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and without the author's name. Its Latin text in the oldest forms in which it has come down to us is peculiar and remarkable. It is thought to represent the simplest extant form of the Old Latin. Its peculiarities indicate that it occupied a peculiar position, which probably exempted it from that revision to which books used in public worship seem to have been subjected. The testimony of Tertullian early in the third century confirms the belief that, though known to the North African Christians, it was not accepted as fully canonical. In arguing upon a matter of Christian discipline, after bringing forward proofs from most of the epistles of Paul, and from other books, he continues: "I wish, however, though it is superfluous, to bring forward also the testimony of a companion of the apostles, fitted, as it is, to confirm the discipline of his teachers on the point before us. For there is extant an Epistle to the Hebrews, which bears the name of Barnabas. The writer has consequently adequate authority, as being one whom Paul placed beside himself in the point of continence (1 Cor. ix. 6). And certainly the Epistle of Barnabas is more commonly received among the churches than that apocryphal shepherd of adulterers" (i.e. Hermas). He then quotes Heb. vi. 4-8 and continues: "One who had learnt from the apostles, and had taught with the apostles, knew this, that a second repentance was never promised by the apostles to an adulterer or fornicator. For he expounded the law admirably, and preserved its features to the very life" (De Pudicit. c. 20; see Kirch., p. 242 sq.; translation mostly borrowed from Westcott, pp. 285, 286). From this testimony it appears that in North Africa at the beginning of the third century the Epistle to the Hebrews, though held in respect by many churches, was not put upon a level with the canonical books; and that because it was not considered as the work of an apostle.

From this time, on its canonicity was regarded as dependent upon its authorship. And as Paul was generally believed in the West not to have been its author, it had there a subordinate place assigned it, and was classed among "eccle

siastical" or "deutero-canonical" books. But broader views of the grounds of canonicity, explicitly advanced by Origen (†254, see Credner, as above p. 183 sq.), banished every doubt of its canonical authority from the orthodox churches of the East. This judgment, endorsed as it was by Augustine, (de peccat. merit. et remiss. i. 27, see above, p. 711; Kirch. p. 253, note1; cf. Credner, pp. 184, 397), ultimately secured for it a place in the canon of the West, although as late as A.D. 392 Jerome says (de viris illustribus, c. 59; Credner, p. 267), “it is not regarded as Paul's by the Romans, even at the present day" (cf. too, his letter to Paulinus, A.D. 394; Kirch. p. 15, "a plerisque extra numerum ponitur "; later, A.D. 414, in his Epist. ad Dardanum, Kirch. p. 253, he says: "he himself received it, influenced not by the custom of his time, but by the authority of ancient writers, cf. above, p. 711).

This tardy recognition in the West of the Epistle's claim to canonical rank is not to be overlooked. Still, its influence upon our judgment is neutralized, when we take note that it resulted from the one-sided view that indubitable apostolic authorship is indispensable to canonical authority.1

On some accounts our conviction of the validity of the Epistle's canonical claims should be all the deeper because of the opposition which the Epistle has encountered. Its triumph over wide-spread and long-continued opposition demonstrates its intrinsic worth. It is crowned as one that has overcome. It has made good the rightfulness of its hold upon the heart of Christendom by having silenced the hostile utterances of a misguided understanding. And when we hear persons declare at the present day that any doubt respecting its authorship abates their estimate of its authority, when we see men contending fiercely, one for Paul as its author,

1 Thiersch says, with equal truth and beauty: "It is as with a picture of con-summate loveliness which has been held to be Raphael's. Should it be proved not to have been painted by Raphael, but by some one else, we have not by this means lost a classic work of art, but have discovered another master of the first rank." Die Kirche im Apost. Zeitalter, p. 197; cf. Twesten, Dogmatik 3te aufl. i. 436, note.

another for Apollos, another for Luke, we may well repeat to them the words of the Apostle himself: "While one saith I am of Paul, and another I am of Apollos, are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul? and who is Apollos? ... it is God that giveth the increase."




THE argument for the existence of God is exceedingly simple. It involves but one premise, magnificent as this is; but one inference, great as this is. The mind passes from that broad array of facts that power, skill, and beauty which the universe presents-up to the Creator, the Former of all. This leap of the mind is performed, like all its reasoning, by its own native strength, under the guidance and impulse of ideas inherent in it. As force, design, adaptation, are universal, discoverable by every one everywhere, this conclusion of the existence of a spiritual, supernatural agency has entered every rational mind; robbed, indeed, among the lower races, of its true breadth and import,-passing through Polytheism into mere Fetichism; and among the higher races, sometimes partially expelled again by the tricks of philoso phy and of science. Nevertheless the universality and stub bornness of the conclusion show the inherent and necessary character of the ideas which lead to it, and so far prove its justness.

The chief and most conspicuous of these are, cause and effect, and the infinite. Attention has usually been directed to the first to the oversight of the second, and thus the argument has been inadequately grounded and wrongly presented.

1 This is the first Article of a series on the same subject.


The polytheist reasons from cause and effect, and thus establishes many separate deities over distinct provinces of action. If, with the Greek, he struggles up to a supreme God, it is with very partial success, and an inadequate grasp of the notion. Many of the arguments for the existence of the true God are logically vitiated by the same error. We are taught to arrive at his being from the effects about us which require the interpretation of a cause. The proof thus presented overlooks both the nature of a cause, and the impossibility of arresting the line of reasoning it opens.

The mind will, indeed, often reach and tenaciously hold a just conclusion from partial or from erroneous premises. That which supports its steps may lie hidden beneath the surface, and it fails theoretically to hit the exact points of rest, on which, as pivots, the movement is made. We walk before we understand how we walk; we reason safely before we can analyze our reasonings correctly. Yet, when the occasion for the analysis arises, it is important that it be accurate, or we shall by it cast discredit on our most constant and needful conclusions. We often reject in philosophy our best wisdom, simply because it is more profound than our expositions of it. Revelation is destroyed by interpretation. Let us then expose the two defects referred to.

What is a cause in one relation is an effect in another. What occasions the phenomena which follow it is occasioned by the phenomena that precede it. The ball on the billiard table moves because it has received the stroke of the rod, and that motion, which is itself an effect, is ready to become a cause of motion in the ball lying in its line. That which looking backward is an effect, looking forward is a cause. Cause and effect are the positive and passive poles of the same thing, and a chain which followed downward is a series of effects, followed upward becomes a series of causes. A cause, by the very fact of its being a cause, is instantly overlaid and expressed by an effect. The one is the other coming to the surface, revealing itself, as the sensations it occasions constitute our notion of matter. Effects are that by

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which we know causes. The one is interior, the other exte rior and phenominal; the two are inseparable.

The cause, therefore, strictly so-called, is level with the effect; equal to it, and no greater; of the same nature with it, and in all respects measured and defined by it. This notion of cause and effect is one by which we work our way from point to point amid material things and forces, not one by which we can in the least rise above them. However far back we may push with it, we are on the same dead level, enveloped by the same finite and material forces, pursuing through one more phase of development that force which, for aught that we can thus see or say, may be capable of infinite modifications. Indeed, many so believe, and regard matter with the forces which play in and through it, as eternal.

This partial presentation of the argument, resting on causation alone for the proof of the being of a God, is the more unfortunate as, in the progress of science, the notion of cause and effect has been more and more severely developed, and the thoughtful mind assured that there is, in all the play of physical phenomena through indefinite periods, no gain or loss; that if the effects are gathered up they exactly exhaust the cause, and no more, and are thus able to continue it perfectly in further effects. The hammer which strikes the rock and loses its motion, calls forth an equivalent in the vibration of particles occasioned and the heat clicited, as much as the bat whose blow is expended on a ball made to spin through the air. Thus in all directions along the track of science there has been a grading down of causes. Not only hav the mysterious and monstrous been brought low, there has also been a reduction of all causes to the exact level of the effects, and that past, in which the imagination has so easily found salient points from which to pass over into the supernatural, reveals to science, under all changes of form and appearance, exactly the same characteristics as the present. The current of forces up which this inquiry after causes leads us to direct our boat, is everywhere the same steady, tranquil stream, giving to our keel, so far as we see fit or are able to explore

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