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is the great originality which has placed him apart from all other men, and makes us feel it almost profane to name other names of sages, heroes, martyrs, or prophets in company with his.
Doubtless the experience of the race and the world had prepared for the reception of such a spiritual leader and head of a new society as Christ proved. But all its tendencies and all its preparation would have availed little without him. The pressure of principles, the force of tendencies, form only one factor in the progress of society: the influence of persons is the other. There is a jealousy of personality in much of our later and more original thinking, which is to be deprecated. Such is the modern sense of the value and force of principles, the influence of spiritual, moral, and physical laws, that many seem driven by its fascination to repudiate even the personality of God; while the permanent place of prophets, apostles, and of Christ himself, in the religious history of the race, seems the childish substitution of a temporary expedient and local experience for a universal law. But, upon any theory of immortality, it does seem to us that men and women are so vastly the most important part of this visible universe, that the laws of nature itself are less sacred than the laws of the human soul. More is to be learned of God from man, the greatest of his works, than from all the universe besides. The greatest thing in man is his personality, including both his individuality and the freedom of his will. And what is greatest in man is surely not to be left out in our account of God, — nay, rather is his crowning attribute. Why, then, should we object to own, that personalities as well as principles enter into the history of the race and the Church, as permanent elements and forces? Who that studies what the world owes to a hundred men scattered through history will question the immense significance of persons in the fortunes of the race? True, these great men were great and effectual because they represented great ideas, or great necessities, or great principles. It is only in the conjunction of the finest personality with the grandest principles and the noblest tendencies, that we have the introduction of new eras and great reformations in history. Luther and his times, Washington and his times, are illustrations of this. But, among these providential personalities, we might naturally expect a personality, which, connecting itself with the highest and holiest interests and capacities of man, should rise over all the rest, as Chimborazo among the Andes, — the head of principalities and powers, the permanent type and representative of moral and spiritual authority, so far as it can dwell in any thing outside each human soul. Jesus Christ is the man of men, the person of persons, the majestic and holy embodiment of what is most lovely and sacred in humanity. He assumed the kingship of his race by a necessity equally providential and natural. We find nothing incredible in the seal of miracles put upon a moral and spiritual perfection such as his. If there be a living God, who loves his children and guides our race, we see nothing unworthy his interference, in lighting up the darkness about our Saviour with signs and wonders, as we hold up the costliest lamps to show the loveliness of the most consummate picture. If we were to try Christ's greatness by the most delicate test, it was essential to show how little external miracles could shine in the presence of his moral and spiritual perfections. After all his wondrous acts, of raising the dead, and feeding thousands from a few loaves, and rising from the grave himself, — his gracious words, his holy spirit, are vastly more precious and awing, more divine and attractive, than his greatest miracles. But his miracles are none the less, but only the more, credible for this, - that he could do without them, and we could do without them. To him who hath shall be given. The king does not need his jewels, and they are pale beside his real authority; but he has them. And Christ had his miracles; and eclipsed them by his life, example, and spirit.
It is very interesting to see in works like that under our notice, and like Renan's, the fascination of Christ's person for
We fully believe that he is the sole condition of the existence of the Christian Church, and that a Christianity without Christ would be a solar system without the sun. It is in vain to rally men about ideas alone, especially in matters involving the affections. When you have a war without a flag, you may have a religion without a standard-bearer. Christ is the head of the Church and the head of the race. God has made him so, and time and change will not discrown him.
REVIEW OF CURRENT LITERATURE.
The completing of one portion of Colenso's long and laborious task * enables us to take a connected view of the results he considers himself to have established, and of the evidence on which they rest.
As to the evidence, it is impossible for a mere abstract, however faithful, to give a fair account of it. It includes a "critical analysis” of the Book of Genesis, by chapter, verse, and phrase, the detailed statement of which occupies 260 solid pages of the present volume. It includes an analysis, almost as thorough, of the language of the Psalms, so as to ascertain their correspondences of religious phrase with different portions of the Pentateuch, and to trace their allusions to incidents of the history. It includes the consideration of every point that can be found in the historic or prophetic books of the Old Testament, so as to throw light on any step of the development of religious thought, or on any obscure reference to custom, tradition, or superstition, among the Hebrew people. It assumes a familiarity with the later critical literature of the subject, which can come only by years of special study, and an acquaintance with all that has been brought to light in the obscure field of Syrian and Phænician mythology. Hardly any motive less strong than the polemic animus, roused in a vigorous and independent mind by opposition such as Bishop Colenso has met, would carry one through the weariness of such an investigation. Certainly, no process less thorough can entitle a man to pronounce so confident an opinion as that which he feels himself prepared to give. As to the attempted answers of his English opponents, - Bishop Browne and others, - to judge from the exhibition of their points which we find in the present volume, they are, to the last degree, feeble and insufficient. In point of qualification for his immediate task, Colenso may be fairly said to have his antagonists wholly at his mercy. And it would not be easy to find a critic competent even to revise, and pronounce upon, the testimony he has gathered. The comparative suddenness with which he accepted his present views, at mature life, as soon they were distinctly presented to his mind; the sharp, developed, and positive form they have taken from the first in his exposition of them; the bold and consistent rationalism with which he has pushed them to their results, so that they appear rather a logical sequence than a mental growth, — have given something raw and wilful to the aspect of them, as he has compelled them on the unwilling eye of England. While the singularly devout, as well as resolute and manly spirit in which he has entered the lists, as champion of the truth it is given him to see, mighi prepossess ever so unfriendly a critic to judge him generously.
* The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua critically examined. By the Right Rev. John William COLENSO, D.D., Bishop of Natal. Part V. London: Longmans, Green, & Co. 8vo. (Two divisions, with Preface and Appendices.) pp. xlvi. 320, 320.
It is, of course, quite out of our power to exhibit even an outline of the evidence presented in this large and (spite of its bristling aspect) extremely interesting volume. It will be more convenient to give a brief statement of the results to which the author has been led, and which he considers to be, in the main, sufliciently established for purposes of history and for a key to criticism.
The Israelites, he holds, occupied the land of Canaan, not by an act of overwhelming conquest, not as an organized nation or family of tribes, and not under the inspiration of any common worship or faith; at best, with dim and uncertain traditions of a common ancestry. The hero Joshua bimself is little other than a myth; the book bearing his name, and detailing the adventures of the invasion, is probably from the same hand that composed “ Deuteronomy,” in the spirit of the later prophcts, and in the age of the later monarchy. They were a scattered few- however resolute and fierce — amidst a population more trained, more civilized, and far more numerous. The Book of Judges is the most authentic record of that time. The period it covers — - probably not much over a hundred years is disordered, incoherent, with no one trace of the developed worship or nationality usually ascribed to Moses. The name “ Jehovah” was to all appearance unknown. The religious customs and superstitions were such as prevailed among the Canaanitish tribes, already masters of the soil. The real founder of the Hebrew State, and originator of the Hebrew worship, was Samuel,
who, in this theory, occupies very nearly the position of eminence which the usual tradition ascribes to Moses. And it is to his age, probably to his hand, that we owe that first, brief summary of the traditions of the elder time which we call the “ Elohistic Narrative,” occupying about two-ninths of the present Book of Genesis.
This narrative, so far as concerns the present argument, ends with the verses at the beginning of the sixth chapter of Exodus, in which the name “JEHOVAH” is solemnly introduced, with the distinct statement that it had been unknown to the patriarchs, who had worshipped God only under the title EL-SHADDAI, rendered in our Bible "God Almighty.” This name, then, was adopted by Samuel, for whatever reason, as the symbol of the national worship he established, and of the primitive faith he taught. It was a name already existing in the religious beliefs and worships of the Canaanitish tribes, - a name well known in the Greek report of the Syrian mythology as IAO, — the Lord of Life, the universal Deity.* This name, being already that held in highest reverence, and loftiest in its signification, was adopted as the name of the “ covenant God of Israel” by Samuel and the religious reformers of his prophetic school ; and to it were gathered, by sacred association, those attributes of holiness, majesty, and mercy which so strongly mark the type of the true Hebrew piety.
In this development, and in the higher religious life of Israel, we have a genuine Revelation, made by the Living God to the great leaders and prophets of the Hebrews. But, to the people, the name had been already known in the superstitions of the land. To them the Being it signified-distinguished in this volume by being printed in the symbolic form JHVH — was simply " the Baal” (or “ Lord”) of Israel; and to him, “ on high places and under every green tree,” was offered that bloody, impure, and idolatrous worship which it is impossible on critical grounds to distinguish from the worship of the true God of Israel, while, in fact, it was the very superstition which it was the prophets' commission to abolish. Perhaps the contribution of clearest critical value which Colenso has made to the general study of this
* According to the oracle of the Clarian Apollo, of disputed authenticity, “Lao is the Most High God of all, – in winter, Aïdes; Zeus, in commencing spring; Helios, in summer; and, at the end of autumn, tender Adonis." We adopt what seems to us the more likely reading — “Adonis,” evidently corresponding to the Hebrew“ Adonai “Lord.” VOL. LXXX. - NEW SERIES, VOL. II. NO. I.