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will have the best the world contains, will press through all obstacles after it, will live in the first intellectual society. It will always be a pain to a superior mind not to know Homer, Sophocles, Virgil, Tacitus, and Cicero.
It would be doing manifest injustice, however, to the spirit of Dr. Youmans' volume to seem even to imply that a narrow utilitarian stand-point is assumed in it. It is so full of a sense of the infinite resources of mental invigoration and intellectual satisfaction inviting us in the vast and halfexplored book of nature, that it is easy to pardon an apparent oversight of certain other fields of culture. It is full, too, of cheerful, and sometimes exuberant, faith and hope in a nobler future for man, growing out of his awakening consciousness of the marvellous and splendid forces now for the first time placed at his disposal through the revelations of modern science. The bearings of science on the amelioration of the condition of society receive ample discussion. Several of the essays — those of Dr. Hodgson on the study of Economic Science, and of Mr. Herbert Spencer on Political Education, especially — point out, and open up, vast fields for intelligent, benevolent, and confident thought and action in the promotion of human welfare; while, at the same time, they faithfully paint the confusion and misery that have come, not of ignorance alone, but of ignorance conjoined with the best intentions and the most disinterested spirit. The list of subjects indicated is large enough to furnish centuries of work for the best heads and the best hearts. Of work, however! And herein lies the great merit of these essays. They unfold and seriously impress the great conception of the absolute and invariable reign of law over all the affairs of men. They insist on knowledge of the established conditions of success. They battle with the foolish limitations of the sphere of science to stones and stars and plants and animal functions. They demand as rigorous an application of scientific methods to the study of health and intelligence and virtue, of trade and politics and pauperism and insanity, as to the department of optics or mechanics. They bring the studies of the school and the college into intimate alliance
with the serious work of after-life. And they do all this so strongly and eloquently that, wherever the volume goes, it will stimulate thought and shed light.
ART. III. - CURTIS ON INSPIRATION.
· The Human Element in the Inspiration of the Sacred Scriptures. By
T. F. Curtis, D.D., late Professor of Theology in the University
at Lewisburg, Penn. New York : D. Appleton & Co., 1867. The question of the inspiration of the Bible is evidently receiving increased attention and inviting a new discussion at the present time. The labors of Coleridge and Dr. Arnold in this field, a generation ago, accomplished hardly any thing more than to break ground, and open the inquiry. The fearless head-master of Rugby School, in a letter on Coleridge's “ Confessions of an Inquiring Spirit,” speaks of Inspiration as “that momentous question which involves in it so great a shock to existing notions, - the greatest, probably, that has ever been given since the discovery of the falsehood of the Pope's infallibility.” Since Dr. Arnold's day, the fortress of the then “ existing notions” of Scripture infallibility has been beleaguered by hosts of powerful assailants. Criticism has captured the outworks; philosophy undermined the foundations; and the methods of modern science made wholly ineffectual the old means of defence. Yet it may fairly be doubted, whether the predicted “great shock” has ever yet been felt by the multitudes who are within the walls, and whose battle-cry is still only a paraphrase of the famous declaration of Chillingworth, “ The Bible, the Bible only, is the religion of Protestants." The approved orthodoxy of Arnold and Coleridge on other points has not made them safe and trusty guides in this. Plenary Inspiration and Verbal Infallibility may be regarded, by liberal thinkers, as “exploded” notions; but they are thought to be good enginery of defence by thousands of Christian preachers, and tens of thousands of “pious Christian folk.” Could the views of Arnold and Coleridge, to say nothing of more radical doctrines, be submitted to-day to the vote of collective Protestantism in England and this country, those eminent Christian scholars would be classed among the men “who make the Word of God of none effect” through their speculations.
In view of this state of opinion in the theological world, it is certainly a matter of surprise, that no theologian of the Liberal school has written a work upon this all-important and fundamental subject of inspiration. Our Unitarian armory, it is true, has furnished not a few weapons, wherewith the in fallibility of the Scriptures has been most vigorously assailed. Channing, Dewey, Burnap, and others of our older writers, have discussed the question, either directly or incidentally; and the Note in Mr. Norton's “ Genuineness of the Gospels " * remains to this day one of the best expositions of the fallibility and inferiority of the Old-Testament writings. Among recent writers, Dr. Clarke has given us an interesting chapter on the Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, in his “ Truths and Errors of Orthodoxy;” while the famous alternative, “ The Bible or the Mathematics," presents the conclusion of the whole matter, as briefly discussed by the able author of “Reason in Religion."
But even this cursory glance at our theological literature is enough to show, that there has been an apparent indifference to the needs of religious thought in this direction that is any thing but praiseworthy. While something has been done by our literary theologians to answer the inquiries of thinking men in regard to the inspiration of the Scriptures, much more which ought to have been done has been left for others to do; and the want of a thorough and comprehensive work on this subject is yet to be supplied. It is not a long time since one of the most popular and effective ministers in our denomination was obliged to give a series of Sunday. evening lectures on “ The Bible, what it is and what it is Dot;" a topic upon which the members of his own congrega
* Norton's Genuineness of the Gospels, vol. ii., Note D, pp. xlviii-cciv.
tion were as much in need of information as those who came to hear him from Evangelical churches, and the unchurched masses. That men who are called by their special qualifications and their divine commission to practical religious work, and not to speculative theological discussion, should thus be compelled to lecture on Inspiration, because no fit treatise on the subject can be found for their people to read, is certainly a reproach to theology, and hints at a deficiency in our theological literature that ought long since to have been provided for.
How far Dr. Curtis, in the work recently brought out by the Appletons, on “ The Human Element in the Inspiration of the Scriptures," meets this want, remains to be seen. The “religious reticence” which he so justly blames in those who hold new and broader views, but withhold them from others, cannot be charged on Dr. Curtis himself. Indeed, the chief value of his work is to be found in its frank and full expression of views and opinions“ gained only very slowly, unwillingly, and against every earthly prepossession." After having held for many years the professorship of Theology in the University at Lewisburg, Dr. Curtis at last felt obliged to resign his situation, because of the growing divergence between his own convictions and the opinions of his denomination — the Baptist — on the subject of Inspiration. “It appeared to me,” he says, in the preface to his work," that men in evangelical religious circles were, for the most part, too cautious in speaking with candor, or in making any concessions not absolutely wrung from them by the force of circumstances; and that the tendency of much of the teaching in our theological seminaries is to stifle deep, thorough, and candid inquiry on all these points, and therefore to leave our rising ministry quite unprepared for the work of the age before them.” Feeling, therefore, out of sympathy with such conservatism, and being obliged annually to define his position upon the vexed questions in theology, Dr. Curtis decided to " resign his professorship, examine the whole subject of Inspiration more thoroughly and independently, and publish such conclusions as might seem
calculated to assist others tried by the same difficulties and struggles.”
The work before us, the result of this independent and careful study, seems admirably adapted both to interest and instruct those for whom it was written. Without aiming at an exhaustive treatment of the subject, or pretending to remove all the philosophical and critical difficulties in which it is involved, Dr. Curtis has given a comprehensive, and in the main impartial, survey of the various theories of Inspiration; has stated with clearness, and without exaggeration, the principal objections which science and criticism have urged against the infallibility of the Bible; and has rendered a valuable service to the cause of rational religion by his able defence of the equal importance of God's other revelations in nature and providence, in history, and the religious experience of all good men. “A stronger faith,” he tells us, "in the great principles of universal religion is the chief want of our day.” –“The whole Church of the future groweth into a holy temple only by incorporating materials from every dispensation and revelation of the past.” — “There are many religious truths progressively revealed by natural religion, by science, and history, which yet cannot be learned from the most diligent study of the Scriptures alone. ... God's true revelation, as a whole, expands with each age.” Such sentences as these have a very unevangelical ring. They remind us, rather, of some of the best passages of Theodore Parker in the chapter on the Bible in his “Discourse of Religion : ” “ The Bible is one ray out of the sun, one drop from the infinite ocean. ... Its truths are old as creation, repeated more or less purely in every tongue. ... Let the Word of God come through conscience, reason, and holy feeling, as light through the windows of morning."*
Indeed, it would be difficult to distinguish the general position of Dr. Curtis, in respect to the inspiration of the Bible, from that of Mr. Parker. “The influence of the Bible," says Parker, “ past and present, rests on its profound re
* Parker's Discourse of Religion, pp. 376, 377.