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appeared in England. And, small and unpretending though it is, it is the most useful book for the student of Genesis that has yet been published in our language. It cannot take the place of larger commentaries, but it gives a sort of map of the field of study which will enable any one to explore it in detail without losing his way or being hopelessly confused amongst a multitude of disconnected fragments.
G. HARFORD-BATTERSBY, M.A.
EVOLUTION AND SCRIPTURE. By ARTHUR HOLBOROW. Kegan Paul, Trench,
Trübner & Co. Of late years, there have been so many books written on Evolution in its relation to Religion, to Theology, and to the Bible, that, when a new volume appears, one is rather curious to know what fresh phase of the well-beaten subject is presented. So much has been well written, and so much badly written, both as to matter and form, that the public mind is becoming somewhat satiated with this sort of literature; and, as a consequence, any book professing to bring additional light towards the solution of the problems raised by the modern view of Evolution stands a good chance of being laid aside, by those who know, as pretentious, and of being unheeded, by those who do not know, as superfluous. The antiquarians and book collectors of centuries to come will certainly have opportunity of gathering together a singular medley of writings on this subject, and will be able to adduce, for the instruction of their generation, striking illustrations of the oft-recurring truth that the pathway to light and order lies through darkness and confusion. As with the individual, so with the community, success, at last, is built upon many failures; perfection grows out of imperfections.
What is to be the ultimate place of the work before us in the slow process of arriving at the truth on the subject on which it treats? The answer to this question will be determined by the present intellectual position of him who professes to reply, and the degree of knowledge possessed concerning the actual difficulties to be solved. There are evolutionists who know what they speak about, and there are hosts who speak and do not know. The great mass of our people, even those who otherwise are fairly well educated, have very crude notions, if any at all, of what Evolution really is, and less of the areas of fact it is supposed to cover. There can be no doubt but that the extreme evolutionist who, in his comparative blindness to the significance of the moral facts which lie most deeply imbedded in human experience, reduces all to a rigid determinism, minus a Personal God, will regard this book, as he does all such books, with a feeling bordering on contempt. For to him all religions are perversions of correct thinking. It is nothing to him what may be, or may not be, in the Bible. The ever necessitated changes in the phenomenal forms of the Pesistant Force are his “ All in all.” Life and Death, like the rising and bursting of a bubble on the calm surface of a lake, are only passing incidents in the ceaseless flux. “Without God and without hope," might truthfully be inscribed on his tomb. On the other hand, the extreme religionist who, in his wilful blindness to the physical facts laid bare by the diligent hand of Science, fosters only his religious ideas and feelings, and forms no accurate conception of the origin and nature of the written channels through which they have been nourished within him, will assuredly turn away from these pages with a feeling of pity for the author, and a more tenacious hold of the Book which, as he thinks, is here so profanely handled. If he possesses any critical faculty at all, it is never turned towards so sacred a thing as the Holy Scriptures. He has somehow formed notions concerning the nature and structure of the books of the Old and New Testament which preclude any thought of
their being, in their literal sense, at variance, in some instances, with the actual facts in the physical and historical order. The letter of the Bible, in every minutia, is to him as unchallengeable as is the voice of conscience. It is the pure unblended voice of God. He can apply the words of Pope, and say,
““ Whatever is, is right.” But between these two extreme sections there is a considerable class of fairly well educated people who are so perplexed by current controversies that they will gladly hail any wise attempt to expound and adjust the difficulties connected with the bearing of the best results of scientific research on the contents of the earlier portions of Scripture, and, indeed, on the general representations in the Bible of God's relation to man. It is for this section of the reading public that Mr. Holborow has written his book. He has no desire to disturb the peace of those who are at rest and wish to be at rest. He rightly judges, however, that the time has come when religious teachers and guides should fairly and frankly face the questions concerning the Bible which are troubling many sincere Christians; and he believes that this can be done in a way that will enable them to accept the conclusions of science and, at the same time, find a more rational basis for their faith in the Bible. The spirit in which the book is written is admirable. It is reverent, devout, and characterized by a generous charity. The carping tone is entirely absent. Readers will not be pained by the manifest glee with which apparent discrepancies in the Bible are referred to by some of our modern wise men. The author is evidently a devout Christian who believes strongly. He has no fear of Evolution or of Higher Criticism. Rather, he is convinced that the more they are carefully studied, the more unshaken will become the Christian's faith in his Saviour, and the more intelligent will be his use of the Bible. At the same time, we can hardly regard the book as the product of an original investigator, or of one who, at first hand, has become familiar with the details of the Higher Criticism. It is the product of the diligent use of a limited range of authorities, not always of the first rank. One fails to see the strong, bold hand which, in its entire mastery of the subject in principle and detail, opens up, by a few master-strokes, broad avenues of thought. The severely-disciplined intellect will perhaps weary of these pages; but others less exacting may be assisted, by the plodding treatment of the subject, to find their way to an order of conceptions to which at present they are strangers, and may get a clue to the maze of difficulties in which the more popular branches of modern literature have placed them.
The title of the book is somewhat misleading, and the method of working out the argument is susceptible of improvement. An ordinary reader would imagine that by Evolution and Scripture he would be instructed on the bearing of Evolution as a doctrine of Science on the whole of the contents of our Bible, in fact, on the Religion of which the Bible is the instrument; whereas the argument, so far as it is developed, is applied, for the most part, to the early portion of the Book of Genesis. The insertion, in the body of the work, of the Book of Enoch in smaller type, and also of the whole of the Chaldean account of Genesis, rather impairs the force of the reasoning by distracting attention to the details. Also, the exposition of Evolution in the Introduction, and the more ial treatment of it in chapter viïi. in relation to Man and the Fall, lacks completeness. The author announces his acceptance of the scientific view of the order of Nature, and he wants to explain the structure of certain portions of the Bible in accordance with this view. It would have been better had he, in the Introduction, once for all, stated and discussed, if need be, his entire position—the restrictions, if any, he would put upon the application of the scientific principle--and then have proceeded with clear definitions and qualifications to show the sense which, from the nature of the case, we are bound to put upon the language of Scripture in Genesis. Here I may observe, in passing, that our author, following Wallace, exempts Man in his higher nature from the law of Evolution. But philosophers will, I imagine, be disposed to smile at the argument by which he seeks to justify his position. The setting of “ Consciousness over against “ Reason" as an authority is novel in the domain of philosophy. All arguments from Consciousness are an exercise of Reason. Consciousness is involved in every act of Reason; that is to say, Reason is one of the many forms of Consciousness. If Self-conscious. ness is here meant, then, also, a further definition is required; for it may only mean consciousness that self is; which, though indisputable, throws no light on the origin of the first man. It is certainly possible to meet the extreme evolutionist by saying that man, as man, is conscious of freedom, and that, being conscious of this, he cannot, in respect to his higher nature, have evolved from what is pure determinism, since the one is not a developed form of the other, but the very opposite. But to do this is to Reason.
The chapter on the “Word of God and the Scope of Scripture,” is designed to distinguish between the form—the letter—of the Bible and the Spirit, or Revelation of Truth which it subserves. The author holds that the Book we call Bible is not the Word of God. This, at first sight, might shock some good people; but these fears will disappear when they learn from the author that by the Word of God he means, " that portion of His mind which He desires to communicate to man," and that the language of the Bible is the “store of verbal signs” by which the communi. cation is made. Throughout the entire history of man, from ancient prehistoric times up to the present, God, by an evolutionary process, informs the mind of man with such truth as is suited to his condition; and all through the prehistoric ages He was utilizing the low conceptions of savage men so that they might prepare the way, by an evolutionary process, for the higher and more perfect truth of Hebrew and Christian times. Evolution is thus the servant of God; it fits man for what God has to communicate. It should, however, be noticed that our author, like many others, speaks of Evolution entering into Religion and Revelation as it does into inorganic and organic nature, and into social life. It is thought that by thus making the Hebrew and Christian religion the outgrowth of Evolution, peace is made with science. But the peace is illusive. The scientific conception of Evolution is not this conception. Scientific Evolution is pure naturalism, mere phenomenal antecedent and consequent in necessary invariable order. But Mr. Holborow, while asserting that there is this in the growth of the conception of God from prehistoric times, supplements it, by affirming that God Himself acts directly on the human spirit ; and, by a succession of "influxes” occurring at sundry times, perfects the natural growth, and gives to it a value it would not otherwise have. It is obvious that this is not pure naturalism, and consequently not the pure Evolution of Science. Rigid evolutionists of the type of Darwin and Huxley, would object to the expressions, in that sense, “ the Evolution of Religion,” or “the Evolution of the idea of God." It is vain to try and win such men over to Christianity by assuring them that it conforms to the law of Evolution. They will call it nonsense. The fact is, to the Christian the law of Evolution is not the sole and all-embracing law, as it is to the Spencerian school. It prevails within certain areas of fact, both physical and mental, but it does not exclude the direct action of God on the individual spirit. Nor can physical science set aside the peculiar evidence for this truth.
The author's remarks on the “ Writers of Scripture " will be of great service to many, showing clearly how God overruled and utilized the natural growth of ideas, and in due course prepared the world for the higher truths of Hebrew and Christian Revelation. But I would suggest whether the argument on p. 56 from the Moabite inscription is not a case of undistributed middle, and therefore not adequate for the purpose. The Moabite king said, “Chemosh said to me, Go take Nebo against Israel," much as we read “God said unto Moses, Go.” Hence the form of expression being the same, there was no more direct command in the one case than in the other ; both were alike the interpretation put on certain inclinations to go—the local deity was credited with doing directly what he did not do. But surely, as a matter of argument, this will not stand. Two coins may have the same inscription, yet one may be false and the other genuine.
It seems to me that the author has followed too believingly in the steps of Renan, Stade, and others, in asserting that until a late period in their history the Hebrews regarded Jehovah as only a tribal god-one among many surrounding gods. That Abraham's ancestors were polytheists may be true enough; that he once held their faith is also likely; and that again and again Israel in the desert and in Canaan was disposed to fall in with the practices of the polytheistic nations is a matter of history; but all the allusions to Elohim in Gen. i., ii., iii., vi. 5, as the sole Creator and Ruler, the utter absence of local limitation in Abraham's appeal to “ the Judge of all the earth," the perpetual insistence by Moses on the duty of abolishing all so-called gods of conquered people, and the impossibility of fixing a date or period when the passage was made from this recognized polytheism to pure Monotheism, show that, whatever the ignorance and superstition of the people may sometimes have been, their leaders and authorized guides did hold to Monotheism, and strove, often with difficulty, to keep them true to it. The expressions, “God of Abraham," " God of Israel,” “God of your fathers," were used also by Christ and His Apostles, whose Monotheism cannot be questioned any more than ours when we speak of the “ Christian's God.”
There are other points on which criticism might be made, but space forbids. There is so much that is good in this book, and its helpfulness to many is so manifest, that I trust it may be read by those who are perplexed by modern controversies; and though they will find some things that will require for their modification wider reading and fuller consideration, the main issue will be a more intelligent appreciation of what the Bible is. There is much more to be said than is said in this book. It is desirable for Christian readers to be calm, patient, and ready to receive truth from all quarters, and not rush to hasty conclusions on points that admit of much more elucidation than as yet they have received.
CHARLES CHAPMAN, M.A., LL.D. THE TEACHING OF JESUS. By Hans HINRICH WENDT, D.D. Translated by
Rev. John Wilson, M.A. Montreux, Switzerland. Vol. I. Edinburgh:
T. & T. Clark. An estimate of the real value of Dr. Wendt's work will be more appropriate when the translation is complete. At present we have only the first volume of the translation, which extends to the fifth chapter of the third section of the German Edition. The next volume will contain the relation of the teaching of Jesus to the revelation of the Old Testament, the conditions of belonging to the kingdom of God, the two chapters which conclude the third section of the book, and the two important sections which deal with “the testimony of Jesus to His Messiahship,” and with ** the glimpses given by Jesus as to the future development of the kingdom of God on earth." Leaving the untranslated portion out of account for the present, what can be said regarding the work before us, and the manner in which it is presented to the English public? The first question may be answered by a sketch of the contents of the volume before us. The first section deals with “ the historical foundation of
NO. 111.-VOL. II.-THE THINKER.
the teaching of Jesus.” What were the preparations for this teaching ? and what was the state of mind of the people when He came ? Dr. Wendt describes, with great lucidity and with adequate knowledge, the religious conceptions of the Jews in the time of Jesus, and their religious hopes. These two chapters are admirable. Less satisfactory is the following chapter, which professes to trace the “development of the religious view of Jesus.” This is one of the gravest problems of theology, and it cannot be said that a satisfactory solution is obtained. On the one hand, we have from Dr. Wendt, the statement that, “ from first to last He was conscious of His filial relation to God," and on the other hand, the statement that, “ at the moment when Jesus underwent the baptism of John, He received the revelation which imparted to Him His Messianic consciousness.” Dr. Wendt endeavours to reconcile the two statements in the following manner. " No doubt Jesus was previously conscious that He was the Son of God, and an object of the Divine complacency; but through this revelation was awakened the consciousness of a unique pre-eminence of sonship in relation to God, and of the unique significance which, in virtue of this pre-eminence, He should have for the establishment of the kingdom of God and the Messianic dispensation. Whilst, hitherto, Jesus had been conscious of no peculiar excellence which exalted Him above others in respect to His religious views, experi. ences, and acts, and that just because they appeared to Him so simple, normal, and self-evident now, all at once, He recognized the import of these personal qualities." In another paragraph Dr. Wendt has dwelt on the visit of Jesus at the age of twelve to the temple at Jerusalem, and has recognized that at that age Jesus could speak to His parents of God as His Father, and of His sojourn in His Father's House, as if it were a matter of course. If so, then at the age of twelve Jesus must have had a consciousness of His unique relationship to the Father, and this is not consistent with the influence which Dr. Wendt attributes to the revelation made at the baptism. In truth, there are various elements of inconsistency in this chapter; and the im. pression made is that Dr. Wendt has not got the key which suits the lock. The idea of development does not seem to be applicable here.
The discussion on the external aspect of the teaching of Jesus is good, fruitful, and full of discrimination. Jesus did not convey His meaning in an abstract, or in a scientific, or in a systematic form. He spoke as the occasion demanded, and had ever practical aims in view. Metaphors, examples, parables, are used by him, not for their own sake, but as a means for conveying truth to the minds of men. After all that has been written on the subject, Dr. Wendt has found something to say which is both new and striking. As to the “ Ideas in regard to the Natural world,” Dr. Wendt is of opinion that “we must regard all expressions of Jesus in reference to the order of creation as belonging to the externals of His doctrine, and not give them a position among the organic members of His teaching in regard to the kingdom of God. Jesus Himself has intentionally prevented their becoming independent branches of the teaching essential to His mission, and employs them merely as means in aid of that teaching." With regard to ideas in natural history, anthropological ideas, ideas relating to supernatural beings, good and bad, and to history, Dr. Wendt thinks that Jesus used them as they were popularly understood, and used them for the sole purpose of setting forth the Gospel of the kingdom of God.
The third section brings us to the main theme : the kingdom of God. Starting from the passage, Mark i. 14, Dr. Wendt holds that all the contents of the teaching of Jesus can be summed up in the proclamation of the kingdom of God, and the requirements to be fulfilled by those who enter the kingdom. “His preaching in