Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

in proof of his position that the Divine man, instead of being an ideal creation, was a reality, of which each Evangelist has given a portrait taken from a somewhat different point of view, requires him to establish the fact that a substantial unity underlies the whole portraiture; he proceeds to show, with his characteristic fulness and conclusiveness of reasoning, that the Jesus of the Gospels does present us with a substantial unity in all the multiform aspects in which the Evangelists hold him up to our view.

Now in regard to all this, we would remark, 1. That it is to be regretted that in connection with Mr. Row's method of accounting for the diversities which we discover in the Gospels, viz., that they are the work of a multiplicity of minds, he makes the hurtful concession that they contain some real discrepancies or inaccuracies of historical statement. He holds an unsound theory of inspiration. These concessions are inore clearly and expressly made in the last chapter of his book, where he shows that the Gospels fulfil the historical conditions on which they are based. Whether the Synoptics are compared with each other or with the fourth Gospel, it cannot be proved that any statement contained in one is really inconsistent with any which is made in the others. 2. There are certainly apparent disagreements in the four narratives. It is very probable that there was at first an oral Gospel, but there are other methods for satisfactorily accounting for these apparent variations besides the one which the author maintains that it is necessary for us to adopt. We should probably be able to explain most of them by distinguishing between mere juxtaposition in the record, and immediate chronological succession. 3. Mr. Row's argument is, that if we assume that inany persons were engaged in the production of the Gospels, each acting independently of the other, then the fact that the portraiture in its multiform aspects is a perfect unity, proves that it belonged to one who really existed. But the unity is at least an argument against the mythic theory whether the Gospels are supposed really to be the work of many minds or not. That theory is, that all the parts of the portraiture were the creations of the imagination of an immense number of Christ's deluded followers. As the inventors of the myths VOL. XLII.-NO. IV.

40

which compose the Gospels were many, the mythic stories were numerous. And they owed their existence to the spontaneous powers of the mind, "acting not in obedience to reason but to impulse.” They had the most difficult problems to solve. Each mythic story consisted of a small fragment of a character. Each mythologist went on creating fictions independently of all the others. And these inventions, produced in the manner described, united together, resulted in the production of the glorious portrait which we have presented to us in the Evangelical Gospels. Now, if this is propounded as an account of the origin of the portraiture, it is sufficiently refuted when it is shown that that portraiture is a unity. It is selfevident that “a complicated unity could never be evolved” by means of a succession of such creations as these. If, therefore, we explain the variations in the Gospel by some other method than that which Mr. Row adopts, and refuse to admit with him that many persons were the authors of them the argument against the mythic theory founded on the complicated unity of the portraiture still has force.

With these comments on the chapter which treats of the essential unity of the portraiture of the Evangelical Jesus, we must bring our review of this able and interesting book to a close Of some of its chapters we have only been able to give the titles. It has been our desire to enable our readers to form some idea of both the compass and the thoroughness of the author's argument. We should rejoice to see an American reprint of the work. It cannot have a wide circulation without doing much toward settling the controversy to which it relates.

Art. VI.--China as affected by Protestant Missions. The subject divides itself under three heads. 1st. China ; 2d. The commerce and civilization of that great empire; and 3d. What the missionary has done to bring it prominently before this country and the world. China is in the same latitude with us, having similar varieties of climate. As we have the Atlantic, so they have the Pacific ocean. As we have thirtyeight States, so they are divided into eighteen provinces. As the State of Massachusetts has its own notions and peculiarities that differ much from those of South Carolina, so these provinces have their peculiarities, and we study them in whole and in parts. As we have governors, so they have viceroys; but these rule two provinces. As we have a few first-class cities, so they number theirs by hundreds, if not by thousands. As we have forty millions, so they have nearly four hundred millions, and are about ten times as populous.

We propose to speak of the greatness of China, under different heads. China is great in her antiquity. Founded before Nineveh or Egypt, she still exists. Before Romulus built the walls of Rome, before Samuel anointed Saul to be king over Israel, she was a vastly-extended, mighty empire. Her records reach back four thousand years. Before Columbus was born, a canal twelve hundred miles long was finished. Their great wall, covered with granite, has been built twenty centuries. While we Americans were barbarians—before the days of Alfred the Great-while our ancestors were savages, the merest plebeians of China were clothed in silks and satins. Visited by Marco Polo in 1250, the first European traveller who ever saw them, and who told about their civilization, their silks, their porcelains, and their wonderful cities, he was pronounced insane and the greatest liar of his age. It is only lately we have recognized him as a truthful traveller. Then China is great and alınost unrivalled among nations in her age and antiquity.

She is also great in her discoveries. The fruit of her genius, science, and investigation. Secluded from the world, she studied them out alone. Printing, gunpowder, the mariner's compass, porcelain, the making of paper, india-ink to stamp it-such discoveries would make any nation proud, and immortalize any people. Printing on wooden blocks she invented in the year 177 of the Christian era; we invented printing in 1450. In the eighth century she had fifty-three thousand old, and twenty-eight thousand new works in her public library. The mariner's compass, without which America could not have been discovered, or our nation have any existence, we owe to China. A people making such great and useful discoveries so early must be a great and interesting people.

She is also great in her manufactories. Her silk fabrics she invented as original, and in beauty, durability, and excellence they cannot be equalled or surpassed. Hundreds of years later they were made in France and Italy, but these cannot compare with those of China. The Queen's diamond must be cut in Holland, and yet the art was well known in China for centuries. Their tissue paper, out of rice, cannot be made by us, and no substitute for india-ink has been discovered. Untaught and alone they studied these out. Except the steam-engine and electric telegraph, there is no great invention they did not originate. Then they can compare favorably with the polished nations of the world in manufactures.

China is likewise great in her system of internal improvements, and in this (steam excepted) excels most nations. They have easy and free intercourse through all the empire, and have had for hundreds of years. Napoleon's road over the Alps is the wonder of modern engineering, and yet they have roads over the Himalaya Mountains equalling the Simplon road over the Alps. They have two thousand canals, the great highways of travel, which serve also for irrigating and drainiug. Their agriculture is the best in the world. For hundreds of years they have been using the same land, supporting an immense population, and yet the soil is richer than ever.

We boast much of our virgin soil, but it cannot surpass theirs. They have a bridge of granite at Fouchow, eight hundred years old. Here many of our bridges break down. If such a thing happens in China they bastinado the bụilder. All these works were built and in complete operation while the dark ages lowered over Europe, and the civilized nations of France, Germany, and England bowed to priest and Pope, and monkish processions and worshipping old bones and relics were the earnest occupation of multitudes in polished Christian Europe. Certainly the contrast in civilization is in inany points in favor of China

Great in her system of laws and languages. The great Roman empire in her palmiest days numbered 250,000,000; China exceeds 400,000,000. The Pandects of Justinian, the great law code of the Romans, so highly eulogized by Gibbon, was made late in the empire. The laws of China were codified 2,000 years ago. These laws, examined by the ablest British jurists, and commented on by the Elinburgh Review, are pronounced the wisest and best of Asia, and will compare most favorably with the laws of the most civilized nations. These laws are revised every five years. This fact proves the Chinese not to be the stereotyped nation they are so often represented to be. In China they all read the same language. As the Roman empire was consolidated by the use of the Latin tongue and ours by the use of the English language, so China has preserved her empire and nationality by similar means. In these respects the comparison is not unfavorable for China

Great, too, in her literary systein; and in this they excel other nations. Popular education is more general, and the social structure, tested and tried through centuries, is more firmly established than in any other nation. All public offices are opened to graduates alone, without distinction of birth, nationality, or creed, and intelligence is the only legalized passport to office. The emperor is supreme, and yet the law binds him so that only literary graduates can be appointed to office. Compare this with England, France, or favored democratic America, and the palm must be awarded to China.

Great is she in her commercial advantages-an unrivalled system of internal communication—an immense, ingenious, active, and laborious people-a healthy climate-a sea-coast of several hundred miles in extent--a tonnage equal to that of England, France, or America. Her merchants—shrewd business men--coming in contact with English, French, and Americans, fully equal them. The rich men scattered up and

« ElőzőTovább »