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many cases, however, there is and can be no reasonable doubt about the matter; and the doctrines which Dr Bushnell diseusses and discards, viz., the Trinity, Incarnation, and Atonement, are precisely those in which their agreement is most certain and complete. It is high time, therefore, it should be universally agreed among Christians, that the rejection of these doctrines, as determined by the faith of the church, is the rejection of Christianity, and should be so regarded and treated. Let sceptics and philosophers teach what they please, or what they dare, but it is surely time to have some certain ground in Christianity, and to put the brand of universal reprobation on the hypocritical and wicked device of preaching infidelity in a cassock.
Dr Bushnell is like a man who, wearied with the obscurity or monotony of a crowded ship, jumps overboard, determined to scull single-handed his little boat across the ocean. Or, he is like a man who should leave the ark to ride out the deluge on a slimy log. Such madness excites nothing but commiseration. It is evident Dr Bushnell does not fully understand himself. He is lost, and therefore often crosses his own path; and it is to be hoped that much of the error contained in his book has not got real or permanent possession of his mind. He is a poet, and neither a philosopher nor theologian; a bright star, which has wandered from its orbit, and which must continue to wander, unless it return and obey the attraction of the great central orb-God's everlasting Word.
ART. V.-History of the Old Covenant. By J. H. KURTZ. Vol. I. Berlin, 1840, 8vo, pp. 301.*
AMONG the most interesting and important questions arising in connection with the study of the Old Testament is that which concerns its relation to the New. This, too, is confessedly one of the most difficult and disputed questions in biblical interpretation; and upon which as various and conflicting theories have been entertained as upon any other. The difficulty lies in the details, and in the attempt to give accurate definitions and lay down precise rules. In the general it is very plain that the Old Dispensation was preparatory to the New, and prophetic of it. But there is much that is vague and intangible about such a statement. And it is when we come to ask after its limits, and to fix with exactness its mean* Geschichte des Alten Bundes von Joh. Heinr. Kurtz. u. S. W. VOL. II.-NO. I.
ing, when we come to inquire definitely to what extent, in what sense, and in how large a part of it the Old Testament is prophetic of Christ, or preparatory for his coming and work, that we begin to discern the difficulties with which the subject is encompassed.
That there are in the Old Testament both predictions and types of a coming Messiah, is very clear. That it awakened among the Jews long before the advent expectations of his coming-expectations which were shared wherever the Scriptures were circulated, is matter of history. The unquestionable authority of the New Testament too, both by express declarations and by frequent implication, requires us to believe that Moses and the prophets wrote of Christ. The general position, therefore, that Christ is spoken of in the Old Testament is impregnable. But how far is he to be found there?
If we admit nothing to be written respecting Christ, but those specific statements of the prophets made ex professo respecting a personal Messiah, we shall find indeed only scattered intimations of him here and there. He will not even thus be banished from the Old Testament; but he will be confined to comparatively a very small compass in that portion of Holy Scripture. Some works-able and useful works, too, and carrying the weight of invincible demonstration with themwhich have been written to show how the prophecies have been fulfilled in our Redeemer, have yet, we fear, to some extent weakened the cause which they undertook to maintain, by allowing the impression to be silently left upon the mind, that it is only or mainly in isolated predictions scattered here and there, that Jesus is to be found. It ought to be brought distinctly out that these are only a part, and a very inconsiderable part of the testimony there contained; that the doctrine of the Messiah does not rest merely upon disconnected proof-texts, however numerous or explicit; but only that in them there comes more prominently into view what the whole drift and current of Old Testament Scripture equally conspires to teach.
The student of the Old Testament, from reasons which have already been alluded to, cannot be long engaged in its study before arriving at the conviction that Christ is foretold there. There are predictions and types which are so clear as upon their bare inspection to compel instantly this conclusion. But after reaching this point, it will not be long before he is compelled to take another step, and admit that these explicit predictions of a Messiah and these manifest types are not the only things which speak of him. He will find it impossible upon any satisfactory and consistent principles to limit the Messianic contents of Scriptures exclusively to these. All the
reasons which will constrain him to forsake this ground, need not be here detailed. We shall single out two, which are of themselves sufficiently stringent.
One is the exceeding abruptness and the isolated character which would thus be attributed to these acknowledged Messianie paragraphs. The dying patriarch, Jacob, is describing to his sons the portion their descendants shall respectively possess in the land of Canaan, when suddenly, with nothing to indicate a transition, he speaks of the coming of Shiloh, and then as suddenly returns to his original theme, and goes on with the partition of Canaan. Isaiah is giving to Ahaz a sign, that the two kings warring against him should not accomplish their hostile purpose, and he tells him of the virgin's Son. In the prediction which occupies the last twenty-seven chapters of his book, all is so intermingled, and so apparently spoken of the same subject, that while of some parts Jerome has well said that it seems more as though we were reading a gospel than a prophecy, it is yet impossible to make a separation, and say with accuracy which verses refer to Christ and which to the time of the Babylonish exile. An announcement is made to David of a son, who shall sit upon his throne and build a temple for the Lord, which runs imperceptibly into a prediction of Him who is the greatest of his descendants and the most glorious of his successors. The Psalms appear to be describing the kingdom of David or of Solomon, and almost before we are aware, certainly without advising us of any change of subject, we find attributes ascribed to it of universality, perpetuity, &c., which are the standing characteristics of Messiah's reign, and which never pertained, and never can pertain, to any other. Again, David or some other suffering saint seems to be describing in his own person the sorrows he has endured, and his abandonment of God, when suddenly, with no intimation that the same description is not continued, we light upon passages which are among the most evident predictions of Christ any where to be found. Now, it is impossible to refer these explicit predictions to Christ, and at the same time assume that the context, with which they are so intimately united, has no reference, bears no relation to him, without a violence of procedure which would be tolerated in the exposition of no other book. Verses must be rent out of their connection, and applied to an entirely different subject, without any thing on the face of the passage to justify it. If no principle be laid down, no rule established, but only whenever any thing is said by a sacred writer that can be applied to Christ (no matter what the immediate subject of which he is speaking), this is assumed to be a prediction of him, and the rest of the discourse to relate to something wholly different-what is this but to
make the Scripture the mere plaything of a capricious fancy, and to obtrude upon it as its meaning, not that which the scope of the writer would indicate, but whatever any interpreter may choose?
The same is true of the types of Scripture. There are here and there in the history and institutions of the Old Testament, types so clear and manifest that their reference to Christ will not be denied by any believer in revelation. But if it be affirmed that these stand alone in their reference to him, they present themselves in a strange isolation; and the question instantly arises, to which no satisfactory answer can be given, By what right are these considered predictive of Christ, when no allusion to him is found in all by which they are surrounded? Are we at liberty to go through the history of Israel, and pick out all that bears a real or seeming analogy to the history of Christ, and, discarding all the rest as irrelevant, erect out of these random and violently-sundered fragments a figure of Him that was to come. To whose mind can such a course of procedure carry conviction? or, in the interpretation of what book, except the Bible, would such trifling be accepted as its just sense? If the Bible be an intelligible book, with a fixed meaning of its own, other than that which any interpreter may, at will, fix upon it-if it be the product of a rational mind and addressed to rational minds, all such capricious dealing with it must be discarded. It is by such an arbitrary mode of not only departing from all just principles, but of acting irrespective of any settled principles whatever, that such incongruous and extravagant senses have been forced upon Scripture as have in some quarters brought the very name of types into disrepute, and made the whole idea of their existence an object of ridicule and contempt.
The other argument which we shall here mention as constraining to the belief that Christ is to be found elsewhere than in the express Messianic predictions and the manifest types, is drawn from the authority of the New Testament. The Holy Spirit is surely the best expositor of his own mind. The Spirit who guided the apostles and evangelists is the same that spake through Moses and the prophets. He can tell us with infallible authority what was his meaning in any thing that he inspired the holy men of old to say. Now, we find the writers of the New Testament quoting the language of the Old, or alluding to it as applicable to Christ, declaring that it was fulfilled in him, drawing from it inferences as to his character and work, and that not only from its explicit predictions and types, but equally from such parts as, on the theory of those who find Christ nowhere but in these, have no reference to him whatever. And after all the deductions that
can be made on the ground of the Old Testament being used in the New by way of accommodation rather than of explication, it is yet impossible for him who examines the inspired interpretations given of the Old Testament with any candour, to avoid the conclusion that Christ is represented as spoken of in many passages where no distinct mention of him lies upon the surface; and if their authority be admitted as infallible, of course he must be there.
Here, then, we come to be pressed by the difficulty of finding that certain rule, those settled principles, which shall approve themselves as sound before an enlightened judgment, by which to decide where references to Christ are to be assumed, and how far they are to be pressed; so that we may not on the one hand deny to the Scriptures what they actually contain, nor on the other bring in upon them what has no existence but in our own imagination. There must be some rule besides mere conjecture or caprice. The point of perplexity in the whole subject is the determination of what that rule is. And it is in the endeavour to fix upon it, that such various and conflicting theories of interpretation have been broached. Aside from all examination, it would seem to be the most obvious and simplest rule to refer to Christ only such predictions as are explicitly made of him, and such types as manifestly point to their fulfilment in him. But from reasons which have just been adduced, the finding of a Messianic content in these, and limiting it to them, must be given up as untenable. The authority of the New Testament is against it. The structure of the Old Testament itself, and the context in which these predictions and types stand, is against it. They cannot be torn from their connection, and referred to a totally different subject from that to which all around them refers, but by the most violent and arbitrary procedure. Either, then, these types and predictions themselves have no direct relation to Christ, or else the entire passages in which they stand cannot be separated from all relation to him. Some, who were unbelievers in a supernatural revelation, have not scrupled to take the first horn of this dilemma, and have maintained that no direct prediction of Christ, or, which is tantamount to the same thing, no prediction of him at all, properly so called, is to be found in the Old Testament; that its language invariably referred to some other subject, as indicated by the connection; and if it is applied to Christ, it can only be in the way of accommodation, and altogether apart from the real scope of the writer. When they are confronted with the manifest incongruity of the language with any other subject than Christ, they make a shift to explain it away as a figure of speech, hy perbole, oriental imagery, or something of the sort.