« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
cannot possibly conceive of purpose without inherent consciousness. Nor can we, on the other hand, any more conceive of such a sequence of events as is here hinted at, without some definite controlling agency. If "a plant secretes a bitter poison in order to save its leaves from being devoured," how is there less intelligence connected with such a process than when a man throws water on flames to prevent the burning of his whole house? If we cannot conceive of such a plant with such life powers leaping e nihilo into the air at a moment's notice by Divine fiat, no more can we deny that the facts are before us, and that it is a travesty of all reason to ascribe them to mere fortuitous concurrences through an infinite but mindless past.
Without assenting to every detail of statement or inference, we may heartily commend the earnest suggestions of the talented authoress to the attention of all thoughtful people. The mysteries which will ever baffle human intelligence are frankly acknowledged. Here is no superficial and hasty assumption that by a few theoretical deductions life's whole tangled maze can swiftly be unravelled. Very much more to the point, here are plain facts and sober reasonings, as modest and moderate as Bishop Butler's immortal work, and withal for that very reason well nigh as satisfactory. However great the blessedness of believing, these are days in which it is something to see. To see that “the invariability and steady unswerving action of the Will of the Author of all, as expressed in the laws of the universe," is really, unmistakably on the side of virtue; that from the lowest through all to the highest of living things, laziness and selfishness are branded as failures; to mark a dim yet definite unfolding from the farthest, lowliest past, of the Power that makes for righteousness, and recognize its solemn yet blessed culmination in our own throbbing conciousness, of a choicefaculty for highest good or deepest ill; to discover reasonably in our own life-caused bodily organization the promise and potency of blessed immortality ;—these are precious realities indeed, the sight of which could never come more opportunely than now to poor humanity. It is eminently worth while that one who for years has with patient thoroughness looked Nature in the face should crown the previous work by showing how
“The great world's altar stairs
Slope thro' darkness up to Go:1," and why we may surely trust the largest hope that has ever entered into the heart of man.
THE BOOK CRITIC.
MANUAL OF THE SCIENCE OF RELIGION. By P. D. CHAUTIPIE DE LA
SAUSSAYE. Translated from the German by BEATRICE S. COLYER-FERGUSSON née
Max MÜLLER. Longmans, Green & Co., London. This is a translation of Professor Saussaye's excellent Manual of the Science of Religion. We have, however, only the first volume, and the translator says in her preface, “ It will depend on the success of this volume whether it may be followed
by the translation of the second volume.” We hope that by this time the success of the first volume has been so great that the second volume is already in hand. The treatment of the religions of Persia, Greece, Rome, Germany, and Islam, which forms the contents of the second volume, ought to be accessible to the English reader; for they are as good as anything we have in the past here translated. The author has grouped, arranged, and classified the material, and presented it in the most lucid order, and the reader may rest assured that he will find all that is known at present of the religions of Rome, Greece, &c., presented in such a form that he can readily master it.
This Manual appears at a fit time. For many people have been at work on the subject of religions and their history; and the material already gathered is immense. It was time that some one should take hold of the subject, set the vast material in some sort of order, set forth the general principles which ought to regulate the study of religions, and state what are the conclusions which in our present state of knowledge are most probable. This the author has done in a most admirable way. If we had looked at the state of the matter before he wrote his book, if we had read some of the many works, such as Tyler's, or Spencer's, or Reville's works, or looked at the reports of the scientific societies, and had some notion of the theories advocated, and of the material accumulated by the earnest labours of many workers, and then had come to the reading of the present volume our first feeling would be one of surprise. The author enables us to see that here too we have a cosmos, that science is on the way to disclose to us a new world where law and order reign, and that even in what at first sight seemed most chaotic there is a method. The most superstitious vagaries of the human mind become intelligible, and we can in some measure begin to understand them.
Thus in the Introductory Section we are brought face to face with religion. What it is, what is its origin, what have been its main forms, and what are the main theories which have been held with regard to religion, these are the questions discussed in the opening part. Then we pass to what the author calls the “ Pheno. menological Section,” and we have a lucid classification of the objects of worship, of the rites of worship, and of the meanings of sacred places, times, persons, communities, and writings, and a chapter on “ Mythology,” which is both wise in what it affirms and conspicuous for its scientific caution in its refusal to commit itself exclusively to any of the theories most in vogue at the present time. As to the objects of religion we make one quotation :
“Religion has, in reality, but one object—the living God who manifests Himself among all nations as the only real God. Though by man He is but partially known, or not known at all, because Divine honour is paid to His works and His powers rather than to Himself; yet in the end all worship is meant for Him, and man cannot conceive anything divine that is not really derived from Him. Considered from this point of view, the many gods worshipped by the heathen become either empty, meaningless, and even hostile beings, no-gods, false gods, or real divine powers and qualities only separated from their subject and represented singly. The former point of view was more common among the prophets of Israel, while so-called heathen thinkers in India, Egypt, and Greece were often led to look upon the many gods as mani. festations of the one Divine power" (pp. 71, 72).
The author then passes to the “Ethnographic Section.” Here one has occasion to admire afresh the author's power of condensation, and of presenting in a few pages the results of many years of labour in this wide field. A reader of Tyler's Primitive Culture, of Spencer's Sociology, or of Wäitz and Gerland's great work, knows how vast is the material and how numerous the facts already collected with regard to the uncultured races of mankind. In somewhat less than eighty pages the author gives us the essential facts with regard to the various races of mankind and their bearing on the question of religion. Having treated in this summary but, at the same time, lucid and masterly way the Ethnographic Section, the author passes to the Historic Section, and treats of the religions of those races which have left historical records of their beliefs, in monuments, in literature, or in some other way. In this volume we have accounts of the religions of the Chinese, the Egyptians, the Babylonians and Assyrians, and the Hindus. In all cases the accounts are reliable, trustworthy, objective. In truth, as a whole the “ Manual” is invaluable, and ought to be in the hands of every one who takes an interest in such questions. It ought to be in the hands of missionaries, who ought to know something of the beliefs of the people among whom they labour. It ought to be in the hands of students of apologetics, for they should know something of the path which religions take when they are growing wild ; while all students will gather from such a book as this some knowledge of the nature and coi ions of belief, and its relation to action, not only in the sphere of religion, but in all other spheres also. All who desire to know what men have actually thought, felt, and believed in the past, and how men were led to false and inadequate beliefs, and, as a consequence, to unnatural and obnoxious courses of conduct, ought to read this book. Nor is such a history of recorded human beliefs about the objects of worship, and the modes and spirit of worship, without a lesson for all of us. What that lesson is need not be pointed out here, but we are sure that every thoughtful reader will rise from the study of this book a sadder and a wiser man, grateful for the emancipation from the superstitions of the past won for him or by him, and filled with a sense of responsibility because his conduct ought to be in correspondence with his light and knowledge.
J. IVERACH, D.D.
THE JEWISH RELIGION. By M. FRIEDLÄNDER. Kegan Paul, Trench,
Trübner & Co. This book, dated from the Jews' College, is a popular exposition of Judaism, which will well serve the purpose of any one who wishes to know what really is taught in the present day as the religion of Israel. It is divided into two parts—the first entitled “ Our Creed,” and the second, “ Our Duties.” In the first part Dr. Friedländer expounds “ The Thirteen Principles of Faith.” His standpoint is that of enlightened conservatism. He so perfectly repudiates that he almost ignores the rationalistic views that have found favour with a very different school of Jews, and he demands faith with something of the insistence we are most accustomed to associate with the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. “Faith,” he writes, “is the implicit and absolute belief in the truth of the communication made to us, and in the trustworthiness of him who makes it to us” (p. 5); and he quotes some strong sayings of the Rabbis in praise of faith. The sources from which we are to derive our knowledge are Revelation and Tradition. The importance of the second of these two sources is evident throughout the book; it is repeatedly appealed to. Where it shows discordant views they are clearly stated, but the verdict is in favour of the view that has won the esteem of the leading Rabbis in successive ages. Dr. Friedländer scarcely refers to modern historical criticism. While his book teems with the names of Rabbis even when he is discussing Old Testament questions, the critics who are familiar to Christian readers are ignored. The Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch is set forth as a matter of faith, to be believed as a religious duty. Yet Dr. Friedländer treats his subject in an enlightened and elevated spirit. He just touches on the relation of the first chapter of Genesis to science, and mentions the various familiar theories of reconciliation. He is too cautious to adopt any of them, but he urges, as a matter of faith, the acceptance of the Mosaic account, even if we cannot yet see how it is to be interpreted. He is distinctly in favour of the harmony between revelation and reason, and he points out that it was the work of Maimonides --the Moses of the Middle Ages—to reconcile the two. The thirteen principles are discussed seriatim. Briefly epitomized they are as follows:--The Existence of the Creator; the Unity of God; the Incorporeality of God; the Eternity of God; that the Creator alone is to be worshipped; Prophecy; that “our teacher, Moses ” was the greatest of all prophets; that the whole Pentateuch was communicated to Moses by God, both the precepts and the historical accounts contained therein; the integrity of the law—this includes the oral as well as the written law; that God knows and notices the deeds and thoughts of man; Divine rewards and punishments; the future advent of the Messiah ; and “the revival of the dead, or the immortality of the soul."
Dr. Friedländer is strongly opposed to those who could explain away the Messianic prophecies. The Messiah is yet to come; no one knows when this will be; his advent is delayed by the sins of Israel. When he comes he will revive the religion of Israel and make this religion and the people themselves supreme in the earth; he will also rebuild the temple and restore the sacrifices.
“ There are some theologians,” our author writes, “who assume the Messianic period to be the most perfect state of civilization, but do not believe in the restoration of the kingdom of David, the rebuilding of the Temple, or the repossession of Palestine by the Jews. They altogether reject the national hope of the Jews. These theologians either misinterpret or wholly ignore the teaching of the Bible, and the Divine promises made through the men of God” (p. 161). Nevertheless, Dr. Friedländer does not look with any interest on the present return of Jews to Palestine apart from the great advent of the Messiah. “Even if a band of adventurers were to succeed in reconquering Palestine for the Jews by means of arms, or re-acquiring the Holy Land by purchasing it from the present owners, we should not see in such an event the consummation of our hopes" (p. 162)—because these hopes rest entirely on the Messiah. After all the centuries of disappointment and persecution through which the Jews have passed since Christ came, and since the nation was scattered by the Romans, how intensely pathetic is the cherishing of such deep, ineradicable hopes ! But the expected Messiah is regarded as only a human being in his highest perfection.” In a note Dr. Friedländer discusses the claims of Jesus and Mohammed. Jesus is rejected because He did not realize the hopes of national revival. The application of Isa. liii. to the Messiah is denied, and the notion of some of the Rabbis that it refers to a second Messiah-a Messiah ben Joseph—is discarded, the passage being applied to the national sufferings of Israel.
In the second part of the book the moral duties are discussed in detail. The consideration of them follows the lines of the Levitical law, and the particulars of casuistry are all traced back to fundamental precepts. But the greater portion of the directions about “ Our Duties” is taken up with a description of religious rites, festivals, and forms of public worship.
What impression may we gather from this book as to Judaism regarded as a whole? The dignity, the purity, the elevation of tone that characterise the system remind us that we are face to face with a religion which had its origin in God. Here, indeed, is much that is good, and true, and helpful. But the multiplicity of details is perplexing. We are still in the realm of precept, we have not reached that of principle. Faith is insisted upon as the root of all religion. But the end of faith is not simply trust and loyalty towards God, it is the acceptance and practising of a number of Old Testament and Rabbinical precepts. Of one clear course from sin to a new life we can find little indication. It is impossible for Christians not to feel that there is a thinness, a superficiality, and the absence of what would satisfy the deepest wants of the soul in such a system.
W. F. ADENEY, M.A.
ABSOLUTE CHRISTIANITY. By M. VALENTINE, D.D., LL.D., Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, Pa. (The Lutheran Quarterly).-The phrase, “ Absolute Christianity," stands for that conception of Christianity which teaches that the Incarnation of the Son of God would have taken place even if sin had not entered into the world. It proposes to lift the great fundamental doctrine of the Incarnation, and with it the whole Christian system, from a contingent basis in human sin and corruption to an absolute and unconditional basis. As far as I can discover, no clear assertion of this view of the Incarnation is found in the early Christian Fathers. The statement of Irenæus (Against Heresies, book v., chap. xvi. 2), which has sometimes been referred to as teaching it, cannot be fairly taken as doing so. Along with all the Church. writers before him, and all for some centuries after him, Irenæus clearly bases the Incarnation on redemptory needs and Divine love alone. Its first appearance seems to have been among the scholastics of the Middle Ages. The earliest to assert it seems to have been Rupert, Abbot of Deutz (ob. 1135), a contemporary of St. Bernard (of Clairvaux), and a mystic in theological temper. He was followed in its maintenance by Alexander of Hales (ob. 1246), by Duns Scotus (ob. 1308), by Raymund Lullus (ob. 1315), John Wesley (ob. 1489), and some others. earnestly confuted, however, by Thomas Aquinas (ob. 1274) and Bonaventura (ob. 1274). See Neander's Hist. of Dogmas, pp. 380-382, and Sheldon's Hist. of Doc., i. pp. 369-370. It secured no general acceptance. No advocacy of the theory is found, I believe, during the subsequent period of Protestant dogmatic theology until its revival by Lieber, Martensen, and Dorner, in Germany and Sweden, and its large adoption by the “progressive theology” in England and our own country. understand this teaching, and rightly estimate the question of its truth, it is needful to recall the different specific bases on which it has sought and assumed to find the absolute ground of the Incarnation. For those who have gone behind the contingent fact of sin have not all agreed in their conception of the absolute basis.
1. Some have grounded the Incarnation in metaphysical necessities of the God. head. They have assumed that the Divine nature requires the human as its neces. sary complement. But as this form of the theory amounts to a representation tha the Son became incarnate, not for humanity's sake, but for God's sake, and thus drops out of recognition the Divine, loving self-sacrifice and humiliation in the transaction, we may take no further notice of it.
2. Some have found the ground of the necessity in the physical nature of God. That is, there is something in the substance of God which requires this form of selfdisclosure, human nature being eternally a part or element in the nature of God. Rev. Henry M. Goodwin (Christ and Humanity, Harper & Brothers, 1875) maintains that there is a humanity in God, and asserts an “essential unity of the Divine and human, an original identity existing in God.” Even Dr. Dorner, who repudiates what he terms a “physical” necessity, says of Christ: “He is the Son of Man by the fact