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were to fall under him. The hero's arrows are described to be sharp, and to have found their way into the heart of the king's enemies. How could this be applied to Solomon ? What use had he for sharp arrows, unless it was for the purpose of hunting? In verse 6 we read, “ Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever.” Is it likely that the author of the Psalm would apply the term Elohim, God, to King Solomon ? And how could it be said that Solomon's throne was to endure “ for ever and ever" ? Our adverse critics well perceive that the literal rendering of the original would be fatal to their application. In order to get over the difficulty they had recourse to a forced rendering, some translating “ by God is thy throne,” a mode of expression altogether foreign to the uses loquendi of the Scriptures; others, among them Gesenius, translate, “thy God's throne is eternal.” We leave it to any impartial Hebrew scholar to say whether the words “ Kisasha Elohim” admit of such a rendering, or whether it should not in that case read Kisse Elohecha.
The allegorical interpretation of the Psalm was maintained by nearly all of the older Christian interpreters, and, indeed, up to recent period by most expositors of great authority and learning. Their view in regard to its import coincided in every respect with the views entertained by the ancient Jewish writers. They regarded the Messiah as the bridegroom, the spouse as His Church, and the virgins her companions, as the heathen nations to be gathered into His Church.
Our adverse critics, whilst they agree as to the non- -Messianic character of the Psalm, are, however, far from agreeing among themselves as to who is to be regarded the subject of it. The greater part are in favour of Solomon and his union with the Egyptian princess; Hitzig and others think Ahab and his union with Jezebel ; Bleek supposes one of the later kings of Judah ; whilst others even go as far as to maintain it was some Persian king.
THE LAW-Book OF THE ABYSSINIANS. By Dr. John BACHMANN, Berlin (Theol. Stüd. u. Krit., 1892, Second Part).—Political interests sometimes serve the Church. The Italian Government, which has been busying itself of late with Abyssinia, has just entrusted Guidi, a Roman Orientalist, with the publication of the Fethanagast, " Law of Kings,” which is the legal code of Abyssinia, but about which little is known in Europe. Abyssinian kings at their coronation are sworn to observe it. Its editor, or compiler, was an Ibn al-Hassal, who probably belonged to the first half of the thirteenth century. A mere glance at its contents will show its importance. Of its fifty-one chapters, twenty-two contain the canon law, and the rest the civil law; the first part treating of such subjects as the Church, the Rise of the Books of Scripture, Baptism, the Patriarchs, Bishops, Presbyters, Deacons, Church Officers generally, Monks and Nuns, Laymen, Liturgy, the Eucharist, Prayer, Fasting, Alms, Tithes, Feasts, &c.; the second, of Food, Clothing, Marriage, Buying and Selling, Wills, Kings, Penal Law. The editor names in the Preface the authorities he drew upon. The Codex consists of citations from these sources on the respective subjects, with connecting remarks by the editor. The authorities are the Old and New Testaments, the Thirty Apostolic Constitutions, the Apostolic Canons, the Didascalia—a work
famous among the Copts, and second only to the Apostolic Canons; Peter's Epistle to Clement, to which the Canons of Ancyra are added; then Canons of various Councils, which are named, the Canons of Hippolytus, of Basil; and lastly, the so-called “ Canons of Kings,” perhaps identical with the Syrio-Roman Law-book of the fifth century. Such a compilation should throw new light on these works, and on early Christian history. The original is in Arabic, although Æthiopic versions also exist. The editor was a man of eminent learning and piety. Other works of his are a Collectio Fundamentorum Fidei, which is a defence against heathen and Jewish assaults, Commentaries, Responsa S.S. Patrum, a Dictionary of Coptic, &c.
The CHRISTIAN IDEA OF GOD's KINGDOM. By Professor LUDWIG LEMME, Heidel. berg (Neue Jahrbücher für Deutsche Theologie, First Year, First Part).—We hail this new quarterly with pleasure. According to the Preface, the majority of the existing periodicals are either mere debating clubs, or are negative in tendency. The new quarterly seeks to combine positive faith with the results of the fullest research and the best learning. The co-operation of all positive scholars is invited in defence of fundamental truth. Divergent views will not be excluded within certain limits. Those limits are: 1. Redemption by the only-begotten Son of God, and justification by faith in Him alone; 2. The Authority of Holy Writ; 3. Respect for Church Creeds. The first number contains three articles of rare ability—the one just named, by the editor ; “ The Problem of the Book of Job,” by Professor J. Meinhold, of Bonn; and “Two Fragments from Anianus, and the Beginnings of the Christmas Festival in Egypt,” by Dr. Bratke, Bonn. The editor's article is the first part of an essay on the subject. At present we will notice only the sections dealing with the development of the idea in Scripture.
1. Old Testament Preparation.—The truth of which “the kingdom of God” is the concrete expression is the reality of a higher spiritual world. The antithesis of " this world” and the world to come” pervades the New Testament, and is especially marked in the Epistle to the Hebrews. While the latter is mainly future, it is also matter of experience; believers already belong to it, in virtue of belonging to Christ, its King. The beginnings of the doctrine are found in the Old Testament. There Israel stands in a peculiar relation to God; God is its King, it is His people. At first He is its only King, and the earthly kingdom which is afterwards set up is merely His instrument. In David, the ideal was to a certain extent realized; and ever after. wards prophecy, in its pictures of the future, took his days as a model. When it became increasingly certain that the ideal would not be perfectly realized in the nation as a whole, hope centred itself more and more on a remnant, which, purified by judgment, and converted by grace, would not merely represent, but be the true nation of Israel. The idea of the kingdom is now wonderfully spiritualized. “On this renewed Israel God can pour out the fulness of His blessing. For everywhere in the Old Testament the supposition is that the bonum in the moral sense is the condition of the bonum in the physical sense; and this supposition rules the Old Testament hopes in connection with the kingdom.” “ But despite this special relation to Israel, prophecy never forgets that Jehovah is the God of heaven and earth. God's kingship is not realized when His rule is recognized in Israel merely, but only when the other nations do the same. Thus prophecy keeps in view the participation of the other nations in the salvation of the last days. Only when the nations know and acknowledge God is the idea of Jehovah's kingdom realized.” This being so, it was inevit. able that the less the actual state of the nation corresponded to the idea, the more glowing the hopes of the future would become. Dr. Lemme shows by extended
NO, V.-VOL. 1.—THE THINKER.
references to the books of Daniel, Henoch, and the so-called Psalms of Solomon, that this was actually the case. The less comfort the Israelite found in the present, the higher rose his faith in the future. Some writers have used the Apocrypha to show that the Messianic hope had died down, but it is a mistake to do so. “ The Egyptian Judaism of the Apocrypha felt itself too comfortable to desire to leave the fleshpots of Egypt, and hence lost interest in Israel's future hopes.” The strength and intensity of Jewish faith are rather to be learnt from the other sources mentioned. “The predictions of the Book of Daniel were never again forgotten among the Jewish people; they were understood in the narrowest and most egoistic sense." Out of these writings came the worldly conception of the Messiah's reign which meets us in the Gospels. " In living connection, though not in unity with it, stands the teaching on the subject of the last prophet of the old covenant.” While John stood in part on Old Testament ground, and shared the worldly Messianic hopes of his day, he also went beyond them in his insistence on moral conditions. His preaching of repentance prepared the way for Christ's. “The advent of the Promised One is at hand. John calls Him by name. The fulness of time has come, the kingdom of God appears in history.”
2. New Testament Fulfilment.-Not less remarkable than the attachment of Christ's doctrine of the kingdom to the Old Testament is the independence with which He expanded and enriched it. “He was not the servile copyist and organ of Old Testament ideas that He is represented as being by recent theological inquiry." The idea in His hands is completely transformed. “In fact, when one contemplates the manifold dependence of the New Testament revelation on the Old, and the acknowledgment of the Old by Christ, the complete independence of the Lord, resting on His immediate oneness with the Father, and raising Him above all mere dependence on the Old Testament, is all the more apparent. .... He was the organ of Old Testament revelation, just because He was independently rooted in that source of revelation from which the Old Testament sprang." His doctrine is in line with that of the Old Testament, inasmuch as it recognizes the universal extent of God's reign; God being King, means the filling of the world with His glory. But a great reversal of the order of ideas takes place in one respect, namely, that, whereas in the Old Testament law and obedience come first and blessing next, in Christ's teaching blessing comes first, law and obedience second. the
way is prepared for this in the Old Testament by the statement that the perfect obedience of the last days can only be rendered possible by a new creation. · Legal Judaism adhered to the contradictory notion that God's kingdom could be brought in by zealous observ. ance of law, and yet that God's grace will bring it in. Jesus Christ never favoured the delusion that God's kingdom can be brought about by legal works or works of any sort-never favoured the Judaic pretence of modern Naturalism that the kingdom of God is ó a production of men issuing from their own effort' (Ritschl). If so, why did not the prophets effect it ? Everywhere in the Gospels the kingdom of God offers itself from above to the receptive, who can only accept, only apprehend it, but can in no way produce it by their own effort. The Lord always describes humble receptive. ness, depending on knowledge of its own defect and weakness, as the condition of sharing in the kingdom of heaven.”
The kingdom already exists, and is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ (Matt. xi. 12, xii. 28). The Spirit abides in Christ, who baptizes with the Spirit (John i. 34; Joel iii. 1). That outpouring of the Spirit is the sign of the kingdom
“ It is clear, as is well put by Beck, who was one of the few to rightly define the New Testament idea, The kingdom of God is a transcendent reality, a supra
earthly system of life.' It is the organism of the higher world, in which is God's throne, in which God's will is eternally done by angels, and which in Christ descends from heaven to earth. The kingdom of God is truly the kingdom of heaven. • Since the appearing of Jesus Christ, and through Him, this supra-earthly system, with its peculiar organs, powers, and gifts, is incorporated with the earthly organism, and thus in the present world asserts itself as God's kingdom' (Beck). Whether, therefore, Jesus appears in the Synoptic Gospels as the personal bearer of the kingdom, or in John's Gospel as the incarnate Logos according to the Apostle's teaching, or as the Son of God come from heaven according to His own testimony-in both cases the common thought is this, that in Jesus Christ heaven has come down to earth, the eternal, Divine life of heaven has entered into human history (1 John i. 2). ... Where this kingdom of God is accepted by religious receptiveness, there it supplies the fulness of Divine gifts as the supreme good in a unique sense. For so far as it reaches-reaches also, of course, God's condescending love in Christ—therefore also His grace and mercy and forgiveness of sins. Whoever enters this kingdom by faith in its Head, not only receives forgiveness, but is assimilated to the kingdom in nature, becomes a child of light, learns to pray for the Holy Spirit, until he is endued with power from on high by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit.”
Christ's rejection of an earthly reign or kingdom was decisive. The Jewish notions, akin to those of the Book of Henoch and the Solomonic Psalms, found no favour in His eyes. The kingdom does not come with observation ; its existence and sway are within (Luke xvii. 20, 21). “It is wasted labour to try to set aside Luther's correct exposition of Luke xvii. 20, 'within you,' because its mysticism is an offence to Ritschlianism. For John iii. gives just the same idea. The coming of the kingdom of God is inward, and takes place by a new birth from above. Apart from such a birth none can see or enter into it. The kingdom of heaven is a reality only to one who, by a new birth from above, has received a new endowment of power, a new God. originated life, a spiritual nature from the Spirit Himself (John iii. 7). Whether Ritschlianism is wroth against these ideas or not matters little in view of the fact that they are Scripture ideas, and that according to Holy Scripture there is no partaking in God's kingdom apart from a new birth of incorruptible seed (1 Peter i. 23). Everything said about God's kingdom' apart from that birth corresponds to the preChristian, Judaic standpoint of the Pharisee, Nicodemus, who boasted of being the teacher of Israel,' and yet had no mind for heavenly things.”
Reception into the kingdom through faith in its Founder is merely the initial entrance; full entrance is only after this life. Fidelity, watchfulness, unworldliness, devotion to the higher spiritual life, are necessary.
Christ's demands on His disciples of self-denial and sacrifice are severe. * Renunciation of the world in the sense of complete inner severance from the world and full surrender to the kingdom of heaven is the characteristic of the disciple of Jesus, and he only has a right to the name who is ready to exercise such self-denial.” The spiritual characteristics of the kingdom and its members are well expounded in the essay.
Three circles of disciples around Jesus are distinguished. The widest circle consisted of those who were baptized and listened to Christ's teaching, and yet were not disciples in the strict sense; a narrower circle of those who really believed in Christ as Messiah, but retained a worldly, self-seeking spirit, and fell away rather than give up self; the narrowest circle of those who were so identified with Jesus that the kingdom of God became their all in all in such a way that in fellowship with Christ their faith grew into love which has for its possession the indwelling of God and Jesus Christ, in other words, the unio mystica with the Father and the Son. So
in the Church now there are three circles—the baptized merely, forming the visible Church; the invisible Church of the really converted; the kingdom of God, i.e., believers born from above, children of God in the real sense by endowment with the Holy Ghost, “spiritual persons,' as Beck rightly says in the sense of Scripture, “men of God," as Frank says, or as we may put it, “men of eternity, strangers and pilgrims on earth, and yet citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, having their citizenship in heaven.” “That they who in virtue of their spiritual character really belong to the kingdom of heaven enter into it after death, is matter of course; belonging already to the world to come,' they must necessarily enter the Jerusalem above, the heavenly city. They are dead even on earth, and their life is hid with Christ in God.”
The destruction of Jerusalem as foretold by Christ, the overthrow of the Roman Empire depicted in the Book of Revelation, and the final coming of Christ, are referred to as stages in the outward progress of God's kingdom on earth. Its universal character is thus described : “It lies in the nature of this kingdom to be world-embracing; its purpose is the religious organization of the human race. It has a right to all men; for they are all God's creatures, bound to obey Him. . The absolutely universal character of this idea, superior in its very nature to all Jewish particularism, is everywhere so clearly expressed in the Gospels that the Judaizing of the teaching of Jesus stamps itself as learned caprice. The kingdom of heaven' in the Gospels is an idea of such elevation that earthly limits of human fancy vanish as lying in the clouds far beneath. Embracing God and the world, the kingdom of God draws humanity with its longings for the eternal up towards the light in Him who was the Life and the Light of men."
Discussions on INSPIRATION.—Is Scripture absolutely free from error? Is the existence of error to any extent compatible with Divine Inspiration? These are the questions which are asked as earnestly and answered as variously in Germany as elsewhere. We need not notice the extreme of the negative school, so largely represented there. We have also an extreme wing of the orthodox school, which stands by the definitions of the post-Reformation confessions and meets all argument with a stern non possumus. There is also a large and growing body of orthodox teachers, as able and learned as they are believing and reverent, who do not think the exclusion of the possibility of error on secondary subjects a necessary part of the idea of inspiration. Indeed, they would regard that possibility as involved in the human side of Scripture. We will mention two representatives of this school. First, Dr. Grau, joint-editor of the Beweis des Glaubens. The periodical he edits and the names of his colleagues are guarantee enough of his whole-hearted orthodoxy. In a recent number he protested strongly against the views, referred to recently in this summary, of Dr. Haupt, who, by the way, figures as an editor of the Beweis des Glaubens. In a series of papers under the suggestive title of “ The Humility and the Glory of Holy Scripture” he takes the ground just described. In the number for March, Dr. Grau argues that minute accuracy in matters of chronology, astronomy, &c., is needless, and would imply a miracle of a strange kind. “ The miracles which Jesus worked, and the miracle of His resurrection, are facts which one must believe ; for unbelievers they have no existence. But here there would be a miracle which we should have to prove to unbelievers by means of exact science, whether of physical science or historical criticism. Thus there would be no need of faith." Christ's refusal to act the part of judge in matters of inheritance is applied to the subject. He might also, as the author and subject of Holy Scripture, ask, Who made Me &