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Of all the historians of the latest times who are really important, or are so regarded, there is left for the opposers of the Pentateuch not a single one. They have to satisfy themselves with people like Mannert, who in his Handbuch d. alten Geschichte (Manual of Ancient History), Berlin, 1818, already forgotten, or which rather came dead into the world, does to be sure talk in their style. It is sufficient, in order to characterize him, to quote such passages as follows: S. 12, “ The superiority of man to brutes consists only in his fingers, his erect form, and language. The elements of reason are possessed also by
other animals ;' ” and S. 6, where a tremendous blow is levelled against the food in these words : “ The thought at once arises, how could a righteous God destroy the innocent brutes because guilty men had broken his laws?” The good man ought certainly to abstain from eating flesh; nay, the slaying of beasts is in this view a kind of fratricide, and the eating of them a Thyestian feast. Men of this way of thinking are worthy of no notice even were they more gifted than the one before us. Where all sense for that which is high and noble is wanting, and where there is a real hatred for that which is divine, there one's historical conscience is of no more avail on the subject of the sacred history, and the historian becomes the bad theologian. Neither would we acknowledge the philosophizing historian as competent in this field. Were history sold into the service of some philosophical system, as e. g. the Hegelian, then indeed the case might occur of a friendly agreement between the historian and the pseudo-theologian. For as the latter, so the former of these, does not examine the materials before him with tender conscientiousness, indifferent what kind of results he arrives at; but he is only concerned to make his materials coincide with his predetermined views; and these, in the case of the new philosophical systems now in vogue, do not admit of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. But until this bargain is completed, such a coincidence can never be certain. Ranke's History of the Popes is a pledge that for history better times are coming.
We add to all this that with the most important bistorians of the latest times, is associated also the most distinguished chronologist. Ideler, in his Handbuch des Chronologie (Manual of Chronology), Berlin, 1825, not only takes for granted throughout the Mosaic origin of the law, but also expressly declares it. So, for example, Th. I. S. 479: “During their forty years' wandering through the stony and desert Arabia, their leader gave them a constitution which was not to be put fully into operation until they had entered the promised Canaan, the original country of their nomadic ancestors. This constitution had for its sole design to make them an agricultural people. This is shown by their
calendar, by which the observance of their prescribed feast days and their sabbaths was regulated.” The chronologist tries the genuineness of the book especially in reference, as is proper, to his own science; and as he finds all right here, and just as it would have been, had the book been genuine (compare e. g. S. 508), he leaves unregarded the loud exclamations of the theologians.
[To be continued.]*
WHAT WERE THE VIEWS ENTERTAINED BY THE EARLY RE
FORMERS, ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION, Faite,
By the Rev. R. W. Landis, Jeffersonville, Pa.
" Incidere in falsae opinionis errorem, priusquam vera cognoscas, impe? iti animi est et simplicis : perseverare vero in eo, postquam agnoveris, contumaciae."-Vide Salviani Epist. ad Aprum et Verum.
In itself considered, the views entertained on these subjects by the venerable men referred to, is a matter of minor importance. They were men like ourselves, and liable to err. But
The author in the remaining part of this Article attributes the origin of the denial of the genuineness of the Pentateuch, by the theologians of Germany, to the prevalence of Naturalism-Pantheism,—the fashionable opinions of sin and holiness-Aversion to the leading personages of the Pentateuch— Incapacity of entering into the spirit of it, and the stagnation of fundamental study. The discussion is interesting and instructive, and we regret the necessity of deferring it 20 a future No. of the Repository.-Ed.
the question assumes importance from the fact that, by most, if not all, in the present age, who embrace the system of doctrine called Calvinism, it is tacitly admitted, and that by those who profess a rigid adherence to that system, it is earnestly contend-' ed that the views of the early Reformers on the subjects embraced in the foregoing question, were strictly in accordance with truth. The doctrine of justification by faith, has ever been regarded as the “ distinctive doctrine of the Reformation;" and however erroneous the views of the reformers may have been on other points of theology, all true Calvinists agree that on this point they were substantially correct. It is this doctrine which Luther has so finely denominated the “ Articulus vel stantis vel cadentis ecclesiae.”
But intimately interwoven with their conceptions of this doctrine were, of necessity, their views of faith, and of the obedience of Christ. We must, therefore, be fully possessed of their belief on these topics, or we cannot have a distinct understanding of their views of the doctrine of justification by faith. Hence, although it was primarily our intention to treat in this Article, on the subject of justification only, we have judged it important to accompany our examination of that doctrine, with a view of the other points referred to.
The bearing which a consideration of these topics must have upon some of the agitating controversies of the times, will be apparent to many. It is, however, foreign from the intention of the writer to mingle in these controversies. It is his desire to treat this subject not as a controvertist, but as near as may be, with the calm impartiality of a historian. In illustration of the positions which he may attempt to establish, he will simply refer to plain, undeniable matters of fact. If in any instance he should deviate from this rule, it will be from the infirmity to which he is subject in common with bis fellow men. He wishes not to descend to disputation. The tears and the blood of a lacerated Zion, already sufficiently proclaim, that in the controversies which have been, and which still exist, the elements of human imperfection have been too largely blended.
It is, however, to be lamented, that in the controversies referred to, there have been manifested much confusion of views and not a little want of information respecting the real teachings of Calvin and the other reformers. Some, who profess to be the strict and uncompromising disciples of these venerable men, and who have perseveringly urged the discipline of the church Vol. XI. No. 30.
against those who differ from them in their views on the topics in question, have themselves advanced positions, as essential to Calvinism, which it has appeared to the writer were never maintained by Calvin, or the reformers of his time: and have also censured others as heretical for maintaining positions which are precisely those which Calvin and his associates defended as the doctrines of the reformation.*
* To illustrate these positions fully, before we proceed to establish them, we beg leave to refer to one of the cases which has been for years agitating the Presbyterian church in America. It may be compendiously stated as follows: The Rev. George Junkin, D. D., president of the Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., tabled a series of charges
agajost the Rev. Albert Barnes of Philadelphia; the tenth of which · series is the following: “Mr. Barnes teaches in opposition to the stan
dards, that justification is simply pardon.” Dr. Junkin endeavors to establish this charge by a number of quotations from a work of Wr. Barnes entitled “ Noles on Romans :" after wbich he sums up the evidence as follows: "Now that Mr. Barnes makes the wbole of jus tification consist in pardon, forgiveness, remission of sins, is just as true as the assertion I made in the ninth charge. For if he rejecis
, as I suppose is proved, the active obedience of Christ, of course there is nothing left but pardon. But let us attend to the other proofs in order. 1. He makes acquitting them from punishment and admitting them to favor, as equivalent to justification. He makes the word to justisy, to mean' to treat as if innocent, to regard as innocent, to pardon, to forgive.' This is the charge in terms. 2. He denies tbat the righteousness becomes ours, but that it is God's plan for pardoning sin. 3. Again, pardon or justification' are synonyines. 'Righteous, justified, free from condemnation,' equally explicit, etc.” See “ Fiadication” by Dr. Juokin, p. 132, 133. The principles advanced in this work of Dr. Junkin bave received the decided approbation of many others in the church of which he is a minister.
To the foregoing allegations Mr. Barnes thus replies: “I have not taught what is here charged upon me, but the very reverse.
So far froin teaching that justification is merely pardon, I have, in the very passages under consideration taught that God regards and treats the sinner who believes in Christ as if he was righteous, and that solely on account of the merits of Christ, irrespective of any good deeds or desert of the sinner, whatsoever. It is true that pardon, in the divine arrangement implies justification as certainly to exist. But it is because God has so arranged it; and not because pardon is the same thing as justification.” See“ Defence," p. 261–262.
This case which we have thus presented, will serve to show the necessity that exists for a thorough investigation of this subject; es. pecially, if there be a probability of its being attended with but the partial restoration and promotion of confidence among brethren.
Having long believed that the present state of the church of Christ imperiously calls for an investigation of this subject, the writer of this Article has been for a number of years bestowing upon it what attention he was able. He has sought to acquaint himself thoroughly with the system of Calvinism as it came from the hands of the reformers who flourished during the first century of the reformation ; that is, before the period arrived, when protestants, beginning to attend more to the points on which they differed, than to those on which they agreed, eventually proceeded in introducing into the church the agitating and withering storms of interminable controversy. So early as A. D. 1625, we find the venerable Abraham Scultetus bewailing such a state of things as follows: At nostra juventus, etc., “Even our young men have at length got to paying more attention to human writings, than to those which are divine. They adopt in relation to them the Horatian precept : Read them by day, and study them by night. They are more learned in the definitions of men than in those of the word of life. Not like Apollos, powerful in the Scriptures ; but they excel in that knowledge which is the greatest curse to the church. For the sake of disputation they neglect sermonizing, disregard the study of language, and never seriously think of investigating the genuine sense of the Scriptures. They do not bring forth the sense of the text, nor expound it to their hearers, nor show them how it may be applied for consolation and instruction. They make themselves ridiculous with the learned, while before the poor and ignorant they dispute in the jargon of the schools; or announce that for the word of God, which is not in the word of God.” The existence of such a state of things at so early a date will sufficiently justify our selection of the
first century of the Reformation as the purest ; and as the period best calculated to make known the doctrines of the reformers unencumbered with useless scholastic distinctions. To Calvinism as it came from the hands of the reformers of that period, the writer is prepared to subscribe, with but little modification ;*
* The modification referred to, relates principally to the extent to wbich they carried out their views of the purposes of God. It can. not be denied that in the general, (nor do I now recollect one instance of distinct disavowal,) they asserted the reprobation of infants dying in infancy. Vide e. g. Calvin, Instit. Lib. II. c. 1. $ 6, and Lib. III. 6. 23.5 7, and Lib. IV. c. 15. Ø 10, and Piscator, Append. ad Tract. de Crat. Dei, Joh. Scharpius, De Reprobatione, Par. 11. Arg. XI., TS