« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
only in its popular sense, it were well if we had found a neutral word; but I do not think any unlettered man ever mistook the meaning. Upon turning to Hammond, Whitby, Poole's Annotations, Scott, &c. I find no comma, nor do they intimate any difficulty. Wickliffe rendered the passage "other two wicked men ;" but Tyndale dropped the other," and read "two evil doers," and Cranmer's translation adopted that rendering. This could not be right. The Geneva Version has it, "Two others which were evil doers;" but this is adding words to Holy Writ, unless the apposition be conceded.
CANON SYDNEY SMITH AND THE "TIMES" NEWSPAPER.
For the Christian Observer.
THE Conductors of the "Times" newspaper facetiously urge Canon Sydney Smith to perpetrate a volume of Sermons. That portent did occur in the year 1809; the Pauline "Peter Plymley" being then "Preacher at the Foundling, and Berkeley street and Fitzroy chapels ;" and eke "Rector of Foston, Yorkshire;" where his Bishop had afterwards the ill-taste to command him to reside, thus darkening the mirth of the Metropolis. The review of those Sermons in the "Christian Observer," will furnish some anticipations of what the proposed Volume will contain.
The reviewers confessed that Mr. Smith's habit of making everything comic, and the remembrance of the laughs with which he had enlivened the gravest truths, made them doubt whether his Edinburgh pen could adjust itself to sermon-writing; but they found they were wrong, for though they acquitted him of intentionally affecting their risible muscles in his sermons, yet he had succeeded without intention. They applaud his dread of being righteous over-much; and his excellent ne quid nimis advice, that "Those who have not strength of character to deviate materially from the customs of the world in the patronage of folly, and estimation of vice, need not go all lengths; some scanty limits, some feeble shame they may still preserve." They admire his grandeur of thought in small things, as where instead of urging the common-place virtue of saying a civil word to a poor man next door whom we have insulted, but who will be placated by a shake of the hand, or of adding five per cent. to the bill of a tradesman whom we have kept out of his money, he tells us to rush "over mountains and seas to find him, to beg his prayers to God, and to restore to him wine and oil, and vineyards and olive-yards, tenfold for all we have taken ;"-a splendid, but not very probable, pilgrimage.
The reviewers also admired his style, and said something about Momus and Barrow, Smith and Jeremy Taylor; touching the two last of whom we have the following rich morsel. Bishop Taylor is describing a hen-pecked husband; the Foundling Preacher is pleading for a Blind Asylum.
"And though the man can run from many hours of his sadness, yet he must return to it again; and when he sits among his neighbours he remembers the objection that is in his bosom, and sighs deeply. The boys, and the pedlars, and
"This is the reason why the blind are miserable and dejected; because their soul [query their body] is mutilated and dismembered of its best sense; because they are a laughter and a ruin; and the boys of the streets [and the pedlars and
the fruiterers shall tell of this man when he is carried to his grave that he lived and died a poor wretched person."
the fruiterers] mock at their stumbling feet; and therefore, [that is, because of the boys and the pedlars,] I implore you by the Son of David, have mercy on the blind."
The reviewers show further that Mr. Smith could quote from a ballad as well as a Bishop: "Do not let these men perish; but, taught by the Power which has ever pity on you, learn ye to have pity on them." But he is not so happy, they say, in quoting Holy Writ as human authors. Thus (to speak seriously) he turns" Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do," in one place, to "God forgive them ;" and in another, to "Lord, forgive them." John the Baptist's words, "Repent, &c." are given to" an Apostle;" and the text about being "righteous over-much,' which Cruden relegates to the Book of Ecclesiastes, Mr. Smith assigns to "St. Paul." There is a panegyric upon "Judas," whom the reviewers were much puzzled about, till glancing back to the preacher's text, they found that it was taken from the Apocrypha, and referred to Maccabeus; that glorious example to the London and Bloomsbury loyal volunteers, who, Mr. Smith affirms, "prayed first for victory; and if that cannot be, we implore for death."
Thus the reviewers proceed with their Reverend author through more than forty columns; but alas! bringing far heavier charges, involving unsound doctrine, than can be gone into in a hasty paragraph. Take only one example: speaking of "the fruits of THE SPIRIT," Mr. Smith writes, "We say, in our language, to seize on the spirit of a thing; we talk of the spirit of our political institutions; of the spirit of our civil and criminal law; and we seem to mean by the expression," and so forth. After this, and much more of the same aspect, it is to be hoped that Mr. Smith will not take the Times Editors at their word.
REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
PUBLICATIONS ON THE LITERAL INTERPRETATION OF
1. An Illustration of Ezekiel's Vision of "The Chariot:" its literal Meaning, Utility, and Fulfilment in the Nineteenth Century, respectively dedicated to all the Tribes of Israel, wherever dispersed, and to the public in general. 1843.
2. Israel's Ordinances; a few Thoughts on their Perpetuity, respectfully suggested in a Letter to the Right Rev. the Bishop of Jerusalem. By CHARLOTTE ELIZABETH. 1843. THERE are so many unhappy controversies in the Church of Christ in these our restless days, that we have been unwilling to add our contingent to the strife, by touching upon one which of late has been warmly agitated in some circles; namely, that relative to the altogether literal application of the prophecies; more especially those which refer to the Jews. Thus the "Jewish CHRIST. OBSERV. APP.
Intelligence" lately remarked, "The return of the Jews to the land of their fathers is now generally acknowledged that last and most subtle cloud of Roman error, spiritual interpretation, has almost passed away." Now we are not about to write a controversial article; we are only going to state the facts of the case, that we may know what the controversy is about. In re
gard, for instance, to the statement Just quoted, our Reverend friends of the Society for the Conversion of the Jews may mean only that "the return of the Jews to the land of their fathers" is literal, and not "spiritual;" or they may intend further to designate as "Roman error" every kind of "spiritual interpretation." In either case, spiritual interpretation was not invented by the Romanists; and perhaps our friends only added the epithet "Roman" to make the sentence more pungent; for the ancient Fathers spiritualised to absurdity; and there is "spiritual interpretation" in our own creed when we say, in answer to the Romanist, that our Lord's calling his body and blood "bread" and "wine," does not imply transubstantiation; any more than "I am the door," "I am the good shepherd," "I am the vine," are to be literalised; and what is meant by "That rock was Christ," and numerous such explications in the New Testament, especially in the Epistle to the Hebrews, if all "spiritual interpretation" is "Roman error?" It is clear, then, that the above statement is more broad than true; even if everything relative to the future condition of the Jews were to be construed as literally as Charlotte Elizabeth herself, in her Letter to Bishop Alexander, asserts it ought to be: for even then we should have gone but a little way in establishing literalism; for much remains in type, metaphor, and allusion, which does not relate to the Jews; and will it be said that all this is literal, and nothing figurative? The writers of the above passage must have forgotten Dr. Wiseman on the Lord's Supper, or they would have recollected that his interpretation is grossly literal, and that he repudiates spiritual explication, as do the Tractarians, as Protestant error, not "Roman."
We have not argued; we are only inquiring where we stand; for to
ascertain this, is convenient to all parties.
With regard to the future prospects of the people of Israel, the question of their literal restoration to Palestine is not properly included in what Charlotte Elizabeth describes as "those momentous points on which many minds are exercised," for all who advocate the doctrine of exclusively literal interpretation take the restoration to Palestine for granted as common ground, and not as a stage in advance; and many who do not go farther have no difficulty as to this particular. That zealous friend of Israel, the late Reverend Mr. Simeon, in No. 324 of his " Appendix to the Hora Homileticæ," published in 1828, remarks: "That the Jews shall be restored to their own land is, I think, as plainly declared in Scripture as any truth in the Bible;" but he adds, "though if any be disposed to doubt it, I am not anxious to maintain a controversy respecting it, because, however important it may be to the Jews, it is to us a matter of small moment." Thus thought this venerable man. Though he believed that the Jews would be restored to Palestine, he did not consider it a point worth raising a controversy about; it was at all events, to us Christians, he thought, "a matter of small moment;" and least of all had it any bearing upon the great duty for which the members of the Society for the Conversion of the Jews entered into holy compact; for "The future conversion of the Jews," said he, "is absolutely certain, and indeed is universally admitted." Here he took his stand; their conversion was certain, and all who would aid him in endeavouring to promote it, by making known to them the true Messiah who was to be "a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of his people Israel," he hailed as true soundhearted brethren in this glorious cause. If a Jew was taught of God, led by the Holy Spirit to Christ,
and had become an heir of the kingdom of heaven, Mr. Simeon accounted it "of small moment" where he passed the time of his sojourning here on earth.
But, supposing it clear (without now arguing the question) that all that is to be construed literally respecting the restoration of the descendants of Abraham to their own land was not fulfilled at the return from Babylon, and that, therefore, there is to be another literal restoration; still Mr. Simeon would have been astounded at being told that every thing else in prophecy is to be literal also. Mr. Irving uttered this doctrine in very broad terms, complaining that some who held it were for passing it off in vague generalities, whereas he meant literally that he should sit down with Jesus Christ at dinner -pointing to a chair, and to the food and table apparatus, in a way we forbear to describe; whereupon it was said that Mr. Irving meant right and reverently, but that it was a coarse way of speaking. But coarser things are now uttered; and perhaps these extreme developments will lead some sober-minded persons to reconsider the principle. We will not, however, now debate the question. We expressed our views and delivered our conscience years ago, when the doctrine of strict literality was advocated by Mr. Irving, Mr. Way, Mr. Drummond, and the "Morning Watch;" and we have not heard or read of anything more forcible than was then put forth, to cause us to change our opinions. The question has, however, of late assumed new importance on several grounds; and among others, upon this, that the advocates for entire literality have made it the express basis upon which the endeavours to promote Christianity among the Jews are to be prosecuted; so that those are affirmed to "injure and betray the cause," who advocate it upon the grounds urged by the founders of
66 propter quam
the Society for the Conversion of the Jews, the grounds maintained by such champions of the faith, and devoted Philo-Judeans, as our reverend friend Simeon :-whose memory Mr. Carus intends in good time to teach us more than ever to love and venerate; mihi es carissimus," except that for Cicero's es, we must unhappily still read eris; though our disappointment has not yet made an erratum of his "frater carissimus atque amantissimus," as applied to the much-esteemed delinquent, whose other diligent labours are some abatement of his fault in "weaving delays" (moras nectere, as Tacitus has it,) in the matter in question; but if the delay be of the Penelope kind, the artist sometimes unweaving at night what was woven in the day, (a process with which those are familiar who wish to pen recent biography fully and fairly, and yet to raise no ghosts and disturb no living wights ;) we may wait for the life of Simeon as long as we did for that of his friend Dean Milner. But the biographer shall still be our Atticus, if, while Mr. Simeon's memory is still green, he will give us his life, both in its bearing upon the spiritual common-weal, and (which will be still more grateful to us) in those " sacra privata" which his secret papers and confidential letters doubtless furnish. "Tu, velim, si me nihilo minus nôsti curiosum in republicâ quam te, scribis ad me omnia quæ sint, quæ futura sint; nihil mihi gratius facere potes: nisi tamen id erit mihi gratissimum, si, quæ tibi mandavi, confeceris; in primisque illud evcouvxov, quo mihi scis nihil esse carius.'
But, to return from this parenthesis. Mr. Simeon's biographer has only to relate the " quæ sint;" but Mr. Simeon has left upon record his own views of the " quæ futura." We have seen that he believed there will be a literal restoration of the Jews to Palestine, though he
accounted it a small matter, even if certain; their conversion to Christ being, he said, the only important object; but because he thought there is to be a literal restoration, did he construe every thing else literally? We might quote much from his Hora Homileticæ upon the subject; but, as a specimen, we will refer only to a single passage from Sermon 716 of the Appendix to that work, (the last but two of the series) which gives his most mature thoughts upon the subject.
"In reference to the millennial age, the voice of Scripture, whether in the Old Testament or the New, declares, that the period which is usually called the Millennium will be a season of universal piety and most transcendent bliss. In this light it is described in my text, (Rev. xxi. 22, 23) the Saints being then pre-eminently distinguished by, 1st. The spirituality of their devotion. In the Jewish church there were a material temple, a visible glory, and splendid ordinances; and by these was God chiefly honoured; though in comparison of real piety even then the outward ceremonies were of no account. But under the Christian dispensation the place and manner of approaching God are matters of comparative indifference; the spirit in which he is approached is the all in all.
[He then applies this remark to the Millennium; adding that the Saints themselves will be the sacrifices and the priests; the Lord Jesus the altar; the Holy Spirit the fire; and prayer the incense.] 2nd. The sublimity of their joy. Under the Jewish dispensation much stress was laid on worldly prosperity; which in fact constituted a very considerable portion of the blessings that were furnished to God's obedient people. [He then proceeds to contrast these temporal blessings with the spiritual blessings of the Millennium.]”
We must not quote further; but in laying aside the volumes, we happen to glance on another Sermon (No. 340), entitled "The Restoration of the Jews and the Conversion of a Soul compared," in which he says, speaking of their state after their restoration: "The terms in which their services (worship) are foretold, correspond with the ordinances which were prescribed by the Mosaic law; but
they are intended to express only that spiritual worship which under the Christian dispensation we render unto God."
But say some, "This is poor lean work; and if such are your notions, you had better not put your hand to the ark of the Jewish cause; it wants not your help." Well then, what is it that we ought to believe in order to take up this cause aright? We are to believe that everything will be fulfilled literally. The Jews are to be restored to the "bondage" and "beggarly elements" of their ancients rites and ceremonies; to circumcision and diverse washings; to altars and sacrifices; the literal blood of bulls and goats; to sacrificing priests; to the literal incense and rich garments of ancient days; to the Temple of David literally and materially built-though in the same breath they say it is the Temple in the vision of Ezekiel ;— and that, as many things cannot be literally fulfilled in the present physical geography of Palestine, the land will be miraculously re-modelled; and all the nations of the earth will yearly repair to it; for which purpose steam-vessels, railroads, steam-carriages, and other inventions of art and science will be called into action, under the immediate personal direction of Jesus Christ as King of the Jews; who are to be the lords of the world; subject only to "David their king:" which some would, inconsistently with their own principle of literalism, interpret to be the Messiah; but others, David the son of Jesse, raised from the dead; which, if all the rest of the passage is literal, not spiritual, is certainly the fair interpretation.
Now, we repeat, we are not arguing the question; we are only stating it. Much less are we collecting incongruous images, or using light words. The two points in which it might be most plausibly surmised that we were writing at random, or for effect, not truth, were the steam-carriages and cir