« السابقةمتابعة »
that the Church is the entire body of the predestinated. Luther held that the true Church was not confined to one sect merely; neither did he or Melancthon suppose it free from all error or sin, similar to the Republic of Plato. They stood in different relations to the Reformation, Luther as the apologist and polemic of Protestantism; Melancthon as its dogmatist. The writer thinks the true evangelical conception of the Church, is a proper distinction between, and mutual dependence of, its doctrinal, ethical, and political relations.
Analytical and instructive is the treatise on the special manifestations of God. After a brief introduction the subject is divided and systematically discussed. First, Conception of the Revelation. (1.) Fundamental aspects on which the Scripture theory of a revelation rests. The idea of a divine manifestation depends upon two Scriptural truths: (a) That God is a living God; (b) That men are of divine origin. (2.) Object of all divine manifestations. This is the salvation of man. (3.) Means of manifestation ; (a) general and special revelation of God; (b) literal and figurative, mediate and immediate, natural and supernatural revelation. Second: Peculiar Nature of the Act of Revelation and its Relation to the Activity of the Human Mind. The history and doctrines of the Bible lead to this result: Man has received special revelations of God only in the condition of religious or prophetical ecstasy. (1.) Religious or prophetical ecstacy: Its name and idea. (2.) Origin and limitation of prophetical ecstasy. (3.) Occurrences in the prophetical ecstasy and its results. The author concludes; in the prophetical ecstasy extraordinary impressions are produced on the human spirit, partially to reveal to it something altogether new and beyond the pale of human experience, partially to strengthen and consecrate the natural strength of the mind.
The Review of Dr. Schenkel's new work gives a fair idea of what the work really is. Christian doctrine, he maintains, implies three facts: (a) necessity for salvation, (b) communication of salvation, (c) participation of salvation. These three points he discusses at length. The work is yet unfinished, this being a review of only the first part. A book from the pen of Dr. Schenkel cannot be received otherwise than with pleasure. One of the leading theologians of Germany, he is at the same time an earnest advocate for evangelical religion. May his counsels be long heard on the bank of the Neckar. Colani's Sermons contain some striking passages. He thus shows the relation between natural and revealed religion: Between the so-called natural religion and the religion of Christ there is no antagonism; but it is the same difference that you see between the shades which come through the windows and move over the ceiling of a half-darkened room and those gladdening colors with which the summer sun adorns our landscape. The reviewer commends the work for its eminently practical character. In the concluding article the ground is taken that, in spite of many contrary theories, the “Angel of Jehovah,” so often mentioned as appearing in Old Testament history, was none other than the Logos—the Son of God—the Christ of the New Testament.
The present number of the Studien und Kritiken is less rich in exegetical and doctrinal matter than usual; but it more than compensates for this by its excellent reviews of important works. We deem it the best that has appeared for many months. Its articles translated would do honor to our American theological magazines. The day is passing by when our good men shake their heads at every religious work that comes to us from Germany; for the time is coming, nay, it has come, when the straitest sects of the American Church will lose nothing by a careful study of the opinions of the great living theologians of Heidelberg, Halle, and Berlin.
Art. XI.-QUARTERLY BOOK-TABLE.
It is of greatest concernment in the Church and Commonwealth to have a vigilant
eye how books demean themselves as well as men, and thereafter to confine, imprison, and do sharpest justice on them as malefactors; for books are not absolutely dead things, but do contain a potency of life in them to be as active as that soul was whose progeny they are.—Milton.
I.-Religion, Theology, and Biblical Literature. (1.) “Eschatology; or, the Scripture Doctrine of the Coming of the Lord, the Judgment, and the Resurrection. By SAMUEL LEE.” (12mo., pp. 267. Boston: J. E. Tilton & Co.) The volume before us will perhaps excite some attention in the religious world. It proposes a new theory concerning the great last events in the destiny of our race—the resurrection and the judgment. Its views do not immediately affect the subjects of the conditions of salvation, or the reality of retribution; but simply reconstruct the nature and the order of the final events. The work is characterized by candor, skillful logic, and plentiful if not sound scholarship. His object is fundamentally to solve the difficulty arising from that numerous class of Scripture texts which seem to indicate that the final judgment was to take place in the apostles' own day. He is scandalized at the fact, that not only skeptical writers, but even orthodox commentators, have, upon this subject, imputed error to the apostles and to the primitive Christian Church. His theory is as follows:
He distinguishes the " coming of the Son of Man” from the coming of the Lord.” The former event, the textual basis of which is found in Dan. vii, 13, 14, and the superstructure in Matthew xxv, 31–46, is realized in the establishment of the Christian dispensation during the period between the resurrection of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem. To that great establishment the entire class of texts, some twelve in number, of the Gospels, alluding to the coming of the Son of Man, are assigned. On the other hand the coming of the Lord, the fundamental text describing which is John xiii, 31-33, designates his coming to the judgment of every man at his death. Christ is now sitting in perpetual judgment; and every man as he leaves the world receives his sentence, and without any intermediate state, goes to his final reward of heaven or hell. Of the resurrection he gives about the Swedenborgian view. It occurs immediately at death, and consists in the soul's taking on its eternal nature. Thus resurrection and judgment, like death, run parallel to the line of human history, instead of intersecting and terminating it.
Objections both logical and exegetical occur to our mind on almost every
page. His mode of solving the fundamental difficulty appears to us, not only too expensive for its results, but contradictory to plain fact, and neglectful of the solution furnished by the apostles themselves. 1. It is plain, from their own account, that not only the apostles, but our Lord himself professedly knew not the day nor the hour of his second advent. Mark xiii, 32. The times and the seasons the Father has reserved in his own power. Acts i, 7. If then the apostles expressly intimate, as they do, that upon this subject no revelation is made to them, their ignorance or their error upon the subject could be no impeachment of their inspiration or authority upon any other point. 2. With regard to those passages which speak of the judgment as an impending event, it seems to us that an •apostle's own solution renders perfectly unneccessary this elaborate solution by our author. Now St. Peter, in the third chapter of his second epistle, expressly states our author's difficulty and furnishes the inspired solution. Scoffers, he says, should come in the last days and raise this very problem, that his coming does not according to verbal promise immediately occur. But,” says St. Peter, in reply to this very difficulty, “beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise as some men count slackness ... But the day of the Lord will come, as a thief in the night, in which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise,” etc. Here it is plain that Peter recognizes the difficulty arising from the terms of immediacy with which the judgment day is predicted, and furnishes the rule of interpretation. It is the language of the eternal God, and must be interpreted by the measure of his eternity. Language that implied the delay of a few days may thus designate a period of thousands of years. It is the mysterious language of the Father, who reserves the times and seasons in his own power, revealing them neither to his angels nor even to the humanity of his Son. And one of the purposes of this reservation is to allow his Church to live in uncertain expectation, at one time, of his impending approach, and, at another, of its position in a distant point of the prophetic future.
Again, in John xxi, 22, (a passage which our author omits to notice,) Jesus says of the Apostle John: “If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee ?” From that expression, St. John tells us, a rumor was current among the brethren that he should not die. Now what “coming” was it here specified? We answer, it could not be the establishment of Christianity; for living until this coming specified implied perpetual exemption from death. Nor could it be Christ's coming to each man at death ; for it implied that St. John, who should meet it, would not die. But it must be a second coming which introduced the eternal state, so that he who lived unto it would never dic. But all these points upset our author's theory. It is also curious to remark, that St. John is inspiredly noncommittal as to the meaning of the Saviour's words. He repeats them verbatim, but declines all attempt at interpretation. This is a unique proof, that an inspired apostle was professedly ignorant as to the approach of his second advent in his day. And this again renders our author's theory superfluous. Finally, the current saying among the brethren that that apostle should not die, because he should tarry till Christ came, clearly implied in his case a supernatural perpetuity of life. Hence the apostles could not very definitely have expected Christ's coming during their own life. They did not themselves expect to live until that event. It required a supernatural protraction of life to reach that event.
(2.) “ Bunsen & Bibelwerk. Vollständiges Bibelwerk für die Gemeinde. In drei abtheilungen. Von CHRISTIAN CARL Josias BUNSEN." (Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus; New-York: B. Westermann & Co. 1858.) Behold, it lies before us! the very book which so many a Biblical student has been for months eager to read. And yet it is not the whole work; but just a halfvolume, only the sixteenth-part of the author's long-standing pledge. But even this much tells which way the wind blows; and now we can augur the drift of what every subsequent chapter will be, should the veteran author live to drink the sparkling Rhenish, as he complacently writes “ Finis” to his Bibelwerk. This avant courier has, indeed, excited no little surprise at home; and that is much to say, when we remember that works on the Bible are as common in Germany as Sylvanus Cobb's heartless ravings are in Gotham, on the day when the Ledger office disgorges its new edition to the outstretched hands of a hundred wrangling, ragged news-boys.
But about the contents of the Erster Halbband. More than half of it is taken
up in Prefaces; nearly the whole of the other half is called Biblical Yearbooks, and gives a table of comparative dates for the history of the Jews, Persians, and Egyptians. It closes with a new translation of the first few chapters of Genesis, accompanied by expository notes ; which last, we presume, are given that the world may have a specimen of what is in store for their future enlightenment. In the Prefaces the author has taken occasion to express his mind freely on many things but remotely connected with his task. He had some views he evidently wished to tell somewhere—a side-thrust at Hengstenberg, for example; and this he does in the various divisions, subdivisions, and supplements, into which the Prefaces are so minutely divided. But they abound in evidences of masterly scholarship, and are written in fresh, earnest, and vigorous style ; yet the chevalier's blood seems always hot, as if from a tournament or tilting-match. Luther's translation has many grievous faults; this is the alleged cause of the Bibelwerk. The different versions since his day are scanned; but Bunsen attaches less importance to them than to the one of the great Reformer. The remarks on the true value of the old translations, manifest a fund of classical and Scriptural knowledge that is only to be found in Bunsen.
A most interesting chapter is that which furnishes a plan of the work and a history of the undertaking. The Bibelwerk is to extend to eight volumes, and to be completed in four years. It is to be divided into three Parts: 1. Bible Text, in four volumes; 2. Bible Documents, in three volumes : 3. The Bible History, in one volume. A glance at the author's early educa. tion takes us back to the first of the century, when young Bunsen read Genesis in Hebrew in 1805, and the Gospels in Greek in 1807. Nearly ever since then it has been his constant intention, ay, and labor too, to write a work on the whole Bible. Taking all his other books together, they are great enough to have been the life-labor of a dozen men ; but we now find that they have only been accessories to this work, which bas been incubating for more than two-score years in Bunsen's brain. For this purpose he has become a Mezzofanti in linguistic lore, and a Crichton in versatility of acquirements. For this he has traveled and studied, not only in his own country, but has resided in Holland, England, and Rome. For this he has tried to draw from Egyptian history the dark vail which, for ages, has hidden the truth from the world. For this he has been a close student of patristic tiines-an irksome field for most men—and has been no idle observer of the tendencies of religion and politics in our day.
The exposition of the creation bistory at the close of the half-volume is cold and meager; and though the writer has issued a tirade against the followers of Semler in the Prefaces, yet here we find the very quintessence of Rationalism. And the British Quarterly assures us that such is the case in the second Halbband, which we have not yet seen. It speaks substantially thus: “ On Exod. iv, 1-10, silence is observed; a hint is dropped in regard to Moses, that the circumstances took place on the field of inward vision ;' Numb. vii, 8, 9, where Moses heard the voice of one speaking unto him from off the mercy-seat, is passed over sicco pede. ... The same is the case in regard to Miriam's visitation with leprosy, and the earthquake which swallowed up Korah and his company. ... Thus Bunsen explains the passage of the Red Sea : Since the retreat of the sea toward the southwest is conceived of as a sundering, it is further said, in accordance with this figure, that the waters were to the right and to the left. The connection shows how this manifestly figurative representation, which is plainly taken from the popular talk, is to be understood. In reality the water was to their right hand only, and on the left hand, that is, where the passage took place there was nothing but the dry, sandy bottom of the sea, almost six miles broad.' ... The pillar of cloud is only the smoke of the Israelitish army. ... Of the tree with which Moses healed the bitter waters of Marah, says Bunsen, 'several species of wood are endued with like virtue.' All the patriarchs prior to Abraham, or at least his father Terah, are resolved into geographical, philosophical, or chronological myths, and are indulged with nothing but an ideal personality. Of course, the events with which their names are connected share the same fate. Even Adam and Eve are generalized into man and woman respectively, and lose all individual existence; as does also Noah, the second great head of the human family.
The Bible may be more critically rendered than Luther has done it; and Bunsen's work will be expected with interest by Biblical students; but we have not the slightest idea that he will bring out more of the soul that is in it than De Wette has. If such be the case, however it be with scholars, heaven save the people from such a Bible! Luther's translation has its faults, so has King James's edition; but it is the Bible which the German masses love, and is eminently adapted to the popular heart. In addition to Bunsen's longknown doubts on inspiration, we do not like his assistants, whose names he gives to us in the Prefaces, and whom he recommends so highly. Drs. Haug and Kamphausen are not the men to labor on an inspired book. They would make good classical critics; but before the Bibelwerk is completed, the