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unlike the aspect of the world at any of the previous periods of reform in many important particulars; but, whether the result will furnish a close parallel for the first of these critical ages, or supply a legitimate continuation of the progress initiated by Abelard, and accelerated by Bacon, or will assume an entirely original hue, thus constituting the culminating epoch of human intelligence, we can learn only from the future. We hope and believe, for the reasons previously alleged, that the mental throes and the social anguish which characterize the nineteenth century, much more significantly than its boasted intellect, may yet eventuate in the greatest instauration of all time—the Instauratio Maxima succeeding the Instauratio Magna-and light up the meridian and not the setting sun of modern intellect. But, retracing the vanishing lines of former progress, we may notice in the social condition of the several ages commented upon, differences corresponding with the dissimilarities observable in their respective reformers and the reforms which they heralded or achieved. Thus the reciprocal dependence of the intellectual and social action of all times may be recognised; and, in the endeavour to solve the social problems which now press around us, we may be prepared to ascend to the most recondite sources of logical and metaphysical speculation. In the age of Socrates and Aristotle Greek society and polity were both completely disintegrated, and humanity itself, within the range of Greek civilization, was degraded and demoralized. The wheels of the machine were clogged or disconnected, the vital energy was effete, and all the springs of civil action had lost their wonted elasticity. In the epoch illustrated by Abelard, society, though disturbed, was full of life and vigour; reckless and rude might be the impetuous ebullitions of its youth, but these only announced that the new wine of civilization was beginning to ferment in the old bottles. When Lord Bacon ran his illustrious career, the social disease was only a passing ailment, general and deep-seated as it was. It had been occasioned by too rapid growth and extraordinary developinent, not by any radical germ of decay. Now we witness the universal anarchy of the world in all forms of speculation and practice, brought about by the tyranny and exclusive dominion of the intellectual autocracy, which we have enthroned and almost canonized. It is the lawless ascendancy, the riotous license of the reason from which we suffer--the want of any moral authoritythe disregard and contempt of religion, except so far as it is the plastic creature of our own capricious interpretations. We forge in these days the creeds in which alone we profess to believe; and we make with our own fancies the idols which we pretend to venerate as gods. In consequence of these wide discrepancies between the several ages specified, we may naturally expect to find the inherent analogy, which pervades them all, disguised under diversities and modifications of the concomitant phenomena. But it is the highest exercise of the reflecting mind to eliminate these diversities, and recognise the identity of the animating spirit, notwithstanding the changing accidents by which it may be accompanied in its various manifestations.

But we must return from this long digression. Whatever his merits in other respects, Abelard had fallen into the habitual error of his time, of including all science and knowledge under logic(virtually, not professedly)—and of regarding the various departments of human speculation as little more than the diverse applications of deductive reasoning. He was thus instrumental in giving to human thought a narrowness of range, which was certain at some time to prove fatal. Friar Bacon did, indeed, solemnly inaugurate the experimental method of philosophy, and his Opus Majus must be regarded as a memorable example of original genius and bold research, and as a wonderful prelude to the still distant reform. But there were few, or none, to continue his labours,* Albert the Great and the alchemists being the only fellow-workers in the same field. The tone of popular superstition, as well as the temper of ecclesiastical sentiment, were adverse to pursuits which discovered miracles—the magnalia nature-assigned by popular ignorance to diabolical agencies. Roger Bacon, moreover, was himself too much trammelled by the prevalent modes of argumentation, by his deference to authorities not entitled to regulate his inquiries, and by the habit of justifying even scientific views by torturing the language of Scripture and the loose expressions of the Doctors of the Church. Such obstacles and defects impeded the development of science, even though the approaches to the true road had been cleared out. Thus logic rose to uncontested supremacy, and the authority of Aristotle was amplified into an unquestioned dominion. But the overshadowing name of the great Stagirite, and the vicious application of mere logical, or rather eristic reasoning to the estimation of the phenomena and processes of nature, rendered the interpretation of the facts which were daily multiplied before the eyes of the curious not merely defective, but positively fallacious. The vice

• There was a certain John, of London, by whom Roger Bacon sent his Opus Majus to Pope Clement IV., of whom he speaks in the most flattering terms. He was a mere boy, poor, and having had few opportunities of learning; yet Friar Bacon says of him: “Me senem in multis transcendit propter meliores radices quas recepit, ex quibus potest salubres fructus expectare, ad quos ego nunquam pertingam." Op. Maj., ps. i, c. 10. What became of him? What would have been the result had he been able to prosecute the inquiries of his teacher?

of the procedure was apprehended long before any efficient corrective was applied. The ridicule of Rabelais, and the sarcasm of Henry Cornelius Agrippa, no less than the premature and inefficacious projects of reform attempted by Telesio, Patrizzi, Giordano Bruno, and Cesalpini, indicated the recognition both of the disease and of the necessity for some great intellectual renovation.

The discussion will be concluded in another article.


A New Harmony and Exposition of the Gospels : consisting of a Parallel and

Combined Arrangement, on a New Plan, of the Narratives of the Four Evangelists, according to the Authorized Translation; and a Continuous Commentary, with Brief Notes subjoined. With a Supplement, containing extended Chronological and Topographical Dissertations, and a complete Analytical Index. By JAMES STRONG, A. M. 8vo., pp. 569. New-York: Lane & Scott, 1852.

The harmonizing of the four separate histories of Jesus given us in the New Testament has been a problem of interest to the Church from a very early period of its history. So early as A. D. 170, we hear a collation of the Gospels by Tatian, the disciple of Justin Martyr; and not long after of another by Ammonius; and in the third and fourth centuries we find Dionysius of Alexandria, and Gregory of Nyssen, engaged in reconciling the several accounts of the resurrection. Did the original historians of the life of the Saviour stand upon the same footing as ordinary eye and ear witnesses of events, all disagreement in the minute detail of their record, would be explained by reference to the natural lapses of memory, and their credibility would be deemed sufficiently established by their general agreement throughout. They are received by us, however, not only as truthful, but also as inspired; and it has therefore been demanded that be harmonized in every, even the minutest particular. To this problem the Church has addressed herself with indefatigable zeala zeal of which we see the fruits in the successive publications offered to the public bearing upon this branch of inquiry.

But while thus engaged in educing the less important verbal agreement, is there not danger of losing sight of the higher harmony of the spirit evinced in our fourfold history of Christ? As the problem pertains to the domain of the Christian evidences, do wenot weaken our position by practically limiting the term Harmony to the letter, which we usually find stubborn and intractable, whenever we have to deal with it, and failing to give due prominence to that unity of the evangelists in their conception of Christ and his mission, which at once attests their truth and their inspiration? Thus we have four portraits of the blessed Redeemer, but it is the one Jesus in all; the pictures are diverse, and yet the same. Matthew invests him with a Jewish garb, and much of the light which falls upon the canvass is from the shrines of ancient prophecy. Mark portrays him discharging the outward functions of his office. Luke adds the traits that pertain to Jesus as the Saviour of humanity. The Gentile world is present to him as he spreads out the image imprinted on his heart. John gives those features which have given his record the designation of ευαγγέλιον πνευματικόν, the Gospel preeminently of the Spirit. And considering the extent and amplitude of the human character of Christ, this diverseness could not fail to be. “He who lived,” remarks Olshausen in his introduction to the Gospels, "a purely heavenly life on earth, and spake words of eternal truth, could not but be very variously described, according to the characteristics of the human soul, which received the rays of light proceeding from him. Each soul reflected his image according to its own profundity and compass, and yet each might be right. It was for this reason that more than one Gospel was included in the collection of the sacred writings, since only the presentation of different portraitures together could present a partial view of our Saviour's character. As it is only from the accounts of Xenophon and Plato that we can obtain a complete picture of Socrates, so we cannot comprehend the life of our Lord, which affords so many different aspects, without uniting the different traits in all the four Gospels into one general portraiture.” And when we come so to combine, we find that the evangelists do not contradict, but supplement each other. No one of them has failed to recognise the meekness, the patient enduring love of Jesus; his depth of wisdom, his well-adjusted bearing, his well-timed discourse. No one of them has failed to recognise in him the divine working in and through the human; or to exhibit him as at once the Son of Man, and the Son of God. We feel as we read that here there is no contradiction, that there has been no mistake. The sounds are as of several chords, but the melody is one and the same. And when we remember that these writers were, according to their own confession, looking for another sort of Christ, and for another sort of kingdom to be established by him; that they acknowledge themselves to have been slow in gaining an insight into his character; we cannot but believe that naught but his living presence and communion with them could have impressed upon their hearts that image, or could have infused into them that spirit which informs, and gives consistency to all our Gospels.

In endeavouring to harmonize these writings, we must bear in mind that they are memorabilia, rather than systematic biographies professing to exhaust the entire subject. They have, it is true, something of method; they follow the flow of the Saviour's human life, beginning with his birth or with his ministry, and ending with his departure from our world. When, however, we enter upon the record of the public ministry of Jesus, we find but few and very general notices of the order of events in time; so that to synchronize the statements of the evangelists becomes a labour requiring the utmost sagacity and skill. The Biblical scholars of the period immediately succeeding the Reformation, held that the events of the life of Jesus were chronologically narrated, from which they inferred that whenever the same event was stated in different connexions, it had really occurred twice. Bishop Newcome, the chief of the English harmonists, rejected this theory, as Chemnitz on the continent had done before him, and in his Preface thus states the principles upon which his arrangement of the Gospels is constructed:

“By diligently attending to every notation of time and place; by observing that particles often thought to express an immediate connexion are used with latitude; that the evangelists are more intent on expressing the substance of what is spoken, than the words of the speaker; that they neglect accurate order in the detail of particular incidents, though they preserve a good general method ; that detached and detailed events are sometimes joined together, on account of sameness in the scene, the person, the cause, or the consequences; that in such concise histories as the Gospels, transitions are often made from one fact to another without any intimation that important matters intervened. By thus entering into the manner of the evangelical writers, I have endeavoured to make them their own harmonists."

It is a good rule of criticism not to demand of an author what he does not profess to furnish us. The aim of the evangelists is to give us a clear and life-like representation of their divine Master; and in so doing, they let his words and his works speak for him. Their interest is ethical; with the scientific interest which labours to adjust their work according to certain rules of art, they have nothing in common. The form in which they have left their Gospels best accords with what we know of the extent of their culture. They excel in spiritual insight; they do not aim at artistic elegance, though their histories have a matchless beauty, an unapproachable charm of simplicity, by which they are prominently distinguished from all other writings known among men. Nor does it appear they ever stopped to inquire how these separate accounts would fit and join together. For “ truth, like honesty, often neglects appearances; hypocrisy and imposture are always guarded.”

Such are some of the features of the Gospels as they strike us upon

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