The Chaldean observations reached to 2234 before Christ, 1903 years before Alexander. The date of Callisthenes’ visit being 331 before Christ, the third (second historical) dynasty must be added to complete the term. Cyrus was about 538 before Christ; 1662+538 =2200. If we add 258 for the dynasty missing from the MS, the first Chaldean, we have 2458 for the whole; but the first was Median, not Babylonish, if at Babylon: hence, subtracting 224 (2458-224), we have 2234, exactly the alleged period of Babylonish astronomical observations; these Chaldeans being known observers of planetary movements in connection with their idolatry, which the Medians were not, so that it is unlikely the 2234 years of observations extend to their time. That is, the known date of Alexander, added to the alleged duration of stellar observations, agrees with the length of dynasties exactly, if we leave out the first which was not Chaldean, and give 258 to the lost one. Some would count back from Cyrus, because the empire was then transferred from Babylon to Susa. Bunsen finds the name of Zoroaster, and connects 2234 with the first Median dynasty; but this is far less likely as it was not religiously or historically probable. Not religiously, for the planet-gazers were the Chaldeans; not historically, as, though Babylon had fallen as the imperial race in Cyrus’ time, the priests’ observations were given to Callisthenes at Babylon. Such is the judgment of the ablest German critics. It does not affect much our enquiry. I know Bunsen attempts to deny a Euphratean Cush; but his notion is contrary to all testimony of history, names, and accounts of races and their movements. I shall therefore take this system. It is Niebuhr’s and other Germans he quotes, as well as Rawlinson’s, and a German whom he quotes; quite admitting that, though the proofs are remarkably strong, in these ancient dates and readings there is uncertainty. That is, the Median, not idolatrous as the Chaldees, was the first historic kingdom; then a Chaldean. Of this the earliest known monarch, Urukh, has left his name on the foundation of the earliest cities of Lower Babylonia, Ur (or Mogheir), Warka (probably Erech), Senkereh (Larsa), and Niffer. Here first idolatry is found—the worship of sun, moon, and planets. He calls himself king of Ur, and Kinsi Akkad—a supposed ethnical or national designation. Erech and Akkad are mentioned in Genesis. We have a known date of a king Ismidagon from an inscription of Tiglath-Pileser, which places him in 1861. This is, say, 340 years after Urukh.

When Babylon was founded does not appear from the monuments that I am aware of. The astronomical observations date from 2234. This, which is the date of Berosus, is not only from him, but from Callisthenes, a Greek, but probably from the same sources. Others seem to confirm it. And, 1861, or Ismidagon, being ascertained with some precision, we have bricks with the names of kings not doubted to be anterior to Ismidagon. Babylon does not appear on these. About 1750 Naramsin reigned there. Merodach Namana is the first who has been found named king of Babylon somewhat later. But we have seen the records at Babylon go to the beginning of the kingdom exactly according to the chronology adopted by the ablest enquirers, as preserved there, B.C. 331.

It is evident the kings changed their capitals. Werka was probably, it is thought, Ereck. Akkad we find Urukh king of. Senkereh is Larsa in the monuments, supposed to be Ellasar. I need not enter into further details here. This will give an idea of dates. Language is a difficult medium of proof, because probably Turanic or Turano-Aryan (for there are Aryan words), Hamite and Semitic terms are mixed in the vocabulary; and the cuneiform signs represent, it appears, all. Afterwards Semitic prevailed in Assyria; but the older forms being preserved apparently as sacred, what seems older is sometimes more recent. I now turn to Abraham. A king is found on the bricks of not exactly ascertained date; but very early indeed in the above dates, part of whose name is the same as Chedorlaomer’s—perhaps the whole—and who is called the Ravager of the West (ravager being questionable, west certain). There are probabilities from names that he was connected with Susa or Elam, but of a Cushite race. The great Chaldean empire of Berosus begins 1976 before Christ. The first lasted from 2234 to 1976. Chedorlaomer, if the name be right, comes somewhat later; not the first king of it. Scripture Hebrew chronology puts the arrival of Abraham in Canaan about the year 1922 before Christ; 54 years after the beginning of the first idolatrous kingdom: but he had been some years in Canaan, and been down to Egypt, when Chedorlaomer arrived, so that that was perhaps ten years later—perhaps 1915 before Christ— that is, Chedorlaomer was 61 years after Berosus’ date of the setting up of the second Chaldean empire. Now Abraham comes from Ur, because idolatry was there; and the dates agree with the common date given to Abraham; the cause of his being called of God existing at that time, as is demonstrated; that is, idolatry was established. Indeed, it is at this epoch, it appears, that the Semitic races spread and left Chaldea, though not all escaped the idolatry, as we see in Assyria. But the date of 2876 for Abraham given by Bunsen, with an Asiatic horizon, is in any case long before any historical data whatever. It is in the fabulous addition of 34,080 years (or 33,091 invented probably, as Bunsen himself supposes, to make up 36,000—the first lunar, the second reduced by Eusebius to solar years). Nor could it be exactly said the Medians worshipped other gods. They worshipped one under the symbol of fire. The date Bunsen gives for Abraham, to indulge his fancy as to what ought to be as to Israel, and his mistaken chronology from Manetho unverified by monuments, is about a thousand years too soon, according to all that can probably be ascertained from monuments; and these monuments shew scripture to be right. No one can pretend to precision, but all the data we have prove that Bunsen indulged his imagination. I proceed to other points, concluding with Dr. Williams that Bunsen’s details on some (and nearly all) these points are sufficiently doubtful to afford ground of attack; and with all due deference, that we are most logically and rationally free to more than distrust his conclusions, instead of holding them for certain when his premisses are false, and the fruit of his imagination.

W. The character of his views seems to me pretty clear. It is simple idealism, and running a principle of his own to excess, and not sober research; merely using a mass of reading to controvert scripture, not to ascertain the truth.

H. Simply that. I proceed. Take another instance of careful research, cited by Dr. Williams, used to prove, what I have noticed, that the slaying of the first-born was by Bedouin Arabs, most choice in the effect of their successful inroad; only it is a wonder they did not carry off, in their razzia, the first-born of cattle. Perhaps they ate them; but the proof is, that it is, as the pestilence of the Book of Kings becomes in Chronicles, the more visible angel. Now, this is a mere dream. I suppose he means Samuel (called Kings in the LXX). But it is alike called a pestilence and an angel, both in Samuel and Chronicles (1 Chron. 21:14, 15; 2 Sam. 24:15-17). In the case of Sennacherib, it is called an angel simply in Kings and Chronicles.

W. But this shews great carelessness. It is trifling.

H. Yes; trifling with truth. Never trust the alleged facts of this school Make that a rule: I have learnt it by experience. Mark the excessive looseness of Dr. Williams in what follows: “It is no serious objection that Egyptian authorities continue the reign of Manephthah later.” All these reigns in Egyptian authorities are confusion itself as to their length; but let that pass. Its objection means here no objection to Exodus 15. “A greater difficulty is, that we find but three centuries left us from the exodus to Solomon’s temple.” Here the difficulty is in Bunsen’s scheme. Nothing can exceed the carelessness of the article; but this very carelessness is employed to cast a slur on the chronology of the Judges. “The uncertainty and popular character of which makes the difficulty [in Bunsen’s scheme] of no moment.” We are told the numbers in the book of Judges proceed by the eastern round number of 40. Now, it is possible that in the East they say—though I am not aware of it—(it is a sacred number, whatever its import) “this forty years,” as we say, “this hundred years,” which may be given in round numbers, though I see no reason to think so. In the case of the wilderness and David’s race determinative details making forty years are given; in one oppression also. But we have thirteen other oppressions or judges of precise dates. One thing that has misled most computers of the dates of Judges is, that they have not seen that Samson and Eli are expressly during the oppression of the Philistines, and that Samuel and Saul are for a long time together. But these are details for enquiry, as every one recognizes.

When it is said, “Baron Bunsen feels himself compelled to see growth in the Pentateuch, and he makes it Mosaic, as embodying the mind of Moses rather than written by his hand,” one can only say it is very little matter what he makes of it. A great part of it professes to give direct communications from God. They are true or false. The style is confessedly the earliest Hebrew as shewn by the use of hu for hi, nahar for nahara. That it was edited by Ezra and others may be very likely. That, and its being done by the great Sanhedrim in his day, is an old Jewish tradition, and may have so far general truth in it, as some such work of editing may have been called for after the return from the captivity. Josephus distinctly rests all on the authentication by the prophets, and hence owns none after Artaxerxes as scripture. This accords with what we read in the historical parts.

What Dr. Williams means by “the whole literature grew like a tree rooted in the various thoughts of successive generations,” I do not know. If he means that they modified the older books continually as their habits changed, it is the most improbable absurd idea of any nation, and particularly for the Jews, and especially with books which they disobeyed, and which reprove and reproach them, as these do, which yet they held as sacred, coming from God Himself (persecuting the prophets, too, because they spoke so plain). There cannot be conceived anything more improbable or more purely an imagination, contradicting all the facts, than this gratuitous theory. That Moses and Joshua, for certain historical events, used popular documents—as Paul Grecian poets—is stated in scripture. That Moses may, under God’s guidance, have used others which are not stated, is very possible. The question for us is, Was he guided of God, so that what we have is scripture? For this we have the authority of Christ and the apostles (which I suppose has little weight with Dr. Williams), and, I may add, the divinely given conviction of every child of God, and of every saint under the Old Testament too.

All the theories of Jehovistic and Elohistic documents are the merest claptrap; we have only to examine the passages to see their fallacy. We have spoken of Genesis 1, 2, and need not return to it. The history of Noah equally proves the perfect absurdity of it. I repeat, all through scripture, Jehovah is the name of relationship, as Almighty and Father are, and stated so to be; God, the simple name of the divine Being.

Again, I read here, somewhat to my astonishment, “When the fierce ritual of Syria, with the awe of a divine voice, bade Abraham slay his son, he did not reflect that he had no perfect theory of the absolute to justify him in departing from traditional revelation, but trusted that the Father, whose voice from heaven he heard at heart, was better pleased with mercy than with sacrifice; and his trust ‘was his righteousness.’“

W. What!

H. You may well say “what!” Only, it is well to let these people talk, to shew what their talking is worth. How does the good man know there was such an event? Why, from the history; and yet to please his fancied wisdom, he upsets every fact and principle of the history.

Abraham had been called out from his country and traditions in the most absolute way by the “God of glory.” He was not a Syrian idolater, and never worshipped with them, but had his tent and his altar apart: that is the gist of his whole history, its essence. It has no meaning else. It was not a traditional revelation for him; he had a theory of the absolute to justify him, both at first in departing from all idolatry, and now in not returning to the ritual of Syria. God had revealed Himself to him. The Syrian ritual had no divine voice for him; and instead of finding righteousness in not sacrificing his son, when the awe of a divine voice from fierce devils bade him, the whole point of the story is that he was blessed, because he did not withhold him. So the story states. It has no other meaning; and so James reasons in his epistle, and the epistle to the Hebrews quotes it as his glory.

They had better make popular stories for their views, a new Mormon Bible of their own, than edit such senseless stuff as this. It is a good specimen of rational literature. His comment on it is this: “So in each case we trace principles of reason and right, to which our heart perpetually responds, and our response to which is a truer sign of faith than such a deference to a supposed external authority as would quench these principles themselves.”

I quote this that you may remark the object which we detect throughout—the substitution of man’s judgment, and what philosophers have called moral sense, for obedience to God; the putting them in contrast, so as to make a revelation needless, or an evil, because it is external. The lovgo", or word, may be allowed to work in man, in man’s mind; hence man, as he is, is sufficient, but no word from God allowed. It quenches the natural conscience. Now, there is a conscience; but all history declares, and every-day life confirms, that it is not competent to guide man, and that man is wicked, and naturally hates the light because he is, and is in darkness if there is no revelation. All history proves it. Now, Christianity owns this conscience, but brings God in grace, and perfect light, into contact with it. And this is what they object to—in a becoming spirit, they tell us. But, in fact, in the passage I quote from Dr. Williams, their avowed aim is to resist a revelation of God external to man’s mind, and claiming obedience.

Now, it is an unhappy—I had better say happy—instance in which to make such a remark. No honest man can controvert that the whole and sole meaning of this history of Abraham is, that absolute deference to external authority was claimed, at the sacrifice of all natural affections in the case of an only son, and, what was more, in giving up all the promises lodged in his person. And this shewed absolute faith in God’s faithful goodness. Abraham, as the epistle to the Hebrews tells us, was sure God must give him Isaac back, if even He raised him; for God would fulfil His promises, and fulfil them in him. When the sacrifice of self was made (for it is always self), God did not allow the sacrifice.

W. The contrast of principles between scripture and this school is as clear as day, and their desire to get rid of God revealing Himself—the one great blessing of our souls—in order to exalt man and his moral competency. It is war against revelation, and against obedience; for simply knowing or doing right is not obedience. And they resist the claim of God to obedience, as well as the revelation of God in grace. This exclusion of God is dreadful, and clearly proves what they will. It is moral wickedness in character, and here shews itself in direct opposition to the mind of scripture. The effort to give the character they wish to scripture is contemptible (happy, I agree with you), because it shews what their state of mind, and what their reasonings, are worth.

H. We will proceed to some other remarks; for, as Dr. Williams speaks of scripture, we must meet him in detail.

“The famous Shiloh is taken in its local sense as the Sanctuary where the young Samuel was trained; which, if doctrinal perversions did not interfere, hardly any one would doubt to be the true sense.”

The sentence is this: “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, till Shiloh come.”

What the training of the young Samuel has to do with it I cannot tell. If it refer to this, it is still a prophecy; but, I should judge, a prophecy very badly interpreted. It seems to me it is very irrational to suppose that it is a divinely inspired prophecy about the name of the place where the young Samuel was trained, because the tabernacle was there. What is “till Shiloh come?”— and yet more, “to him shall the gathering of the peoples be?” What has that to do with the place the young Samuel was trained in? It is not “people” (fancy might have spoken of the tabernacle so), but “peoples.” But the truth is, this use of Shiloh for the name of the place is a modern Jewish opposition to the faith of Jesus being the Messiah. All the old Jewish interpreters referred this to Messiah with one consent, though the root of the word be disputed. R. Lipmann first proposed to read it, till they come to Shiloh; as in 1 Samuel 4:12, where the words are so translated, and this a certain Teller in the last century defended, applying it to the fact in Joshua, that at the close of the wars they pitched the tabernacle in Shiloh, and then Judah ceased to have the lead which had been given him in Numbers in the wilderness, Reuben and Gad left, &c. This interpretation has been adopted by the rationalists, as Eichorn, Amnion, Bleek, Tuch, &c, denying any appUcation to the Messiah. The soberest and best Hebrew scholars, even rationalists, take it as referring to peace, and see Messiah in it as Prince of Peace, as the sceptre signifies dominion. They do so on Hebrew grounds, without troubling themselves about prophecy and its fulfilment. It is also translated, till he, Judah, come to rest; seeing in it the full accomplishment of the promises to Israel when the nations of the earth will be subject; some adding the coming to Shiloh, when the land was distributed as a first instalment and turning-point; because Israel got its rest of promise in first provisional fulfilment there.

Now, these questions of interpretation I cannot enter into here. The objections of some, as Kurz, to a personal Messiah being as yet the subject of prophecy, are null. It is said this was not within view of the faith of the patriarchs. That is a mistake; the Lord Himself says, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw it and was glad.” In principle, I see nothing to object to in seeing a germinant accomplishment in responsible Israel, to be fully accomplished in their final glory with Messiah. That the chapter is a pretended prophecy after the event, has been shewn to be absurd on the face of it, for the statements are, in almost every particular, such as no one speaking from the events could have made. You must always bear in mind that these rationalists never search even whether a passage may be a prophecy. They start with the assertion, there can be none, and then seek to shew how the passage may have otherwise arisen. In this case the absurdity of their notions lies on the surface. Jacob declares that he speaks of the end of days, that this goes on to the full final blessing of Israel; and the gathering of the nations is therefore the natural interpretation for those who believe in prophecy and the divine inspiration of scripture.

That there was a provisional bringing in of blessing, and the first proposal of it on Israel’s responsibility in die first coming of Christ, is the belief of all Christians, and die express teaching of Peter in Acts 3—now put off till Israel repent (while the Church is being gathered, and yet to be fulfilled), and then to be accomplished by a glorious intervention in the last days, I have no doubt. And Judah is preserved as a tribe (I do not see more necessarily in “Shebet”) for that day. It certainly never will be fulfilled till then. It has had, in the progressive development of Israel’s history, preparatory events. To make it Samuel’s training place is simple nonsense.

It is a question whether the name be not itself given from the fact of Joshua’s sitting down there to distribute the conquered land. The point difficult to receive from the words is Israel’s coming to Shiloh; either it is, “until rest come,” or “until Judah come to Shiloh;” if not, the sentence is broken off, and there is no antecedent to “come.” It is people, “they,” as the French “on,” with no one mentioned before. If the ancient interpretations, Targums, &c, which all take it as Messiah, be not received, it is, “till rest come,” or “till Judah come to rest.” The words, “to him shall the gathering of the peoples be,” is the difficulty then. If it be not translated “till Shiloh come,” the gathering will be to Judah, looked at as representing the people, as Judah did, and specially the stock of the house of David and Christ, in contrast with the ten tribes. That the people first should be the vessel of God’s testimony, and Messiah take their place on their failure, and gather the peoples, is the distinct declaration of prophecy. It is fully developed in Isaiah 49, where Messiah declares He has laboured in vain, if it be Israel; and then His gathering the remnant of Israel and the nations is fully set forth, going on to the rest and glory of Israel. It is the great subject of prophecy—Messiah taking up the promise as a faithful servant when Israel had failed. Hence He is the true Vine, as Israel was the old vine but was fruitless, or bore wild grapes. Bunsen’s and Dr. Williams’s view is too puerile to pay attention to.

The alleged “Bible before our Bible is indicated … rather than proved as it might be.” This merely means the old story of Jehovistic and Elohistic elements, book of Jasher, book of the wars of the Lord, of which we have spoken. It may be seen expanded elaborately, as to the former, in De Wette, after many others, and is, I hesitate not to say, contrary to fact, and pure ignorance. Take Genesis 6, indeed the whole account of the flood, and see if any man with his senses, without a theory to support, could make two documents—one with God, the other with Jehovah. Joshua also has referred to documents, to prove the truth of what he said to unbelieving enemies of Israel; so Jephthah used it against Ammon. The Kings and Chronicles constantly refer to the public records. This only says that the prophetic Spirit used but did not copy them. The statement of a bible before the Bible has no kind of ground whatever. We are told, “he rightly rejects the perversions which make the Psalms evangelically inspired.” Who ever thought they were? Why is “evangelically” thrust in? Who ever supposed the Psalms were the gospel? The Psalms refer to the government of God, not to His intervention in grace, save as delivering Israel. For this their enemies must be destroyed, and this they look for. But it has nothing to do with the Christian now. He has “to do well, suffer for it, and take it patiently.” The Jews in the latter day will look for their oppressing enemies to be destroyed when God comes in; and He will answer their cry. Jerome and Augustine I leave to answer for themselves; only their imagination was moderate compared with the system we are enquiring into. I admit fully the absurdity of much patristic interpretation; but calling Chaldeans demons, whose instruments they were, is not more absurd than saying: “the Father” (Semitic): Japetic interpretation: the eternal will of the realization of good in man (eternal decree of election). The Son: Man, mankind (Jesus and children of God) struggling with self for the realization of good in time. In an eminent degree Jesus of Nazareth as the conscious realization of God’s goodness. “Man, the Son of man:” The finite realization of the Spirit of God as good in individual consciousness developed in time. “Resurrection:” The awakening of the consciousness of this divine life in the soul. “Eternal life:” The divine element in man’s ethical life as union with God’s will in time.

W. But whose interpretations are these strange bewilderments of mind?

H. Baron Bunsen’s last improved.

W. Is it possible? It is well to know what kind of mind we are dealing with. I am not surprised at his idealizing history too, having his siege written before the history of it comes.

H. It was the Alexandrian manner of interpreting, and came into the church. It is very absurd, save in so far as facts carry moral ideas in them. As to Messianic prophecies in the Old Testament, it is insisted that they refer partly to a present historical sense. This is not true of all. It is introduced here, as a great admission of the orthodox bishops, and I know not whom, as a discovery now forced on people which is to undermine these prophecies. As to the greater part of them, I do not doubt the principle at all. All Christians, since scripture has been studied, with a very few exceptions, have so understood them, applying the principle with more or less intelligence. God in goodness, who had announced from the outset a deliverance and a deliverer, when dealing with details, encouraged faith—present faith—by prophecies which had application then, but expressed the mind of God, which saw to the end of the vista; clothed it in language which went back to the original promise, and surrounded it with clearer light. God wrought in present deliverance, and encouraged hope. The prophets acted as revealers of His mind in this, but kept alive with growing light the hope of the full deliverance yet to come; so that the prophets searched into the meaning of their own prophecies, and saw it was not for them but for us. But all this is so little new, that it is a principle laid down by Lord Bacon, who calls them germinant prophecies. Deliverance is promised as to Sennacherib, but the Holy Ghost takes occasion to point to a final deliverance from the Assyrian in the latter days. Both were important, and both given.

If Paley could only find one Messianic prophecy, he was very ignorant of scripture. I do not say that none have an inferior application to circumstances, or that the prophet does not rise from circumstances to be “rapt into future times;” but if it be meant that there is but one prophecy in which the Holy Spirit meant to point out Christ, it is utterly false.

Baron Bunsen admits no prophecy, but a kind of second sight —a spirit of prognostication in man, in which he is fallible, but conceives future things. The rationalist school deny all prophecy.

But take the Psalms: Psalm 2 is prophetic of Christ; Psalm 16 is; Psalm.22 is; Psalms 69, 72, 102, no are. I do not say that some part of some of these may not have had a partial application to other sufferers or triumphs. But they have Messiah directly in view. Many others rise up to His case while dealing in divine sympathy, more generally with the suffering remnant, whose place and part He took. But these speak directly of Him; some of Him only. For this we have the authority of Christ and the apostles. I am aware that is nothing with this school; but it is with Christians something. They think Paul, and Peter, and the records divinely given us of Christ, on which Christianity is authentically founded, are of more authority than Dr. Williams; for, soberly, that is the question. Can any one but a neologist doubt that Isaiah 8:13 to 9:7 connects, and is meant to connect, the present circumstances of Israel with a great future deliverance by a glorious personage who meanwhile is a stone of stumbling and a rock pf offence? that is, encourages Israel in those days in their distress, but goes on to an alleged glorious deliverance hereafter, when the distress should be yet greater, but a deliverer there? I say alleged. I am not enquiring here whether it be false or true, whether it was a fanatic prophet, holding out hopes of false deliverance, or the Holy Ghost predicting sure events; but I say, the prophet (or impostor) meant—though connecting it with present events—to encourage the people with the hopes of a glorious deliverer in future times, but who would be a stone of stumbling meanwhile, and who would have disciples. The character and terms of the prophecy prove it could not be an impostor; they are too detailed, and speak too much of the evil of Israel. But, be the prophet what he may, I say, a man wants either sense or honesty who will attempt to deny that the alleged prophet intended to point out a mighty future deliverer, who is said to be Jehovah, long hiding His face from the house of Israel, a sanctuary or refuge, but a stone of stumbling, and then a public deliverer in battles of fire. An unbeliever may deny Christianity, and any accomplishment.

If we begin by taking for granted it cannot be, we may spare ourselves the trouble of proving it is not. As a Christian, I believe a part is accomplished—the last part clearly not until Christ comes again. All I say now is, that here is a passage which, referring to Israel’s fears then and connecting the testimony with present facts, goes on through a series of alleged events to the time of a great deliverer, of the increase of whose government there will be no end, on the throne of David. Let it be a false prophecy or a true one, it is a prophecy, and a prophecy of Jehovah’s being a sanctuary, a stone of stumbling, having disciples, the breaking of Israel on the stone of stumbling, to which the Lord and Peter apply this, and then a triumphant deliverer.

I will now take another character of prophecy referred to—the servant; shewing that Israel is taken up as the servant, and replaced by Christ, who will deliver the remnant as again servants of Jehovah, who had long, as we have seen, hidden His face. I take this the rather as Dr. Williams has referred to it. Isaiah 42 says, “My servant whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. A bruised reed shall he not break,” &c. This we know is formally applied to Christ in the Gospels. In verse 19, and more distinctly and definitely in chapter 43:1-10, the servant is Israel. In chapter 49 this is again declared in express terms, “Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.” Then says one, If that be so, I have laboured in vain, and spent my strength for nought and in vain; and then goes on, “And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of Jehovah, and my God shall be my strength.” His judgment was with Jehovah, and His work with His God. Then comes the answer, “It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant, to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and restore the preserved of Israel. I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, and to be my salvation to the end of the earth.” Yet afterwards Israel is brought back, and Zion is remembered and glorified, and kings her nursing fathers.

Now here I have Israel a servant, apparently a total failure, because they are not gathered by a person who appears on the scene to do it, yet declares His work owned. Then the Gentiles brought in (a passage which Paul uses for his ministry); and then, after all, Israel restored and blessed. Now I am not saying again whether this is a false prophecy, or a true one; but it is there— was there—as a prophecy before the time, is not yet all accomplished certainly, but speaks of Israel as a servant supplanted by another who fails in gathering Israel, and turns to the Gentiles, and looks on to the end then even for Israel. It is (true or false) Messianic, predicts one who seems to fail—outwardly does as to Israel, and then turns to the Gentiles. It is used by Paul in Luke’s account in the Acts, and by himself in 2 Corinthians; the former to authorize his turning to the Gentiles, the latter to the gospel time, chapter 6:2. Every one can judge whether Christianity, or the ribaldry of the Neologists and the idealism of Baron Bunsen most justly meet the statements in it. At any rate they are there. A man may reject prophecy, or say it is not fulfilled; but he who says there is not avowed prophecy, and prophecy of Israel’s future glory (and glory through a glorious deliverer, commonly called Messiah), is not an honest man, or is in wilful blindness.

I will take up Isaiah 53 by itself as so important; but see chapter 59:16-21, and all 60. Now I am not arguing for their truth now, much as I believe it; I only say they exist.

W. I understand you. It is a vital point; because if they exist, which Dr. Williams attempts but hardly dares to deny, we should soon be brought to the conviction, not that all interpreters of course are right (for I apprehend, for my own part, that when Zion and Jerusalem are turned into the Church, you must make confusion, though there may be some analogies); but that in fact God has accomplished in part what He has prophesied of beforehand.

H. And remark, I insist on the truth of what they make an objection of, namely, that there is the connection with present circumstances in Israel; that God had foretold a deliverance by the Seed of the woman; and then, when the world had fallen into idolatry, which no one can deny, chose out a people to preserve the knowledge of the one true God, Jehovah, and made them the centre of His earthly government: as it is said, “When the Most High [His universal name of dominion over the earth and all powers] divided to the nations their inheritance; when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the bounds of the people according to the number of the children of Israel. For Jehovah’s portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance.” This did not set aside the promise made before, though for a time He suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. But the promises as to the earth centred in Israel as a people. When the fulness of time was come, the promised deliverer came and presented Himself to Israel as a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God. Israel is not gathered. He is a stone of stumbling. Then the promises centre, as we have seen, in Christ. Israel has voluntarily forfeited them, and ceases for a time, save by the hiding of God’s face from them, to be the centre of His earthly government, and remain, as we know, without their own religion, and without a false one.

Meanwhile believers are called to follow a rejected Lord, take up their cross, and have their treasure in heaven. Though not a sparrow falls without our Father, and all is under God’s hand, yet it is not the time of God’s direct government in respect of an earthly people. In due time God declares He will take up the Jews and Israel again; and while the saints who have suffered will have a heavenly portion, the earth will be governed in peace. But this will be introduced by a time of evil, tribulation, and judgment.

Now the prophecies all declare this, and we must not confound the government of the earth (and the promises made to the Jews and connected with it) with our heavenly hopes-. God does not prophesy of heaven, but of events in the earth. These prophecies, while the Jews were connected with the present government of God, were addressed to them to warn and encourage them then; but God, knowing what they were, went on to the end, to the infallible accomplishment of His purpose, knowing that what rested on man’s responsibility must fail. Hence prophecies do apply largely at the time, only they go often on to the end; and are all a part of this large general scheme—are not of private interpretation, and not only as to Messiah, but as to Jews and Gentiles, all whose history and circumstances at the close of the world’s history are much more fully gone into than the circumstances of the day. Christ’s humiliation is spoken of, His rejection, as we have seen; but then prophecy, as it speaks of the government of the world, once He is gone on high, passes over to His future re-appearing in the world’s government: for this was the subject of prophecy. Hence Christ and the apostles leave out often the last part of a prophecy—it belongs to the end of the present order of the world—and stop at its first coming or its effects. Thus Christ says “To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,” but does not add “the day of vengeance of our God:” this is to come. So Paul, quoting Psalm 68, says “He hath received gifts for men,” but does not add “Yea, even for the rebellious, that the Lord God might dwell among them.” This will be true when Israel is restored in the latter day.

Take another prophecy cavilled at—Micah’s prophecy; one, perhaps, as I have found, that strikes a Jew the most. Dr. Williams represents Baron Bunsen so as that, if he would quote Micah as designating Bethlehem for the birth-place of Messiah, he cannot shut his eyes to the fact that the deliverer who was to come from thence was to be a contemporary shield against the Assyrian. Why is “contemporary” added? Contemporary with what? Where is there a word in the passage about contemporary? This is dishonest.

Chapter 4, which precedes it, and is the same prophecy, after denouncing Jerusalem, and declaring that she shall be ploughed as a field, declares that in the last days all shall be changed, and the mountain of Jehovah’s house established on the tops of the mountains, and exalted above the hills; and the peoples (not “people”—a frequent unhappy mistake in the English version) flow unto it. And many nations shall come, and full blessings are promised to Zion in the last days after judgment. All the nations shall be gathered against her (as Zechariah prophesies also, and Isaiah 17, and other passages), but she arises and threshes them as sheaves on the corn floor. In the midst of this it is announced (not as before, chapter 3) that wickedness led to desolation (as Isaiah had in chapters 42 and 48), but that there was another great event in the interim—the Judge of Israel should be insulted and rejected, and that therefore God would give them up. This Judge of Israel was to be born in Bethlehem; but His goings forth have been from the days of eternity. Therefore will He give them up until she which hath travailed hath brought forth; then the remnant of his brethren will return to the children of Israel. Israel will be taken up again, and this man, this Judge of Israel, will be the peace, when the Assyrian comes.

Now the Assyrian is, numberless times, designated as the great enemy—I do not say oppressor of the Jews—in the latter day; and the prophecy speaks explicitly of the latter day after Israel had been given up, because they had smitten the Judge of Israel with a rod upon the cheek. Now “contemporary” here is a dishonest word born of neology.

The prophecy I leave to any one to read through, and I would press the necessity of taking the context of passages as well as a single verse. I do riot fear the result of reading the prophecy of Micah by any unprejudiced person; and the more he knows the scheme of prophecy in all the prophets, the clearer he will be, and the more he will be convinced that one Spirit wrote them. Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. If the Jews of whom the prophets speak are excluded from the interpretation by Christians to apply it to themselves, they must distort them. If Jeremiah says, God had plucked them down, and He would build them up; and the plucking down is applied to Jews, and the building up to Christians, nonsense is made of it at once, because passages are found immediately which it is impossible so to accommodate. But if we take them as they are delivered, they are comparatively speaking perfectly simple. Yet it is into this very error this new school falls. “The typical ideas (of patience or of glory) find their culminating fulfilment in the new,” says Dr. Williams.

W. But let me interrupt you with a question here. This ideal element recalls it to me. You quoted the Baron on resurrection; does he not believe in one?

H. No; as far as I can find out. “He shares,” Dr. Williams tells us, “in the aspiration of the noblest philosophers elsewhere, and of the firmer believers among ourselves, to (sic) a revival of conscious and individual life, in such a form of immortality as may consist with union with the Spirit of our eternal Life-giver.” It is Buddhism, and that pretty much avowedly, for he defends Buddhism from the charge of seeking annihilation. It is Philo who taught that the soul was in dualism in the body, came down from God, was a portion of Himself, and returned to be rejoined to Him. Save in Philo’s respect for the scriptures, which is only in vague language held by Bunsen, and denied in fact, all the main points of his view are, as I said, Philo’s. With all its pretensions to philosophy and science, it is only a return to the doctrine of that vain but active-minded Platonic Jew. Only that Bunsen necessarily brings in Christ, but reduces Him to be a mere completing the ideal system of which He is a more perfect expression. It is remarkable that Philo speaks little of Messiah, and only as an earthly king—does not connect with Him the lovgo", of whom he speaks largely philosophically. I apprehend myself the whole ideal system came, as to parentage, from the Feroohers of Zoroaster, from whom Plato borrowed them, and Philo from Plato. You may find the account of Zoroaster’s system in Heeren.

W. But it is the utter subversion of Christianity in all its truths.

H. What do you think Bunsen makes of the fall?

W. I know not; though I think you referred to it. All their system denies it altogether.

H. It is “ideally the circumscription of our spirits in limits of flesh and time—then practically the selfish nature with which we fall from the likeness of God.”

W. But then the fall and creation are the same thing; for, surely, our spirits were then circumscribed in flesh and time; and the selfish nature is only viewed as a practical state into which we may now come when free.

H. What you say is perfectly just—the fall is simply creation; but this is again Philo. The spirits were pure spirits, part of God, and were lowered and brought into an inferior state by coming into the body. So, indeed, Origen; only, inconsistently, he made it partly the effect of previous conduct. This is the secret of the teaching of Origen, and Clemens of Alexandria, and of Bunsen’s liking them, as having the spirit of freedom in the church, which was lost afterwards. But I will take up some more of the cavils against scripture, because that is important. Forgive me if I am tedious.

W. Continue. All this examination of scripture is full of interest.

H. Dr. Williams says he “cannot quote Nahum, denouncing ruin against Nineveh, or Jeremiah against Tyre, without remembering that already the Babylonish power threw its shadow across Asia, and Nebuchadnezzar was mustering his armies.” Now, all this vague language is very convenient to make mere human foresight out of divine prophecy. But there is no manly grappling with the subject. According to the best research, theological and other, Nahum lived in Hezekiah’s reign. This is drawn from reference to historical facts alluded to in the prophecy in connection with Assyria, Egypt, and Philistia, and Isaiah 20. Now, Jeremiah was more than a hundred years afterwards. In Nahum’s time Babylon did not cast its shadow over the East, and Nebuchadnezzar was not born. Merodach-Baladan reigned in Babylon, and cherished, probably, ambitious views against Assyria, Babylon having been long a capital before Nineveh. But, though he revolted, in the confusion of Sargon’s usurpation, as it appears, he was attacked and driven from Babylon into the marshes; and, though a party of his own race held to him and his family, so far was Babylon from rising then, that Esarhaddon ruled without any subject king at all in Babylon; and Assyria under Sennacherib and Esarhaddon was at a pitch of splendour it had never reached before. After that it began to decline; but it was not Nebuchadnezzar who attacked it. The last king—as to whose name there is some difficulty—sent Nabopolassar against Cyaxares, king of Media; but he joined him, married his daughter, and they attacked Nineveh together. Then, a hundred years after the prophecy, as Nahum had said, the gates of the rivers were opened, the Tigris washed away the brick defences, and the king burnt the palace over his head. Modern research has proved in detail that the fire devoured her palaces. The statement, therefore, as regards Nahum, is entirely groundless.

As to Nebuchadnezzar mustering his armies, and Jeremiah knowing it, the great body of his prophecies refer, not to mustering armies, but to the war being carried on before his eyes. What was important was not that, it required no prophet, but one to put a distinct limit to the captivity of seventy years, and predict the final glory of Israel, as the prophets universally announce it, but with even more precision. That prophecy of the seventy years was distinctly fulfilled; and if Jeremiah prophesied at the mustering of the armies, and saw Jerusalem taken and burnt, his prophecy of her restoration is fulfilled prophecy.

But, as to dates, Dr. Williams is wrong. Jeremiah prophesies in the 14th year of Josiah; that was the first year of Nabopolassar. It was not till after this that Nebuchadnezzar comes upon the scene. Marcus Niebuhr makes the 14th year of Josiah some twenty years before Nebuchadnezzar’s Syrian campaigns.

We have still Isaiah, though briefly touched on, to notice, Psalms 2 and 22, and Daniel. The fact is, the only real ground alleged against the authenticity of the prophets is the foregone conclusion that there can be no such thing. Dr. Williams and Bunsen only repeat what the Geseniuses, and De Wettes, and Rosenmullers—Koppe being the first—have said before them. Isaiah 13,14, 24-27, 35-37, and 40 to the end, cannot be Isaiah’s, because the captivity of Babylon is spoken of as a present thing, and the Jews’ deliverance proclaimed! Consequently it must have been written at that time; that is, there can be no prophecy, therefore this is not one. But that is begging the question.

“It is clear to demonstration that the later chapters are upon the stooping of Nebo and the bowing down of Babylon, when the Lord took out of the hand of Jerusalem the cup of trembling, for the glad tidings of the decree of return were heard upon the mountains.” Clear to demonstration? demonstration of what? There is no need of demonstration at all. One has only to read the chapters to see they are upon the stooping of Nebo, &c. But that the decree was heard upon the mountains intimates, it is alleged, that it was gone forth, and the people went forth not with haste. Now, all this is Dr. Williams’s loose manner. If it was on the mountains, it was not in Babylon, for there are none there; and Judah was not on their mountains to hear it or have it proclaimed. Further, the going out is a promise, not a fact. But the whole point of the passage is, that, as it speaks of Nebo’s stooping, Nebo must have already stooped, because no one could foretell a thing. So De Wette: The events “are supposed to have actually taken place, which shews the author wrote in the time of the Babylonish captivity.” So of the earlier chapters: “The passage which treats of the destruction of Babel and the Babylonian empire, &c, must be spurious … because the writer takes his standpoint in the exile.” So Gesenius: “The oracle supposes a prophetic poet being in Babylon; and the point of time of the composition can hardly be any other … than when the hostility of the Medes against Babel, and their brilliant progress under Cyrus, gave to the Jews the sure hope that the seat of their persecutors would fall through them.” “This situation is portrayed as present, not future, and in such a way that the ruin (of Babylon) should immediately follow. That this does not suit in the least the time of Isaiah needs no further proof.” This applies specially to the last part after the history of Hezekiah, and the previous parts which speak of Babylon, and chapters 24-35. It is needless to quote more of the same kind from other rationalists.

Now, it is evident, that this pretends to no proof that it is not a prophecy. It assumes it, and uses the assumption to prove Isaiah could not be the author. There is no thought of proving that it is not a prophecy: as there can be none, the reference to Babylon is a proof of the time it is composed in! The allegation that it is spoken of as present, not future, is utterly without force. It speaks of things as present, which, by the supposition, were future, the destruction of Nebo and Babylon, which were only a sure hope. It pretends, that is, to be a prophecy, and of the glorious restoration of Jerusalem, when they were in exile. If, then, it be not a prophecy, it is an imposture. Indeed the notion of a person making a prophetic book of events to encourage the people when they were present is an absurdity on the face of it. They do not want it. That an impostor may arouse hopes from his use of coming events, which throw their shadows before, is very possible; but this does not suit the argument that they relate events when they are present. But more of this when we come to Daniel, who enters into details.

Only here I remark that the theory is an absurdity. A prophet may use present interventions of God as a ground of confidence for future ones of which he prophesies; but a prophet of present events is nonsense. But this is the rationalist theory. And see how little reality there is in all this reasoning. They say Isaiah’s saying that Jerusalem lay desolate is a proof that the Jews were already exiles and Jerusalem destroyed. Yet of Nineveh it is said, she is empty, and void, and waste! But here they do not think of saying it was past. It is evident enough it is the prophetic Spirit rendering it present in vision in both.

W. But why should they insist on it in Isaiah and not in Nahum?

H. In Nahum there is no direct Messianic prophecy; and therefore they have no particular object: they are content to leave it in the shade. Isaiah is too plain. If it be a prophecy, it is a prophecy of Christ. We have seen, indeed, that their whole statement as to Nahum is false in fact. It is equally so here; for the greater part (indeed all the prophecy) speaks of future events, as the neologists admit. Nebo had not bowed down, and Babylon had not yet fallen. The Jews were in exile then, and a very large part indeed has nothing to do with Babylon, but speaks of the coming of the Lord to judge all flesh, the future glory of Jerusalem, and the like.

My part here is, not to shew Isaiah true, but the neologists false. There is, in fact, no ground at all for their statements. Prophets may take an immediately imminent fact and speak of it. Thus, when the people were besieged and hoped to escape, Jeremiah declares they should go to Babylon, and so they did. So Ezekiel; only he declares Zedekiah should come to Babylon, and die there, but not see it; as it happened, for they put his eyes out. But this is not the case in Isaiah. Besides, the stopping at chapter 14:23 is perfectly arbitrary. The prophecy is the same, at any rate, to the end of chapter 27. But the reason is obvious: we get then the Assyrian destroyed after Babylon, and this does not suit present things in Babylon. It is avowedly future in the text. And the destruction of the Assyrian in the future, when Israel was in Babylon, will not do if it is a prophecy. What has the founding of Zion to do with the destruction of the Philistines, if we go to the end of the chapter? No, Isaiah prophesies Babylon will be destroyed: an immense event, because it was the great seat of idolatry—the empire God had first formally given to the Gentiles (the four monarchies)—that which stands as the type of man’s idolatrous power in the earth oppressing God’s people. Hence its judgment was in moral import all-important; and the prophet looks out from it to the great closing deliverance of the earth, and adds the destruction of the Assyrian, the great external enemy that attacked God’s people (not where they were captive, and never substituted for Jerusalem, as Babylon was); and then the inward enemies in their own territory, the Philistines; and Zion would be really founded of God. Hence as to Babylon, though he does prophesy its present judgment, as he had the captivity there to Hezekiah, when he was in prosperity, yet he goes on far beyond—to the day of the Lord.

The principle then is an assumption of the question which we have to prove, in order to conclude as to who the author of the book is, and has no pretension to be an argument as to anything else. And the alleged facts on which it is founded are no facts at all. Its being Isaiah or not is all one to those who believe it is inspired, although I doubt not the least it was Isaiah. Why should any one have shoved in parcels of prophecy into his? It is not merely the last twenty-five chapters; but parcels in the midst of the prophecies which are absolutely needed to make a whole of it; for, if we leave out Babylon and the then history of the nations which Isaiah prophetically gives, they are altogether incomplete. The main element, without which the rest have not their sense, is wanting. It is the main part of a whole, as any one reading it may see. And the only reason for taking it out is that it must be a prophecy if it is left in; and this avowedly. But the rest is prophecy, too, of Moab, Egypt, &c, so that nothing is gained.

I am aware that the style is alleged. But this is merely a help; and it is not denied that there are peculiarities ‘which prove its similarity, while the general flow of the last half is naturally different from short burdens. I say, it is not denied. The explanation of these is, “But these peculiarities prove nothing.” “Their agreement in this respect cannot have been accidental, and must be explained as an imitation of the genuine, or in some other way.” One who can reason thus, De Wette, has not much title to claim attention.

W. Clearly not. It is well in these days to know what these neologists have to say. That I find difficulties in scripture does not surprise me. I wait, and profit by the overflowing mass of evidently divine instruction. But when learned men, or men who give themselves out for such and have credit for great research, present it as a settled thing in Hebrew and Chaldee (and I know not what, where most people cannot follow them) that the scriptural books are not inspired and cannot be, it is a relief to know what ground they go on. Thus, when I find that it is simply assuming there cannot be a prophecy, and no more; and that half Isaiah is cut off solely because the chapters speak of future events, and therefore must have been then written, their whole statement crumbles to nothing. It is simply making impostors or fanatics of all the inspired writers, because inspiration is impossible, that is, simply direct unbelief without any motive but the will of unbelief. And I through grace can judge for myself; I have tasted, and am assured that they are inspired. Besides, what you say is true, that the pretension that they were prophecies written at the time of the events, or after, is false as to the fact in the prophecies, and absurd upon the face of it.

H. As regards the alleged later words, the statement as to sagan is an absurdity. It is used in Isaiah when he is speaking of the conqueror (Cyrus) treading down the Babylonish power; and speaks of the half governors, half kings, or deputies, satraps or pachas, who had that title in the East: and Isaiah gives them their title. It is used by Jeremiah and Ezekiel, as well as by Daniel. It would be just as much sense to say that I was not an Englishman because I spoke of the French Chambers, because in England they were called Houses.

As regards the alleged words of later Hebraism and Chaldaism, I have no pretension to be learned in Hebrew certainly, but I have examined them—at least many of them; some are (as the use of zaba alleged by De Wette, is, I am quite sure) a blunder. Of another, which is an Aramaism, Gesenius says, an Aramaic form for the Hebrew one in a word much more common in Aramaean is less surprising. Others (as the use of then for if) I judge to be simply false interpretation. It has, I am satisfied, its usual Hebrew sense as the English gives it. Another, in which he follows Gesenius, alleging a Chaldaism, is entirely rejected by Rosenmiiller, who gives the word as in the English as good Hebrew; and the LXX and Jerome so translate it: so Jarchi, one of the learned Rabbin. Hence I conclude, with Stuart of Andover, that the discrepancy has no solid basis of proof. The objections are wholly groundless.

The best Hebraists, nay, the objector, admit that the style is not that of the later Hebrew. De Wette will have it an imitation; Rosenmiiller admits that the writer, who lived near the close of the Babylonish exile, personated some ancient prophet. He admits too, that all the latter part points to some glorious future restoration which the then restoration of Jerusalem in no way fulfilled. Only when Cyrus’s decree came out he encouraged his compatriots by it. How little all this enters into the spirit of the prophet I need not say.

I will enter now into some examination of the last part, and shew their estimate of it to be as superficial as all the rest. I may mention that Gesenius treats it as an epistle to the Jews in exile. How then written in Babylon? They allege that the last chapters are a whole, and that the servant must be one throughout; and chapter 53 speaks of him. Bunsen alleges it is Jeremiah; Gesenius a personification of all the prophets.

W. But this is a deliberate denial of the authority of the apostles and New Testament, who quote the passage and apply it to Christ.

H. Do you fancy they trouble themselves about that? Not only the apostles, but the Lord, according to the evangelist, quotes their pseudo-Isaiah as a prophet (John 6:45); Paul, Peter, John, all quote Isaiah 53, and that, too, as referring to Christ. But what are apostles to Neologists? They spoke according to their natural prejudices—you would not suppose the new school to have any.

W. But why do they call themselves Christians?

H. It is, I judge, in some respect a mercy. Habit, convenience, and, I trust, in many an instance, the restraint of conscience, where only the mind is led astray; but the Jewish journalist has, while exulting in their denial of Christianity, reproached them with their want of honesty.

But to proceed with Isaiah:—I shall shew you that the servant is not the same; that the portion is not one, though the parts compose a whole; and, though Christ be seen throughout, yet that (as I said before) Israel is first presented in one part, then in the next Christ takes Israel’s place, and then He is the word of God to those that have ears to hear; and then the remnant in the last days take this place of servant.

The first part ends in chapter 48 with “There is no peace, saith Jehovah, to the wicked.” In this, though Christ be named, Israel is distinctly brought forward as the servant, and the question of idolatry raised, which Babylon represents, and Israel is held guilty in respect of graven images, and not heeding God’s word; but in the end full deliverance and blessing is promised after full chastisement, only distinguishing the wicked and the remnant.

In chapter 49 the second part begins; it ends in chapter 57, and again with, “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”

Now, in chap. 40,48, though in the first comforts and promises Christ be named as the servant of Jehovah after the glory of Jehovah has been insisted on, yet when the prophet speaks of restoring Israel, and turns to their moral condition before it, they are looked at as the responsible servant of Jehovah, and His witnesses as the one only true God. “Ye are my witnesses, saith Jehovah, and my servants whom I have chosen.” But Israel had been weary of Him, yet He would restore and bless them, and idolatry and Babylon would be judged.

Then Israel stands forth in chapter 49 as the chosen witness and servant before the Gentiles. Then, in verse 4, comes the charge, not of disobedience and idolatry, but of the rejection of Christ. He is the true servant, but has laboured in vain; the true vine, the true Son, but is rejected, and Israel guilty of that. But God would infallibly make good His promises; yet Israel would be divorced: “Wherefore when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer?” Then we have Christ’s humiliation. And now Israel itself is called upon to hear the voice of Jehovah’s servant, and the lot of each depends on this. (Chap. 50:11.) Here they who were the witnesses and servant are called upon to hear the Servant. Such and such only might count on blessing; and then restoration is gone through in a beautiful progress from the distress of the humbled remnant to the full latter-day glory of Jerusalem. Then the Servant is exalted and extolled, and very high, sprinkles many nations: kings shall shut their mouths at Him; for that which they had not been told shall they see, and that which they had not heard they shall consider. Then comes the confession of the way they had received Him when He was there, and the declaration that, when they esteemed Him stricken and smitten of God and afflicted, it was really an expiation work, and with His stripes they were healed. The result is blessing, but through judgment, because of not only this but subsequent iniquity; but in the end healing: only no peace to the wicked. With this the second part closes. He then, in the third part, enters on a full controversy with Israel for their sins, and the extreme departure from God in the latter days, owned by the faithful in spirit; and then God interferes in judgment for His own name’s sake, and the Redeemer comes to Zion—a passage quoted by Paul as yet to be fulfilled. This, in a certain sense, closes the part. The rest unfolds various subjects connected with the latter days. The glory and holiness of Jerusalem is depicted then in that day. Christ is introduced in a passage quoted by Himself, and passing from His first coming in humiliation to His second in judgment. We have the confession and intercession of the prophet in Israel’s name in the last days; the answer of God, how He had had patience with Israel, and used their rejection to call the Gentiles, and He will judge the sins of Israel; but—and here we find the servants again—He will make a difference between His elect servants and the wicked nation. This is enlarged upon; the rejection of mere outward service in that day is shewn, and Jehovah, coming in judgment and vengeance to all flesh, is announced, but for the glory and blessing of these servants, the remnant of Israel. Thus we have Israel servant, faithless; and Christ servant. He is to be heard by the previous witnesses; now He is rejected. Then, at the close, those who hear His voice are in the place of servants, and inherit the promises to Israel, when Jehovah comes to judge all flesh. They tell us this must be one single servant! and, if we are to believe Baron Bunsen, and what Dr. Williams recommends as a masterly analysis, all this vast scope of prophecy, from a suffering Christ to a judged world, concerns Jeremiah.

W. It is difficult indeed to conceive anything so, I was going to say, imbecile. I really know not what word to use. That would not be a seemly one, I own.

H. Think of his sprinkling many nations, kings shutting their mouths at him, confounded, that is, at his being so extolled and so high—the poor man that was dragged down to Egypt and died there! For here it is the same servant: the chapters, as they insist to their own confusion, cannot be separated; chap. 52:13 begins the strophe, so to speak. Gesenius is not quite so absurd; he takes the whole body of prophets personified, rejected as they were by the people; and adds, against De Wette and others, that whether we look at the language, or reflect on the universal expiatory sacrifices, and the habits of thought of Israel, and indeed all nations, we must see here reference to an expiatory work. But Christ and grace cannot be accepted, so perverse is the poor heart of man; the sufferings of the prophets are looked at by him as expiatory, and the means of Israel’s deliverance— anything, provided it be not Christ. He adds that no man can doubt that the New Testament doctrine was founded on this.

The poor unhappy apostles who did not know their own religion! And all this time has elapsed, deceived by the means of their teaching, and in the nineteenth century light has come in. Well might (not Tertullian alone but) John say, “That which was from the beginning;” and “Let that therefore abide in you which ye heard from the beginning: if that which ye have heard from the beginning abide in you, ye also shall abide in the Son and in the Father.” And Paul, that we should continue in what we have learned, knowing of whom we have learned it, and that the scriptures can make us wise unto salvation. And again, John —“He that is of God heareth us; and he that is not of God heareth not us: hereby know we the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” I have heard the apostles, I have heard them quoting this passage of Christ; and I know the spirit of error in Dr. Williams.

There is another point I would notice here. The sufferings of Christ are no doubt spoken of in Isaiah 53. The prophets were animated by the Spirit of Christ, Himself the great and perfect Prophet; and for the testimony of the word they, as He, were rejected and suffered: their report was not more received than His as the Great Prophet. So far there is a very important and interesting analogy. But that is not the chief point here. The fact is recognized, as in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 50; but it is only the occasion here of the people’s recognition of something else. “We hid our faces from him.” But what was the secret of this? “Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows,” as faithful in the midst of their unfaithfulness. In a measure a prophet could say that, yea, or a Christian could say it too in a fuller way. “Therefore I endure all things,” says the apostle, “for the elect’s sake.”

But now we come to another point. “Yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned every one to his own way; and Jehovali hath laid on him the iniquity of us all… for the transgression of my people was he stricken… it pleased Jehovah to bruise him, he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed … and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul and shall be satisfied; by his knowledge shall my righteous servant instruct many in righteousness [so I translate the hiphil here], and he shall bear their iniquities … because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors, and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” Now none can read the chapter without seeing that, as Gesenius admits, expiatory suffering is the point insisted on—a principle of interpretation evident, from the terms of the passage, as being the point. They thought Him rejected of God as well as man; but He was really bearing their iniquities. This is the special force of the chapter, confirmed by the general conviction of the Jews on the subject of expiation, and of every nation under heaven.

Now what I note this now for is, that this point is (as a Christian can easily conceive) wholly omitted in the “masterly analysis.” Not one word of it has Dr. Williams to produce from Bunsen, naturally enough. The pious and devoted prophet, though really representing Christ as a prophet, was far enough from pretending to be a sacrifice. But the folly of this interpretation is yet more evident, because, if our Isaiah prophesied at the end of the exile, Jeremiah was dead and gone; and that which is clearly future at the end can have no application to him. To apply it to a series of prophets is absurd; with any application to Israel as a people, the common modern Jewish idea, it is in contradiction. They are confessing their having misconceived the position of the sufferer, and that he suffered for their sins. No, nothing can be clearer than the prophecy. The servant who was to be exalted, and extolled, and very high, so that kings should shut their mouths, and he sprinkle many nations, was to be rejected by the Jews and of men, but make his soul an offering for sin, and then be highly exalted. The terms of the passage, its place in the prophecy, all give it its true and evident character, and enable us to understand why the apostles (that is, the same Spirit that dictated it) use it (I do not exactly say found their doctrine on it, for both it and their doctrine are founded on the fact) to confirm and illustrate the doctrine of the sufferings of the blessed Saviour. (Compare Psalm 22.)

W. It is as clear as can possibly be. I bless God for it. And indeed the attacks of enemies—and able enemies, such as Gesenius and De Wette, and surely of Dr. Bunsen and Dr. Williams —only prove their impotency in attempting to assail this foundation doctrine of Christianity and basis of all holy peace, that Christ is a propitiation for our sins.

H. And see the sad perversions to which it leads. “Israel,” Dr. Williams tells us, “would be acknowledged, as in some sense still a Messiah (for in spite of Baron Bunsen he prefers really the perversion of Jewish unbelief to Christianity), having borne centuries of reproach through the sin of the nations; but the Saviour … would be recognized as having eminently the unction of a prophet whose words die not, of a priest in a temple not made with hands, and of a king in the realm of thought delivering his people from a bondage of moral evil, worse than Egypt or Babylon.” Israel, then, is the Messiah who suffered for I do not know what through the wickedness of the Gentiles; and Christ a king in the realm of thought to deliver us from moral evil. It might be rather said, if we are to take the new school, a Saviour from the bondage of apostolic Christianity, for this seems the greatest evil they see. “The vast majority of prophecies require some such rendering in order to christianize them,” and “our Isaiah” too. “Chapter 53, which had been thought exceptional, is shewn to harmonize with a general principle.” What is meant by christianizing the prophecies I do not know, as the prophets, they say, were only persons warning or arousing Jews by pretended prophecies (denouncing their compeers), compiled when the circumstances were present; but I take note that it is recognized that the vast majority of prophecies require some such rendering to reduce them to the measure of the new school. I believe it. Chapter 53 is a specimen of this rendering. The Jews are Messiah in a sense, and Christ has not suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust. He is a Prophet, a Priest without a sacrifice, and a deliverer from moral evil as King. The apostolic view of Christianity, the Christianity of the founders of the religion, has all to be corrected. It requires it. There is no propitiation, no sacrifice. All its great traits, as we learn it from the New Testament, are a mistake. How happy that there are some who understand a religion better than those who founded it!

I turn to Psalm 2. “If he would follow our version in rendering Psalm 2 ‘kiss the Son;’ he knows that Hebrew idiom convinced even Jerome the true meaning was worship purely.” This statement is false. He admits nescu (I quote) means “kiss,” and says, as kissing the hand had the sense, as in Job, of worshipping, he has given the sense, not the letter. As to “Bar,” he acknowledges he had (in his “Commentariolis,” which are now lost) translated it “kiss the Son,” contrary to the old Italic, which had translated it “learn discipline”—probably an interpretation, and which is now found in the Vulgate, which has preserved the old Italic psalms after the LXX, as the English Prayer Book the old version.

Ruffinus attacked him for now giving this up, and saying, Adore purely. He replies: “Bar signifies different things—Son, as Bar-jesus, &c, wheat, a handful of ears of corn, elect, and purely. What, then, have I sinned if I have translated a doubtful word with differing interpretations, and, having said in my notes, where there was the liberty of explanation, ‘adore the Son’—in the body itself, lest I might seem a violent interpreter, and give occasion to Jewish calumnies, should have said ‘adore purely,’ or ‘in an elect way’ (electe) as Aquila and Symmachus have translated? How does it hurt their ecclesiastical faith, if the reader should be taught in how many ways amongst the Jews one little verse can be explained?”

The reader will judge how far Hebrew idiom convinced even Jerome. He would not force it all one way to avoid Jewish calumnies, and so has given it several; in his own notes, when he was free, “kiss the Son;” in the text, “adore purely.” Jerome alone gives, “kiss the Son,” in Latin, as also “adore purely.” The Vulgate “learn discipline,” following the LXX (as did the Italic or old Latin), was used in the christian world, save in the Syriac translation, which, as a kindred language, followed the Hebrew closely, and reads, “kiss the Son.” The Hebrew is no doubt obscure. But that the Hebrew idiom obliges to read, “adore purely,” is anything but just. De Wette, a first-rate Hebraist and extreme rationalist (though it seems, thank God, drawing yearly closer to Christ as he grew older, yet the freest of the free as to doctrine), in his otherwise very beautiful though somewhat affected translation, gives, “kiss the Son.” Rosenmuller declares that nashak is never used by itself for “adore” or “venerate.” Hengstenberg, a Coryphoeus against rationalists, translates it, “kiss the Son,” and quotes Gesenius, Winer, and Hitzig for the same; Venema the same, referring to the sense of elect in Bar, and giving “elect son.” In the main, Rosenmuller approves, quoting many others. He translates “give the kiss of veneration to so great a King.” Symmachus gives “purely.” I am not aware of others (Aquila, I suppose, electe). The Septuagint translation, which is also the Chaldee, is a kind of interpretation like Rosenmuller’s, and gives the sense. Jews avoided the term “Son,” and so Neologists. “Bar” is more Aramaean; but Gesenius admits Hebrew tends to Aramaean in poetry. Vaihinger gives “kiss the Son.” Hupfeld has it like Jerome, admitting that Gesenius, De Wette, Hengstenberg, that is, the ablest modern Hebraists, and most moderns, admit this—the Son—to be right. So much for the insinuation of Hebrew idiom convincing Jerome; and, if Hebrew idiom, it should, of course, convince others; whereas all the ablest Hebraists translate it, “kiss the Son.” I repeat, never trust the facts of Neologians.

I now turn to Psalm 22:17. He finds, in the most ancient Hebrew reading, “like a lion.” Now that there are difficulties of interpretation or readings in Hebrew no one doubts. Christianity is in no way concerned in this phrase. It is not quoted in the New Testament. The reason for reading it as it is in the English translation is that the ancient Jews insist it is so in the old Hebrew. It is no question of rationalism. The most High Church orthodox writers take it as meaning “a lion.” The form is peculiar. There is the same in Isaiah, where it is translated, “as a lion;” but the ancient Jewish writers insist that it is not to be read so here. The LXX (a century and a half, say, before our Lord) translates it, “they pierced my hands and my feet:” so the Vulgate, so the Syriac in Walton; Montanus, De Wette, Hengstenberg, and many, “as a lion.” Of the ancients, the Chaldee Targum only has “as a lion,” and (according to De Rossi, the best authority) is of small authority, and founded on bad manuscripts. He insists on the manuscripts of the very learned critic of the Jews, Ben Chaiim, and the Masora, that “they pierced” is right; Rosenmiiller prefers “they bound.”

It is a question of reading. Cahari is, “as a lion;” most probably, though not certainly, caharu is, “they pierced;” and the difference in Hebrew is very slight (yrakwrak). Caru is, “they bound.” Now, as all the ancient translations give “they pierced,” the Masora confirms, and one of the most critical Jewish doctors approves, pleading his own good Jewish manuscripts; and the use of the text by the fathers may have induced the Jews to tamper with the text by a change hardly perceptible; and as the pointing is uncertain, there is nothing so sure in the matter. I avow I am disposed to think “pierced” right. What is the meaning of “the assembly of the wicked surrounded me, as a lion my hands and my feet?” I do not see much sense in it. What is most against “pierced,” though it proves nothing, is that it is never referred to in the New Testament, whereas other parts of the Psalms are. However, my own conviction is that “they pierced” is right.

The difficulties and labour of those who take “as a lion” as the true reading, in making any sense of it, shew that it is no natural reading. Its place in the Psalm makes it inappropriate. It is not “the strength of bulls and lions” that is here spoken of (that is an earlier stage of the speaker’s sorrow), but the “shame-lessness of dogs.” It is an interpretation of what is ascribed to the dogs. They “compass” him—so the wicked: then to jump to a lion, who does not compass people at all, is out of place. Next, how “compass his hands and feet?” What does this mean? We have had the lion, but then it was only “gaping with the mouth,” and in place; here he is going on with personal details. All tends, I think, to shew the ancient interpreters were right, had they cahari, or caharee, or caharu. Venema reads “as a lion,” but connects “my hands and my feet” with “I can count” —an additional proof of the difficulties of those who reject the ancient versions. That it is the most ancient Hebrew reading is anything but proved; that it is the common modern one is true. The versions have so far more authority in the Old Testament, that no Hebrew manuscript is so old by many centuries as the oldest of the New.

In any case, though the apostles have quoted the Psalm as a prophecy of Christ, Dr. Williams is sure they are wrong. “The staring monsters are intended by whom Israel is surrounded and torn.” Only read the psalm through—the declaring God’s name to his brethren, and “in the midst of the church will I praise thee;” compare this with John 20, and you will see how impossible it is to apply it to Israel. But the greatness of the scope of divine thought, the moment Christ and redemption is the centre, these men seem incapable of.

I will give you a little sketch of the Psalms preceding 22, which will lead us to see how specially it applies to Messiah. That the whole book of Psalms is in methodical order I cannot doubt, though we cannot enter on it now. Psalm 1 gives the righteous Jew, the remnant contrasted with the wicked; Psalm 2, Christ as King in Zion, according to the decree of God, and owned Son; the nations and rulers raging against Him, but warned; then, Christ being rejected of men, the righteous are in trial, instead of the government of God securing their present blessing, as in Psalm 1. But in Psalm 8 Christ has a wider character than in Psalm 2. He is Son of man, not Son of David, and all things are put under Him, and Jehovah’s name is excellent in all the earth. Thus the ways of God with earth are shewn. Psalms 9 and 10 enter into the details of Israel’s condition in the land in the last days, and their deliverance. Psalms 11-15 go through this, and the feelings it produces, in various ways; hence they become a comfort in any trial. In Psalm 16, Christ first takes, in the most exquisite and deeply instructive way, His place among the excellent of the earth: it shews the path of life through death; and, as His trust was in Jehovah, Jehovah’s presence was His joy as man. Psalm 17 treats the subject, not of confidence, but of righteousness; and here we get glory, and what I may call reward, more than joy. Psalm 18, I have no doubt, looks at the suffering of Christ as the centre of all God’s ways from Egypt to Messiah’s kingdom.

I now come to the Psalms I had immediately in mind. In Psalm 19 we have two testimonies of God—the creation (the heavens), and the law. In Psalm 20 the true faithful Witness is prophetically viewed as rejected by men, and in sorrows. In Psalm 21, which directly answers to it, having cried for life, He is exalted, as man, to everlasting glory, and His hands find out His enemies. This was outward government and dealing. He had suffered from man imagining devices against Him; and when they took the character of enemies, they were judged. But (Ps. 22) Christ did not suffer from man only: bulls did not close Him in. Heartless, shameless dogs then surrounded Him; and He looked, not only to man to have compassion on Him, and there was none—not one that could watch one hour; He looked to God, and was forsaken there. But suffering from God was avenging, not to be avenged; hence, when this is passed, all is grace, widening out in blessing. He declares His name to His brethren, as He did in John 20, there first distinctly calling them brethren, and leads the praises of the Church He has gathered; then brings in all Israel; then all the ends of the world remember themselves, and turn to Jehovah; and then the seed born in this time of blessing learn the great truth, to chant it with others, that He hath done this. It is evident to me there is progress in the bulls and the dogs; the first refers to mere violence, leading Him to the cross; the other to men’s conduct when He was there. But the witness of creation, law, and Messiah, rejected of men, and He glorified and judging; and then His being forsaken of God, the result of which was not judgment (for He was bearing it), but grace, unmingled grace, makes the true import of the Psalm most clear.

Could we dwell upon it, and study the grace of Christ in it, the place He gives us in it—what the declaring the Father’s name was (see John 20), and the full import of this consequent on redemption, and the place He then takes in our midst, when redemption is accomplished, to lead our praises as being in, and having placed us in, the same perfect joy—it would shew the extraordinary beauty of this psalm as applied to Christ. We may take the words of His lips upon the cross to shew us He was not a stranger to it. Now, I can only use the series as marking the place Christ has in it, when God after all did not despise nor abhor the affliction of the afflicted, and when atonement was made for sin.

I do not believe that “I have called my son out of Egypt” is a mere accommodation. It is an example of the universal principle of the substitution of Christ the true Vine, the Servant, for the old vine, the servant. He began all anew as the stock for Israel, as He did for man.

That Isaiah 9 may be translated “the father of the age to come” may be alleged. No Christian thinks of making Christ in the proper sense the Father. El Gibbor, it may be disputed, is “the strong and mighty one.” Let us even suppose it is so, although it be undoubtedly contrary to the soundest criticism: one thing is certain—it is Christ then owned by the Jews after Jehovah has hid His face from them; and the law has been sealed among His disciples only, and Israel has gone through depths of misery, and, finally, the judgment by fire. Then Israel will own the child born as all this to them. It is a divinely given prophecy of Messiah. As to Isaiah 7:16, Dr. Williams may “not listen,” but his judgment will not now have much weight with a serious and critical mind. I fully believe it to be a prophecy of Christ, as Matthew has declared it. The prophecy goes on to the passage already referred to (chap. 9:7); and unequivocally gives all Israel’s history till the time of rest and glory, including Christ’s “first and second coming.” The occasion of this germinant prophecy was the attack of Rezin and Pekah. But the children are symbolical children from their names—“the remnant shall return,” and “making speed to the spoil, he hasteneth the prey.” So the then circumstances, in which confederacy was sought with the Assyrian, are used as a peg to hang the exhortation to look to Jehovah, and so introduce Christ’s first coming, and its effects on his rejection, and thereby Israel’s. Jehovah would be a stone of stumbling, and have disciples and children, and wait in this character of the faithful one in Israel on Jehovah. The safety was in Immanuel.

Now the wickedness of the house of David was the ruin of the last prop of Israel responsible to God, and thereon, as a stay to the faith of the remnant and all the promises, the virgin’s Seed is promised. This is said to be Hezekiah. Now the application of the whole to Hezekiah only shews the utmost narrowness of spirit. It is absurd to think that all God’s counsels end in a Jewish king who, after all, though blessed, wrought no great deliverance. The end of the prophecy cannot apply to him; he had no disciples, he was not the father of an age. But, farther, a little critical enquiry shews it could not be Hezekiah at all. Hezekiah was twenty-five years old when he began to reign. Ahaz reigned sixteen years; consequently Hezekiah was born some eight or nine years before Ahaz began to reign; consequently there Could not be a promise of his birth after Ahaz was reigning. So that the sign so solemnly given when the last hope of Israel failed in the apostasy of the house of David (for such it was in Ahaz) the sign that the Lord Himself interferes to give, calling him, “God with us,” means that one (no one knows who), who till then had been a virgin, should bear a son. It certainly is not Hezekiah. Is it not evident that the Spirit of God is looking out to some greater deliverer, who should indeed be Immanuel? Even the learned Jewish Rabbin, Jarchi, &c, have given up the foolish attempt to apply it to Hezekiah. Since that they and other opposers of Christianity have been at their wits’ end, seeking how to make a sign out of some younger wife of Ahaz’s having a son at the epoch of the prophecy.

Now if you examine the prophecy (or pretended prophecy, for we are to assume nothing), you will find in symbolical and mysterious language the whole scene of Jewish history in connection with Messiah, and the state of the nation to the end when glory and deliverance comes to it. The main features are depicted in these children, one being already born, all bearing (as is usual in prophecy, and indeed in history) names indicative of the events they represent—Shear-Jashub, Immanuel, Maher-shalal-hashbaz—the remnant of Israel and its restoration; God with the people, represented by this child; and the inroad of the Assyrian, the universal expression of the enemy of the latter day. The history of the people, as we have seen, is continued from Ahaz to the glorious time of Messiah. The occasion was this:— the people despised the promises to the house of David—despised the waters of Shiloah, and, trusting in human strength, cried out for a confederacy. The house of David itself, despising the promises, sought help by confederacy with the Assyrian, and removed the altar of Jehovah, putting a heathen altar in its place in the temple. In these circumstances, the prophet, or Isaiah giving himself for a prophet, unfolds the history of Israel. Already he owns a remnant only which shall be restored, for he sees all ruined. He goes with Shear-Jashub to the king. The king refuses the encouragement of an offered sign from Jehovah. He was too wise a politician and lover of arts to have faith in Jehovah. Then Immanuel is promised to Israel, born of the virgin; but the land was to be desolate. Next, the latter-day circumstances are entered on. The Assyrian comes up (prefigured by near approaching circumstances, which are almost always, perhaps always, the occasion of latter-day predictions); but the land is Immanuers. The Assyrian Overflows all up to the head, but cannot, so to say, drown altogether; for Immanuel—God is with them. Next, the detail of the history is brought out, the people’s history. The prophet is warned not to trust in confederacies, but in Jehovah the refuge of the remnant; that Jehovah, the sanctuary of those that trust in Him, would be a stumbling-stone to the mass of the people, but the law and testimony would be sealed and made good among the remnant, who are styled His disciples and His children, and are tokens to both houses of Israel that Jehovah would hide His face from the house of Israel (all this we know has taken place), that the remnant taught by Christ would wait for Him. The result would be for the nation (and this is the second part of the inward history) a time of unparalleled distress and darkness partially fulfilled but not complete, a time of darkness and oppression, leading them to rage and blasphemy. But another element was in the midst of this. Light would be there when all was the shadow of death. This would be in Galilee, not in Jerusalem; the result of this would be multiplying the nation, increasing its joy, breaking men’s yoke from its neck by judgment of fire (compare Isaiah 66); for the Mighty One, the Child born to them, the Immanuel, the establisher of peace, was now owned and known by them in a kingdom never to be subverted, on the throne of David, a kingdom of peace and blessing.

Hence, Matthew, citing this prophecy, brings Jesus into Galilee, and at the close, with the true remnant, His disciples. He meets them there after His resurrection, no reference being made to the ascension, linking His life and resurrection on to-future Jewish hopes and despised Galilean remembrances. The ascension took place from Bethany, the secret home of Christ, when the nation rejected Him.

W. And what do the Neologists reply to this remarkable scheme or outline of divine history, more deeply and fully known by its mysterious and symbolic character? That it gives itself for a prophecy up to the last days is clear; and the two sons of the prophet being prophetical, the third would be naturally thought so too.

H. Surely: only the prophet is in the circumstances, and with the people, and they are connected with him; but the virgin’s Son is the intervention of God, God with us, and therefore not the prophets. Yet when He is seen on earth as a prophet (for so He was) He takes the prophetic place, and says, personified by the prophet, “I and the children which God hath given me.” You remember the Epistle to the Hebrews quotes this as a proof of Christ’s taking human nature, most rightly, as we see here. The Jews own Him, too, as a child born to them in the end, but as Immanuel withal. Verse 13—the stone of stumbling—is also quoted by Peter and by Paul, and directly referred to, as applying to Himself, by the Lord, in view of the then state of the Jews as a nation, and predicting yet more awful consequences when He should fall upon them; for the rejected stone was to be the head of the corner. The rationalists insist, in reply, on the Fathers quoting it as a proof of the prophetical virginity of Mary, and urge that, had it been so, the Hebrew would be bethula, not alma, which does not imply necessarily that state.

W. But are you serious? Surely there must be something more.

H. There is, of course, that absolutely conclusive argument— there cannot be a prophecy.

W. Yes; but that is nonsense, because it is assuming what is to be proved, and denying all revelation at once. If God can speak, He can reveal.

H. Well, I cannot help its being nonsense: it is all they have to say. Only you may remark how they labour in vain by seeking to shew what it can be. Gesenius holds it for the prophetess-wife. So Jarchi and Aben Ezra. But Gesenius admits the difficulty of calling her ha alma, because there was a son, Shear-jashub. So it is another wife. But then Kimchi answers, But the land is Immanuel’s land. How could Isaiah call the kingdom his second wife’s baby’s land? and, I may add, his second wife’s baby—“God with us?” So he says it must be a new wife of Ahaz. But then we stumble upon Hezekiah again, because it was his land in this sense. He was a kind of figure of Christ, as son of David, before whom the Assyrian fell. But then he could not be the person alluded to here; he was born some eight or nine years before Ahaz was king, and was now some twelve or thirteen years old. Evidently the same child is the glorious one of chapter 9.

But, further, Rosenmuller has shewn that the argument as to alma is unfounded, and that the scripture use of it is a virgin, and nothing else. And would it not be singular, as he adds, to call Ahaz’s wife thus, and ha alma, the virgin? Remark, too, that not only Christians, i.e., the New Testament, distinctly apply this passage to Christ, but the effect was universal. The Jews expected a Messiah in the house of David, who would so deliver them and have universal rule; the Gentiles, too, as Tacitus witnesses of the expectation of the whole of the East, and as Virgil has sung, where ever he found the materials of his extraordinary ode to Pollio:—

“Ultima Cumoei venit jam carminis aetas;
Magnus ab integro soeclorum nascitur ordo.
Jam redit et virgo; redeunt Saturnia regna;
Jam nova progenies coelo dimittitur alto.
Tu modo nascenti puero, quo ferrea primum,
Desinit ac toto surgit gens aurea mundo,
Casta, fave, Lucina.”

Of course, in the last phrase we find the heathen, as in the whole eclogue, the courtly poet.

It is fair to add that Rosenmuller, though a rationalist, admits fully the usual sense of the passage; adding, like a rationalist, but which is confirmatory of the Hebrew truth of the passage in Isaiah: “The fact that the expectations held out by the prophet of speedy deliverance were not fulfilled should not make us deny that the prophet thought about that. He refers to the then universal expectations of a Messianic deliverer (referred to as a hope in every deep distress), confirmed by the language of Micah, a contemporary prophet.” He admits, strange to say, that it predicted an incarnation (only as just corning), because one who was to be “God with them” was to be born of a virgin. He says it is evident from Matthew 1:22, 23, that the Jews at the time of Christ so interpreted it. Not believing in inspiration they are forced to admit the facts. The statement that the word alma was not a virgin, but simply a young woman, comes from the Jews, after Christ, attempting to reject the facts of Christianity, as may be seen in Justin’s dialogue with Trypho. I say after Christ, because the LXX give “the virgin,” hJ parqevno" lhvyetai, and Aquila and Symmachus’ translations made after Christianity, the first to meet the feeling of the Jews, and the effect of the argument drawn from the LXX, give nea'ni", a young woman.

W. I think what you have stated proves the flippancy of their objections. If Dr. Williams will not hear, what I have heard both shews to me the wide bearing of prophetic testimony, and how it hangs together as a whole—how it connects itself with present circumstances, was to be an encouragement to faith then, and a revelation to future ages—sometimes symbolical and mysterious, so as to comprise immense facts in a few words, and yet so place them in the whole scheme as to give them a plan of which Christianity is the sure, I may say necessary, interpreter. Thus Rosenmuller is so far right, that there was present encouragement; and faith met even its present reward in the ruin of Sennacherib; but, had he examined, he would have found at the same time, in the hortatory language and internal history of the nation from verse 12 to the end, to which you have referred, the evident ruin and rejection of Israel, in the rejection of Christ appearing as prophet, and having disciples, but not the nation from which Jehovah hides His face.

H. It is quite just, and you will find in this part of the prophet an unfolding of all the great principles of God’s dealings. After four chapters of preface, in chapter 5 the prophet (for now I shall call him so) shews the judgment of Israel for its failure in respect of its first given blessings. In chapter 6 it is judged in respect of the coming glory of Messiah-Jehovah, but a remnant is preserved: a passage quoted in the Gospels and by Paul, as fulfilled in the blinding of the people as a people, which we know to be true (though these infidels would only make it the Gentiles’ sin, not the Jews’, and the Gentiles have sinned), but with an answer of peace, after judgment, to the inquiry of faith counting on Jehovah’s faithfulness to promise, and saying, “How long?” Then the special prophecy as to the house of David and Christ, and the remnant, and the inroad of the latter days, and the delivering judgment and glory, which we have just considered. Then he takes up their history from Rezin and Pekah to the end, or Assyrian final invasion. But this is linked to the judgment of chapter 5 by the words, “For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still;” repeated in chapters 9:12, 21; 10:4. And as the Assyrian was the last enemy from without (from Babylon on they were captives, and the temple burnt, or under the Gentile monarchies), it is said, on the occasion of his destruction, “For yet a very little while and the indignation shall cease, and mine anger in their destruction” (chap. 10:25); for he was the rod of God’s anger, and the staff in his hand was God’s indignation. Then (chap. 11,12) we have Messiah, and the results of His coming, the rod of the stem of Jesse. The word “indignation” becomes technical in after prophecy for the later sorrows of the Jews, as in Daniel; and the expression in verse 22, “the consumption decreed,” very definitely so, for the special dealings of God in the last days.

And, remark, this history of Israel, and the outward connection of Christ with the people, is never quoted in the New Testament; while the special dealings of God in connection with the revelation of Jehovah in chapters 6, 7, 8, are largely and repeatedly quoted —a fresh confirmation how one divine mind runs through all scripture.

W. I enjoy your unfoldings of scripture more than your controversy; still I do not deny that this is useful and called for. Can you refer me to the texts where the expressions you call technical are used?

H. I am sure I enjoy them, at any rate, much more. I have hesitated as to whether any controversy was to be desired. But your own state of mind, though fully believing the truth of the divine record, and of many others, where unbelief lies floating, so to speak, has made me think it might be useful. I will refer to some of the texts; but if they did not refer to the same epoch, they would not have the same force they have, which you must note. As to “indignation,” Daniel 8:19; 11:36: and as to “consumption decreed,” Isaiah 28:22, and Daniel 9:27. I little doubt the Lord refers to this when He speaks of the shortening of these days in Matthew 24.

W. I thank you; I shall examine them. They not only connect the two prophets, but, if I understand their bearing; throw light on the whole nature of this last period, so often referred to in scripture. I think, by the by, this constant reference to the last days, to a special time, at the close of trial, judgments, and deliverance at the end, makes the rationalistic system of application to present events, or mere Bunsenian second-sight, utterly untenable. It was in all the prophecies, from the Pentateuch on, a distinct object held out—a system of divine government before all their minds—a system which (be it false prophecy, which would be, I think, incredible in itself, or true) at any rate proves the falseness of the rationalist view. But we have been led, I think, to Daniel.

H. I entirely agree with you. It is evidently a whole; the prophetic scheme connecting itself, of course, with present warning and circumstances, but in most various parts and divers manners, all bearing on one great delivering intervention, preceded by trials. We have the sorrows and joys of it in the Psalms, and the encouragement and warnings of it in prophets, Christ’s connection with the remnant in rejection or in deliverance in both Psalms and prophets, but evidently one great moral scheme. And this is a proof of its truth, because it shews that it is not the fruit of individual mind, but of one divine mind; for it is not copying or carrying on a scheme one from another (there is only one such case of Micah and Isaiah), nor flattering the people. They fit into a whole, but do not apply to one another.

But we will turn to Daniel. The German critics in general have given him up, but we must enquire why. It is become an axiom, we are told. But German and rationalist axioms have not much hold on my mind. We will get rid of evidently false grounds of judgment to begin with. “The absence of any mention of it by the son of Sirach strikingly confirms their view of its origin”— that of a patriot bard using Daniel’s name in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. Now, according to the justest criticism, all the twelve minor prophets are omitted too, though even the fact of Daniel’s being in the Hagiographa would account for its not being named there is only natural. But the connection of the phrase in Greek, as to the sense, proves, I think, the introduction of the twelve minor prophets to be an interpolation, and an unskilful one. Daniel’s being by the Tigris, if it proves anything, proves the genuineness of the book, as a Jew would certainly have thought of the Euphrates, the great river, not of one all but unknown and unmentioned. But it really proves nothing, because it was in the third year of Cyrus, when Daniel had left Babylon, and was at Shushan and other places. The remark of Dr. Williams, “If the scene had been Babylon under Darius, the river must have been Euphrates,” has no meaning. There is question neither of Darius nor of Babylon. He cannot have simply looked at the chapter. These and similar remarks we may leave as worthless.

The real objection to Daniel is, that prophecies and visions are impossible. Thus De Wette. It appears that Daniel is not the author of this book “from its legendary contents. It is full of improbabilities.” “The events of a distant future… are related with great distinctness and accuracy, even with the addition of the dates. This was evidently done after the events.” Now it is perfectly evident that this is no argument. It is simply saying, as we have seen before, there can be no prophet, no revelation; therefore Daniel is not one, and this is not a revelation, but composed after the event! This can have no force; it is a mere petitio principii, a begging the question. But a statement is made connected with it, and repeated by all the rationalists, that the alleged prophet stops at Antiochus Epiphanes. This is simply false. He continues (after a most important reference to the state of the Jews, and a most accurate one from the time of the Maccabees) a very detailed account of the state of Palestine in connection with the kings of north and south on to the end, where Daniel was to stand in his lot at the end of days. You have only to read Daniel 11:30 to end, and 12 to convince you of it. If their theory be true, Daniel must write the book when he stands in his lot; and the details are quite as full at the end, if not more so, than in the previous part. This is all entirely unfounded.

Along with this, there is an effort to make the account of the empires suit the fact of Daniel living in Antiochus Epiphanes’ time. If so, he could not speak of the Romans, and his four monarchies must end with the Grecian. Thus with Bunsen, the lion is Assyrian, the bear Babylonian, the leopard Persian, the fourth beast Alexander.. Now this is too bad. Not a trace of Nineveh existed even when the true Daniel was in Babylon, and it was wholly inconsistent, if a patriot forgery, to place him there. Nineveh had not taken Judah captive; the thought is contrary to all probability; but he did see the wings of Babylon plucked, and a tame heart given it.

The attempt to make the last beast Alexander—that is, the beast with seven heads and ten horns—is arbitrary and without the smallest apparent ground. It is simply impossible that Daniel could so describe the Grecian empire, if he lived in the time of Antiochus. Alexander’s empire had never seven heads and ten horns. It had four, as the leopard is spoken of here; and more precisely (as in the following chapter is expressly said of the Grecian kingdom) four notable horns, and out of one of them Antiochus Epiphanes, it is declared, was to come. The previous one to this is declared to be Media and Persia.

All these statements are unworthy, I must say, of honest men. The previous attempt was to make Media one empire and Persia another, and so end with Alexander. This broke down because the prophet declares he reckons them one. “The ram with two horns are the kings of Media and Persia.” What was to be done? Baron Bunsen’s imagination sets at work, and the Assyrian empire is dragged in before. But this is going farther and faring worse; because, besides the utter improbability already noticed, here are clearly only four great empires contemplated, and we have another figure of them—the statue, where the head of gold is Nebuchadnezzar; and we find the ten kings in another form in the ten toes. They are really to be pitied in their reasonings; their object cannot here be alleged to be truth, but at all cost to prove Daniel is no prophet—that there can be no revelation.

W. Well, it is pitiable and pitiful, because there is no honest nobleness of truth in it. No one can read Daniel, be he true or false, and not see that the Babylonish empire is the starting point in his mind. The rest follows necessarily. Have they no other grounds?

H. The first chapter clearly shews where the starting-point of all his prophecies is, the basis of the scheme which the book carries out to the final deliverance of the Jews. But then, if this be so, he is a prophet, and all their system is false. Their anxiety betrays them.

Besides, chapter 9 (“Messiah is to be cut off and to have nothing,” for this is the force of it) is clearly a prophecy. How they make this apply to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes I am at a loss to understand. It was poor patriotic encouragement to tell them that their Messiah, their Prince, would be there in a year and three months, be cut off, and get nothing, and then war and desolations. And the date is the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. De Wette says Daniel extends Jeremiah’s seventy years to seventy weeks of years, so as to include Antiochus Epiphanes. But he admits the golden head and first beast are the Babylonian empire. Now, “include Antiochus Epiphanes” is rather vague. If we take the decree of Cyrus, which is very unlikely, it runs on to one hundred and twenty years beyond Antiochus Epiphanes, and, remark, beyond the existence of the Syrian monarchy. Cyrus took Babylon in 538 (Fynes Clinton). The Seleucidse ceased to reign in 65. But the 490 years end 48 years before Christ, so that they reach on to 17 years after the close of the Syrian monarchy. This is the most favourable case to De Wette. Yet it runs into the Roman power. If we take other decrees to be referred to, as surely they are, the prophecy runs on to the full-blown Roman empire. Why, then, “to include Antiochus Epiphanes?” But you will never find details fairly examined and compared. De Wette settles it in a much more suggestive way. It was a patriot bard; like many of our own, says Dr. Williams, who borrowed Daniel’s name for himself, and then, being naturally afraid to speak of Antiochus Epiphanes, openly borrowed the names of Nebuchadnezzar and Bekhazzar to depict him; and, as Antiochus Epiphanes, from his conduct, was called Antiochus Epimanes, or madman, bethought himself of putting Nebuchadnezzar to eat grass for seven years!

W. Dear! on what principle do they apply the kingdoms? Must not the image harmonize?

H. That is not it at all. Daniel 7 cannot go lower than Antiochus Epiphanes; for you know the bard lived then, and hence you must make the others harmonize with that.

W. But do they really settle it in that sort of way?

H. That is the exact conclusion of De Wette. Because, till the new idea of Nineveh of Baron Bunsen, all begin with Babylon, as Daniel does; but then, to make four empires down to Antiochus Epiphanes is a torture.

W. But the other proofs of the epoch of Daniel’s prophesying?

H. There are Greek words used for instruments of music. As to this, De Wette himself admits that it is possible that Greek instruments with these names may have been known to the Babylonians at this time. But a fuller enquiry into and deeper knowledge of languages, of which recent study has made almost a new science, has shewn that, not only does this attempt to impeach the genuineness of Daniel, from the use of Greek words, wholly fail, but the facts go to prove the genuineness. At the utmost, two names of instruments (which, if they came from Greece, would naturally keep their names) can be traced to Greek words. The others belong to that class of languages from which Greek proceeds—the Aryan, or Indo-European, known now through Sanscrit and Zend. These words belonged to the East, and, save one, are not found where Greek and Aramean were thrown together in the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. The foreign words are, many of them, inexplicable from Greek, but are explicable from the sacred language of the Aryans, who were the priestly caste in Babylon, and under Cyrus. As I have said, when Aramean was Hellenized, these words disappeared. The force of this is evident.

It is alleged, too, that the Chaldee and Hebrew are corrupt— so say De Wette and Dr. Williams. I consult other authorities, and find the character of the Hebrew bears the closest affinity to that of Ezekiel and Habakkuk, who lived near his time; but it is less marked by peculiar corruptions than that of Ezra. The Aramean also, like that of Ezra, is also of an earlier form than exists in any other Chaldaic document. Michaelis declares that the language proves it was no late compilation. Other words betray a source which renders it inexplicable how it could have been composed in Palestine. And the peculiarities urged as proofs of the late composition of Daniel are, by Havernick, on very strong grounds, shewn to be Babylonish peculiarities. Thus, like the alleged Greek, they too prove the genuineness of Daniel, which they were produced to impeach.

But this is not all. It was clearly received into the canon when the LXX translation was made; so that it was then a known book. Now, the whole of this was known as complete, at the latest supposition, in 130 before Christ, as it is mentioned by Sirach— how long before cannot be said; but it was a well-known generally received version at that time. That is, Daniel certainly existed, was received, had been translated, not thirty years after Antiochus Epiphanes’ death—not in Palestine, but in Egypt. Within thirty years after his death it had been translated, and circulated, and added to, in Egypt. Esther was translated certainly—some think only apocryphal additions and the book long before—in the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. The Pentateuch is supposed to have been translated 285 or 286 years before Christ, 100 years before Antiochus, and we have a known public translation of Daniel noticed 30 years after him. Now, it is not, after all, very likely that they took 150 years to translate all; and when I say 30 years, I speak only of when the translation is first spoken of as a whole well-known. There is historical proof that the Old Testament began to be translated no years before Antiochus began to reign; so that Daniel was translated probably long before the time he is made to live—certainly at latest at the time they say he lived—as a part of scripture. Josephus treats him as the greatest of prophets.

W. The objections are evidently devoid of all weight; and the LXX version makes it in the last degree improbable that it can be brought down to Antiochus, even upon rationalist ground. But what do they make of the Lord’s quoting it?

H. They make nothing of it; they do not trouble their heads about it. It is curious, if sorrowful, to see the spirit of these men. It is impossible that God can reveal anything; and when it is inquired if it be divine, that is out of the question. But “it suggests in the godless invader, no slight forecast of Caligula again invading the temple with like abomination, as well as whatever exalts itself against faith and conscience to the end of the world.” Thus an impostor, pretending to be a prophet of olden time, can forecast a future tyrant—make a germinant prophecy; but a true one there cannot be. This is the new school theology.

W. It is as low as it is trifling.

H. A short sketch of Daniel will facilitate our judgment of their partial interpretations. We have, first, the captive remnant, faithful and trusting Jehovah, but giving Him the name which suits Him when Jerusalem was laid low. He is the God of heaven. For the moment, His earthly place of habitation was laid low, but faith looked beyond. He was above all. Hence, in the returning intervention of God’s power, the witnesses in the Apocalypse stand before the God of the earth. Next we have the Gentile powers, under which Judah was captive, presented as a whole (the man of the earth), beginning with Nebuchadnezzar. God entrusted supreme power into the hands of man. Next we find that man, thus entrusted with power, sets up an idolatrous centre, and persecutes the faithful remnant. Next it is shewn that the Gentile power loses its true sense, its dependent relationship to God (it is not exactly here idolatry, but great Babylon which I have built), and, during the whole time of the Gentiles, becomes a beast unintelligent. Next there is the contempt of Jehovah, the God of Israel; lastly, the setting up to be God. Thus we get a full picture of the Gentile world—not alas! the finite realization of the spirit of goodness. This closes the outward history; what remains is made up of the visions of Daniel, in which the condition of the remnant, and the events of the last days are more clearly brought out. It is the inside, more than the outside, as was natural—more relationships and conduct.

First we have the four great empires, but especially the last or western one, and its connection with the saints; and, when the explanation comes, the final persecuting power, and the triumph of saints by the judgment and coming of the Lord, are clearly brought out. Then we get the eastern part of these empires of the beasts, and that carried down to the end, passing over from the relationship of the Syro-Grecian monarchy with the faithful Jews to the last days, thus omitting the previously given western monarchy, but expressly and with detail recounting what was to happen in the last end of the indignation. Chapter 9 gives the promise of the Jews’ return from Babylon, and of Messiah, in answer to Daniel’s supplication; but reveals that Messiah will be cut off, and not take the kingdom, and then desolations be determined on the people. Chapters 10-12 give the history of the eastern part of the kingdom of the beasts in detail, from Cyrus and Xerxes to Antiochus Epiphanes; the coming of the Romans, describing the desolation of the Jews for many days, but then introducing the kings of north and south; but, besides them, the wilful and apostate king, and thereon the destruction of the king of the north, and the deliverance and gathering but judgment and cleansing of Israel for final blessing. We can see how complete a picture of the whole history of the world, in connection with the Jews, the book gives; there is nothing which has any pretence to be like it in what is uninspired. You may find pretentious details, and passions flattered, and solemn warning as to some cherished religions being neglected, but anything like the connected scope of Daniel does not exist.

W. It certainly is above all the puny and futile criticisms which the dislike of revelation has made men heap upon it.

H. In truth it is; and my only reply to Dr. Williams, when he says, “It is time for divines to recognize these things,” is this: It is time for these servile followers of German rationalism to learn that a little attention is sufficient, for those even who are not learned, to detect their superficial flippancy, and despise—not them, God forbid! but—their dishonest dealing with serious subjects and with truth. Those who have the name of orthodox in Germany are too much afraid of them; the Tholucks and Neanders, and such like, men to be valued and respected in many points of view, have too much yielded to the current of popular professional pretensions to superiority, and have not held fast the groundwork of revelation. All earnest criticism to ascertain what God has said, to interpret it aright with every aid learning can bring, though a far less important thing than piety and the aid of God’s Spirit, yet as to the outward text no one can object to; but no tampering with what God has said, if we recognize that He has said it. It is of the last importance morally for man that he have something to which he bows as God’s word; the whole condition of my soul is different then, and when I judge, I am before God, and not a boys’ professor. For the speaking of the inspiration of Shakespeare or Milton I have the most sovereign contempt. Can I feel my soul before God when I read them? Did Dr. Williams ever do that when he read the word?

W. It is an immense thing to have a revelation—communications from God in this dark world. And, as you say, the whole moral condition of the soul is different when I place myself before the word as a direct communication from God. Besides, if competent to receive and enter into it, it is the highest privilege and enjoyment—communion with God; not merely similarity of thought, but direct intercourse with Himself.

H. Surely it is. For one taught of God, the moral side of the question leaves no trace of doubt that these rationalists are without God in the matter. The scriptures are like the cloud at the Red Sea, a cloud and darkness to them; to the simple-hearted believer it is a light all the night. I do not know that we have much more to search into in this Essay before we close our long interview. I feel how little one can bring out the deep and rich stores of scripture in such a conversation. It is more to shew the worthlessness of the pretensions of these men. The great principles of what remains we have already reviewed. The rest is merely commonplace infidelity under the cover of mdisaiminate and fulsome praise of Baron Bunsen. It is excessively badly written, turgid abstractions without a clear idea, “windows that exclude the light, and passages that lead to nothing.” Dr. Williams tells us that the great result of making allowance for the distinction between poetry and prose, and not overlooking the possibility of imagination’s allying itself with affection—of holding that the Bible is an expression of devout reason, and therefore to be read with reason in freedom—the holding that those who pretend to be inspired prophets are patriot bards using their name, and that these books contain no predictions, except by analogy and type—can hardly be gainsaid; that the Almighty God has been pleased’to educate men and nations by employing imagination, no less than conscience, and suffering His lessons to play freely within the limits of humanity and its shortcomings. “The great result is to vindicate the work of the Eternal Spirit; that abiding influence which, as our church teaches us in our Ordination Service, underlies all others, and in which converge all images of old time, and means of grace now, temple, scripture, finger and hand of God; and, again, preaching, sacraments, waters which comfort, and flame which burns.” What does that mean?

W. Well, I really do not know. Images converging in an influence may be very fine, as well as flame which burns; but it is a strange medley of a sentence.

H. Yet the object is plain enough. All that God has given of old, all revelation, all the expressions of divine power, are no more than the ordinary influence which the spirit of a man, as part of the Deity, possesses. It issues in this as the true result, be it great or small: “The Bible is, before all things, the written voice of the congregation”—not of God to it. Let any one take and read it, and see if that be true. It is simply saying that when Isaiah says, “Thus saith the Lord,” he had not the Spirit more than some other man. It was man’s—the congregation’s—voice, not God’s;—that when the magi said, “This is the finger of God,” they made a blunder, and need not have been so amazed: it was only the underlying influence;—that when Christ said, “If I, by the finger of God, cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come among you,” it is still only what Dr. Williams or you may pretend to. This, he tells us, was the earliest creed of the Church. The sacred writers acknowledge themselves men of like passions with ourselves, and we are promised illumination from the Spirit which dwelt in them. Dr. Williams, if he set about it, according to this promise, could write a bible as well as they.

Now the illumination of the Spirit is promised and needed; but to confound the reception of divine truth, by the illumination of the Spirit, with the revelation of it, is as unintelligent as it is preposterous. Paul distinguishes them carefully, so that there is no excuse for so serious a mistake. “We should define inspiration consistently with the facts of scripture and of human nature; these would neither exclude the idea of fallibility among Israelites of old, nor teach us to quench the Spirit in true hearts for ever. But if any one prefer thinking the sacred writers passionless machines, and calling Luther and Milton uninspired, let him co-operate in researches by which his theory, if true, will be triumphantly confirmed.” Then he tells us what it is he wishes, which, as far as I can see, has nothing to do with the matter, save of diligent criticism to have a pure text and translation.

I should like to see Dr. Williams write a bible; it would bring these lofty pretensions to a test. We should see what kind of a bible one of these true hearts would give us. He gives us fully to understand that he is one of them. He would avoid, of course, the awkward expressions of “Thus saith the Lord.” He would use the theories of Lyell or Murchison, instead of giving an account of creation as from God. He would avoid the dangerous possibility of imagination allying itself with affection in giving accounts of the blessed Lord. He would profit by “the pathway streaming with light from Eichhorn to Ewald,” aided “by the poetical penetration of Herder, and the philological researches of Gesenius.” We will allow him to avoid the directly predictive, and even the forecast of coming tyrannies. It is dangerous ground to tread on if you do not really know what is coming.

Dr. Williams, it seems, has even the pretension to be a bard, as well as, of course, a patriot; but he may write in prose: let us see what kind of bible he will produce. He may be freely allowed all the collaborators he wishes. I think it might be fair they should be shut up in cells, like Ptolemy’s translators; but we need not insist on this. They may write, not like these Essays, in entire independence of each other, but with concert and comparison, or without, as they like. Let us have their bible free from all traditional methods, and see what it will be. Do they shrink from this? Why so? The influence is abiding; they should not quench it: so their church teaches them. Their God cannot be, they assure us, as of the priests of Baal, talking, or pursuing a journey, or peradventure asleep and must be awaked. They assure us they have the fire from heaven. Let us see its fruits—let us have their inspired communications. If not, in spite of all the water they may cast on it, we will own the true and blessed revelation from heaven, the true given fire; through a man we glory in it, but not of men,—the true heavenly fire, the proof that our God cares for us, and that He is the true and only God, as He has revealed Himself. We can be as calm as Elijah, because we are sure, and only desire that all the people who may be misled may have their hearts turned back again; and may we fall on our faces because God has given us from Himself the true and perfect revelation of His love!

Only a few isolated passages remain, which I notice because they refer to scripture. “The verse, ‘And no man hath ascended up to heaven, save he that came down,’ is intelligible as a free comment near the end of the first century, but has no meaning in our Lord’s mouth at a time when the ascension had not been heard of.” Now he has quoted only half the verse—it goes on, “from heaven, the Son of man who is in heaven; and as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness.” That is, it is clearly presented as applicable before His death, not after His ascension. What precedes makes it still more evident:—“We speak that we do know and testify that we have seen, and ye receive not our witness. If I have told you of earthly things and ye believe not, how shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things?” This He could do because He had come down from heaven and was divinely in it, though no man else had come down to bring word. Christ was then speaking to Nicodemus, and so speaks in the passage; it is no comment, free or unfree. The Evangelist might have added:—and no one has gone up to do it like Him save He who came down, the Son of man who is now there, being gone back. This would have been very intelligible as his remark, without being free at all. But it is not so. They are the Lord’s words at the time, only half of which are given by the reviewer; and their meaning is very simple and very evident. How shall ye believe if I tell you of heavenly things, when you cannot believe the earthly things of your own prophecies, which as a master in Israel you ought to have understood? And if you do not believe them, you must remain entirely ignorant of heavenly things, for nobody has gone up there to bring word back: but I can tell them; I came from heaven, and not only so, but I can, even in all their divine freshness, for I am in my divine nature always there, and it flows in my human nature to tell it according to my perfect knowledge of it.

As to faith being differently used in the Hebrews, it is a common stalking-horse of rationalists. It is not, they say, Paul’s Epistle: faith is used differently. No Christian is held to believe it Paul’s as it is not said so in the Epistle. I believe it is, but I am no way anxious or inclined to be dogmatic about it. I should be content to say with Origen, “Whose it is God knows,” only assured that it is divine. Every one knows that very early, not two hundred years after Christ, it was doubted if it was Paul’s (when fully received as scripture), because of the difference of style, and avowedly for this reason. But as to faith. It is differently applied, but does not mean a different thing. It is here looked at as an active principle of endurance and conduct, not as the ground on which we are justified. Both are true: that is all. A different subject is treated, and faith is shewn to be the principle of blessing in both; but in both it is the reliance through grace on God’s word, and so on God, which is the ground of blessing. One is for peace, the other for practice.

As to Second Peter, the epistle most contested and latest known in the Church, I am thoroughly satisfied it is genuine. External evidence is not “against,” but there is not so early evidence of quotation for it: that internal is, I formally deny. That mere critics who look at the surface have thought so I know. The similarity to Jude is dwelt on. There is an exactly suited difference. Jude speaks of apostasy; Peter of wickedness, because Peter speaks in both epistles of God’s government, and gives the link between the glorious grace of the heaven-revealing gospel, and that government on earth as revealed already in the Old Testament: in the first epistle, viewed as exercised in favour of the just; in the second, against the wicked. Hence, he goes on to the end of all things. It professes to be the second epistle, and written by Simon Peter, saying, that he had been with Jesus in the transfiguration (and if thus an imposture, it is an audacious one; yet one which is most solemn in its denunciation of evil, and holy in its character). It properly and exactly completes the first. The question of the canon I need not go into with you, nor general councils. They do not in themselves command much respect when we read their history. There was what the rationalists, however, ought to delight in—abundance of the human element. But I do not feel much more respect for the “first freedom-of the gospel.” What we have of the fathers here alluded to was mere Alexandrian speculation—after the school whose views are presented to us by Philo—Neoplatonism! But we can bless God, that (in spite of shameful human violence and intrigue, and the emperor’s authority to keep the peace amongst the bishops of the holy councils—for this is the real truth of the case) Giod, who promised that the gates of hell should not prevail against the Church, has maintained substantial foundation truth for saints to live by, through the means of, or in spite of, human aberrations. The early contentions of the Church, and the deplorable scenes of the first councils, are full of instruction in this respect.

As regards the explanation of christian doctrines by Baron Bunsen, we have seen enough to judge of them. Dr. Williams sums them up in saying, “he may be charged with using evangelical language in a philosophical sense.” I only note one point as substantially important: “Salvation would be our deliverance, not from the life-giving God, but from evil and darkness, which are His finite opposites.” Now this misrepresents atonement, and misrepresents the truth; it bewrays the writer. Who ever heard of salvation delivering from a life-giving God? But there is a true character of God as a moral Governor, if we are to use philosophical or “Japetic” language, which, if it were shaken, would shake the universe; which God maintains, of which judgment is the witness; and God hates sin in His people, as everywhere else, and if He comes in judgment, knows no man. He judges right. When the judgment of God went through Egypt, Israel was guilty, and righteousness could not have spared. Hence the blood was put upon the lintel and the two doorposts, and there was righteous deliverance (in a figure) from a God executing righteousness. Can Dr. Williams understand this? God in judgment, where sin is, is a condemning God, not a life-giving God. Does Dr. Williams believe that? If he does not, let him not misrepresent what scripture does state. Now, at the Red Sea God said, “Stand still, and see the salvation of God;” and Israel was delivered from all his enemies, and from bondage. But in virtue of what had been wrought (here all is figure, but a figure applied by Christ to Himself, and by Paul to Him) it was a righteous deliverance. The Fathers did discuss what redemption was, and made utter confusion of it; but the scripture is clear enough. Love gives the victim. The Lamb is God’s Lamb; but it is a victim God gives because sin must be put away. And thus we are delivered from all we were bound by, and which kept us from God, and brought to Him in the light according to His holiness. Here is his doctrine of the Trinity, which I notice only to remark that its main points are wholly borrowed from Philo; for all this philosophy is only bringing us down to the reveries of the unbelieving Jew, who mixed the law with Neoplatonism. “The profoundest analysis of our world leaves the law of thought as its ultimate basis and bond of coherence.” This is pure Philo-nism. “This thought is consubstantial with the being of the eternal I AM. Being, becoming, and animating—or substance, thinking, and conscious life—are the expressions of a triad which may be represented as will, wisdom, and love; light, radiance, and warmth, &c.” Dr. Williams is very confused in what follows, or rather lower in doctrine than Bunsen; he makes wisdom the word, consciousness the spirit; but then, in order to have Christ, he says, “Consciousness or wisdom becoming personal in the Son of man;” it is the spirit or the word, and becomes personal. He adds, no wonder, “If all this has a Sabellian, or almost a Brahmanical sound, its impugners are bound, even on patristic grounds, to shew how it differs from the doctrine of Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, and the historian Eusebius.” Now Justin Martyr was deeply tinged with Platonism, and always wore his philosopher’s cloak; Origen was plunged into every wildness Platonism and an extravagant imagination could plunge a person in. Eusebius was an Arian, not a Sabellian; whereas this doctrine is more Sabellian, or, as the writer justly says, almost Brahmanical—rather Buddhist, which Philo tended to. And this is what we are to get by leaving scripture!

The love of heathenism, formed into popery, of anythingism except a revelation, is curiously shewn in a passage in this part of the Review:—“The elasticity with which Christianity gathers into itself the elements of natural piety, and assimilates the relics of Gentile form and usage, can only be a ground of objection (objection to what?) with those who have reflected little on the nature of revelation.” The fact is true. Medievalism is— historical proof of it is abundant—the assimilation of the relics of heathenism. Whether it is to be objected to is another question. I should, I confess, prefer Christianity as Christ and the apostles gave it. But the tendency of rationalism to accept popery, be assured, will daily be more evident. Pretending to be above it, it will leave it free to do all the mischief it likes. It is one of the ominous “forecasts” of the times of which I have no kind of moral doubt.

That I am not wrong in treating these rationalists as deniers of revelation—open deniers, I cannot say, but absolutely so, I can— while using christian terms (a procedure I do not envy them their use of), some closing passages of the Review will shew.

“So, when he (Bunsen) asks, How long shall we bear this fiction of an external revelation?… or when he says, All this is delusion for those who believe it; but what is it in the mouths of those who teach it?... there will be some who think his language too vehement for good taste; others will think of burning words needed by the disease of our time.” What are we to think of one who quotes this:—“What is it in the mouths of those who teach it?” It is a matter of taste, and there is no disputing about that.

I have done. I fear I have tired you. I feel lassitude creeping over me in long reasonings over men’s ways; in scripture never. It is one thing that stamps its character. It renews, and feeds, and strengthens in every true exercise of mind upon it, because, though there be that exercise where the attention is fixed on it, we receive instead of judging.

W. But I am glad we have gone through it. This Review is the distinctively rationalist one of the volume; our sitting has been long, but I hope not without profit. What I am glad of is, that it leaves the Bible what it was in my mind, and in the simple reception of that is our blessing. What I dread in these inquiries is the loss of simplicity, the hindrance—even though I do believe it to be the revelation of God—to going to it as such, without any questions (even though answered) remaining in my mind.

H. The Lord grant that questions and answers may both disappear when you use the scriptures! We are in another element, in the use of another faculty, when faith receives the word. What?… another nature? An objection is presented to the mind; the answer is presented to it, and convinces. The word stands higher than ever in its authority to my mind. It is well. But when I use the word itself, my quickened soul receives it divinely by grace; I listen to God. My mind is not at work about it; I approach it, and listen to God. Of course one’s intelligence is in play, but not my mind actively judging. Now our proofs and reasonings only go to leave the soul free in its true enjoyment of these blessed divine communications, when we are taught of God. May yours be free!

W. I confess it has had another happy effect, though it may be a sorrowful thought too—complete moral distrust of this whole class of reasoners; this is deeply engraved as the result in my mind. Have you seen the article in the “Edinburgh”?

H. I have. It is a most deplorable article; but I think we must close now. We have gone through most of the subjects of any importance, however rapidly. Perhaps Jowett’s article may deserve our looking at it, it is on other ground, and somewhat more respectable than this: if we do, we can speak of the article in the “Edinburgh.” Oh, how I bless God, in conclusion, that we have a revelation from God!—a revelation from Himself, and of Himself, where love has made all easy when we are humble; where divine depths are found, but clear, because they are divine.

W. How true it is. I am sure I join with you in thankfulness for the word of God, however poor all our thankfulness is.

7 If we include the Median, or first historic dynasty, in the 1903 years of observations alleged by Berosus, then the duration of the first historical Chaldean is only 34 years. But I certainly judge the other scheme preferable.

Modern Philosophy And Modern Theology, Both Compared With Scripture

A Third Dialogue on the Essays and Reviews

H. Shall we take up the review of “Bunsen’s Biblical Researches “to-day? It has specially as its object the spreading the German system of discrediting the scriptures as we possess them. It is evident that the mass of readers cannot enter into arguments founded on linguistic or even historic criticism. And if the scriptures have not authority as the word of God, substantially as they are, that authority is gone, and with it every direct communication from God. If scripture be not this, certainly nothing else is; and mankind are deprived of all direct communication from Him. The immense bearing of this is self-evident. The great question is, not whether there are defects through lapse of ages and man’s want of care in the record of divine communications—defects which every possible research may be used to remedy, but, first, whether there are such communications, and next, whether there be a divinely given record of them.

It is freely admitted that it is through man, and in a large portion of it the history of man just as he was, with a measure of divine light, or without it, in special if imperfect relationships, or with the divine light come down traditionally from those in more direct communication—in a word, that scripture gives us the whole working of divine light in all its phases and its effects, and the workings of man’s mind under it. It is admitted that the very object of a large part of it is to shew the results in man put thus to the test in various ways, that man may know himself; and that this is accompanied by the patience of a condescending God working in the midst of this. All this is admitted—yea, insisted on. The question is not there. The question is, Are the scriptures a divine record of divine communications, in which God has unfolded all this before us, and given us besides, His own mind and thoughts as to it, and the ground of our relationship with Him?

If this be the case, then the scriptures are wholly and absolutely in contrast with every other book. Other books are not a divinely-given record of God’s thoughts; the scriptures are. They have taken up humanity in all its forms, and held it up such as it is in the light, and under the eye of God, and given us that light, so that the darkness is past and the true light now shineth. We may have aspirations after God, the working of conscience, thoughts of need, giving much more real sense of what God must be to help us than the pride of intellectual reasoning. But the revelation of God is the full answer to all this; and that no man can give. God has in scripture given us the helpful description of these workings, so that the answer may be better understood. He has brought out, in historical realities and moral searchings of heart, without law, and under law, these wants and cravings, and the display of man’s incompetency to meet God. We have the struggles of a Job, and the heart-exercises of the Psalms, the experience of all under the sun in the Preacher—man left to himself before the flood, man on the ground of obedience to law, man in obedient royalty in Israel, and man in unfettered supremacy in Babylon. The results of all this are given, and in Christ, the last Adam, God is fully revealed; and He is (dying withal that it may be righteous) the way to God.

This is not a speculation of what God may be. It is a revelation of what He is and the way to Him. If Christianity be true, it is this. When, in the wisdom of God, the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe. It is not the speculations of man’s mind, but Christ crucified; to the Jews a stumbling-block, to the Greeks foolishness; but to us that are saved, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. God has made foolish the wisdom of this world. He has chosen the foolish things to confound the wise, and weak things and things that are not to bring to nought things that are. Such was the divine system, and such it is. If Christianity be true at all, it is the express opposite of all the system advocated by these Essays.

W. Of that I am fully convinced. I see plainly that the very essence of Christianity as a revelation is the bringing divine light into the course of this world and of the human heart; it is to shew, not indeed that there are no amiable natural qualities (for there are), but that, with them or without them, man is alienated from God—that in his flesh dwells no good thing. I see plainly, too, that man’s moral estimate of good must be lowered, if he does not so judge. But with this he has a perfect revelation of love, and of a righteous way for man through the cross into the perfect enjoyment of it. But the difficulties are to be met. I feel I am in the evening darkness when I take up this book, with all its pretensions; but it is difficult to catch a flitting bat who is in his element when he is there.

H. The main thing, I apprehend, in these cases is to bring in the light. Bats are gone when it comes, and crouch into more natural darkness. What they have of Christianity has given them this twilight—a perplexing kind of light; their home is darkness. I speak, of course, of the principles, not of the men. There may be first last and last first.

Scripture calls God light, and it calls Him love, which are the titles you have used in speaking of Him. He is these. He is not holiness, for that is relative; He is not righteousness, though He be holy and righteous. To be holy, there must be knowledge of good and evil (and so of righteousness); but that, i.e., evil, cannot be within God; but perfect purity, and that which manifests all, He is; and the perfect activity of goodness, that is, love; and so scripture speaks. And this makes the cross so glorious, of which you speak as the way. God meets sin there. Oh, what a glorious meeting! yet in perfect love, but in perfect righteousness and holiness; yea, exalting them by it. Hence He says, Now is the Son of man glorified—for it was glorious for a man to do it— and God is glorified in Him. If God be glorified in Him, God shall also glorify Him in Himself, and shall straightway glorify Him—shall not wait for the outward display in the coming kingdom, but shall glorify Him in Himself, who was glorified in Him. This is man’s place in hope and in spiritual nature and affections now; hence not of the world, as Christ, who came from heaven and as a divine person was in heaven, was not of the world. This nature may display itself in a thousand exercises and relationships here, as it did in Christ, and in us—mixed with failures, alas! for which there is provision in Him; but the proper association of our nature and standing as Christians is with Him in heaven.

Hence it is said, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hand, and that He came from God and went to God—in presence of all He was and was going to, and in presence of treachery and failure—takes the place of a servant to wash His disciples’ feet, that they might have a part with Him. He could not stay with them in this polluted earth. Hence, too, when Peter would have other than his feet washed—his need through defilement from daily walk—the Lord says, He that is washed —really partakes of this divine nature (for they were, save Judas, clean through the word spoken)—needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit. What a picture of grace! what a witness of our portion or part with Him! and while giving the assurance that the truth of the divine nature is there (for here He speaks of water, not of blood), to give us morally elevating confidence in intercourse with God, and yet allow of not the smallest daily stain, yet learn grace in it.

W. It is a picture at once most lovely and elevated of the Lord’s grace.

H. If you examine it closely, you will see that it comes after His earthly claims are witnessed and closed. As Son of God, He raises Lazarus; as Son of David, He rides into Jerusalem. When the Greeks come up, He says, The hour is come that the Son of man should be glorified; but then adds, He must fall into the ground as a corn of wheat and die. In chapter 13 He shews how we have part with Him when He could not with us. But note this well. If we are to be really elevated, it is taking us in spirit really out of this world. He gave Himself for our sins, to deliver us from this present world.

However we will turn from scripture to Dr. Williams and Baron Bunsen, if you are so disposed.

W. If you please. I should gladly pursue our enquiry into the whole of John’s gospel; but I suppose for the moment we must pursue our subject.

H. Note, then, the principles Dr. Williams lays down. “There is hardly any greater question than whether history shews Almighty God to have trained mankind by a faith which has reason and conscience for its kindred, or by one to whose miraculous tests their pride must bow.” I deny the alternative altogether.

But what shall we say to his account of English scholars at the universities? “They stand balancing terror against mutual shame. Even with those in our universities who no longer repeat fully the required Shibboleths, the explicitness of truth is rare. He who assents most, committing himself least to baseness, is reckoned wisest.” What a picture!

W. It is no great compliment. Their faith has not reason and conscience for its “kindred, at any rate, whatever kind of tests they may have to bow to.

H. It is just the effect of narrowness such as theology without scripture gives, tied up by system, and turning in its will to unlawful fields of delight. Sober research is not followed out, and as liberty cannot be had, to seem free, pretensions to it, which are really infidelity, must be had resort to. But though such a position be sufficiently despicable—and we have not assigned it to them, nor do I see any good in discrediting thus morally the educational and religious heads of the country (I should at any rate leave it to themselves to do so)—yet the evil is deeper. It is reducing Christianity to man, not raising man by Christianity. “Devotion raises time present into the sacredness of the past” (that is, what we have now of spiritual power is pretty much equivalent to the apostolic energy); “and criticism reduces the strangeness of the past into harmony with the present” (that is, the times of Christ and His works were no more than what we have now). Heathenism must itself be on the same level. We are not to “acknowledge a Providence in Jewry without owning that it may have comprehended sanctities elsewhere”—not a very lucid statement, but which means, that if the Jewish religion was something more, yet heathenism was as much owned of God. “Its religions appealed to the better side of our nature, and their essential strength lay in the good they contained.” So Bunsen “traces frankly the Spirit of God elsewhere, but honouring chiefly the traditions of His Hebrew sanctuary.” Nor will they hear of anything superior to man. “Our author then believes St. Paul, because he understands him reasonably.”

Now, it is difficult to follow the statements of the paper of Baron Bunsen, because, with an immense store of reading, Bunsen (evidently personally a most amiable and attractive person) skimmed everything more than he thoroughly searched anything; sought to reduce all events to their most abstract ideality, which was its only truth for him (and it is in this last point its fallacy and infidel character consisted); and indulged an imagination amiable by its very wantonness. You see a man who can believe anything, if he thought it, and mean no harm; but put that as truth, while research after certainty was too prosaic for him. Endless supposition and ideality; truth not necessary to the structure of his mind. He has read and studied a vast deal, thought a great deal, written a great deal, to shew what might be or must have been; the prose of what was does not seem to have occurred to him as a subject of enquiry. He felt, like our Essayists, the narrowness of conventional Oxford-like education and system, and sought (in emancipating himself and being suggestive, as our Essayists say) liberty, not truth. A balloon is free, but as yet no one has known how to guide it.

In his history, “giant shapes of ancient empires flit like dim shadows, evoked by a master’s hand.” The only misfortune is, they are only shadows—they never existed. Then some twenty thousand years are needed for them. There must have been to form the empires, and the language too; but the empires were only shadows, and the twenty thousand years flit away necessarily like the empires. None of the allegations bear serious examination.

Next, the whole system is founded on believing in the goodness of man. He believes, as the reviewer says, in Christ, because he believes in God and in mankind. There you have the real truth. What is believing in mankind? That they are sinners? lost? So Christianity undoubtedly teaches. So the reviewer speaks of God’s giving us, through His Son, a deeper revelation of His own presence. Present He always was in man: only this was somewhat fuller, and “the incarnation becomes as purely spiritual as it was with Paul.”

All truth disappears under Baron Bunsen’s musings. Ideas remain; nought else. Christ is an idea. This levelling of all facts to exalt man by ideas is followed out by the reviewer. “First, as regards the subject-matter, both spiritual affection and metaphysical reasoning forbid us to confine revelations like those of Christ to the first half century of our era, but shew at least affinities of our faith existing in men’s minds anterior to Christianity, and renewed with deep echo from living hearts in many a generation… We find the evidences of our canonical books, and of the patristic authors nearest to them, are sufficient to form illustration in outward act of principles perpetually true; but not adequate to guarantee narratives inherently incredible, or precepts evidently wrong.” We will speak of this hereafter.

But the first thing, in this chaos of words and abstract principles, which it is important for our minds to dwell on is, what Christianity professes to be. I say, professes to be. My business now is, not to prove it true, but to shew that the idea to which it is reduced here is false, and impossible if it be true. The reader must remember that the reviewers profess to be Christians, to be christian teachers, and to be teachers of those intended to be teachers. They cannot say we deny Christianity. They are only wiser Christians; they would suit Christianity to human nature, to men, to man’s progress. They would not have the narrowness of ancient orthodoxy, and they abhor evangelical truth; but they must be Christians, or leave the position they hold. The explicitness of truth, they tell us, is rare. Now Christianity is very explicit. It does not speak of revelations of Christ—that is, thoughts communicated by Him—but found in living hearts in many a generation. It declares that the Father sent His Son to be the Saviour of the world. It is a religion of facts, and so suited to the poor. Half the population of England would not understand the sentence I have quoted above. The gospel may, alas! be rejected, but it consists in facts suited to every man’s heart and conscience. Christianity states deep things, which, if received, reveal God in a way that makes Him possess the heart; but it states them simply, because what is perfectly known can be simply stated, and God knows perfectly what He reveals in grace.

But to return to the point I insist on. Christianity is a religion of immense facts—facts which contain unspeakably important principles, but facts which connect those principles with God (being a revelation of Him), and not with man’s thinkings or aspirations. Thus “the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth… For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” “I,” says Jesus, “came forth from the Father, and came into the world: again, I leave the world and go to the Father.” Now principles are here: law contrasted with grace and truth; but the former in the facts which happened at Sinai; the latter in the fact that the Son of God is come from heaven into this world. And the essence and substance of Christianity was to believe that this person was the Christ, was the Son of God; it was to believe these facts which He asserted of Himself, or His apostles after Him declared to be so, alleging that they worked miracles to aid men to believe. Christ declares that, if men did not believe Him, they would die in their sins; that he who believed on the Son had everlasting life; that he who believed not was condemned already. He declares that nobody had ascended up to heaven so as to tell of heavenly things, but He who came down from heaven; but that He spoke that He knew, and testified that He had seen. Paul, too, for whom incarnation was so spiritual, sees that just One returned into glory, and hears the voice of His mouth, that he might be, as he insists he was, an eye-witness that in very deed He, who thought it no robbery to be equal with God, had made Himself of no reputation, and taken on Him the form of a servant, and was found in fashion as a man. Although his mission was mainly to shew man righteously exalted to heaven, John’s to shew God come down in grace to the earth, still the same great facts are distinctly declared by him as by all. Stephen declares the wondrous fact, which in the order of revelation led the way on to Paul’s ministry, that he saw the Son of man standing at the right hand of God.

If we take other facts constituting the bases of Christianity— the incarnation; it lies at the outset and foundation of its history that Christ was not born as men are born, but conceived of the Holy Ghost; that a holy thing was born of Mary, through this miraculous interposition. This fact gives us a sinless man born of God—a Son of man, indeed, but a Second man, a last Adam. An immense fact, involving an immense principle, completely brought into light by the rejection and death of this blessed One (for man, with all his analogous revelations out of living hearts, would none of a living Saviour; He was by wicked hands crucified and slain): the principle that man was a hopeless sinner and a new man to be set up.

But then comes another fact. The Saviour rises; the power of death is destroyed. I do not know what affinity, or deep echo, there is of resurrection in men’s minds. I have not heard it. It has not reached the world of history. In what dell has Dr. Williams been where its echo has sounded concealed from all? The sound of resurrection once reached the ears of instructed men; but what echo did it bring back? When they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; some, happily startled at the strange sound which spoke relief to dying man, said, “We will hear thee again of this matter.” Death—ah! its echo has sounded far and wide. Yea, it needs none. It speaks in its own voice on the right hand and on the left. It says, Who can escape me? who can tell what has brought me? who shall return out of my hand again? Is Paul wrong who tells that sin brought my terror-striking power on man? Who can tell where I bring those on whom I lay my hand? Is it to judgment? Where is it? Who has returned to tell the tale? What affinities shall help me here? What living hearts tell me more than I know? They fear or hope like me. Death makes them as serious as it makes me. If Christ be my God, it is a gain, the brightest moment of fife; it is to depart and be with Him. But if not, who of these fancied revealers has ever revealed what is beyond? Hope. Yes; since Christianity, infidels can.

But resurrection goes farther; it destroys death’s power wholly. What came in by the first Adam is destroyed by the Second, and brings into glory. The resurrection is an immense fact: glorious truths and principles in it; the power of divine life paramount to death; acceptance of man in a wholly new state, reasoned on largely by the apostles, especially Paul—still a simple but immense fact. That God should become a man; that the Son should be personally revealed as man on earth; that He should die as man on the cross; that He should triumph over death, and rise again, and ascend as man in a spiritual and glorified body into heaven, assuring to those who believed on Him that they would be with and like Him: these are facts—if Christianity be true at all—which make it simple nonsense to talk of “affinities of our faith existing in men’s minds anterior to Christianity, and renewed with deep echo from living hearts in many a generation.”

No doubt aspirations there were before in men’s hearts, through the moral desolation of the world; prophecies too, before Christ, which, in a chosen and called people, kept alive the hope of something better; and every Christian of course believes that these facts, and the principles of grace and truth they involve, are received in many living hearts since, with more or less depth of feeling, and find an echo there. But the prophecies were not the thing prophesied of, the aspirations were not the divine answer that met and more than met them. Nor is the blessed echo in the believer’s heart, he well knows, the fact that has awakened it—that heavenly sound which it echoes with joy in its praises. There is realization of it all, living realization, affinity, because the believer is partaker of the divine nature. If God be love, the believer loves. If God be holy, the believer is made partaker of His holiness. Is Christ glorified? The believer will be like Him, and seeks to be spiritually like Him now. But the person of Christ, His death, His resurrection, remain great and unchangeable facts. He does not speak of revelations of Christ (i.e., by Him), and affinities in other men’s minds. But he knows that the Son of God is come; he knows that the Father sent the Son; that Christ is a person come down from heaven, so that He could reveal what is there (not merely aspire after it); that He loved us and gave Himself for us—appears in the presence of God for us; that we have forgiveness of sins through Him— salvation in no other; and that if He was God upon earth, the Word made flesh, He is man in heaven.

There can be no affinities to facts in men’s minds; there may be effects produced by them, which bring the mind into suited feelings; there may be dark aspirations after what is better. But a revelation, and the Son of God coming into the world to create the one and to meet the other, are different things. The statement of Dr. Williams is a covert denial of Christianity. It reduces it to thoughts and feelings in men’s minds, not confined to the revelations of Christ; and here Dr. Williams is even farther from Christianity than Bunsen.

Now Christ did reveal most blessed grace and truth. But Christianity rests on what He was, what He suffered, and on His resurrection. If that be not true, our faith is vain, we are yet in our sins, and, as the apostle confesses, if it be not, they were false witnesses of God. He had seen the Lord after His resurrection, and he could appeal, not only to the apostles, but to hundreds, as eye-witnesses of the fact. The apostles were to be witnesses of His resurrection, of this immense fact. What affinity is there to that? No; however covertly it may be done—however Christ’s revelations may be spoken of, and moral beauty be sought elsewhere as well—the putting Christianity on this ground is the denial of it; for if Christianity consist in the great facts I have referred to, there is, and can be, no affinity to it as such. Affinity to resurrection is nonsense, if resurrection be related as a fact on which moral truth is based.

How wise is God! My thoughts are not God personally incarnate. My being dead to sin and alive to God is not the Son of God passing through death actually and rising again that I may be so. Let any one admit the facts (that is, that Christianity is true), and the views here given by Dr. Williams are at once seen to be the denial of it; because what passes in men’s minds are not such facts. If Christianity be only what the affinities of men’s minds are, Christianity, as a revelation, is not true. If there be affinities to Christianity, then the Christianity of the Bible and of the universal Church is false, for one states and the other has believed it as a religion of divine facts, however much they have disputed about doctrines. And no honest man can read the scriptures without seeing that the men who relate and reason on Christianity, the original promulgators of it to the world, rest all on these facts, declare themselves often eye-witnesses of many of them, and rest Christianity on their truth. It is impossible to read the New Testament, the references to the origin of Christianity in fathers, heretics, enemies, or pagans, and not see that it rested on a series of facts alleged to be supernatural and divine, which Christians believed, and their adversaries, save as to the fact of the cross, denied. The miracles they did not deny, but accounted for. With these facts the affinities of men’s minds have nothing to do. He who makes Christianity to consist in them denies Christianity altogether as a religion of God. If it be not, is there any such? If none, where are we? where are we going?

If we take the character of the revelation of these facts, the contrast is equally great. He that hath received His testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. Not that what is said is truth merely: he has owned God to be true, as He has spoken. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God. John, who spoke as a prophet, yet says “He that is of the earth is earthly, but he that cometh from above is above all, and what he hath seen and heard that he testifieth, and no man receiveth his testimony.” So Christ Himself (John 8:47), “He that is of God heareth God’s words.” Read the whole chapter, and see where are the affinities of living hearts. Again, “He was that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us.” The whole of the New Testament presents the testimony of Christ as a directly divine testimony; not the thoughts or aspirations of the human heart, but God’s words, the words of one who could tell what was in heaven, if man was darkly aspiring after it, because He came down from heaven, and spoke what He had seen, heard, and known there.

In a different way the Holy Ghost has done the same in the apostles. It was not what passed in man’s mind, but a clear revelation from God, because man’s mind could not find out the truth and God, as history plainly proves. The world by wisdom knew not God, and it pleased God, by the foolishness of preaching, to save them that believe. It presents itself in this form in contrast with, and as exactly the contrary of, what Dr. Williams says. If it be not such, it is false, and a horrible imposture, and yet a holy imposture, which there is nothing like in the world, to reveal all that is in man and all that is in God. Let any one produce anything at all like it. Take away this, and what have you as a revelation? What have heathens given us at best?— a despairing recognition that, if man was to have any moral deliverance, it must be thus. The highest heathen philosophy held it impossible that the supreme God could have directly to say to a creature or to the creation. The fact of Christianity is that He Himself became a man. God is not afraid to compromise His name. He is God everywhere—nowhere more so than when He is a man, for He is perfect love.

W. It is quite evident that Christianity and the whole system are in essential and total opposition. If the ideas of Dr. Williams are true, Christianity is false; and yet there is nought that approaches to it in excellence, nil simile out secundum. If Dr. Williams’s views are false, they are high treason against the goodness of God. That is plain enough.

H. Remark another thing—their moral incapacity to seize the bearing of their own or their adversaries’ views. There is a conscience, a sense of good and evil, without a revelation—more of that anon. But Christianity, as a revelation of God, gives us entire confidence in goodness, but an object out of self, delight in goodness out of ourselves, faith in that which is revealed in another. The infidel party bring us back to self, to confidence in self, to value for self. Man is as good in other ways as what has been had in Christ; at any rate, it is a question of degree. All is man; that is, Christianity takes out of self by a divinely perfect object. Infidelity exalts self—lives in what is really degradation. What is exalted in this system? What is exalted in Christianity? I spoke once to an intelligent artisan, nurtured in this doctrine, of the beauty and perfectness of Christ. “Oh,” he replied, “you will never see me do anything unworthy of a man.” What man? Himself to be sure.

At the cost of his own humiliation the Christian admits the divine excellency which condemns him. These unhappy men, as we can again find here, in order to reduce all to a dead level, lower—or rather see nothing divine in—Christianity; and then, what really is disgraceful morally (as we have seen in Dr. Temple, and see again here), they put heathenism on a level with it, or as nearly as they dare. I confess this seems to me a vilifying themselves beyond all belief. But so they do. It is the direct point of the paper we are considering. “Devotion,” it is said, “raises time present (i.e., ourselves) into the sacredness of the past; while criticism reduces the strangeness of the past into harmony with the present.” What past? Why, revelation; that is what is criticised. That is, the object is to reduce what is divine, or presents itself definitely and absolutely as such, as the “words of God” and “works of the Father,” to the level of what men say and do now, and give sacredness and importance to ourselves by saying we are as divine as what is revealed to us. Remove God Himself, whom Christianity has revealed, far away—lower what is divine, and exalt self—that is the avowed object of Dr. Williams.

W. Well, it really cannot be denied. It is but spargere voces in vulgum ambiguas at present; but the interpretation you give does but put it in plain language, and it condemns itself.

H. Plain language they cannot boast of. I read, “we cannot acknowledge a Providence in Jewry without owning that it may have comprehended sanctities elsewhere.” Now that God’s providence acted sovereignly everywhere, that the confinement of specific relationship to Israel was only because historically men had everywhere departed from God, every Christian owns, and the Book of Job is the special witness of it. It is asserted in a thousand places by prophets, and in Psalms. Jonas is the public witness of its subsistence when Israel was fully formed as a people. But what is the meaning of this precious phrase, “Providence comprehending sanctities elsewhere?” If we are to be permitted to take a meaning out of it, as our Irish fellow-countrymen say, it is simply that the heathen were as holy as God’s people, and as really in direct relationship with Him. If so, of course the Old Testament, and Christ’s statements, and the apostles, and the whole scheme of scripture, are totally false. These do teach us that Christianity has broken down the middle wall of partition, but that, before, God had not had His name called on any other people, but had chosen Israel for Himself out of all nations. The whole scheme of scripture is on this shewing false; salvation was not of the Jews, as the Lord asserts.

The passage which follows, however, justifies the interpretation I have given of Dr. Williams’s oracle. He adds, “But the moment we examine fairly the religions of India and Arabia, or even of primeval Hellas and Latium, we find they appealed to the better side of our nature, and their essential strength lay in the elements of good which they contained, rather than in any satanic corruption.” So thought not Paul: but let that pass. Dr. Williams has, of course, keener spiritual perception than he. He was in conflict with the evil, saw it around him, would feel its evil and corruption, and could not take so philosophic and cool a view of it as Dr. Williams now. Indeed, it would have sadly cooled his zeal; his idea of revelation would have widened and deepened. Jupiter, whose ways appealed to the better side of our nature, would have had a part in his sympathies.

You may have remarked what is said in the essay on national churches. I will recall to you a specimen of this moral levelling:—

“It was natural for a Christian, in the earliest period, to look upon the heathen state in which he found himself as if it belonged to the kingdom of Satan, and not to that of God; and consecrated as it was in all its offices, to the heathen divinities, to consider it a society having its origin from the powers of darkness, not from the Lord of light and life.

… But the primitive Christians could scarcely be expected to see that ultimately the gospel was to have sway in doing more perfectly that which the heathen religions were doing imperfectly; that its office should be not only to quicken the spirit of the individual and to confirm his future hopes, but to sanctify all social relations and civil institutions, and to enter into the marrow of the national life; whereas heathenism had only decorated the surface of it. Heathendom had its national churches; indeed the existence of a national church is not only a permissible thing, but is necessary to the completion of a national life, and has shewn itself in all nations when they have made any advance in civilization.” (p. 168.)

Paul could bend himself, however, to human condition and human infirmity in a wonderful way, to seek a point where he could meet those he dealt with, and at Athens meet a weary and wandering conscience with an unknown God; and bring the true one to ignorant and more savage Lystrians, as not having left Himself without witness, in that He did good, and gave rain and fruitful seasons, and filled men’s hearts with food and gladness. He could lead people to the true God by this; but he could not justify corruption and devils, like Dr. Williams, nor call evil good, and good evil, and put darkness for light, and light for darkness. The true picture of it he gives in Romans I. There is reason, as Dr. Williams alleges, and conscience; and I see Paul meeting, with the utmost earnestness of love, and the delicacy of tact which love gives, the point in man’s state accessible to it, in order to draw him to the goodness and holy grace of the true God, out of the evil he was in; but never seeking, as Dr. Williams, to widen the idea of revelation, and lower it to the level of the heathenism it was to draw men out of, and thus make them content with their degradation. When Christianity sank morally, Porphyrys and Jamblichuses sought to do this by refining on heathenism, and making myths of it, as Julian sought in vain to moralize it to make a stand against Christianity, which, by its fruits, told on the conscience; but never did an apostle, or any one who had a sense of the excellency of Christ. Paul can quote their own poets, can use all means to win all, but never to sanctify evil, and so degrade the moral judgment of man. This was reserved for the pretenders to higher moral discernment of the nineteenth century.

But a word more on this. We have already spoken on this sanction of heathenism. It is characteristic of the system—this moral levelling all excellency to make an unwholesome swamp of man’s mind, where all stagnates and never rises above its own level. But some particular features of it occur in this paper. It is called widening revelation and deepening it. Widening means giving it so large a meaning that that should be considered a revelation which is no revelation at all. Man’s mind works; thoughts are produced. How that is deepening revelation I confess I do not know. I suppose they think men’s thoughts are deeper than God’s. Less simple they are. All is seen in obscurity, and thought to be profound. But where are they—these revelations? Is Jupiter a revelation, or Brahm and Siva? I deny all revelation save what revelation means, God’s communications to man. Let it be produced. I do not deny shreds of the knowledge of God, but I deny revelation. There is conscience in all, and conscience of God; and there is reason; and there was a knowledge of God from His original revelations of Himself, which men had not discernment to retain, and there was the evidence of nature. This conscience could not be got rid of, nor reason, however fearfully perverted, nor the consciousness of superior power. But this was corrupted.

This side of human nature is found in heathenism, as the apostle largely declares; but heathenism itself is a vast system of diabolical corruption and sanctifying of lusts, which was obliged to let this in, for Satan can only act in and by what was in man; and conscience and the sense of superior power was in man. But the heathenism was the exclusion of God in unity as far as possible, and the deifying of lusts and powers of nature. It was only the connecting of man, such as man was in sin, with devils; a departure from God without being able to destroy the idea of one, or the conscience which God had taken care should accompany sin; but it in no way sought to maintain the one or to meet the other, but to exclude the one and deaden and pervert the other. It took the character of each distinct nation. In Greece it was gay, poetic, and corrupt; in India, a wonderful apprehension of the powers of nature, with a tinge of kindness interspersed; in Egypt, wisdom, and sobriety of judgment as to man; in Canaan the filth of inveterate corruption: but in all, without exception, sanctified corruption. In the north, perhaps, the wilder and more warlike passions, but in all passion. It was the devil’s revelation of a he, if it was a revelation, unless Siva, and Jupiter, and Khem be truths. It seized existing facts, but only made a lie of them.

There is no “repressive idea of revelation,” as regards conscience or reason. There is an authoritative revelation of facts, and teaching of truths by God, which act on conscience and give reason its best light. Reason judges probably, but never more, of the truth and falsehood of anything as a consequence. A revelation gives certain truth, or it is not one. If it be truth, conscience, liable to be misled, is rightly led by it. Reason, as to the direct reception of a revelation, is out of court, because reason draws conclusions, and a revelation is received as a testimony. To say that reason and conscience are absolute judges, or competent to be so, is palpably and historically false. Reason and conscience received Brahmanism and Buddhism, and Ionism, and the Egyptian system, and Odin King of men, and Druidism—all false and different in form. Did they judge rightly in this? If not, are they not at least incompetent to hold the balance, and rule above the will and corrupt influences? Why am I to trust them in judging of what is infinite in excellence? They could not secure man’s judgment in the grossest cases imaginable of superstition and moral vileness.

I admit conscience, when acted on, recognizes holy truth and divine authority. But when it begins, not to judge good and evil in itself, but to determine the will as competent to judge for itself,, as reasoning, it has ceased to be conscience; or rather conscience has ceased to act, and influences and motives are in play. Conscience knows murder, fruit of hatred, is wrong; that stealing is wrong, disobedience to parents wrong: did a religion come saying “that is good,” as such, conscience could say “that cannot be from God, for it is not good: that is a lie, not the truth.” But if, not conscience, but pride, begin to say, “God ought not to have done this: miracles do not suit man’s better knowledge;” I reply, “Ah! my poor conscience, you are putting on these peacock’s feathers, are you? You are too late. Why did not you judge all the juggling of oracles, false gods, and priestcraft these four or five thousand years? This is all very fine. Christianity has saved you from all this long-lasting shame, from which you never could save yourself, and never did, with all your fine pretensions now; and you now turn to set up to be competent to judge about what it ought to have been, and reject the very pretensions the power of which alone gave you any sense to judge at all. No, no; keep in your place, according to the light which you have got back to. In your own measure call good good and evil evil. This you have only learnt really to do through Christianity. Let us see how lively you will be as to this under its influence, and we will applaud it. And do not speak to us, at least by the mouth of those who tell us ‘they stand balancing terror against mutual shame.’ The eye, though capable of seeing, wants light; but do not fancy because you are the mind’s moral eye, that you are therefore God, to know how in His workings and ways He ought to behave. Why did you not judge what man had to do when he was under your care? What did you make of him? Let history tell. If God has graciously used miracles, not against conscience, but to arouse it, and help man against influences tending to incredulity, and to shew that there was a power in God above the evil to which you, conscience, had succumbed, do not you complain or set up to judge God for a deliverance which, without this, you never did effect. Do not say it could be done without it. You can tell that, you say. Why did you not then do it in the four thousand years—twenty thousand if you please—which had elapsed? Your pretended competency to judge of means, and reliance on your own power in behalf of man, is an historically proved falsehood. You let him sink into the grossest superstition and corruptions. The Christianity you are calling in question delivered him somehow or another; that is a fact (deep as, spite of conscience and reason and all, he is fallen again in corrupt Christianity and rationalism): you never could.”

I do not talk of “kindred reason and conscience.” I admit both, and revelation speaks to both; but I say that it is an historical fact that with them man fell from the light he had into the pit of degradation. Christianity delivered him, and set reason and conscience in the light, and on their right ground; and nothing else did. I am talking of history. I trust my reason for things of reason, as far as it is reasonable; that is, as to what is subjected to it. I have to act according to my conscience when this is in the light; indeed it is honester to do so when imperfectly enlightened; but trust to man’s pretended competency to judge of revelation by them and of what a religion ought to be, I cannot, because with them man has received everything as true that is false, base, and wicked to be God, and that is corrupt and abominable to be a duty, until God in power came in to deliver, and has rejected what was excellent and holy. I have got my senses, now I am in the light, to see that with my senses I fell into the ditch when I had not the light, and that all the eyes in the world could not make a ray of light, though now I have the light I know it is light. And I have no inclination, now I have it, to put it out, or to say that eyes without it were competent to see, kindred to light; and widen the sense of light, to make it comprehend men walking, and walking in darkness, and their feeling their way, an almost equivalent to having the light— a deepening of the idea of what light is.

W. I feel that your estimate is just. I must get rid of history and facts, as well as every moral sentiment of my nature, to receive the theories of these men. Yet they use the name of Christ, while setting conscience above revelation.

H. Of their speaking of Christ anon; but conscience being above revelation is nonsense upon the face of it. A man may deny revelation; this I understand. I reject his thought as a horror, a moral impossibility, that man should be so left; but it is not nonsense. But if there be a revelation really, that is God. Conscience is man; and a conscience above revelation is man above God.

W. But must not I judge of a revelation?

H. It is not the common way of receiving it, because it acts with divine light on the conscience. I cannot say the eye judges light: light makes the eye see. A revelation, being holy, convicts of sin, and so proves itself. But when we have to judge of a revelation, if it be one, I am judged by my judgment. If I judge a beautiful picture to be a bad one, and that the painters ought to have distributed the lights so and so, what is judged when one knows what really is beautiful? Why J am. Our judgment proves what we are. There is no escaping that unless finally man is to judge God, not God man. Oh, what a judgment it would be! Yet that is really the question, and in truth we have seen it brought to a trial and issue in Christ. Golgotha can tell that tale. Our reception or non-reception of the truth is our judgment, and so the New Testament declares. Both analogy and history give us to understand this important principle, wholly overlooked by these unbelieving reasoners, that for the use of a faculty, power outside itself may be needed; so that when the power .is not there, the faculty is useless. When it is there, it acts rightly and freely; but its action is wholly dependent on a power independent of it. It exists without the power, but cannot act without it. Conscience is a faculty of the soul, as the power of seeing is of the eye; but conscience without revelation, without light from God, has never judged rightly. Man with this faculty has received all the devilish horrors and corruption it is possible to imagine; he walks in darkness and knows not at what he stumbles. But light is independent of the eye, and the eye judges not light, but everything by the light. Conscience judges, not revelation, but by revelation, or perfect divine light, that is, Christ Himself. God is light, and Christ is that light in the world. If men have had it elsewhere, let them say where.

W. It is clear. After all, it is only saying there is a God, and that as such He must be above man’s judgment and the power of it. It is all confusion to speak of revelation being contrary to conscience, or having reason and conscience for its kindred. God, and God revealing Himself, has His place; and if God does not reveal Himself, we are godless creatures—not without a sense that there is a God, but ignorant of what He is; in the deplorable condition of knowing there is a God, and not knowing Him; with conscience enough to know we are in evil, but ignorant how to get out of it. History, the complaints of a Socrates, the puny efforts of others, shew and tell—the world by wisdom knew not God.

H. Surely, surely; and the sense of excellency gives the sense of wretchedness; of excellency (blessed be His name!)—in God; of wretchedness in man; but then of infinite love towards us. If the world by wisdom knew not God, it did not know love; if it did, where is the knowledge to be found? I defy Dr. Williams, conscience and reason and all, to tell me. If God does reveal Himself, He reveals Himself as God. Man is not a judge of the way. He has received every kind of lie as God, then laughed at it in the end, in the mockery of despair, without finding out it was his wretched self he was laughing at. But this revelation does not exclude but awakens conscience, makes it for the first time see good, which it in this light can recognize. For God, who is light, is goodness or love manifested in the midst of men. Conscience is not the instrumentality of revelation, as they say. Such a statement is nonsense.

A revelation is God’s making something known which was not otherwise apprehended, perhaps could not have been. Conscience is no instrumentality in revealing. It is a positive essential faculty in man, knowing or discerning good and evil: but that is not an instrument of revelation. It is a proper independent faculty, which the believer knows to have been acquired in the fall. But it must have its object before it, to say it is good or evil; that is, it has nothing to do with revealing. Its object must be there and then; when not perverted, it says, if good be before it, That is good; if evil, That is evil. Reason discerns cause and effect, and as reasoning draws consequences; in moral things it runs closely into conscience. But it is never an instrument of revelation, unless in the sense that the Holy Spirit uses a man as an instrument in revealing, but in itself never is. It must have its object to reason about. Revelation gives objects otherwise unknown, or fresh truth about known objects, or it is not a revelation. This neither conscience nor reason do in their very nature. I may figuratively say, It really was a revelation: that is, the perception of reason was so quick, that it was, in comparison with other minds, like one. But this only proves the difference I have stated.

In a word, conscience and reason must have objects to judge of. A revelation communicates objects which men have not. There is no contrast with revelation; they are no parts of its instrumentality. Reason and conscience have their own proper power in their place, needing, in order to act in divine things, a light wholly independent of them, that is, a revelation. In their place they are like every other faculty, and, as the most important ones, blessed. As I have said, when conscience has got light, it can say, Jupiter and Saturn cannot be gods; and reason can say, when it has got the idea of God, there cannot be two. Reason can never say, “is,” or “is not,” but “must,” and “cannot.” Ideas, and not facts, are its sphere. Revelation says “is”—another most important difference. I believe the idea of God is, in spite of Locke, at the bottom of every heart—corrupted and dimmed, but in every heart; and so, of course, are conscience and reason, though blind and corrupted, till light comes, and through passions, interests, and Satanic power, losing the light and being blinded when men have had it. They did not discern to retain God in their knowledge.

I have been, I am conscious, long in my lucubrations on this subject, but hope I have not lost your attention. Those who have followed the phases of the new school, and particularly abroad in its French forms (for it uses, but is not the old rationalism), know that their battle-horse is this point of conscience. All their statements are, however, error and confusion, and, like everything they say, as superficial as it is pretentious.

W. I have listened diligently to what you have been saying. It has not, of course, the interest which unfolding the range of scripture, or touching on its main beauties, has; but I see plainly the need of getting clear hold of the true place of conscience and reason, insisted on as they are by them; and it has deep interest as general truth. Happily history is there to refute man’s pretensions, and the proof it gives of the need of light—that is, of revelation—to give conscience its power is all important. Whatever the cause (I do not doubt the fall, and Satan’s power, man’s utter alienation from God, is—but whatever the cause is), the fact is so. By the Christian revelation, partially by the Jewish one, man had light to judge the absurdities and corruptions of paganism; without that, in point of fact, he never did. Conscience, one may see, existed, but was religiously incompetent— incompetent to judge of a revelation, that is, of its truth or falsehood. I might question whether Dr. Williams’s conscience and reason be much better or sounder in his judgment of the matter. I doubt it very much; but that we may leave. I refer to his attempted justification of heathenism in presence of Christianity, and, while favouring those horrible corruptions, questioning the divine character of both Christianity and its testimony. It seems to me as perverted as the heathenism it defends.

H. In a certain aspect, I judge more so, as it comes after the light. But we will turn to another part of the subject—some of the scientific researches by which they call in question scripture accounts. It is easy to speak of chronology, of which Dr. Williams remarks, “Dr. Bunsen says with quaint strength, ‘there is no chronological element in revelation.’” I see neither quaintness nor strength in the remark. I do see sophism and ignorance of the scope and nature of scripture; because it is impossible to separate chronology and history, and the enquiry into chronology is here with a view to history. Now the moral history of mankind is a large feature in revelation—one of deep import; and the researches or rather suppositions of Dr. Bunsen, in which Dr. Williams revels, are calling in question the chronology in order to set aside the history. Whether Adam lived one hundred and thirty years (as the Hebrew Bible says) and begat a son, or two hundred and thirty years (as the Septuagint), is in itself of little moment. It shoves on dates one hundred years, but that is all. Quite right to find the truth, if we can; but if it be sought to disturb the history—if (this Dr. Bunsen has too much sense to believe) Adam be not the head of the race, if even Noah be not, and other races escaped the flood, we lose the judgment of the world; the scripture history, in its deepest moral elements, is trenched on; the perishing of a world is only a national fable belonging to a race, drawn from some local phenomenon. And a flippant remark that chronology is not an element of revelation is impertinent or dishonest. But I confess I fear somewhat to enter on scientific questions, having really no pretension to be a learned man. My only encouragement is that experience has so taught me the superficial and flippant character of neology, and particularly of English neologists, that I have been emboldened—using books current on the subjects referred to, and the little knowledge I have—to examine the statements that are made, and see how far they are to be relied on. The result for me has been that there is a mass of charlatanism. “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” I have only a little; but in their waters I venture to wade.

I would first draw your attention to the kind of statements and reasonings: “He could not have vindicated the unity of mankind if he had not asked for a vast extension of time, whether his petition of twenty thousand years be granted or not.” Is this serious? “Do we see the historical area of nations and languages extending itself over nearly ten thousand years, and can we imagine less than another ten thousand years during which the possibilities of these things took body and form?” Chronology imagined at this rate ceases to be a dry study, no doubt; but a serious one it can hardly be called.

“Questions of this kind require from most of us a special training for each; but Baron Bunsen revels in them, and his theories are at least suggestive.” Will the reader believe that such crudities are brought to make out history, and the revelling of Baron Bunsen in suggestive theories is to settle chronology and overthrow scripture? Why? Because it is scripture. As an ancient document there is nothing to be compared with it. Again: “The Semitic languages, which had as distinct an individuality four thousand years ago as they have now, require a cradle of larger dimensions than Archbishop Usher’s chronology. What further effort is not forced upon our imagination if we would guess the measure of the dim background in which the Mongolian and Egyptian languages, older probably than the Hebrew, became fixed, growing early into the type which they retained!” “Efforts forced on the imagination” (hardly forced when a man revels in it) to guess the measure of the dim background of “languages, older probably than the Hebrew!” You have in this, my dear W., a very fair picture of Baron Bunsen and his suggestive theories. In point of fact, the only probable evidence we have is that these languages were contemporaneous; but the evidence is late; as to writing, the most ancient known in the East received it from Semitic language. Burnouf has proved this in his enquiry into the cuneiform inscriptions of Hamardan. But the date 01 Mongol is dim enough, no doubt.

But let us leave this. His excessive carelessness you may judge from other instances I lit on in Stuart Poole, in Smith’s Dictionary, the other day. Bunsen ridicules Baumgarten for making fifty-six pairs out of seventy souls. He had never looked at the chapter, where it is evident that sixty-seven of the seventy were men. It would seem that he has taken Shaul the Levite for Saul the king in 1 Chronicles 6:22, ff. But this is so gross, he may (in copying Lepsius, whom he greatly follows) have not seen that it was only a synchronism. I have not Lepsius here. At any rate it is the greatest carelessness. Bunsen set aside, to start with, the divinely-given history. Chronology was not an element of revelation. At any rate, that was the glory of liberal christian views. And then he revels in suggestive theories. Man has it all to himself. I will examine some; but I thought it well to notice Dr. Williams’s own account of Baron Bunsen’s procedure.

Dr. Williams asks, How many years are needed to develop modern French out of Latin?—say nine hundred, that is, from six hundred to Francis I. Well, what then? How many, the divergence of the members of the Indo-European family? Probably, very various; some very early, some much later. The dispersion of the Aryan race is beyond history; and they seem to have had already dialects. The only supposed date is within Septuagint chronology. The Vedas do not go more than to about fourteen hundred years before Christ, leaving one thousand years within even Hebrew chronology to the flood. Circumstances influence the growth of dialects immensely. A tribe moves from a mountain to a plain, or to another climate; the names caused by local circumstances disappear—plants, cattle, terms connected with culture and the like, all change. When long remaining in one place, a language changes; but it is easily seen it is in its forms by civilization. When tribes are entirely separate, with little intercourse, they become distinct languages very rapidly, though grammatical forms are analogous, or the style, as in North America. When a language is widely diffused, and there is much communication, it remains one, and is only developed according to a pretty constant rule, generally of abbreviation of forms. But if nine hundred or a thousand years sufficed to change or form a new language, that time can well be allowed to the history of the Sanskritian or Zend—not more than there is room for in scriptural chronology. Take notice, too, that all this reasoning sets out with treating the history of the tower of Babel as a fable. It is not a nicety of interpretation, but a total rejection of the whole theory.

But I should think, while confessing that I am no comparative philologist, that Dr. Williams can know little or nothing about the matter. He says (and all the world is always to understand that the new theology brings from its stores well-authenticated results, mentioned as if every tolerably well-read man should be aware of it): “When again we have traced our Gaelic and our Sanskrit to their inferential pre-Hellenic stem,” &c. Now I apprehend this sentence betrays total ignorance of the whole subject. Hellenism, or Greek, as well as Latin, is a comparatively modern daughter of Sanskrit itself; Zend, as its twin sister, has its mixed or corrupted mediaeval derivation in Pehlvi, and its direct one in modern Persian and the Teutonic languages. Sanskrit is not traced to a pre-Hellenic stem. It is the root or stem of Hellenistic and Latin languages. Zend and Sanskrit are very closely allied dialects of what is often now called Aryan—Zend north of the Himalayas, Sanskrit south. The classical Sanskrit of the Vedas is still more closely allied to Zend than the common Sanskrit. Zend is hard in pronunciation, Sanskrit soft. Gaelic or Irish is held by some able philologists to be the closest existing representative of Sanskrit in the West, with the richest vocabulary of words. Others cite the Lithuanian as having the closest resemblance. This is from the use of soft instead of hard sounds in both, which characterizes Sanskrit, as contrasted with Zend. But Irish is pronounced hard and gutturally. Lithuanian German is very soft; but, as is well known, southern German differs from northern in the hardness of its guttural pronunciation. The aspirates and ellipses in Erse arise from the utterance stopping half-way between the preceding and following sound. If you examine bata (battha), mo wata, ar mbata, you will find the change—that w is half-way between o and b, and m between r and b. It is an imperfect, undefined utterance.

To return to our dates. The most careful research into monuments compared with Berosus (whose chronology the monuments constantly confirm, and oilier chronological elements and dates) gives about two thousand two hundred and thirty-four years before Christ for the foundation of the first Chaldean kingdom. The common biblical chronology gives for the flood two thousand three hundred and forty-eight. It is alleged by German critics following Berosus (I say German, as freed from scripture authority), that there was a Median dynasty of eight kings, and this is conjecturally carried to 2458 B.C., one hundred and ten years before the ordinary Hebrew date of the flood. According to the Septuagint chronology, the flood was 3155 B.C., leaving six hundred and ninety-seven years between the flood and the first kingdom known to Berosus in Chaldea.

This Median kingdom I should not be disposed to reject, though its duration and character be conjectural and uncertain. Because the Chaldean or Babylonish, as we know, was the seat and centre of idolatry, invented and established as a system. Previous to and concurrent with this was another and less outwardly gross idolatry—the worship of fire, and so far the sun and stars—Sabseism contrasted with Ionism. This did not reject star (or at any rate planet) worship, but connected it with making gods of men, of their ancestors—and first of Noah and his sons. Now this Median kingdom would be the prevalence of Sabaeism, the first Chaldean (simply the kings of Babel from Nimrod) setting up systematic idolatry. All tradition points to such a change in these days. Epiphanius—no great authority, it is true, but a witness of tradition in this respect—says it took place in the days of Serug, Abraham’s great grandfather. That idolatry had then come in, we learn from Joshua 24. It was the occasion of calling out Abraham to be the stock of a separate people that the knowledge of the true God might not be wholly lost; so that probably it was then quite established and prevalent, yet not very long established. The uniformity of its fundamental elements in India, Egypt, Greece, and Rome, shews a regularly invented system connected with the deluge and Noah, and the prevalent principle in all countries connected with it of the setting up their first ancestors as the gods of their country, gives its fixed principle —this, with their identification with some planet.

Thus we have 2234 B.C. for the first Chaldean monarchy; 2348 B.C. according to the Hebrew chronology, the date of the flood; 3155 B.C. according to the Septuagint, when our review says 2234 for the first Median conquest of Babylon. It is very certainly an error of Bunsen’s, or a blunder of Dr. Williams’s. It is the date of the first Chaldean kingdom, which overthrew the Median—Berosus calls it Chaldean, at any rate; and the monuments, if not using the word Chaldean (which does not occur till the Assyrian inscriptions in the ninth century before Christ), confirm the fact of a series of kings reigning in the countries whence Abraham came—called by Berosus Chaldean, or by scripture Ur of the Chaldees.

Now learned men may discuss these dates. We have no objection, but we have data, not suggestive theories. Research into Egyptian chronology and history leads to the conclusion that the suggestive theories of Baron Bunsen fall before the facts. The attempt of Lepsius to set up the long period which Manetho’s lists would make out, and on which Baron Bunsen greatly builds, has no foundation to rest upon. The whole is utterly superficial. Not only does Manetho speak of contemporary princes, but the stelae and tablet monuments give unequivocal proofs of the co-existence of kings of different dynasties, sometimes subordinate one to another. I need not enter now into the details with you. But the names are brought together of two and even of several dynasties on the same monument, so that the chronology founded on their being in succession one to another is a delusion from beginning to end. But, leaving all reference to scripture chronology out, the commencement of Egyptian history has been estimated at some two thousand six hundred and fifty years before Christ.

Now no one, I suppose, pretends to give these dates accurately; but the coincidence of the Asiatic and African empires gives a general probability; while Baron Bunsen’s is founded on want of research, on speculations from the boastful and legendary lists of Manetho, and the desire to make the time long, and chronology no element of revelation. He has neglected the evidently important evidence furnished by the monuments (some, perhaps, ascertained indeed since his time), of the co-existence of dynasties, and of very many too—perhaps eight at a time. Moreover, his whole theory as to old and middle and new empires falls to the ground wholly, save so far as the fact of the presence of Hyksos kings goes, and with these other dynasties subsisted nearly all the time. His whole Egyptian system is, as Dr. Williams has described it, revelling in suggestive theories. The speculative result of elaborate enquiry into the great Aryan or Iapetic emigration supposes it was three thousand years before Christ, and this is avowedly mere theory. This you will find in Pictet’s book.

I have thus taken up the historical part, and, I think, shewn that all is theory. But I would still draw your attention for a moment to the kind of reasoning. Even Dr. Williams, however gluttoning in the helps to incredulity, is obliged to demur, and finds puzzling circumstances in the strained etymologies which are made its foundation; but adds a justification of Bunsen, which reaches far beyond all my conceptions of the possibilities of logic: “That our author would not shrink from noticing this, is shewn,” that is, noticing how he strained etymologies to make the two antediluvian genealogies legendary, “by the firmness with which he relegates the long lives of the first patriarchs to the domain of legend.” Is not that a proof? It is this. His arbitrary boldness in making a legend of scripture statement shews that he will judge his own arbitrariness in making legends of genealogies by strained etymologies! At any rate, Dr. Williams admires him— revels in the Baron’s firmness.

W. But it is difficult to consider all this to be serious. I am glad you spoke of the Assyrian and Egyptian history; but the style of Bunsen’s and Dr. Williams’s reasoning seems to me trifling almost, hardly worth notice.

H. It would not be, if it were not an attack against scripture; but, though it be wearisome, it is well to shew the stuff these neological reasonings are made of. Bear with me yet a little, while I quote a passage or two. “The idea of bringing Abraham into Egypt as early as 2876 is one of our author’s most doubtful points, and may seem hardly tenable.” (According to monuments, it was before Menes, when the gods or heroes were reigning.) But why is this date? Some proof, perhaps, is given. Here it is:—“He wanted time for the growth of Jacob’s family into a people of two millions”—(a question discussed on the shortest supposed period by Fynes Clinton, and others). However, Baron Bunsen wanted time for it, and he felt bound to place Joseph under a native Pharaoh—therefore before the shepherd kings. He also contends that Abraham’s horizon is antecedent to the first Median conquest of Babylon, in 2234 B.C. (We have spoken of this point: as far as I can gather, there is no proof or sign of such an event.) So the stay of the Israelites in Egypt is extended to fourteen centuries (it is well he let them go there at all); the 215 years is the time of oppression. Baron Bunsen’s history puts me in mind of Vertot’s account of a siege—I forget of what town. He had written to have an accurate account of it from one present, but when it came, he said he was very sorry, but he had written his siege. Then Bunsen takes Manetho’s wild account of the lepers and Avaris, quoted in Josephus, as confirming the exodus under Menephthah—(the date is very possible: Wilkinson, after the Duke of Northumberland, is disposed to accept it—I think Osborne too); but then says, you must accept the whole history, if you do the confirmation. That is very critical. In this case, no sober person does. And hence it was an invasion by the Jews; and the high hand with which Jehovah led His people, the spoiling of the Egyptians, and the lingering in the peninsula (!), are to be taken as signs, even in the Bible, of a struggle conducted by human means. Can absurdity go farther? What do you think the avenger who slew the first-born was?

W. Well, what?

H. “It may have been the Bedouin host, akin nearly to Jethro, and, more remotely, to Israel.”

W. But, my dear H., enough of these excessive puerilities. Surely we need not go farther, or waste our time with the foolish and unbridled licence of an imagination which leads to no result. It is refreshing to turn to the gravity and simplicity of scripture accounts. The moral truths so richly encased in its simple tale are enough for a mind rightly tuned to see its divine character. It is well, perhaps, to see the contrast, and how God allows a most amiable, learned, and attractive mind to run into absurdity and senseless suppositions, when it lends itself to speculations which baser minds seek to profit by against all truth.

H. I have done. But it was well that the true character of these speculations should appear. We will turn to other points.

W. But I should like to ask you a question. How comes it that Dr. Williams recognizes the untenableness, as in this last case, of the statements and the straining of etymology for proofs, and yet delights in bringing forward the conclusions, and presses with satisfaction the results?

H. Allow me to reply by asking a question too. Do you believe that on any subject but one he would admit the premisses to be false, and delight in the conclusions?

W. Well, I suppose not. No one would. Where the will is not engaged, no man pleads that premisses are false, and conclusions excellent.

H. You have answered yourself. See what is said: “It is easier to throw doubt on some of the arguments than to shew that the conclusion… is improbable.” He is speaking of Bunsen’s requiring twenty thousand years.

The truth is, the idea of human excellency and their own superior powers of criticism has led them to reject scripture a priori, because it sets down man as wicked and lost; and then to loosen by speculative suppositions the bands of all proof whatever. Bunsen, building on an excessively uncritical unphilo-sophical estimate of Egyptian periods—speculations which have neglected all careful research into the facts—has concluded that the emigration into Egypt was ante-Noahic, the flood only partial, and scripture not worth a straw, save as bright and eminent individuals gave an impulse suited to their day. His writings are a kind of skating over the surface of facts. I will give you here a specimen of scriptural interpretation to shew how far solidity of judgment can be looked for in Bunsen’s writings:— “In the event of Pentecost, not only the first legislation of mankind, founded on the permanent law of the conscience, became a reality, but the whole distinguishing character of the eighteen centuries, which separate us from that event, was typified and foreshadowed.” All well, save that the Holy Ghost is not alluded to, only permanent conscience. I will refer to this farther on.

But now: “In what did that miracle consist? One hundred and twenty persons—not only Galileans, as they were naturally supposed to be, but believers from various parts—assembled together on that festive day, expecting the end of the world. Suddenly, during a violent storm of wind, accompanied by lightning, the persons so assembled felt moved apparently to praise God, not in the formularies of their sacred language, but in the profane sounds of their heathenish mother tongues, of which the Greek was foremost, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” “What more portentous or deeply significant sign could there be that religion was henceforth to cease to be an external or sacerdotal and ceremonial worship? At this moment, and with that sound, the true temple of God was opened. This was in reality the temple which Christ had said He could raise on the ruins of the old.” “The speakers themselves were overpowered by the sudden wind and scintillating flashes of the electric fluid (ver. 3)” —the verse is, “And there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them”—“while those who gathered round and listened to them were no less awe-struck by hearing the praises of God and wonderful things uttered in their own tongues, which they little expected to hear from Galileans. (Ver. 4-8.) The speakers at first made convulsive sounds, but soon recovered their equilibrium [I feel it hard to preserve one’s own]; not like those who, in the time of St. Paul, after having lost, in the midst of the divine service, the power of articulation (that is, speaking with a tongue, note), were unable to express their emotion otherwise than by sounds of the brute creation, extorted by their overpowering sensations. Nor, according to St. Luke’s account, were the pious hearers overcome to such an extent as some later learned interpreters appear to have been. They did not regard the screams which had been uttered at the first moment, but listened to what they heard spoken in their own tongue. If this be a rationalistic explanation, it is that of St. Peter. [!]. Where does that apostle state that he and his friends received the power of speaking languages not their own, or that the utterance of convulsive sounds was a proof of Jesus of Nazareth being the Christ, and of the Spirit of God having come down upon the believers in the Galilean?”

W. It is inconceivable; one’s only comfort is that its folly proves honesty.

H. I agree with you. I believe there was a love of good, and that from God, in this amiable man. Are you aware that he declared, on his death-bed, that Christ was all, and that only was life—all else nothing?

W. It is a sweet and joyful thought to know it. How wonderful, and wonderfully above man, is the grace of God!

H. It is, and sweet to turn to, and dwell on.

W. But how is it possible that one can be blinded to such a point?

H. It is hard to tell. That man should say, “I do not believe the account,” is intelligible enough. But to take it and make this out of it is hard to understand. I account for it by the divine instinct which cannot bear to give up the words of eternal life, and the vanity which would go on with the supposed progress of science. All is the contradiction of the scripture statement. There was no wind, but a sound like one. The scintillating electricity of the storm resting on their heads would be rather awkward. There are no convulsive sounds, no screams; they are all Galileans, contrasted with devout men from every nation under heaven. Peter had no need to say they spake with tongues, because it was heard by all, and is stated by the historian. He does, both here and in his defence as to going to Cornelius, refer to it as the proof of Christ’s glory and the seal of faith; and tells them if they repented and were baptized they would receive it too. Each particular is exactly contrary to the history, and the wind and electricity contemptible. Think of Paul saying they were not to speak with a tongue except there was an interpreter, when they were the sounds of the brute creation—he spake with tongues more than they all—I suppose of different brutes! But the explanation of Baron Bunsen is important here as regards the system of the school. “With true prophetic spirit St. Peter applied to this event what had been foretold of the Spirit of God, which was to come in the last days, and to be recognized by the outpouring of intelligence and wisdom over the unlearned men and women even of the lowest classes.” Now this is not true. He speaks of visions and dreams, not of wisdom and intelligence. But further: “No, he tells them a story as simple as it is true; the great event of his days, and of all days—the glorification of God through Christ, not as an external fact, but as a divine principle of life in mankind.”

Now how striking it is that an upright mind, for such I doubt not was Baron Bunsen’s, under the influence of this deceit of Satan, can misrepresent a statement, or rather, just as the Baron does in Egyptian history, give what he thinks ought to be here instead of what is! There is not one word of the glorification of God through Christ, but of God’s glorifying Christ, whereupon the Holy Ghost was shed forth. He speaks of the power of God raising up from the dead and setting Christ, as man, at His right hand, and that He, having received the Holy Ghost from the Father, had sent, not a storm and electricity to rest on the disciples’ heads, but the Holy Ghost. Nor does he even say one word of a principle of divine life in mankind. Christianity is that; but here there is not a word of it. The Baron adds, “On that day, accordingly, not only the christian Church was born, but also the christian state.” I only add this to shew how all is the theory of his mind without reference to fact. Where is “the christian state” on Pentecost?

I need not say I do not quote this to refute it—it would not deserve it; but to shew the character and spirit and materials of which the new school is made up. God’s exalting Christ—overstepping the narrow bounds of Judaism to visit all nations in grace—the blessed truth of another Comforter whom Christ had promised, is not seen for a moment. An invented storm, an electricity which would have left very few Galileans there— what folly replaces it?

W. Refuting it would indeed be absurd; but it is a singular phenomenon, such an entire aberration of mind.

H. It is a state, and the proof of the folly, of man’s mind, when, as such, it pretends to judge of God’s acts. But I have a quotation from another part of Baron Bunsen’s works which distinctly shews his notion—the school’s notion—of revelation, and with this view I quote it:—“Such a direct communication of the divine mind as is called revelation has necessarily two factors, which are’ co-operating in producing it. The one is the infinite factor, or the direct manifestation of eternal truth to the mind, by the power which that mind has of perceiving it; for human perception is the correlative of divine manifestation.” “This infinite factor is, of course, not historical; it is inherent in every individual soul, but with an immense difference of degree.”

“The second factor of revelation is the finite, or external. This mode of divine manifestation is, in the first place, a universal one—the universe is nature. In a more special sense, it is an historical manifestation of divine truth through the life and teaching of higher minds among men. These men of God are eminent individuals, who communicate something of eternal truth to their brethren.” “The difference between Jesus and the other men of God is analogous to that between the manifestation of a part and the totality and substance of the divine mind.” I cannot follow the wild idealism of Bunsen in all its details. I may give as an example of it his interpretation of “Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, and shall come forth, they that have done good to the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil to the resurrection of damnation.” He translates, he says, from Semitic into Japetic language; so he speaks thus: “The history of mankind will prove to be the judgment of God. Nations will perish by this judgment, and new nations will arise, and the truth and justice of God will become manifest as well by the destruction of empires as by the awakening of new national life.” This is not exceptional. The Son having life in Himself, as the Father in Himself, and authority to execute judgment, means—”This new period of mankind is now beginning; individuals of all nations will be awakened by divine consciousness [nota bene], and in process of time this divine principle in man will become the principle of all social relations, governments, and states.”

Now how entirely opposite this is to Christianity I need not say, which speaks of man as lost, of redemption, of a new divine life given. But I only introduce it now as shewing the excess of spiritual idealism which makes all Baron Bunsen’s views and statements a will-o’-the-wisp. The only thing I know like it, and from which much (at any rate in the form and habit of mind) seems to be drawn, is Philo. Of course to Bunsen it came philosophically through Hegel—perhaps Schelling; but Philo is so extraordinarily like, because he connected Judaism and a like system, as Bunsen does Christianity with Hegelianism. I shall recur to this. My present point is the revelation of Christ. I believe christian instinct gave Bunsen a sense of what Christ was, which pierces through—so great is God’s grace. But I will give his ideas of Christ to complete the picture, and then turn to his ideas of revelation. I say “idea,” for Bunsen is an honest man, and gives it; but we must never trust words in these men’s mouths, because they all use common christian terms, but they mean with them totally different things.

W. That I see plainly enough. I am getting gradually hold of the system. We must have the key to the cipher. When once, however, one sees this, it produces a just distrust of all they say. They cover themselves with the mantle of Christianity to pierce it under the fifth rib. They are very Joabs in their character. They speak peaceably to Abner in the king’s gate, but one has to learn to be aware that they have a hidden sword. However the fraud is tolerably apparent God ever takes care of His people.

H. In a very angry correspondence in France, which I have seen published as a pamphlet since our first conversation, it is seriously proposed that they should openly say what they mean and think on the great truths of Christianity, that the mass of professing Christians may know what they really hold. They speak of Christ, His gracious life and the like, and unsuspecting persons assume commonly-received truths as at the basis; but the select few are initiated, and propagate doubts and unbelief; and the work is actively carried on. Such at least is the distinct statement in these papers; and one sees the shrinking from open dealing, or meeting it clearly, in the replies. At any rate, the first part is true, for that I have met with—the speaking of Christ as if all were right, while not one word of commonly held christian truth was believed, yet the same terms largely employed. This is the case with Bunsen: only he honestly states what he thinks. Thus he speaks of judgment. But what does this mean? “The conscience of man, now represented by Jesus of Nazareth, will be the judge of man—first, as to individual conduct, and in process of time, through faith in His Spirit, as to national affairs.” What becomes of the judgment of quick and dead now? Christianity is gone for a reverie.

Again, he speaks of Christ’s unity with the Father. He is identified and one with God. That sounds well enough. But what is it? “The willing self-sacrifice of Jesus is the cause of His unity with the Father.” It is a mere moral idea. The truth is gone, and see how it works. He adds (Christ speaks), “What I say of myself, that I am one with God, is true of all men.”

Having shewn the genius and character of all this teaching, I will now, before applying it to revelation, quote to you his interpretation of the apostle’s (John’s) teaching concerning Christ;—

“Before the visible universe existed, there was in God the conscious thought of Himself, as active reason. This thought was identical with God, the substance of the universe; it was God thinking Himself, making Himself objective to Himself.” (As the Neoplatonists say, the intelligent no longer as existence, but in activity becoming the intelligible. For this is mere Neoplatonism, and, indeed, so does Bunsen explain it.) “This, then, is the divine existence of the word, as active reason;” according to Philo and the Alexandrian fathers, ejndiavqeto". “The creation of the universe is the manifestation in space and time of the same thought of God of Himself. There was nothing created which has not the principle of existence in that thought of God of Himself.” These are the ideas of Plato, the nohtoVn of Philo. “The universe, thus created, continues to have the principle of life in this divine self-consciousness; this principle of substantial existence is also the intellectual principle in man.”

“God’s eternal thought of Himself became personal in finite existence in a man conscious of his divine nature. In this man that divine word lived amongst us, and we behold in Jesus divine glory and truth. He alone, therefore, could declare to mankind the nature of God, for that primitive consciousness lived in Him constantly and perfectly.”

I rejoice to think that true divinely-given faith in Christ pierces through Bunsen’s idealism; I rejoice heartily in it. It is swamped in idealism, but there is not the cold calculating infidelity of the Essays and Reviews. Dr. Williams’s language is, “The son of David by birth is the Son of God by the spirit of holiness” (a false citation). “What is flesh is born of flesh, what is spirit is born o£ spirit.” This he calls the incarnation becoming purely spiritual. Having gladly owned this as to Baron Bunsen, which is my real feeling, we may pursue the research into the system. Save the last phrase I have quoted, it is merely a reproduction of Philonian (that is Alexandrian) Platonism, adapted by idealism to scripture statements.

The Logos was first ejndiavqeto"—immanent reason in God; then proforicoV"; and thus the universe (not in matter, but existing in the thought of God in idea) was the lovgo". Then the lovgo" became the band and support of it when it took a form. So here with Baron Bunsen, in the wild notion that the universe, thus created, continues to have the principle of life in this divine self-consciousness. It is a living being. All this is pure Philonism. So is the notion that the “eminent” man— “the wise man,” says Philo—has this partially in him, partakes intrinsically of the divine lovgo" in his reason. As in Bunsen, repeated in a passage I have not quoted: “In the progress of history, this principle (life in divine self-consciousness) manifested itself as intelligence”—the sofoV" and ejpisthvmh of Philo. The only point where Bunsen leaves Philo, as far as I can see, is when he speaks of Christ as having the fulness of this in a finite person; but even here, with a very slight modification, Philo applies this to Moses. He could not see God Himself, but entered into the darkness and saw the original pattern of heavenly things. He is called God. “But what, did he not enjoy also a greater fellowship with the Father and Maker of all things; having been counted worthy of the same title? for he was called the God and King of the whole nation, and is said to have entered into the thick darkness where God was, that is, into the formless and invisible and incorporeal pattern essence of beings, mentally contemplating what cannot be seen by mortal nature.” (De Vita Mosisy Mangey, 108 for 106.)

The prophets only enquire, and get answers. So the law of Moses is the perfect expression of the divine mind, and serves as such, and will be for all ages. It corresponds to the harmony of the universe, and is in unison with the reason (lovgw) of the eternal nature. (De Vitâ Mosis, Mangey, 2:142.)

Bunsen’s notion of the prophetic spirit in all eminent men is also Philo’s, pavnti ajnqrwvpw ajsteivw oJ iJeroV" lovgo" profhteivan marturei'. But the word of prophecy has Moses for its name. (Man. 1:652.) Moses has power over all the elements of nature; each one of them obeys him. (Man. 2:105. So Mangey, 2:107 —for 105.) He took the divine excellencies as preferable to worldly goods, so that God rewarded him with great and perfect riches. The reading is then said to be faulty in the text, ijsoth" (equality). It may be so, but I am not quite clear. Mangey reads, those (riches) of all the universe. But it then goes on: For having been thought worthy of being declared partaker of his own lot, [God] granted him the whole world. The elements own him Lord. “Nor is,” he adds, “that wonderful; for if, as the proverb says, all things belonging to friends are common—and the prophet is called the friend of God—as a consequence as to usufruct, he will be partaker and companion of all His possession.” What is this but Bunsen’s Jesus of Nazareth’s self-sacrifice—the cause of His unity with the Father?

It is, I think, a mistake, unless I have overlooked some passage, to say that Moses is called oJ iJeroV" lovgo", the sacred word, as has been alleged by Gfrörer. This applies to the scripture, but he is set in the same place really in the de migratione Abrahami. He is the dianoiVa, the mind and thought of God, and Aaron His prophet to declare it. This under another name is the same thing, but it is not immanent as the lovgo", but more a gift. But then, on the other hand, the pneu'ma a{gion abode always with him. In most it visits and goes—in an afflatus, but in Moses abides, touvtw meVn ou\n to qei'on ajeiV parivstatai. (De Gigantibus, Man. 1:269, 270.)

I will not go further. He largely insists in more than one place on his entering into the thick darkness—so as prophet he knew all that as king, lawgiver, and priest he could not; and all completed his knowledge, he is (M. 2:145) inspired, has breathed into him heavenly love; what he says is an oracle lovgion ejc proswvpou dij eJrmhneivan unmixed, not as others from enquiry and answer. (Man. 2:163.)

W. It would be curious if Bunsen’s wanderings were only a reproduction of Philo. But where are you leading my thoughts with all this?

H. Not an unnatural question. First we are examining a professed review of Bunsen, and enquiry into his real views is the best answer; and it shews the true character of the teaching sought to be introduced. Philo indeed was, while for ever allegorizing, so far soberer, that he recognizes the literal history, though, like Augustine, saying, when it is dishonouring to God’s thoughts, it must be taken mystically. Still he respects the written word far more than Bunsen and our Essayists.

But I had also a more precise object. I have only, could only, in our brief intercourse bring forward points of contact, but the more Philo’s views are before the mind as a whole, the more the similarity—the identity, I may say, is apparent. Another character of the lovgo" which Philo gives will lead me to the point. The lovgo", or divine reason, is faith in us; that is, the lovgo", or divine immanent reason, becoming in its acting in man intelligence, the ojrqoV" lovgo", or right reason in the abstract, which is divine, is, as far as it acts, right reason in man (i.e., in the wise); and the archetypal idea is in the mind of man faith; he has seized it as having, as the wise man, this right reason in himself, it being in himself so far as he is wise. That which is seized is the idea in God, but it is the idea in the man’s mind, the lovgo" being his intelligence. It is a copy of the original copy, or production of the inherent mind of God. As inherent, it is unknown. As become intelligible in the lovgo", an idea, it is nohtov", capable of being a subject of thought; and the human mind, which is the action of the lovgo" in us, thinks it, has the idea, believes it as truth. Thus it is faith. This seems subtle, but it is not difficult to understand. The thinking power is not thinking. When I think, I have a thought. Thus what was simply intelligent, capable of thinking, is intelligible, becomes in the produced thought a possible subject of another’s apprehension. If the same intelligence is in another as his mind, it is the spring of the same thought in him. The lovgo" as immanent reason in God is unknown, but as a whole of thoughts, when thinking has taken place, when the divine mind has had or produced thoughts, is not all known, but nohtov", knowable; and then archetypal ideas become by the lovgo" being also our reason, our ideas. Hence the lovgo" is the archetypal idea, and faith, according to Philo. Forgive me this dose of Alexandrian philosophy. You will see its application to revelation in a moment.

W. I begin to catch it already. But it denies positive revelation. It is a kind of deifying the intelligence of man, making him, in some strange way, the proper source of the same thoughts, called faith, and so, eventually, a part of God.

H. Yes. This comes from the connection of conscience and reason on moral subjects, the judging process of the mind and perception of good and evil. Thus, where the will, or that in which we take pleasure, coincides with the conscience—the judgment of good and evil, there is moral perfection. God is realized; or, as Bunsen says, man is God.

W. But then, if I understand this, it is a direct denial of all revelation. It is a partial possession of the divine nature, which may be morally complete, in virtue of which man has in himself the thoughts of God, and that naturally, which equally denies what is revealed—the sinful alienation of man from God. Scripture says, “All the imagination of the thoughts of his heart were only evil, and that continually;” and the deep practical experience of one who understood the spirituality of God’s law could say, “I know that in me—that is, in my flesh—dwelleth no good thing;” and that, even when to will was present with him, how to perform that which was good he found not.

H. Precisely. It is a denial of revelation, and a denial of the truth as to man; and, in revelation, a dropping—I will not say denial—of every divine object.

W. But I have a difficulty here, because Philo surely recognized a divine revelation.

H. Your remark is quite in place; but it leads to the confirmation and clearing up of the real truth on this question—“What is revelation?” From his education and habits as a Jew he distinctly recognized the inspiration of the Old Testament—particularly of Moses’ writings, but of all; and inspiration in the fullest sense, the operation of the Holy or prophetic Spirit; so that man was wholly shut out. He was far more a believer in his theory on this subject—very far—than Bunsen or the rationalists, even the most moderate of them. But two things are to be observed: first, he philosophized independently of the scriptures, though he sought to bring them in as confirmatory, and allegorized them even where he owned them to be historical. Abraham meant one idea, Israel another, Jacob another. He often admitted only ideas—no literal history at all. He was the most outrageous spiritualizer, but reducing all to man as he is looked at as virtuous. Hence evident inconsistencies. But, what is more material, there was no divine object in revelation for him. God remained necessarily unknown in Himself. The revelation he had was of ideas. The lovgo"—the universal idea of all—the universe; the bringing this idea into finite man’s mind, a little world of answering ideas, formed a microcosm as the philosophers called it. Man was, when virtuous, when partaker of qeiw'n ajretw'n (divine virtues), an ajstei'o" ajnhVr (Bunsen’s “eminent” men), a possessor, as we have seen, of the ojrqoV" lovgo", which, in its infinitude, was a kind of middle being between God and creatures (the evident origin of Arianism, and the early philosophical Christianity of Alexandria). The law for him was the expression of this perfect or right reason, and was to be perpetual and universal. But there were thus only great principles and ideas to be made good— there was no divine object at all. God was inaccessible. The lovgo" comes out as a universal archetypal idea, realized finitely in creation, but not as a personal object of faith, though sometimes treated almost as a person, because acting in power; and this lovgo" was man’s intelligence. Messiah is only referred to as a conqueror to come, subduing the Gentiles, and making good Jewish hopes; beasts to be tamed—men too; sickness to depart; the Jews to be a kind of world priests. There is no proper revealed divine object of faith. The soul is an ajpovspasma, a shred, an ajpauvgasma, a shining forth, a ray, an ejcmagei'on ejmfereV", a corresponding impress of God. It existed before, came into a body, and so was lowered and dualized (and this circumscription of our spirits in the limits of flesh and time, practical selfishness, Bunsen reckons the fall); and when it dies, goes back to heaven, restored to unity. There is a reproduction of the word in the soul, but no revealed object before it. This part of man is reason and conscience.

Now you will find that this makes the ground taken by the new school most distinct. They claim the title of reason and conscience to judge of all, that is, of the finite lovgo", so to speak, in man— the moral perceptive power in man to judge of everything. By what? By itself. Man, as he is, is the measure of right and wrong and good and evil. Now, if the Word has been made flesh— God revealed in man, this cannot be. He is the true and perfect measure, and His words, expressing what He is, will judge men— not now, unless inwardly, but when the time of gracious revelation is over, the same will judge him in the last day. Now this is Christianity in its great elementary truths. It declares man has failed and is evil, though he had a conscience. God had taken care that when he left God and sinned, and sought independence (i.e., sin as to will, as corruption is sin as to lust), he should carry a conscience, a knowledge of good and evil with him. He has sinned without a law, and wallowed in corruption; he has sinned under law, which forbade the corruption and denied the independence, claiming obedience, and therein righteousness. Nay, he has sinned in rejecting goodness itself when it came into the world after all this. Now, wrath is revealed from heaven against both ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness. But withal God’s righteousness is revealed, not on a principle of works—man was judged and condemned on that principle—but as God’s righteousness by faith, and so to every one, without law or under law, who believed. But how? In a divine object presented—God Himself manifested in grace, as man dying to put away sin, that blessing might be in righteousness, and no allowance of evil, and a new divine life communicated. In a word, God is revealed in Christ to be the condemnation of flesh and man, but to be a new eternal life come down from heaven, making men thus partakers of the divine nature; and, while putting away sin, and glorifying God in this respect, giving a perfect object of this life—the Father revealed in the Son. A divine object is before us—the Word made flesh, “we beheld his glory, the glory as of an only-begotten from the Father.” He “dwelt among us, full of grace and truth.”

I have here (very imperfectly, but sufficiently at this moment) sketched the revelation—a revealed object. My purpose here, of course, is not to unfold doctrine, but give the character of the revelation. Now the new school comes in and says, “But I must judge this by what is in man.” Nay, I say, it judges what is in man—in grace and for his good; but it is the truth. Christ is the truth and judges man. It is a revelation after man has had full scope, with conscience, reason, and a perfect rule for it, the law; and all in vain. It is a revelation coming because that was insufficient, because man was incompetent, and proves it; and brings in salvation in a new revealed object, which is not what was in man, but in God—a second man, but the Lord from heaven.

Let us now see how Bunsen’s statement as to revelation embodies the evil principle I have referred to. He says, “Such a direct communication of the divine mind as is called revelation has necessarily two factors which are co-operating in producing it. The one is the infinite factor, or the direct manifestation of eternal truth to the mind by the power which that mind has of perceiving it; for human perception is the correlative of divine manifestation.” Now, absurd as this is, it is plain enough. It is Philo’s ojrqoV" lovgo", right reason, and faith, or the reason and conscience of the new infidel school. A manifestation to, by the power of perceiving, is absurd—absurd in every case. It supposes an object, but an object by a power of perceiving. Now God can will an object, but needs then no revelation, of course. If man perceives, he must have something to perceive; it is not manifested by his power to perceive; or he creates, or has the divine nature, with its thoughts, as a given mind. This is just Philo, and is false, metaphysically and morally, because he is not infinite, and he is evil. Scripture makes the contrast, and refers the knowledge of the divine mind to the believer only and the Holy Ghost who shews things to us. “What man knoweth the things of a man- save the spirit of man which is in him? so no man knoweth the things of God but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God.” A man knows the things of a man by the spirit of man; the things of God (these are new, freely given things, objects not inherent in the mind), the Spirit of God only. He is given to them that believe, takes the things of Christ and shews them unto us. I am not arguing now whether scripture be true; but shewing that the christian system is directly in every part in antagonism with the system we are examining.

W. Most clearly, and, I may say, rationally and morally so; but perfectly opposed in every particular.

H. What I think striking is, that it goes over the same ground, the mind, its thoughts, conscience, relationship of God to man, our being His offspring; but in every point, instead of building up the competency of man in his old position, treats him as incompetent and fallen, and brings in a new thing, the Second man, the revelation of God, and of the Father, and of the Son. It shews liberty from rites and legal ceremonies, the bondage of the law, the higher prophetic light, even before Christ; but instead of reducing it into the limits of the Adam nature to exalt man (that is, self), it uses it to shew him condemned in his Adam condition, incapable of thus knowing God, and gives new life, new objects, a new state, and a perfect revelation of all that was needed to introduce it, and to be that on and in which it lived.

W. But Baron Bunsen gives a second factor.

H. He does, but we do not gain much there. It “is the finite, or external.” This mode of divine manifestation is, in the first place, a universal one; the universe, or nature. In a more special sense, it is an historical manifestation of divine truth through the life and teaching of higher minds among men. These men of God are eminent individuals, who communicate something of eternal truth to their brethren, as far as they themselves are true. They have in them the conviction, that what they say and teach of things divine is an objective truth, “will last” therefore; but mark, only a truth. “The difference between Jesus and the other men of God is analogous to that between the manifestation of a part, and of the totality and substance of the divine mind.” Thus Christ is a perfect revealer at best, not a personal object of faith to whom we are subject as the Son. That is, my mind perceives truth partially. His completely, and so teaches. Thus it is expressed, “God’s eternal thought of Himself became personal in finite existence in a man, conscious of His divine nature.” Remark, He becomes personal, and is then finite. He is Son, and God is Father only in a finite way. Otherwise, “He is God’s thought of Himself in space and time.” “It has the principle of life in this divine self-consciousness.” “That primitive consciousness lived in Him constantly and perfectly”—in Jesus. The former part is pure Philonism; the latter, the incarnation of God’s eternal thought of Himself in a man, who thus lived in the consciousness of His divine nature is of course not Philo’s.

But we know now what revelation means, and why the reviewer speaks of the revelation of Christ, and of not confining it to Him.

I proceed with Bunsen. “God reveals, that is to say, manifests Himself directly to mankind by the mind. This manifestation addresses itself to man’s rational conscience, or to the consciousness of truth and goodness. This direct manifestation is that of the eternal word or reason, and is the key to the indirect manifestation of God to man through the creation and through history.” Hence, “there must be faith in the divine element in the soul.” “The contemplation of God in the history of mankind is the most natural and most universal means of strengthening the innate faith of the soul in its own destiny.”

“The scriptures of the Old and New Testament exhibit such a record of humanity;” “bearing eminently the character of humanity, they are eminently prophetic.”

“Christ is the centre of the universal development, typically exhibited in the Jewish records.”

He adds, “Moses had coined out of the law of conscience, which Abraham had made the distinctive law of his family, the ritualized law of that nation which he formed out of Abraham’s descendants.” In another place, he says, “the wickedness and stubbornness of the people obliged him (Moses) to surround this spiritual law (contrary to his original intentions) with ritual and ceremonial regulations.”

“Jesus proclaimed it the law of mankind by attaching it directly, without any national medium, to the consciousness of God Himself dwelling in man and in mankind. He divinized man because He realized God.” “He based upon faith in her (the soul’s) origin and destiny… the whole social life of mankind.” Hence he holds that, by revolutionary destruction of hierarchy and empires, there will be by the prevalence of conscience a kind of moral millennium.

Now here God dwelling in man, the direct revelation to man’s rational conscience, is the infinite factor, the judge of all. The finite (and even Christ comes in here, though personally Bunsen ascribes to Him a perfect consciousness of the whole of God’s thought of Himself) is a secondary and external one. Mankind’s history strengthens the internal, but no more. Jewish records give man’s expression of this. Christ is the centre of this finite external one. Eminent men have given it out, as far as they thought they had the perception of truth. Christ is not a part but the whole reason of God in a man, to whom God gave eternal life, for so He says.

But revelation is, as a direct thing, merely and only the perception of truth by man’s mind as man, through the eternal reason of God dwelling in him as man. And he must have faith in this divine element in himself. Eminent men may give out their consciousness of it, and, if true, give it out with a conviction that it is lasting truth. But this is all secondary and indirect. Direct revelation is only the inward perceptions of man’s natural mind. And the Bible is prophetic in general, not because of its divinity, but because of its humanity, and that it is the expression of what passes in the human mind. The eternal reason of God dwells in man, and man by it perceives, and that is revelation in all. What makes some to be eminent, we are left to conjecture. Philo was dreadfully embarrassed here too. However, is this a denial of a revelation or not? Is it a denial of christian doctrine or not? That is the positive announcement of the word of God claiming absolute authority over the conscience, partial and preliminary by the prophets, fully and openly by Christ and His apostles. Men were to receive it as the word of God which was effectual in those that believed. It was for the obedience of faith among all nations, man being darkness, alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that was in him.

W. It is most clearly a positive denial of revelation altogether. For the secondary or finite one is only reproducing the first, and is good only as far as the conviction of the speaker goes (i.e., not God’s word). It is a positive denial, too, of the whole doctrine of Christianity, as to the fall of man, and a redemption, and a new life.

H. You can now, too, clearly see why in this system rational conscience is to judge of all else, be it what it may; and this is the essence of their system. Man is to have faith in the divine element in his own soul. Hence “the evidences of our canonical books and of the patristic authors nearest to them are sufficient to prove illustration in outward act of principles perpetually true (is that revelation?), but not adequate to guarantee narratives inherently incredible or precepts evidently wrong;” i.e., we are finally judges of right and wrong. Now, the Gospels are, in another sense, an “illustration in outward act of principles perpetually true.” For God Himself is love and man hatred against Him. But it is a mere record, according to Dr. Williams, of the truth and falsehood, the right and wrong, of which we are judges as of any other book. It is not a bit more the word of God or a revelation from God than any other book. It may be better, if those of whom it relates correctly the facts and sayings were better. But it is no revelation. We are judges of its contents, and select as we please. That is, God has given no revelation at all; for, if He has given a positive revelation of His mind, it is quite clear it must both guide and judge us, not we it. The whole system is infidelity without the honesty to own it, and nothing else.

And what, consequently, is man according to Baron Bunsen? “The finite realization of the Spirit of God as good in individual consciousness developed in time.” We see that all this is historically false, and that man has received everything that is vile, and crucified Him who by their own confession was goodness and truth. No man received His testimony; those who did receive Him were born, not of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God. It was a work, a new work, wrought in them. They, and they only, set to their seals that God was true. St. Paul further declares, that what he had was communicated to him by the Holy Ghost, that He imparted it in words taught of the Holy Ghost, and that it could only be received by the Holy Ghost in contrast with the natural man.

I conclude that the system is historically false, theoretically false: i.e., its pretension that it is rationally christian is false. It is diametrically opposite to the theory of Christianity and all the principles of scripture; and in doctrine not merely infidel but anti-christian. Take away Christianity, and what have you? Let history tell.

I must add, that I think it dishonest to use christian language for the purpose of denying all that the words mean. To say that the perceptions of a man’s mind are a revelation from God, is deceiving by an abuse of words. But it is well to get at the fact that the question is: Is there a revelation or not—a revelation addressed to man, claiming authority over man because it is the word of God? If they say there is not, we know what we are about, which they are doing their best to conceal. In my judgment their views are from Satan himself—the direct work of the enemy—devilish in their nature. I do not use the word as vulgar and abusive, but in its strict and proper sense.

W. Well, I suppose we must admit them to be such if they are not of God; for they are not simply human mistakes and reasonings (though that may be the case as to individuals), but a systematic antagonism to a divine revelation of the truth, and of the truth revealed.

H. We have one or two points which we should do well to consider. The value of moral and miraculous evidences. It is a subject treated in these Essays, and has its importance.

W. It has considerable importance. Infidelity is evidently natural to the mind of man, i.e., when God is revealed, and the truth. And this question of evidences meets with this propensity in the heart as much as the truth itself.

H. First of all you must remark, that evidences suppose either reluctance to receive or difficulties inherent in man as to the reception of truth. If man’s mind met the truth as such at once, there would be no need of any evidences, no need of our new school investigating so much; but men do reason to prove the truth (i.e., it is not intuitively known or necessarily received). The new school declare the human mind productive of truth as being an intelligence which is the divine word in finite action in man. Christianity declares the truth to be revealed in and by Christ, and those sent by Him; and, as to ordinary men, He has declared, “Because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.” And again, “He was in the world, and the world knew him not. He came to his own, and his own received him not.” “The light shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehended it not.” That truth was found by man is false; it was not. He arrived at “What is truth?” Christ came to bear witness to it.

Now, assuming that there is such a thing as truth (and there must be, or there is nothing; for if there is something, a true statement or knowledge of what it is, is the truth), either man is omniscient, or he wants the truth to be made known to him. If he does, he needs evidences, unless he be so absolutely proper for its reception, that to state it is sufficient for its reception (i.e., unless the truth be self-evident). If he be not so receptive of truth (and we are sure he is not), he needs evidences of it, because he has reluctance or difficulties.

But I go farther: truth cannot really be self-evident to a creature, because, let men be as proud as they will, in a creature the moral condition depends on the object he is occupied with. Is it gold? he is covetous. Power? he is ambitious; and so on. Hence the moral condition is the fruit of the object. There may be lusts and tendencies dominant; but actual character is determined by an object. Now, to know goodness as a creature without a revelation of it, I must be perfectly good. But I am not—far from it. When therefore it comes, it finds me not perfectly good (i.e., so far averse to what is good). I do not know whether any one pretends to being perfect goodness; if not, he is something as a morally active being; he is selfish. Is it not true?

W. Alas! yes.

H. That is, a revelation of perfect goodness meets selfishness which is incapable of receiving it. Besides, in fact, there is corruption, prejudice, superstition, into which selfishness has formed itself. And God, who is fight as well as love, makes havoc with this. “No man, having drunk old wine, straightway desireth new, for he saith, The old is better.” If your infidel says, Man is innocent, and education has given him prejudices, and connected his will with his lusts, so as to make passions; I say, Be it so. I do not believe it; but be it so. But man is educated; he is a Jew, a Romanist, a Heathen, a Protestant. Pure truth comes; it meets his prejudices, and evidences are needed. If these are sent, it is the activity of grace. They are not simply to prove the truth (to a mind who sees the truth as truth, it needs no proof), but to prove it to man, because man is prejudiced, and deeply prejudiced. But man has a conscience (and the truth does reach it even when will is opposed), has a heart, yea selfishness, and is miserable; and can feel goodness, though opposed to the claim of God over his will as light and love (for if God reveals Himself He must claim subjection, and to bless must make man give up his will, that own will, which is alienation from God, and mixes in his lusts). Attraction is felt, the claim felt in conscience, the claim of goodness, the beauty of what is holy felt in conscience, what God is, is felt; but there are deep obscurities through prejudice and lusts, and reluctance through feeling how much it will cost. Ignorance of what God ought to be, prejudice against what He is. “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?”

What is to be done? Man ought to receive grace and truth, light and love. Yet he would not want it revealed if he were not morally in contradiction of will with it. God gives adequate evidences to overtop the prejudices, to force on the mind that what is presented to it must be a revelation of God. Men have enquired as to receiving truth because of miracles, or miracles because of truth. Both and neither. Men ought to receive truth because it is truth—abstractedly, ought: for unfallen he would not need a revelation; fallen puts the case that he is indisposed: but, abstractedly, a nature suited to truth would receive the truth. “If I tell you the truth, why do ye not believe me?”

But this is not so. Man does not like to come to the light, because his deeds are evil. God therefore in grace gives evidences, miracles if you please, when the revelation of the truth is there; not when, to speak historically, it has been admitted as truth. But this is great grace. “Believe me,” says Christ, “that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” There is the place of truth and of miracles, “which at first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard it, God bearing witness by signs and miracles,” &c, so “confirming the word by signs following.” Where faith was founded only on miracles, the Lord did not own it; there was nothing moral in it. But He did give miracles to help men to believe the holy truth of love.

But men say, all is to be reduced to general laws: and if anything cannot, it cannot be believed. God would not disturb general laws. The most general law is that God is love, and miracles, used as I have said, shew this more than a physical law. I affirm that, compared with miracles, general laws are nothing as a revelation of God. There are general laws, I admit: an increasing number of phenomena may be reduced to them—perhaps, had we all the secrets of nature, all of them. I will suppose that, however irregular phenomena may appear, all can be reduced to general laws; but I do not know hereby a personal God; I do riot know Him morally. All goes on admirably. I am so constituted—for this is the real fact—that, seeing a creature, I suppose a Creator. As has often been said, a design proves to the human mind (rather it is inherent in the idea, that is, in the constitution of man) a designer. When I say design, I think of a person, a cause for what exists. Constituted as I am, I cannot help doing so. Now, this proves I cannot know God; for I cannot think of a thing’s existing without a cause. But He exists without a cause, as we have said—that is, His very nature of God; and what makes me know there is one proves I cannot, in the nature of things, know Him. But that is not my object now.

The knowledge that there is a God is no personal revelation of God—no revelation at all. I conclude there must be. I am right. I conclude to immense power, and pretty surely to His unity, as the apostle says, His eternal power and Godhead—a solemn truth, from which many an enquiry may arise. Where is He? Who is He? Is He good? Does He think now at present of men? Does He govern all things? I have only a conclusion of my own mind that there must be a God of power who made the universe; not that there is. No conclusion gives this, because my conclusion is only the sequence of an idea. But am I in any relationship with Him? am I part of a system governed by general laws and no more?—for the absoluteness of these is insisted upon. If I am not a part of these general laws, what relationship have I with God? My new-school man tells me I have a conscience and reason, am free, and so forth; that is, I am not governed, like a planet, by general laws. Ah! ah! Then, in all that is really important—that is, what is moral—I am not a mere machine, under a general law; and you would persuade me God is, and cannot help Himself, nor act freely in respect of my freedom! I am free, and He is not. Then certainly I am God, not He. Now, general laws give me no revelation of God personally; and when I enter into detail, I am lost even as to my conclusions. My conscience tells me He must be good. But I look around and see misery, evil; men worshipping Jupiter, Venus, Pluto; men in every degradation that human nature is capable of; babes in torture, grown man in sin, oppression; and a groaning creation. Is that a general law? Where is the goodness? There is another world, you tell me. Perhaps; I hope so. Will the oppressor, the seducer, the corrupter, the tyrant be there? What proof have you? Your instinct tells you so. Is that all you have to comfort me? Has the instinct of men given them any clear idea of it? Had the heathen such? Are life and incorruptibility brought to light anywhere? In theory, a God of mere general laws is a dead God for me as to present moral relationship; and, when I turn to facts, I see it is false, or evil must be a general law too.

Now, where there is One who reveals the truth and works miracles, I am brought into relationship with a God who acts personally, so that I know Him. I see what He is, what He is about. He is righteous, He is love. He thought it worth while to come down into a world full of misery, which man’s free will had brought in, to shew Himself good in it, more mighty than the evil, to reveal Himself as a resource, to make Himself known, on the one hand, and to make the moral revelation of Himself in the truth valid to the hearts of men paramount to all prejudices, on the other. If it be love, it cannot be a general law. Not that love is not the general law of God’s nature, as I said; but love in exercise must have its occasion—suited occasion; must be free, or it is not love. But if God acts in this world to make Himself known, He thereby works miracles; for God’s acting thus is a miracle. He does not contradict, does not suspend, the general law as a law. Men die as they died before; nay, they died again if He raised them; but He acted by a power which was not subject to the general law, because He is God, taking an individual out of it by His own power, without touching the law. The queen does not abrogate a law when she pardons. That power is part of a more general law. The most general law of all is, that God is always God—cannot act contrary to Himself; but can always act as God when He pleases. Thus I know Him—His own mind, spirit, disposition, interest in man, goodness, love. I know what sin is thereby; for it is departure of will from Him.

But, unless this new school deny all the truth of Christianity, their theory of general laws is wholly false. Is the resurrection by God’s power or not? Does man rise of himself by some common law of his nature, or is the resurrection the fruit of the intervention of God in power? If so, the system of general laws adduced against miraculous Christianity is all nonsense. God does interfere by power, freely, to bring the great result of moral dealings to an issue. Besides, the theory of judging by general laws is false in principle. It takes man’s experience of the physical course of things (for that this world is an adequate witness of God’s moral government, though there is one, is a horrible lie) as the sole and absolute measure of what God is and can do. What proof is there of this? I am told it is complete. It is not; morally, it is no such thing: and your experience of what God is in the laws of the universe is no adequate measure of what God is. But, I repeat, miracles are a far more real revelation of God Himself than general laws, moral revelation. I am not personally in relationship with God by general laws; I am by free miracles, not done necessarily on me or for me, but in which God’s free action shews what God personally is in His actings. I ask if Christ’s miracles did not do this?-—did not shew the intervention of God in goodness in a world of misery? There are instances of judgment when it was to deliver others, and that is part of the character of God, permitted displays of Satan’s power, that we might know it. Why are any of them inherently incredible? Who is the judge—man’s experience? Nonsense! He cannot have an experience of miracles. It is merely saying There can’t be because there can’t be; because I do not think God ought to do them. You do not. What is incredible? Was God not powerful enough to do them? You cannot say that. Was He not good enough? Ah! that is perhaps what is incredible to you. I thank God it is not for me.

But, if in a world of misery God was winning the confidence of men’s hearts to His goodness, what more credible than miracles? i.e., extraordinary displays of power, sufficient to shew God’s intervention, so that men might know not only that evil was not of Him, but that He had come to man’s help as good. That may be incredible for the new school; they may study the movements of Jupiter, and speculate on the fall of empires, as based on general laws; but a personal God of goodness they do not like to know. It has inherent incredibility for them. But there is no personal relationship with God without it. I delight in the thought of seeing God manifested here below, spending Himself to win the confidence of hearts who as offenders were afraid, and using the very wretchedness they were in by sin to draw their hearts to God out of it. True, it was inherently incredible to Pharisees and Sadducees then. He could not be of God; He did not keep the Sabbath. They were grieved that the apostles taught the resurrection. But Jesus cared for the poor of the flock, and, in spite of the Pharisees, would win by speaking “as never man spake,” and doing so that “it was never seen on that fashion.” If power acting in goodness to win the hearts of the poor to God is inherently incredible, I know where the heart is to whom it is so. Such, then, is the place of miracles. The abiding thing is the truth of the being of that personal objective God who is revealed by their means. Miracles are a means of knowledge as evidence. The truth, and the Son, who is the truth, revealing the Father, revealing God, is that which is evidenced.

W. Do you admit what Hippolytus says, that miracles are useless when unbelief ceases?

H. I do not in an absolute way. They are useless as evidence; but, as being the fruit and exhibition of the power and love of God, they remain always the object of increased delight: and in Christ’s miracles it is impossible to separate His ways and feelings and thoughts from them, when we have any detail. Have you not felt this?

W. Surely I have. I admit fully the justice of your remark, and it helps to judge of the nature of these signs.

H. Miracles, then, have a double character. They are confirmatory signs graciously given, and, especially christian miracles, a present witness of the intervention of power in grace. Where Christianity is believed and professed, so far as they are proofs, they lose their importance, are out of place. So far as they have the second character, the record of them (which is here supposed to be received) is a witness to the heart that God is come in to help, and how He is come in. The word alone reveals this directly as revelation. At any time faith founded on miracles was nothing worth, because miracles do not quicken. We are begotten by the word of truth, and so children by faith. When believed only by reason of miracles, the Lord did not trust Himself to them; He knew what was in man. As removing opposing hindrances in the mind, and strengthening man against unbelief, they are precious to our compound nature. There is much that removes unbelief, acts on our old nature (even solid reasoning does), that does not give faith nor a new nature; but removes the opposition of nature, and silences it, and attracts the heart. This if alone is nothing; there must be something positively new which a man cannot give himself, and which no proof produces.

W. You believe, then, in a really new nature and life which man receives?

H. Undoubtedly. It is a first principle, and one of the main vital questions of the day. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Except we are so, we cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Of His own will begat He us by the word of truth, that we might be a kind of first-fruits of His creatures. Infidelity seeks to set up man as he is, will accept Christ if He serves for that. The doctrine of scripture is that there is a Second man, a last Adam; and as is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy; and as is the Heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly.

W. But miracles now have to be proved, instead of being proofs.

H. There is truth in that. We have not now to do with heathenism and Judaism (I mean in our present inquiries, for we know with delight there are missionaries to tell Christ’s blessed grace to them). When we meet with infidelity now, it has the character of apostasy and antagonism. It may be open as in the last century, or covert, as in this, but it has essentially this character. Early opposition was not apostasy; nor did it, indeed, deny the miracles; they were too recent. They ascribe them, as Celsus, to magic, or cited Apollonius Tyanaeus as having wrought such too; or the Jews to magic learnt in Egypt, and the theft of the Shem hammaphoresh out of the temple. Still that was antagonism, and had to be so treated. Now it is more. It is apostasy in principle, and has to be treated as such; covert I admit, using Christ’s name, but only so much the worse. Christianity has been publicly admitted as the religion of God, its record accepted as the record of God, miracles and all; and then men begin to cavil and oppose and undermine, not being honest enough to throw it off, or sometimes happily kept back by spiritual instinct; but, as a system, it is apostasy in principle. Hence there is less hope, and the record has to be proved, objections answered, miracles to be proved, not a proof. In this case we must shew their folly as reasoners, and trust to the word, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth. For them I should look much more to the power of the word in grace. If the record have power in them, they will see the miracles with it, and the perfect beauty and suitableness of them in such a revelation of God. Proofs may shew the absurdity of doubts, and so far are useful. They may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men, but cannot give faith. Of this we have sufficiently spoken, and I suppose of general principles so delighted in by Dr. Williams. One soon sees there is not the soberness of inquiry, but delight in one like Bunsen, who, he thinks, may aid in overthrowing scripture as a divine record. You will soon see how little they are to be trusted. I may not be able to answer every objection; but if I find a man make a hundred, and ninety-nine are shallow and foundationless, and his will pierces in it all, I am not much troubled with the weight of the hundredth. Facts and principles will both come before us.

W. Proceed.

H. We have spoken of Abraham and Egyptian dates as one great battle-horse of Bunsen and his uncritical admirers. Asia was only alluded to. I would now touch on it. It is known from Layard that Assyrian monuments have largely confirmed scripture history. It is interesting, though of course no ground of faith. But then we are in historic periods, and it is pretty plain sailing, with difficulties in arranging names and dates incidental to ancient times and human accounts of them. I speak here of profane history, and the connection of Babylonish and Assyrian history. This is not touched on in the Review. But more ancient days are of course obscure, and here our Bunsens revel, and evoke the spirits of empires. But we will follow them there: not to prove all with certainty—that no man can do as to these empires with the remains we possess and the imperfect knowledge of them—but to prove that Bunsen’s admired assertions are foundationless, wholly so, and against the documents we have. “He also contends,” says Dr. Williams, “that Abraham’s horizon in Asia is antecedent to the first Median conquest of Babylon in 2234.” Let us examine this. He puts, we have seen, Abraham’s descent into Egypt in 2876; his departure from Ur, of course, many years earlier.

The question is this: the observations of the Chaldeans, according to Berosus, give 2234 for their commencement; 19037 from Alexander the Great. The length of the second dynasty is lost from the MS. The rest are there, or in modern history. From these we have 224 (lost), 458 (2nd Chaldean), 245, 526 Assyrian, and from other sources 209. Then Babylon was taken by Cyrus; that is, after 34,080 Mythic Chaldean, we have


224 Median.
— Chaldean.
458 Chaldean.
245 Arab.
526 Assyrian.
209 Do. And Babylonian.

All the dynasties to Cyrus

1,662 + lost dynasty.
208 Persian.

All the dynasties to Alexander

1,870 + lost dynasty.