then again, what 
is there incredible in the statement that the 
curtain of the natural has been sometimes 


drawn aside, and God revealed " holding the 
winds, that they blow not," or "sending 
them forth as his messengers," or coming 
"in the flaming fire," or speaking in the 
11 still small voice," when some event, known 
to him as connected with the world s des 
tiny, demanded the one or the other mani 
festation ? 

In the views that have been presented, 
we see at least the reason of the wondrous 
Catholicism of the Scriptures. We see how 
it is that they so adapt themselves to the 
common knowledge, and common thinking, 
and common imagination, of all men. This 
is felt the more the book is studied and 
understood. The effect indeed may be 
heightened by the elucidating labors of the 
scholiast and the archaeologist ; all such 
clearing of the letter does, for the spiritual 
mind, add to the spiritual power ; but with 
out such helps, or with the scantiest supply 
of them, and in the poorest translation ever 
made, it has a fountain of living thought 


never failing in its rich suggestiveness for 
the devout unlearned, and never exhausted 
by any amount of research on the part of 
the profoundest scholar. 

There is another aspect still of this re 
markable universality. JSTot only is the 
Bible adapted to all ages, to all peoples, to 
all individuals ; it also addresses itself to the 
most special circumstances of each single 
soul. Men may doubt this who have never 
made the Scriptures their study, who, per 
haps, seldom read them at all ; but still there 
is no fact better attested in all the range of 
Baconian or inductive science. The most 
learned as well as the most simple, have 
borne witness to it. It is a truth established 
that there is this peculiar life in the world, a 
life manifesting itself in immense variety of 
effect, yet equally powerful for mental con 
ditions the most extreme in rank and knowl 
edge. It is all true, the picture that Burns 
has drawn of the holy influence of the Bible by 
the cotter s humble hearth ; it is all true, what 


we often hear, and our eyes have witnessed, of 
its transforming power over the illiterate, of 
the elevation of thought and feeling it gives 
to intellects otherwise obtuse, and, not un- 
frequently, to the rudest savage soul. No 
other book does this ; but the Bible, wher 
ever it goes, is ever followed by some ex 
amples of this strange effect ; let the induc 
tive philosopher put it in his crucible, or his 
crucial analysis, and explain the phenome 
non as he best can. Surely it is as interest 
ing, and demands as much attention, as some 
of the wonders of chemistry or geology. But 
much more than this is true. Men pro 
foundly learned in the Scriptures, and in all 
that wide field of knowledge that relates to 
them, have not been prevented by their 
critical and philological investigations from 
feeling the same quickening spiritual energy 
of the Word. Bible scholars like Usher, 
classical scholars like Erasmus, philosophers 
like Bacon, divines like Edwards, metaphy 
sicians like Leibnitz and Hamilton, men of 


loftiest scientific as well as spiritual insight 
like Pascal, men of highest human culture 
like Wilberforce and Guizot, have sought 
knowledge, not merely historical, or liter 
ary, or speculative, but soul-saving knowl 
edge, from this fountain so full and run 
ning over for all. As the child sits down 
to learn his lesson from the lips of a beloved 
teacher, so have they betaken themselves to 
the study of the Scriptures, with the deep 
conviction that in their human was to be 
found the superhuman and the divine. They 
have not merely prized them as ancient 
writings of rare antiquarian interest, or as 
connected with some of the most interesting 
questions of history and ethnology, or as 
suggestive, oftentimes, of what is deepest in 
philosophy, richest in poetry, most rare and 
beautiful in literary criticism ; all of these 
and more than these have they found in this 
treasure of things new and old, but none of 
them, nor all of them conbined, have formed 
its chief attraction. With reverence have 
they bowed their heads upon the sacred vol- 


ume, acknowledging it to be Holy Scripture 
in no conventional sense, but as having 
truly come to us in our humanity from a 
superhuman holy source. With all lowly 
submission, as to a divine voice speaking 
through human organs, have they listened for 
what God would say unto their individual 
souls, as adapted to their own individual 
experience. No want of knowledge in the 
infidel, no self-ignorance in the pretentious 
rationalist, can make false the fair induction 
to be drawn from this so varied inward tes 
timony. Their superficial acquaintance with 
the Scriptures cannot nullify this experi 
ence of the most cultivated as well as the 
most unnurtured minds, or make void the 
fact, so far surpassing in wonder any mere 
physical phenomenon, that there has been 
for many ages, and still is, in our world, this 
mighty and most catholic spiritual power. 

The peculiarity of the Scriptures on which 
we have been dwelling is certainly a remark 
able one, let the sceptic explain it as he 
may. Whether taken in its religious or its 


literary aspect, it is certainly true that in 
this character of universality no other book 
can be compared with the Bible. Homer, 
perhaps, comes nearest to it in this feature, 
but at what an immense distance ! Will 
any one refer to the Greek and Roman 
founders for whom, too, there has been 
claimed a sort of inspiration ? Let us look 
at it. Historically, ethnologically, political 
ly, they are nearer to us, much nearer to us, 
than the Oriental Lawgiver ; but spiritually, 
humanly, in all that concerns our truest, 
our most central manhood, how much more 
akin to us is Moses than Lycurgus or N"uma ? 
How much better we understand not his 
writings merely, but his humanity as one 
with our humanity. How much more does 
he enter, not only into the religion, but into 
the literature, the legislation, in a word, the 
whole thinking of our modern society, than 
any influence that has descended from Greek 
or Roman books. This, it might be said, 
has come from a peculiar course of events ; 


but that would be making history a matter 
of chance. It is not a mere misplacing ac 
cident that has caused it ; this course of 
events has been itself one effect of this 
peculiar power ; and yet, had the question 
been asked, two centuries before the Chris 
tian era, what literature, two thousand years 
hence, would have the most influence in the 
world, what mind among the many acute 
minds of that period would have turned to 
the secluded hills of Judea ? In like man 
ner are their languages, etymologically, syn 
tactically, more nearly related to our own ; 
and yet, in regard to this interior or more 
catholic manhood, how foreign, how bar 
barous, may we say, their copious Greek and 
Latin, as compared with the power of his 
own scanty yet clear and lofty Hebrew ! 
How much more obscure, too, oftentimes, as 
well as feeble are they, notwithstanding their 
greater culture, and their more abundant 
means of rhetorical expression. 

There is a thought here well worth our 


attention, in its bearing on what we have 
called the Divine human in the Scriptures. 
It is the remarkable intelligibility of the 
Bible Hebrew. The reference, in this appar 
ent paradox, is not to the ineffable doctrine. 
Here, indeed, is difficulty ; here is a demand 
for study surpassing that required for any 
science, any philosophy, of earth. We mean 
the intelligibility of the letter all the way 
down to where it is lost in the spiritual, the 
pure humanness of the media through which 
the Divine ideas are approximated to us, 
the verbal lucidity, clearness of style, clean 
ness of figure, transparency, we might call 
it, of radical and etymological imagery. 
With the exception of a very few Phoenician 
fragments, the Old Testament is the only 
writing extant in the ancient Hebrew ; and 
yet, even without the cognate tongues that 
have only of late been extensively called 
in aid, how very little is there that could 
be truly pronounced unintelligible, in that 
sense of intelligibility that has been men- 


tioned ! But let us imagine, on the other 
hand, that Homer, even the graphic, picture- 
making Homer, had been our only surviv 
ing relic of the Greek, or the exact, word- 
weighing Lucretius our only remains of the 
Latin, what immense lacunae, or series of 
equally worthless conjectures, must have 
existed in the best translations ; how much 
would be beyond the recovering power of 
all the scholiasts, and that, too, not merely 
in matters of local and partial allusion, but 
in the expression of the most ordinary and 
general thought. 

It is not, however, merely in the Hebrew 
as a language that we find the grounds of 
this comparison. There is, in truth, in this 
ancient tongue, a sharp outline significance, 
a remarkable defining power, as we may 
call it ; yet, still mere human compositions, 
had they been written in it and been pre 
served to us, would doubtless have present 
ed, in many respects, the same feebleness 
and common-place obscurities- obscure be- 


cause they are common-place that meet 
us in other literature. The daughter dia 
lect of the Rabbinical, though vastly more 
copious, has become trifling, and, of con 
sequence, unmeaning, in the Talmud ; 
shelves are filled with the obscure drivel 
that has been written in the near cognate 
Syriac ; even the nobler Arabic has lost 
greatly in respect to its ancient clearness, 
and abounds in ambiguities and obscure con 
ceits, whose mastery will not pay one often 
for the pains taken in their elucidation. 
Everywhere else has this grand Shemitic 
stock degenerated. Not in the language, 
therefore, as such (we mean in the language 
radically as distinguished from other tongues 
near or remote) must we seek the sole ex 
planation of this original power, as we find 
it in the Bible. There is one thought alone 
that solves the mystery, that gives the full 
reason of that remarkable intelligibility 
which has been noticed by the profoundest 
scholars. It is the Divine breath in these old 


Scriptures that has filled them so full of life ; 
it is the Divine voice of authority, sounding 
in every page, that has given them this 
wonderful and otherwise inexplicable clear 
ness. It is because it is " the Word of God, 
sharper than any two-edged sword, reach 
ing even to the dividing of soul and sense, 
the joints and the marrow, a critic both of 
the thinkings and the ideas of the heart." 
" It is the lamp of the Lord, which like the 
breath of man" (in the physical organ 
ization), " searches all the inward cham 
bers of" the soul.* 

Add to this what has been so much 
insisted on, the intense humanity of the 
Old Scriptures, and we have another reason 
why this very ancient and most peculiarly 
Oriental tongue so vividly pours out its 
thought, and is so translatable, into the 
most remotely varying languages of the 
modern Western world. 

* Prov. xx, 27. 


THE POWER OF THE BIBLE The Effect of the Scriptures not 
merely from our Familiarity with them The Power of the 
Written "Word as shown at the Reformation Similar to the 
effect on the Roman "World, and in the Patristic Period The 
" Finding of the Book of the Law " as when found by Hilkiah 
the Priest So the Bible went forth from the Cell of the Augus 
tine Monk The Power is in the Book itself The Hebrew 
Prophets How they talk to our Age The Imprecatory 
Psalms Still needed in the Church s Liturgy The Book of 
the Race The Old Family Bible Contains our Natural and 
Spiritual Genealogy Contains the Ideas of the race that are 
most Universal Such as the Fall, Redemption, Incarnation, 
the Human Brotherhood Men who compare the Scriptures 
with other Books called " Sacred" Difficulties in the Bible 
The Fight of Faith Two Kinds of Scepticism Accommoda 
tions The Question again asked: Are the Modern Rational 
ists making Progress in Holiness? Worthlessness of their 

IT might be said that this effect of the 
Hebrew writings was owing to the long 
familiarity of reverent religious associations. 
But such an account of the matter will not 
stand the test either of reason or of facts. 
It is putting the effect for the cause. It 


fails to explain the first power and the long 
tenacity. The Scriptures have had the same 
influence, and manifested it much more 
strikingly, when first presented to an age or 
people, and that, too, not its first recipients, 
but a new age or people far removed and 
far different, both in history and culture. 
We have already alluded to their power in 
the Patristic period, when they burst upon 
the new-born mind of the Church, and 
newly encountered the utterly alien feeling 
of the Roman world. Thus was it also in 
the Reformation age, after the whole Bible 
had for a second time been so long buried 
from the common mind. As when Hilkiah 
the priest discovered in the temple a copy of 
the law that the Lord had given unto Moses, 
so came forth the Scriptures from the cell of 
the Augustine monk. Men everywhere, 
great men and mean men, learned men and 
ignorant men. "wept and humbled them 
selves at the reading of the words of the book 
that was found. ?; What a sudden activity 


did it give, not only to the religious, but to 
all the higher departments of thinking. 
How it quickened the age ! How it made 
the theological and the spiritual predominant 
everywhere, in the political, social, and even 
military life ! How paradoxically, we may 
say, yet how truly, did this strangely human 
book, with its abounding anthropopathisms, 
engage the general mind in the highest 
heights of abstract speculation, as though 
this very anthropopathism, more than any 
philosophical language, contained those hid 
den germs that must grow up evermore into 
the infinity of thought. 

The power, we say, is in the book itself, 
and not merely in its historical associations, 
or the reverence of early belief, or its long 
familiar sacredness. To feel it fully, it is 
even necessary, sometimes, to get rid of this 
familiarity, by reading the Scriptures from 
some new standpoint. We must study the 
books of Moses in connection with the near 
est contemporary writings, thus transplanting 


ourselves into the old life of each ; arid then 
it will be seen that there is in the Jewish 
Legislator a world-life that cannot, by any 
alchemy of association, or revivification, be 
again recovered from any institutes of like 

We need not dwell on this universality as 
found in the Psalms of David. Devout 
feeling and the most learned critical research 
alike concur in the thought that the key to 
their best interpretation is found in that view 
which regards them as the divine songs of all 
truly religious souls, the standing temple 
service of all ages, so adapted to the expres 
sion of temporal and spiritual sorrows, tem 
poral and spiritual joys, temporal and spirit 
ual triumphs, temporal and spiritual salva 
tion, that each may be regarded as the pri 
mary or secondary significance, according to 
the state of soul in which the recipient reads 
or chants the wondrously adapted words. 
There is nowhere in the physical world any 
such evidence of adaptedness or design as 


this. The historical world certainly furnishes 
nothing like it. Let it be called accommo 
dation, if any prefer the word ; we could not 
thus accommodate one of the lyric hymns of 
Greece, or a song of the Rig Veda. In these, 
it is true, there are strains of conflict, of de 
liverance, of triumph, there is, moreover, 
the representation of the superhuman and 
the supernatural, but then there is wholly 
lacking that idea which overlooks all differ 
ences of outward human condition, or of hu 
man wants, in the nearness of the divine per 
sonal presence, the idea of help from the 
one God, all mighty, all holy, dwelling in the 
highest heavens, yet ever nigh the soul that 
calleth on him. 

It is this idea, made alive by faith, that 
characterizes the Bible prayer, and the Bible 
salvation, whether it be of the temporal or 
spiritual kind. To the Greek, religion was 
a matter of taste, of beauty, of artistic fancy ; 
to the Hindoo, it was a mystic contemplation 
for the higher, a grotesque monstrosity, or a 


horrid diversion, for the vulgar mind, To 
the Christian, as to the Jew, it is a want of 
the soul, a want of God, an urgent need of 
divine help. There may be, in its Jewish 
exhibition, more reference to the temporal, 
as we style it, or the immediate life, as in the 
Christian, a higher looking to the spiritual 
deliverance, yet in each is it the same God, 
the same faith, arid thus, as far as its author 
and object are concerned, essentially the 
same salvation. Abraham trusted God in 
temporal promises, and " it was counted to 
him for righteousness ;" for it was a whole 
trust, a trust for all he knew of his relations 
to the Invisible, for all he hoped in respect 
to his total being, whether this present 
earthly life with a blank beyond, or some 
unknown as yet unrevealed existence where 
the weary, rest-seeking pilgrim though dead 
might yet, in some way, " live unto God." 
It was a whole trust, and, therefore, though 
having its conceptual limit on earth, it was 
really a trust for eternity. " These all died 


in faith, not having received the promises, 
but seeing them afar, and confessing that 
they were strangers and travellers upon the 
earth." Religion was not their aesthetic 
fancy, their philosophy, their mythic wonder, 
or even their mystic quietism, but their souls 
urgent want ; they desired God, as a present 
help in time of trouble ; " they endured as 
seeing Him who is invisible. 

The same idea of the Scripture adapted- 
ness is suggested by the Hebrew prophets. 
How plain they talk to us, how easily we 
understand their essential message, when 
taken out of its partial aspects of time and 
place ! We know well the chronological 
periods of their predictions ; we are not at 
all ignorant of their primary applications, 
nor of the peculiar, the very peculiar, histori 
cal states that furnish the ground of their 
impassioned admonitions ; most special in 
deed, most exclusive are they in their na 
tional and ethical aspects ; and yet we can 
not help feeling that these ancient Seers are 


talking to us, talking to all men, to all ages. 
Their words are just the words, just the 
figures, which are needed now, and found to 
be most appropriate now, in rebuking every 
form of wrong, of oppression, of public or 
private wickedness. If any part of the 
Bible belongs to a past age, it would seem 
to be the imprecatory prayers of the Psalms. 
At least, it might be said a later revelation 
has abrogated their use. And yet there are 
times now, and men now, and transactions 
now taking place upon the earth, and wrongs 
and enormities still heard of, in reference to 
which these prayers would seem to be still 
wanted as the most appropriate language. 
All other speech fails to express the right 
eous indignation so different from the per 
sonal revenge. It demands its own appro 
priate language, and the ethical want finds 
its true relief in these portions of the Church s 
immutable liturgy : "Oh! crush the oppres 
sor, Lord ; arise, my God, lift up thine 
hand, forget not the humble: 7 " Break 


thou the arm of the wicked and evil man ; 

for thou hast smitten our enemies upon the 
cheek, thou hast broken the teeth of the 
ungodly :" " Let them fall by their own coun 
sels, cast them out in the multitude of their 
transgressions, for they have rebelled against 
thee:" "But let those that put their trust 
in thee rejoice ; let them say, continually, 
The Lord be magnified, even all such as love 
thy salvation. 77 

Is it necessary to fortify our positions by 
referring to the discourses of Christ ? When 
shall this voice become obsolete, or cease to 
be recognized as the voice of a world-mes 
senger ? "No man ever spake like this 
man," ever spake thus to all men, or is so 
understood by all men. Who thinks of 
orientalisms, or is critically troubled about 
orientalisms, when deeply intent on words 
so human and yet so superhuman, so adapt 
ed to the East, yet so intelligible in the 
West, so marked by the style of the age in 
which they are uttered, and yet so in unison 


with the speech and thinking of all ages ! 
Well may the Scriptures be called THE 
BOOK." It is the Book of the race. It is 
the old family Bible, long entrusted to the 
keeping of the first born, but where all may 
come and find their natal record. Here is 
the historical genealogy of all nations. Com 
pare, in this respect, the simple, truthful 
modest ethnology of Genesis with other ori 
ental writings, and with those monstrous leg 
ends of theirs that are so out of all propor 
tion with themselves, and all other history. 
Here, too, is the spiritual genealogy of hu 
man souls, the generation and the re 
generation, the man of the earth and the 
11 man from heaven," the humanity, or the 
life in Adam, the Christianity, or the life in 
Christ. Here is " the image of the earthly," 
and here is "the image of the Heavenly*" 
Here, moreover, is that which belongs to all 
men as men, the ideas that above all others 
are the property of the race. Here is the 
fall, the redemption, the brotherhood in 


ruin as the ground of all true human sym 
pathy, the brotherhood in grace as the 
ground of all true human hope, the acknowl 
edgment of the supernatural in both as the 
true foundation of all genuine philanthropy. 
And yet there are men, men, too, claim 
ing to be intelligent and philosophical, who 
will deliberately put these wondrous writings 
on a par with Chinese and Hindoo oracles. 
They have never studied them, to be sure, 
they know as little of the Scriptures as 
they do of the Vedas and Shasters of which 
they talk so flippantly, and yet they not 
only name them together as belonging to 
one general class of "Sacred Books, 7 but 
seem even to take a strange delight in giv 
ing the Bible a secondary place as compared 
with these " venerable authorities." They 
do this, too, in the face of the clearest proof, 
if they will but study it, that what is most 
"venerable" and most remarkable in these 
compositions is but the obscured image of 
one ancient revelation, a deeply-fouled copy 


from that one antique original now in our 

What must we think of the heads or 
hearts of men, who can deal thus with things 
most sacred ? What respect can be enter 
tained either for their morality or their in 
telligence? There are doubtless great and 
real difficulties in the Scriptures, as, to a 
thinking man, there must be great and real 
difficulties everywhere else, both in the 
world without and in the world within. Ever 
more, as such a one thinks on, existence 
seems more and more strange, until he 
finds that he must think himself into total 
darkness, unless there be, in some form, an 
objective truth, an objective oracle, in the 
world. The thought, the God-given thought, 
we believe, that there must be such an 
oracle, where the Infinite communes with 
the finite in the finite language, this holds 
him up. This leads him to the Scriptures, 
and yet, even when he feels, in the deepest 
convictions of his experience, that there is 


truly a divine voice speaking to him therein, 
still are there difficulties, great and real diffi 
culties. He must " fight the fight of faith." 
These ancient books are strange, even as 
nature is strange, and the world within him. 
even his own soul, is strange, exceedingly 
strange ; and this he discovers the more and 
more he knows of its psychological, and 
especially its moral depths. These ancient 
books are very different from what he would 
at first have fancied a revelation ought to be ; 
and so, if he keeps on thinking, will he find, 
out mysteries, not merely curious scientific 
facts or laws, but awful, fathomless myste 
ries in nature, such as he never would have 
thought could be contained in her, or have 
been revealed by her. There is this differ 
ence, however, that the farther he goes in 
the physical, rejecting every other aid, the 
more he gets involved in darkness as to the 
meaning of it all ; whereas, to the Bible 
student, there does at last arise a light 
" with healing in its wings," which he feels 


to be true light by its self-evidencing power, 
and by its shedding light on other things. 
By the aid of this he sees, more and more, 
that in the construction and plan of this 
book, there is indeed a superhuman wisdom, 
-that in its most human utterances there 
is u a thought which is above our thoughts, 
and a way that is above our ways." Still 
are there difficulties in the Scriptures. For 
the trial of our faith, or because in no other 
way could the heavenly light be reflected 
upon our souls, God has suffered shadows to 
rest upon the mirror. To some spiritual 
states these may be so magnified in their 
shapes, and so intensified in their shading, 
as to render faith a difficult exercise of soul, 
or only to be sustained by a constant gazing 
upon those brilliant heights of truth that 
everywhere stand out of the surrounding 
mist. The unbelief that arises in such cir 
cumstances is not infidelity. It is an un 
happy condition of the spirit demanding, in 
stead of intolerance, our earnest prayers, 


and our deepest sympathy. There are such 
sceptics entitled to our respect and our love. 
They do not choose unbelief per se ; they 
have enough of the light to make them love 
it, and long for more of it, notwithstanding 
the disquiet that is suffered to visit their 

But no such plea can be made for those 
who are evidently fond of these odious par 
allels, not more profane religiously than they 
are revolting to all pure and elevated thought. 
It is hard to be friends with men who can, 
without compunction, put Jesus and Confu 
cius together, to say nothing of Jesus and 
Shakspeare ; it is hard to feel respect for 
minds that can see no difference between 
the Christian Scriptures and the Hindoo 
books ; it is not easy to entertain a senti 
ment of tolerance for hearts that will place 
the representations of ineffable holiness, and 
righteous moral government, and fearful, yet 
loving personality, such as we find every 
where in the one, on the same level with the 
pantheistic common-places, the vulgar gnosis, 


the foul nature-worship, and impure sym 
bolism of the other. Is this done knowingly ? 
What must be thought of their appreciation 
of the pure and the sublime ? Is it clone as 
is most probable, in utter personal ignorance 
of these books, and of the grossness of their 
spiritually disguised sensualism? What must 
be thought of the anti-christian hatred that 
could " alone have prompted a parallel as 
false as it is revolting, as absurd as it is 
unholy ! 

There is, however, another attitude, we 
make bold to say it, that is more irrational, 
if not more irreverent, than that of either 
scoffing or scowling unbelief. It is that of 
the men who profess to regard the Scriptures 
as in some sense inspired, in some sense a 
revelation, and yet with an express or tacit 
reserve that most of these " sacred writings," 
Sacra Scripturce, as they conventionally style 
them, are already obsolete, and the remain 
der fast becoming obsolete in the advancing 
light of the world. There are others who 
profess a more cordial reception, perhaps, 


yet would they maintain that this respect is 
due to the thoughts, the " great truths" as 
they deferentially say, whilst the style, the 
words, the images, are accommodations" 
merely, and, therefore, to be dispensed with 
by that higher thinking, that can think of 
God as well, if not better, without them. 
Accommodations truly ! Grant the unmean 
ing and evasive word ; but still accommoda 
tions for us as well as for past ages ; accom 
modations for us as well as for the Platonists, 
the Aristotelians, and the Academics of the 
first century. Accommodations for us ! And 
why not then shall we be accommodated by 
them ? Why assume the irreverent attitude 
of ignoring their benefit as though we had 
obtained some lofty position, or as it has 
been shown before, that this claim of prog 
ress must mean, if it mean anything to the 
purpose some superlatively holy height, 
some earth-removing, heaven-nearing height, 
that enables us to look down upon these 
humble stepping-stones for the feet of the 
lower and more worldly-minded traveller. 


They were well enough in their day ; they 
are well enough for others ; but we see 
through them ; we have become so spiritually- 
minded, so unworldly, that we see without 
them ; they are hindrances now rather than 
helps to the advanced philosophic intuition ; 
the great problems of life and destiny are 
all solved ; we have the modern literature, 
the modern science, the modern public 
opinion ; through their unearthly spirit 
uality we are brought in near communion 
with the Divine ideas, and have no longer 
need of the anthropopathic mirror. Is this 
claim of superior holiness all false ? is it 
so absurdly false, that the very statement, 
when distinctly made, must move wonder 
in those for whom it is offered ? then is 
the age not yet released from the study of 
the Scriptures, the very words and figures 
of the Scriptures. Then, instead of looking 
over these "accommodations," or looking 
under them, or pretending to see through 
them, must it be still our wisdom to sit down 
to the volume of revelation, and bring our 


heads and hearts in closest communion with 
this Divine language, until its hidden life- 
giving power shall flow over into our dead, 
dark, earthly souls. 

Hence the plain position so essential to 
all earnest Biblical study, and which we 
have kept in view throughout this book. 
It is, that the very language of Scripture is 
specially, and most efficiently, designed for 
our moral and spiritual instruction. If it is 
fafavevavoq, truly heaven-breathed, " then is 
it all profitable for teaching, for conviction, 
for correction, for education in righteous 
ness." Thy word, Lord, is very pure, 
therefore thy servant loveth it. 7 " Open 
thou mine eyes that I may behold wondrous 
things out of thy law. 77 "The entrance of 
thy word giveth light, it giveth understand 
ing. 77 " The words that I speak unto you, 
they are spirit and they are life. 77 The soul 
that feels this, and acknowledges this, has 
the ground of a true exegesis. Even the 
Geologists are very fond of calling the Bible 
Sacras Scripturse. One, the most commonly 


read of these commentators, is interpreting 
a Messianic psalm just as he would a Greek 
heroic song. In reproof of any contrary 
mode he very learnedly says Quod antem in 
aliorum Scriptorum interpretatione omnes 
repudiarent, idem cur in sacri codids ex- 
plicatione admittatur, nullae idonea cogitari 
potest ratio " No reason can be conceived 
why a mode which all reject in the interpre 
tation of other writings should be admitted 
in the explanation of the sacred text." But 
what does he mean by his words sacri 
codids? If it be indeed sacra Scriptura, 
sacred or Holy Scripture, then the very fact of 
its being such must make an immense differ 
ence between it and any Greek or Ptoman 
codex. To believe in his heart that it truly 
is Sacred Scripture, and that, therefore, every 
word of it is pure, every word of it holy 
(so far as we can hold it to be the genuine 
text or word of God), is the first great 
requisite of an interpreter. Without this 
idea, though the writing may be valuable 
and interesting in other respects, yet the 


laborious comment, which even the rational 
ists bestow upon it becomes a mockery and 
an absurdity. It is true, one cannot be a 
good interpreter, or the best interpreter, 
without linguistic and archaeological knowl 
edge. On the other hand, however, and 
with still greater boldness, may it be said of 
all Biblical interpretation that has not the 
unction of a hearty faith, that though it may 
be a blind aid to something higher than 
itself, yet in itself, and for itself, it is as 
worthless as " the sounding brass or the 
tinkling symbal." It is as dry, as light, as 
" the chaff of the summer threshing-floor. ?; 
The wind shall drive it away. The onward 
march of the human mind shall consign it to 
oblivion. It shall have no lasting place, as 
a part either of secular or of sacred litera 
ture. The infidel and the believer shall 
alike scorn it. Neither in the world nor in 
the Church shall it ever have that post of 
honor which belongs to what is called genius 
in the one, or is prized as productive of 
holiness or spirituality in the other. 


NOTE 1. PAGE 65. 

EXODUS, 33 : 20. "And he said, Thou canst not 
see my face, for no man can behold me and live. 
And the Lord said, There is a place by me, and thou 
shaft stand upon the rock, and it shall come to pass, 
when my glory passeth by, that Twill put thee in the 
cleft of the rock, and I will cover thee with my hand 
and thou shalt see my back parts, ( iina ris) but my 
face cannot be seen" The divine ahorim y what are 
they but the aspect or side of deity that is turned to 
us, the rear shading of that ineffable mirror by which 
the divine glory is reflected to human eyes. They 
are the finities of the infinite, as the Hebrew word 
would seem to denote, the side that is turned to hu 
man thought, and yet as real as that other which can 
never be seen by the finite eye or conceived by the 
finite understanding. The divine powers as seen in 
nature are also called rnsp (Job. 26 : 14), or " ends 

380 NOTES. 

of his ways," but it would seem to be his moral at 
tributes that are here intended, although there was 
doubtless in the vision an outward glory. God pass 
es by us in the scriptures as he passed by Moses " in 
the cleft of the rock," but it is his " goodness," his 
justice, his mercy, he proclaims, rather than that 
physical working which the pious naturalist might 
regard as the truer interpretation of the passage. 

That which is infinite can have no finite : so says 
our piecemeal logic. But there is a higher power of 
the soul that comprehends, if it cannot analyze ; that 
has an idea, if it cannot form a conception, or if this 
is thought to be too boastful language believes, 
where it cannot understand. The infinite contains 
the finite, must manifest the finite both in nature and 
revelation, must be able to think the finite, as a real 
divine thought, or it cannot be itself infinite, omni 
scient, almighty. 

This two-fold aspect in the divine character appears 
in the very oldest scripture. The Spirit and the 
Word in creation, "the voice of Jehovah Elohim 
walking in Eden in the cool of the day ; " how tran 
scendent the ideas suggested by the one style of lan 
guage, how human the conception presented in the 
other. The serious reader must have noted in other 
parts of the Pentateuch this remarkable union of the 
highest spirituality and the simplest anthropopathism, 

NOTES. 387 

sometimes in almost immediate connection. The El 
Olam, the Eternal, the Almighty, the Most High, the 
same with the manifesting angel that wrestled with 
Jacob and talked so familiarly at the tent door with 
the pleading Patriarch, the self-existent Jehovah, 
the 6 wv, the " I am that I am," who immediately 
calls himself, in the next verse, a patrial God, "the 
God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob." In all 
such representations no contradiction is felt, none is 
expressed. God is the unrepresentable One (Deut. 
4 : 15, 16), he has "no similitude;" and yet without any 
misgiving or sense of inconsistency there are ascribed 
to him acts and appearances, which, without the con 
ception or imaging faculty, can have for us neither 
force nor meaning. In all this the writers must have 
seen the contrast, and yet these Old Scriptures go on 
their majestic way, neither calling attention to the 
divine height of the thought, nor ever apologizing for 
the human lowliness of the language and imagery. 

NOTE 2. PAGE 92. 

ITS CRITICAL EDGE. The reference is to Hebrews, 
4:12, where the Greek word KpiriKog denotes the 
separating or analyzing power of the Logos, or the 
divine word living and energizing in the Scriptures. 
With this the whole imagery of that striking passage 
is in perfect harmony. " It is sharper than the two- 

388 NOTES. 

edged sword," duKvovfievog, going clear through, 
penetrating to the very cor, core, or marrow of hu 
manity. It divides soul and spirit, ^vxn an( l TTvev/na. 
These words are not tautological repetitions employed 
for rhetorical intensity merely, neither are they de 
signed to express a philosophical subtlety, but denote 
two departments of the inner man, most distinct, 
practically, in their workings, and most obvious, con 
sciously, to those who make self-knowledge their 
deepest study. In one of these, namely, in the tyvyji, 
or sensitive nature, dwell what are, for the most part, 
the motives or moving powers of human action ; 
whilst from the other, the Trvevfia, or intellectual 
chamber, are brought the reasons by which we seek 
to disguise these moving powers, even from ourselves. 
We cannot bear our own sensual selfishness, and so 
this continual attempt, for most men this life-long 
attempt, to cover low motives with high reasons, is 
ever breeding a still greater darkness in the spirit. 
And so it goes on, until there conies the separating 
word making light, as of old it did upon the physical 
chaos; for that creation, too, was, in the main, a 
dividing, a critical separation of elements that before 
dwelt together in dark confusion. Another process 
of this critical word is to distinguish between the 
evQvpfjaeis and the evvoiai rrjs KapAias, " the thoughts 
and intents of the heart." This should be rendered 

NOTES. 389 

rather the thinkings and the thoughts the first re 
ferring to the actual present exercises or cogitations 
of the soul, which we suffer to become visible to our 
selves ; the other to the evvoiai, the more interior 
principles, good or bad, the ruling ideas, or settled 
thoughts, that make the real man, though lying, it 
may be, long and far below the slumbering con 
sciousness. The distinction, then, would be the same 
in both cases ; and thus interpreting we see the force 
of the anatomical language that follows: "For all 
things lie naked and dissected (rerpaxrj^iopeva) be 
fore the eyes of him (or of that power), Trpof ov r^Llv 
6 /loyoc, to whom our discourse relates." 

NOTE 3. PACE 94. 

" That I may apprehend that for which (or ~by 
which} I am apprehended of Christ Jesus "Phil. 
3 : 12. The idea has given the commentators trouble, 
but the figure itself seems clear. It is an intense ex 
pression of that favorite thought of Paul, presented 
in the previous verae, of his intimate connection with 
Christ. If we take the metaphor in its more interior 
aspect, it is " having the mind of Christ" (Phil. 2:5); 
a knowing as he is known, an apprehending as he is 
apprehended. The more outward figure is in har 
mony with the TTJS dvu K^aeug of the following verse, 
" the upward calling," or " calling upward." There 

390 NOTES. 

is the same strong word dtoko) in both clauses. " I 
press onward " toward him who is calling me upward, 
like the voice (Rev. 11 : 12) saying, dvd(3rjre wde, 
" Come up hither." It is a pressing upward to grasp 
him by whom he is grasped to get a firm hold of a 
hand reached down from above ; that hand which 
"lays hold of the seed of Abraham," emXa^^dverai 
Ifeb. 2 : 16. Some would refer it to Paul s conversion, 
or sudden apprehension by Christ, but this could be, 
in any case, only a part of the idea. If we choose 
thus to accommodate the language, it is admirably 
expressive of the Divine condescension or coming 
down to us, both in the incarnate and in the written 

NOTE 4. PAGE 106. 
Heb. 9 : 1 "Kyiov KoofiiKov, " the world-sanctu 

ary^ or world-temple" The contrasts intended by 
the writer of Hebrews are so clear, that it is a wonder 
how commentators could have had any difficulty about 
the meaning of KOOMKOV here, or how our translators 
could have so obscured the sense by rendering it 
" worldly." The dyiov KoapiKov here is in contrast with 
the fiei^ovog not reXeiorepag OKrivrjg ov XELPOTTOLTJTOV 
(verse 11), "the greater and more perfect tabernacle 
not made with hands," " where Christ, the High 
Priest, entered with his own blood, when he had 

NOTES. 391 

found the eternal redemption." Compare with it, 
also, the dyia STrovpdvia (verse 24), the "heavenly 
holies," or heaven itself, of which the cosmical holy 
was the type, 

NOTE 5. PAGE 139. 

The passage is near the close of the VI Book of 
the Republic, 498 c. Socrates had been setting forth, 
at great length, the character of the " true philoso 
pher." Any one intimately acquainted with the Pla 
tonic writings knows how much the sense in which 
this word is employed transcends the use of it in any 
other writings, whether ancient or modern. No 
where else does the term philosophy come so near 
religion. The true philosopher, in the Platonic writ 
ings, is the man who, " unknown to the world " (see 
the Phffidon, 64 A), or AeA^w^ rovg a/Uoi^, lives for 
the spiritual and the divine, in distinction from the 
sensual and the worldly. He is one to whom there is, 
in some sense, a divine afflatus, KK TLVO^ Ozids eTrnrvoiag 
d^f]div7)g fakoaotiiag d^Qivog tpo^, "a true love of 
true philosophy from some divine inbreathing." 
There could be no perfect commonwealth, it had been 
argued, until such philosophers had become its princes 
or magistrates. Was there anywhere such a State ? 
Had there ever been a State so grounded on heav 
enly ideas, and a true Divine legislation? To 

392 NOTES. 

these questions the answer is given : " If such a peo 
ple so governed had ever existed in the immense past 
time, or if it now exists in some remote barbarian or 
foreign land, then are we prepared to maintain that 
our ideal State has been realized, or that it will be 
realized, whenever this Muse, avrrj TJ Movaa, this phil 
osophic inspiration, or heavenly philosophy, shall have 
become its ruling power. For the things of which 
we speak, though difficult, are not impossible." Plato 
was not a prophet, but who that reads this can avoid 
thinking of that divine or theocratic " polity " then 
actually existing in the barbarian land of Judea, and 
that then future polity of the Christian Church, of 
which it was ever the type ? This was the Civitas 
Dei, and that true philosophy of which Plato dreamed, 
but could never see the accomplishment, even of his 
own very imperfect ideal. 

NOTE 6. PAGE 144. 

We cannot easily believe Mohammed to have been 
a sheer impostor. The book he has given us has the 
style of high enthusiasm, far above that mere imita 
tion aspect which characterizes most of the apocryphal 
Scriptures. He seems to have felt that he had a mis 
sion to restore the old patriarchal belief in the Divine 
Unity. He is, for the most part, in wonderful har 
mony with the Old Testament, and speaks not only 

NOTES. 393 

with respect but tenderness of Jesus, conceding to 
him a position more divine than his own, and evident 
ly regarding him as having had a divine and super 
natural birth. Mohammed laid no claim to personal 
miracles, unless we regard as such his remarkable 
vision, and the maintenance of the inspiration of the 

The great interest of this wonderful book, whose 
poetic form and nature are so little imderstood, con 
sists in its independent narration of some of the lead 
ing events in the early Old Testament history. We 
cannot here state the argument, but there is abundant 
internal evidence that the stories of Abraham, of 
Noah, of Joseph, of Ishmael, together with other an 
cient events not mentioned in the Jewish Scriptures, 
such as the accounts of the prophets Hud and Saleh, 
were not derived from the Bible, but came down 
from independent collateral tradition among these 
sons of the desert .; and that these traditions date 
away back to the times of Ishmael, and even to Jok- 
tan, who was the son of Eber the great ancestor both 
of the Jews and the Arabian?. 

NOTE 7. PAGE 155. 

" Held sacred from a long antiquity r ." See Jose- 
phus, Antiq., Book II., Chap. 12. When speaking 
of Sinai, he says : " Now this is the highest of all the 

394: NOTES. 

mountains thereabouts, and the best for pasturage, 
the herbage there being good ; but it had not been 
before fed upon, because of the opinion men had that 
God dwelt there, the shepherds not daring to ascend 
up to it." We learn, too, from other sources, that 
this whole region of desert country, from the northern 
extremity all the way down the east side of the Ara 
bian Gulf or the Red Sea, had a religious veneration 
attached to it. It had sacred places, and a religio loci, 
and consecrated shrines, from a great antiquity. See 
Diodorus Siculus iii., 42. From this source probably 
came that early veneration of the Kaaba, or shrine of 
Mecca, of which Mohammed makes so much account. 
Such veneration may have had its origin in the weird 
aspect of these singular regions, but this idea does not 
detract from the inspiration of the narrative in Exo 
dus. God may have chosen to meet his servant there 
on that very account. Or the story of the ancient 
supernatural may have been a subsequent tradition, 
growing out of that feeling which naturally connects 
a religio loci with any great event, religious or histor 
ical. Such is the tradition to which Virgil refers in 
regard to the site of early Rome, when Evander leads 
JEneas to the site of the Tarpeian rock and the seat 
of the Capitol that afterwards, for so long a time, had 
a religious veneration in Roman history, and which, 
even yet, maintains its power over the souls of men. 

KOTES. 395 

Hinc ad Tarpeiam sedem et Capitolia ducit 
Aurea nunc, olim sylvestribus horrida dumis. 
Jam tutu religio pavidos terrebat agrestes 
Dira loci ; jam turn sylvam saxumque tremebant. 
Hoc nemus, hunc, inquit, frondoso vertice, collem, 
Quis Deus incertum est, habitat Deus. Arcades ipsum 
Credunt se vidisse Jovem ; cum saspe nigrantem 
concuteret dextra, nimbosque cieret. 

VIIL, 347. 

NOTE 8. -PAGE 257. 

It may seem strange that the perfect adaptedness 
of this 88th Psalm to the condition of the leper king, 
Uzziah, should have escaped the notice of commenta 
tors ; and yet we cannot help being impressed by it. 
" And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of 
his death, and he dwelt in a free house (or separate 
house), being a leper; for he was cut off from the 
house of the Lord ; and Jothaui, his son, was over the 
king s house, judging the people of the land." 2 
Chron., 26 : 12. 

One of the most striking coincidences, philological- 
ly, between this passage and the Psalm referred to, 
is found in the Hebrew word iB sn, which, although 
of rather rare occurrence elsewhere, occurs in both 
these places, and with a remarkable similarity of idea. 
The primary sense of the word is free. As the deriva 
tive is used in 2 Chronicles, 26 : 21, it denotes a free 
house, in the sense of a person left to himself, immu* 

396 NOTES. 

ra s, away from ordinary employments, separate, 
alone. There is a similar use of the Latin liber, as in 
the phrase liberce cedes, a dwelling occupied by no one 
else. Most impressively corresponding to this is the 
use of the word, Ps. 88 : 6 : "Free among the dead;" 
or, as the Syriac version renders it, " A freed man in 
the house of the dead." 

Now, remembering that Uzziah had been a religious 
king, notwithstanding this act of impiety, let us com 
pare with the history the language of the Psalm. 
Can we find anything that so exactly fits it, whether 
we regard its exact description, its strong suggestive- 
ness of similar ideas, or its most touching pathos ? ; 

Lord God of my salvation, 

Day and night my cry is before thee. 

Let my prayer come unto thee ; 

Incline thine ear to my wailing. 

For my soul is full of sorrow ; 

My life draws nigh to Sheol. 

Free among the dead, 

Like the slain, like the sleepers in the grave, 

Whom thou rememberest no more, 

Who are cut off from thy hand. 

That is, from thy worship ; they come no more into 
the house of the Lord, as we are told in Chronicles 
" For he was cut oif from the house of the Lord." 

Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, 
In the darkness, in the shadowy depths. 
Thou hast put far from me my familiar friends, 
Thou hast made me a loathing to them. 

NOTES. 397 

The language following we cannot help regarding 
as that of soliloquy rather than despair. It seems the 
rising of a faint hope, presenting itself in the form of 
wondering query, like Job s exclamation : " If a man 
die shall he really live again ? " So here there would 
seem such a ray of consolation feebly entering this 
dark house of death. It is the rising thought of some 
possible higher life, yet barely strong enough to call 
out the musing soliloquizing style. As though he 
had asked himself, in wonder at the very conception, 
" Ah ! can it be ? " 

Wilt tbou work a miracle for the dead ? 

Shall the Rephaim (the manes) rise up and praise thee ? 

Shall, indeed, thy mercy be told in the grave ? 

Thy faithfulness in Abaddon ? 

Shall thy wonder be really known in the darkness, 

Thy righteousness in the Land of Oblivion ? 

And then a more assuring strain. The soul seems 
to rise out of its darkness : 

And yet, Lord, my cry is unto thee ; 
In the morning shall my prayer still come before thee ; 
For why, Jehovah, wouldst thou cast off my soul ? 
Why hide thy face from me ? 

Is the morning here the morning of a new life ? 
There are some passages in the Psalms that would 
seem to warrant such an interpretation. In the clos 
ing lines, however, there returns again the gloom of 
the prison-house : 

398 NOTES. 

Wretched am I and spent with trembling ; 

I bear thy terrors, I am wild with sorrow. 

Thy wrath passes over me, thy alarms consume me ; 

They come round me like floods all the day. 

Far from me hast thou put lover and friend, 

My nearest ones are away from my darkness. 

There is but one thing that would seem in the least 
inconsistent with such a view. It is the expression, 
v. 15, "from my youth up," as it is rendered in our 
common version. But the root there found, when 
used for youth, is almost every where else in the 
plural, like the corresponding Hebrew term for age. 
The two or three cases where it seems to have that 
sense in the singular, do all admit of a better, though 
a kindred version. Its root sense (agitation) is the 
one here employed; as Psalms 109 : 23. 

On farther examination, we find that a similar view 
of the Psalm is taken by Ikenius, and combated by 
Venema. See Venema on the Psalms, vol. 5, p. 69. 

NOTE 9. PAGE 279. 

The reference is to Isaiah 45 : 7. "I am the Lord; 
and there is no other. I form the light and create 
darkness; I make peace and create evil." Formans 
lucem et creans tenebras, faciens pacem et creans 
malum. The best commentators have regarded it as 
directed against the Persian or ancient Oriental doc 
trine of the two principles, good and evil, or light and 


darkness, as taught in the Zendavesta. It was em 
ployed also by the Fathers against the heretic Mar- 
cion, who held the same opinion. 

NOTE 10. PAGE 281. 

The Vulgate gives us a very singular rendering of 
this passage " Gloria in altissimis Deo> et in terra 
pax hominibus bonce voluntatis f " Glory to God in 
the highest, and on earth peace to men of good-will." 
In this it is followed by the Rheims and Wickliffe 
translations that were made from it. It requires the 
Greek reading evdoitiag which has little or no author 
ity. Every critical reader must see how it mars the 
glorious passage. Indeed, it is one of the most serious 
faults of this, in the main, admirable version of the 

NOTE 11. PAGE 351. 

In Isaiah 24 : 5, the Jews are charged with having 
broken the "Everlasting Covenant? tbw n-i^fi. But 
w r hat is meant by this ? Aben Esra regards it as the 
universal unwritten law of nature and conscience. To 
the same effect is it interpreted by Hieronymus. But 
Gesenius maintains and justly, we think that such 
an idea is alien to the Jewish mind, accustomed as it 
was from the beginning to precise mandates and 
national stipulations. The high sense, however, 
which the prophet evidently intended, is found (and 

400 NOTES. 

that, too, in strictest harmony with the national ideas) 
in this " Old Covenant," which made the Jews a 
world-people, as we have called then, and gave them a 
world-destiny. See Deut. 32 : 8. It was the promise 
to Abraham (and that, too, a clearer republication of 
the promise in Eden), that " in his seed all the nations 
of the earth should be blessed ; " in other words, that 
in the line of his seed should come the Seed of the 
woman, the anciently-promised Redeemer or Deliverer 
of mankind. This was the Berith Olam, Siadrjur] 
aluvios, foedus sempiternum, the Covenant of Eter 
nity, the world-covenant, the covenant that, transcend 
ing their local history in Palestine, was to go through 
the ages, or olams, carrying out the great idea on 
which the Jews, obscurely as they may have under 
stood it, ever prided themselves. " Israel was," in 
some way, to be " God s salvation, even to the ends of 
the earth." Even in the more restricted sense it was 
a "covenant of ages." The national Israel survived 
the Assyrian, the Persian, the Greek, and Macedonian 
empires. But its highest fulfilment is in that " true 
Israel," or Civitas Dei, to which all other nations 
and all other history have been, and ever will be, sub 


LD2 l-lOOm-7, 40(6936 S ) 


r\ I -7/ - 
1 /fa/ 




. ; ; -., : ,. v. .; , . : < ,, r, f, | ;, r . ^ ;./, < J