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come together to share a common fcast. It is hard for us of the present day to realize how completely the idea of the Supper, as communion, had vanished from the minds of the Church at Corinth. But, on the other hand, having the idea of a perfect communion clearly before us, how imperfectly is it realized ! The Church of the present, better, much better, than that of the distant past, has yet much to learn of the all-comprehensive spirit of brotherly kindness. This feeling of kinship should be stronger than any other sentiment among those who meet at the Lord's table.
II. The Lord's Supper is profaned when it ceases to be a memorial service.
In verses 23-26 the institution of the Supper is described.
III. That the Lord's table may not be profaned we must discern the Lord's body. This the Christian may do. He can discriminate between this feast and an ordinary repast. He can be reminded by the bread that our Lord freely gave His body for the life of the world. The cup may eloquently speak to him its “sweet, silent sermon.” It may tell him that the sacrifical love of Christ is the source of the soul's joyous life. As the bread and the cup give life to his body,
he will be reminded that Christ is the soul's food.-W. G. Sperry.)
THE SURVEY OF THOUGHT.
POLITICAL PARTIES IN ISRAEL.-A writer in The Old and New Testament Student draws attention to a field of Biblical study which has as yet been only partially investigated, but from which much inspiring and helpful teaching will doubtless be obtained. It seems, at first glance, as he says, something like a profanation or degradation of the life of ancient Israel to speak of “politics" in connection with its history. Our conception of this people—at least, our ideal conception—is that of a nation somehow living apart to itself, or rather to Jehovah, on a higher plane than that of other Oriental peoples. It strikes us that a national and social life corresponding to this high position ought to have been exhibited by them. But any real historical study of the Old Testament effectually dissipates such ideas. A careful investigation of the historical, social, and national life of Israel will lead to surprising results, revealing the ebbing and flowing of political life, the clash of parties, the intrigues, conspiracies, rise and fall of social and national ideals, and, in short, all that makes up “politics.” It is still more surprising to find among the leading politicians of the stirring periods of the eighth and ninth century history, the prophets. Some of their great prophecies were, at the first, political speeches or pamphlets. Their symbolical acts and sayings were often intended to have a direct and immediate effect upon persons and projects which concerned “politics ” in Israel, or Egypt, or Assyria, or Babylon. It is a very strange fact, and yet one very easy of explanation, that the political policy of the great prophets was that which was directly opposed to the national welfare. destruction of the old Israel. Prophetic “politics" really ruined the nation. From the secular point of view, their ideas were completely unrealizable, their principles irrational, their methods of carrying out their ideals and principles perfect moonshine ; or rather, their whole policy involved the overthrow of existing institutions, institutions which seemed to have had the sanction of the highest wisdom, and to have been founded and favoured by Jehovah. The fact that they succeeded is the fact of Jerusalem's destruction. The significance of their position was not always clear to themselves, but at times the greatest of them recognized it; as, for example, Isaiah, when at the end of his life he recounted the fact of his “call” and explained its significance (chap. vi.); or Jeremiah, when he interpreted his work as twofold,“ tearing down" as well as “ building up." The impression cannot be avoided that we have but one side of the prophetic element or life represented in the Bible, namely, that element which succeeded. The defeated “party” is not given a chance of presenting its side of the
NO. IV.-VOL. 11.—THE THINKER.
case. No doubt there were many in Israel who thought that they loved God, who were not in sympathy with “prophetic politics.” They were just as sincerely loyal to God as were the prophets. From their point of view Jehovah seemed to lead the nation in a direction opposite to that in which the prophets would lead it. The conflict between Hananiah and Jeremiah (Jer. xxviii.) may be taken as an example. What ground can there be for holding that the former was corrupt and godless, and only the latter sincere ? None. It is simply that the one was mistaken, profoundly and yet sincerely mistaken, while Jeremiah had the truth, knew the mind and purpose of God. The recognition of the “political element" in the history of Israel deepens the reality of the Biblical life. It makes more vivid the likeness of that life to ours; and it adds to the essential of those great prophets, while it removes that false sanctity which separates them from the human brotherhood.
THE DOCTRINE OF KENOSIS.—The statement of St. Paul (Phil. ii. 7) that Christ “emptied Himself" has been used by many modern critics to support the theory that during His earthly life He did not possess the attribute of omniscience. An article in the Methodist Review contains a protest against this inference from the passage, and asserts that it describes moral self-humiliation rather than intellectual impoverishment. Jesus Himself, the author says, apparently drew boundary lines around His knowledge (Mark xiii. 32), but not warranting the inference of other boundaries, neither drawn nor specified. Knowing Himself, He did affirm a limitation; but as to what subjects? Not as to man; not as to literature, science, history; not as to the Old Testament or its writers, nor as to the Judaic economy; not as to the future life, nor the facts of heaven and hell ; not as to the value of religion or the immortality of the soul; not as to anything that man ought to know. It is not enough to say that as He did not teach concerning many things He must have been ignorant of them, for He came only as a revealer of spiritual truths, and ignored other things, not from ignorance, but because they did not belong to His mission. The argument a silentio has been worked until it has resulted in a reaction that is favourable to the doctrine it would destroy. Jesus did not affirm ignorance, but rather refused to disclose the secret purpose of the Father, which in no wise concerned the race; but in no instance did He withhold knowledge with reference to events, men, causes, effects, that have passed away or ceased to operate. The self-emptying process to which Christ subjected Himself in assuming the form of man signified an abnegation, not of knowledge, which in itself is unthinkable, but of the right of dominion in the eternal world, of personal glory and honour, and of apparent ineffable and unbroken fellowship with the Father and the angels. He came among men, exchanging riches for poverty, bereaved of the lustre of pre-existent greatness, despoiled of power, without a pillow for His head or a crown for His brow. He was humiliated in the sight of the world, became the subject of an unfathomable grief, trod the winepress alone, and died under the malediction of the race
He would save.
Studied in the light of these limitations, all of which are possible and are accepted as historic facts, the career of Christ has a human aspect that is startling and natural. To insist, on the other hand, that He emptied Himself of knowledge to any degree on any subject is to insist on an utter intellectual impossibility ; while to hold that He was ignorant without emptying Himself is to hold to His absolute ignorance, which makes faith in Him as a Divine teacher impossible. Kenosis loses its significance, and its function is destroyed, when turned to the support of a theory that robs Christ of an attribute that links Him to God.
THE FAYOUM FRAGMENT.-In the Revue Biblique M. Savi gives an account of the speculations and theories to which this curious little fragment of Gospel history has given rise. It was found among some manuscripts from Fayoum in Egypt, which were bought for the Imperial Library in Vienna, and consists of a small scrap of papyrus containing seven mutilated lines of text. The writing is in uncial characters, and it is generally agreed that the manuscript goes back to the third century. Literally translated it runs as follows:
[going to the Mount of Olives after) supper, as his custom was: “all ye this night shall be offended, as it is written, I will smite the shepherd and the] sheep shall be scattered abroad': Peter (saying], ‘Although all yet will not (I). Before the cock crow twice [this night thou shalt] deny (me thrice].'"Although the fragment is very short, it presents some remarkable peculiarities. The Greek text does not correspond with that of any one of the Synoptic Gospels, but has affinities with that of each of the three. Thus it has the phrase, “this night,” which is found in St. Matthew (xxvi. 31); “twice,” which we find only in St. Mark (xiv. 30); while the words, as his custom was” (ós éË Dovs), are almost identical with those in St. Luke (xxii. 39 : katà tó Oos). Two words in it are not found in New Testament Greek: elektpvóv, cock, and KOKKÚčelv, to crow; instead of adéktwp and pwveîv, as in the Gospels. The quotation from Zechariah, it is to be specially noticed, agrees with the text in St. Matthew and St. Mark, which departs from that in the LXX. It is also remarkable that the prophecy of Christ as to His appearing to His Apostles again in Galilee after His resurrection (Matt. xxvi. 32; Mark xiv. 28) is omitted in the Fayoum fragment; and this is not due to a mutilation of the manuscript, as there is no gap in it sufficiently large to have contained the shortest possible reference to it. Another point of interest is that the fragment agrees with the first two Evangelists in stating that the prophecy of St. Peter's denial was given after the Last Supper, while the third and fourth Evangelists state that it was given during the Supper. The majority of scholars regard this fragment as a portion from some very ancient extracanonical gospel, though it differs in character from those of which we have special knowledge. St. Luke states that there were many who took in hand to draw up narratives of the life of Christ (i. 1), and it may be that in the precious relic discovered at Fayoum we have a document earlier in date than
the third and fourth Gospels. There is still, however, the more prosaic theory, for which a good deal may be said, that it is simply a portion of a harmony of the narratives in the Synoptic Gospels. The finding of this fragment kindles our hopes of gaining fresh light upon vexed questions of Biblical criticism from manuscripts yet lying undiscovered in the Eastern world.
OLD TESTAMENT CRITICISM.-In The Churchman Dr. Stanley Leathes protests against what he regards as the overthrowing of the historical credit of the Old Testament by “ the so-called Higher Criticism." "
"If," he says, “the general character of the Old Testament is discredited, the position of the New must be materially affected thereby. The general truth and authority of the Old Testament is taken for granted in the New, and therefore, as far as the New is based upon the Old, it must be intimately concerned in the fortunes of the Old. Everything which tends to invalidate the Old must weaken the foundations of the New, so far as the New is dependent upon
the Old.” No one would, we suppose, dispute this. The question is, Does a more accurate knowledge of the origin and dates of the books of the Old Testament lead necessarily to the disastrous result which Dr. Leathes dreads? He assails with great vehemence the theory that the Book of Deuteronomy was not written by Moses, but by some anonymous writer, probably in the reign of Manasseh, and he says that this makes it a "romantic fiction very narrowly to be distinguished from a forgery, and consequently utterly untrustworthy." As it is the criticism of the book in Canon Driver's Introduction that is specially referred to, it is only fair to ask if that is the conclusion to which that author believes the facts, as he states them, lead up. On the contrary, we find that he says, “ Deuteronomy may be described as the prophetic reformation, and adaptation to new needs, of an older legislation. . The bulk of the laws contained in it is undoubtedly far more ancient than the time of the author himself; and in dealing with them as he has done, in combining them into a manual for the guidance of the people, and providing them with hortatory introductions and comments, he cannot be held guilty of dishonesty or literary fraud. There is nothing in Deuteronomy implying an interested or dishonest motive on the part of the (post-Mosaic) author; and this being so, its moral and spiritual greatness rests unimpaired : its inspired authority is in no respect less than that of any other part of the Old Testament Scriptures which happens to be anonymous (p. 85). The truth is that it has not been from pure wantonness that critics have constructed a theory as to the date and authorship of Deuteronomy different from that previously held. They have been forced to it by the pressure of facts, which the advocates of the traditional theory seem to ignore utterly. Let the latter reconcile the peculiar phenomena of Deuteronomy with the supposition of its Mosaic authorship. To do this satisfactorily is the only way to confute the “higher critics."