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you will know whether watching, whether expectancy, whether looking with patience to that which is not yet, has chief part or no in bringing out of man the noblest music of his soul.”
Dr. Maclaren's latest volume exhibits all his well-known graces and gifts. For many years past he has captivated the religious world by the freshness and lucidity of his expositions, and by the glowing earnestness of his intense spiritual power. These characteristics are here as conspicuous as ever; and in every discourse we discover the rich, mellow fruitage of mature Christian thought. While Dr. Maclaren keeps to the old lines of evangelical belief, and knows nothing, for example, of the modern “ gospel of creation,” he expounds the time-honoured truths of Revelation with unfailing force and eloquence. At the same time, he is completely out of sympathy with that narrow, rigid conservatism “ which does not love the old so much as it hates the new, and which understands neither.” While regarding objective revelation as complete, he asserts that “ there is meant to be advancement in understanding of the truth and in appropriation of the power. Jesus is inexhaustible. No one man can absorb Him all: no one age can."
Our author never produces a volume of sermons without permanently enriching our stores of Biblical exegesis. The sermon on “ The Conquering Christ” gathers together the Apocalyptic uses of the name “ Lamb" for Jesus Christ, and throws quite a new light upon them. The student who has looked out of his lexicon the uses of TOTEÚEW in New Testament Greek, and then turns to the sermon on “ Phases of Faith,” will find the distinctions of usage settled for ever in his mind by Dr. Maclaren's fruitful exposition. The doctrine of the mystic union of believers with Christ is evidently a favourite theme with the preacher; for, while it is set forth with extraordinary fulness of expression in the sermon expressly dealing with it, entitled “ How a Church Lives and Grows,” we find the preacher's train of thought again and again leading up to it. Indeed, his ideas, like the radii of a circle, converge at last to one centre, even Christ. This is the secret of Dr. Maclaren's power. No truth or conviction with him can be complete until it has been examined in its relation to Christ. The preacher's fertility of illustration is exemplified everywhere. The most effective, perhaps, are those drawn from nature-a favourite source with Dr. Maclaren, who has a poet's eye and a poet's heart. Take, for example, the following passage from his exquisite study entitled “Glimpses of the Heart of Jesus":
"Christ's sympathy was incalculably deeper and more poignant than ours can ever be. For His eye was clearer than ours, and saw deeper. To Him the single sufferer represented crowds. The one black drop brought to His mind all the sullen ocean of blackness which rolls its heavy tides round the whole world. We see but the wave or two that break nearest us, and all the other multitudinous billows escape our knowledge. We mass men in the race, and, generalizing, lose the impression of individuals. We have a vague notion that there is a great deal of sorrow in the world, but we do not receive the impact of it all on our own hearts, as Jesus Christ did. He saw as a God what He pitied as a Man.” It remains to add that these volumes are enriched by excellent likenesses of the preachers, and also by a novel and useful appendix in the form of a bibliography.
R. MARTIN POPE, M.A. THE NATURAL HISTORY OF IMMORTALITY. By JOSEPH WILLIAM REYNOLDS,
M.A. Longmans, Green & Co. In presence of the admitted impossibility of formulating any logical proof of the continued existence of the conscious self after the death of the body, the universal, or almost universal, prevalence of the belief in a future life is one of the most remarkable facts of human history and experience. To some extent this widespread faith
in a life beyond the grave may have been built upon the phenomena of dreams, in which the soul seems to possess an existence independent of the body, and in which the continued presence of the departed seems to assert itself to the imagination of the sleeper; but no such explanation can be accepted as adequate to account for the universality and strength of the conviction and the hope. It cannot, in fact, be legitimately ascribed to anything else than the intuitive, instinctive faith of human nature. It is, indeed, chiefly with the moral nature of man that the hope of future existence is associated.
“ The ideal, the perfect, is always beyond us, lies in the future. The longing (for more life and better) is natural, and being natural, has, like all natural things, an unseen counterpart—the life which is to come ; for the fingers of the powers above do tune the harmonies of this lower sphere” (p. 55).
The same compulsion of our nature which necessitates our recognition of the imperative obligation of the right and the good, constrains us to expect with an invincible assurance that the right must ultimately triumph, and that goodness shall bring true and lasting happiness.
"The hope excited and sustained by our reasonable and moral faculties of a future renovation and completion of our existence, is in itself a pledge of success (p. 104).
Our faith in righteousness is that it is the regal principle of the universe; and that under the reign of the power that makes for righteousness, the summum bonum which consists in the combination of virtue and happiness shall be realized. In the very yearning of our souls for a state in which all wrongs shall be redressed, in which all who hunger and thirst after righteousness shall be filled, and in being filled, shall be blessed—we have an assurance and pledge that the aspiration shall be satisfied.
“Is it a great wonder," asks our author, “that we having organs necessary for successive phases of existence, regard prudent foresight as to another world with the same confidence that we see lower animals prepare for their migrations, and for a transit to a further stage of being ?” (p. 104).
“Man's passage to another stage of existence is certainly a natural process and prophecy confirmed by Divine Revelation ” (p. 100).
The natural hope of immortality has, indeed, been marvellously confirmed in the hearts of men by the preaching of Him who is the resurrection and the life. “We have been begotten again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” The Apostle Paul in expressing his firm conviction that his fervent longing for a future life should be satisfied, declared that he did so on the ground that the present spiritual experiences of the redeemed and sanctified soul are sufficient warrant for all our highest and holiest hopes. * He that hath wrought us for this very thing is God; who gave unto us the earnest of the Spirit.”
Prebendary Reynolds discusses the subject of Immortality from the point of view we have here indicated. His latest volume will fully sustain the repute which his previous works had won for wide reading, earnest thought, and literary skill and culture. There are many passages rich in happy suggestiveness, many choice quotations, and many apt illustrations of spiritual truth drawn from physical and biological science which sympathetic students will appreciate. As a treatise, however, the work must be held to be lacking in clearness and definiteness of aim, in logical precision, and in a sense of proportion in regard to the relative value of the arguments and materials made use of. Four chapters are devoted to the subject of Dreams, ten to Satan and Demons, and seven to Faith-healing. In these chapters the author's mysticism leads him to the confines of what would generally be regarded as credulity or superstition. And yet few Christians will question the
assertion that “thousands of men and women have received answers to prayer, deliverances, and healing comforts which exceeded the natural order” (p. 324).
The book will doubtless prove helpful in quickening and confirming the faith and hope of many in whose experience the ever-present and ever-pressing claims of the secular and the material are threatening to banish from mind and heart the realities of the spiritual and supernatural realm.
JAMES M. Hodgson, M.A., D.Sc., D.D.
THE EARLY RELIGION OF ISRAEL AS SET FORTH BY BIBLICAL
WRITERS AND BY MODERN CRITICAL HISTORIANS. The Baird Lecture for 1889. By JAMES ROBERTSON, D.D., Professor of Oriental Languages in the University of Glasgow. William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh and
London, 1892. Many of Professor Robertson's friends were beginning to fear that " The Baird Lecture for 1889," by reason of the author's excessive modesty, was fated to appear as a posthumous publication. The delay in the appearance of the volume, however, has proved the contrary of detrimental to its success, and for this reason. In the three years that have passed since the delivery of the lectures--for it is a pure fiction to speak of them in the singular-interest in the criticism of the Old Testament, both as literature and as history, has increased ten, if not " an hundred fold.” In this short period, in fact, what Professor Robertson here terms the “modern'
“ critical theory" of the Old Testament has advanced in favour by leaps and bounds, till now it is itself “fast becoming traditional ” (p. 8). The result, to the delight of those who, like the writer, owe their interest in Old Testament study to the contagious enthusiasm of the author, and the inspiration of his class-room, has been that these lectures have met with a welcome which they would scarcely have received had they appeared immediately after delivery, and this simply because the need for them was not then so keenly felt.
A not inappropriate sub-title for these lectures would be “ A Plea for Common Sense in Old Testament Criticism.” The lecturer distrusts specialists “because specialists are very prone to become theorists, and a specialist with a theory is a very unsafe guide when questions of evidence have to be settled ” (p. 7), and therefore he would appeal from the too finely spun theories of our modern critics “ to the common sense of reflecting people.” This attitude seems, at the first blush, a plausible one, but is in reality apt to mislead. In thus appealing to the untrained judgment of the average reader of the Old Testament, does the learned Professor sufficiently realize the magnitude and exceeding complexity of this problem of the religious history of Israel? Let us take as an illustration the revolution in men's notions of the physical universe brought about by the astronomical speculations of Copernicus. Surely the venerable Ptolemaic system, according to which the sun went round the earth, would have carried the day had the final appeal been made to the “common sense" of the average observer. No, it is not to the common sense even of “reflecting people” to which, in this crisis, we should appeal, but to the trained judgment of the Old Testament student; and the reason, as it seems to me, is that I have already giventhe exceedingly complex, and in some respects conflicting, evidence with which we have to deal.
This preliminary objection apart, Dr. Robertson's method of conducting his impeachment of the critics is thoroughly sound. It may perhaps be in the recollection of some that in the first number of this magazine, in the course of a notice of another work in defence of the traditional position, I remarked that " if the critics
are ever to be vanquished they must be met on their own ground." I do not wish to claim the merit either of profundity or of originality for the remark, but only to point to these lectures as at least a partial illustration of its truth. “Just,” we read, “ because the issues in this controversy are so far reaching, is it necessary to meet the critical view on its own ground, and to examine the foundation on which it rests” (p. 489). Professor Robertson, in short, if I understand his position rightly, accepts generally the results of the critical analysis of the Pentateuch, and to a certain extent of the historical books as well ; but he is prepared, or rather he here undertakes, to prove that such critical theories regarding the composition of the books as may be found, say, in Driver's Introduction, do not in the least involve such a reconstruction of Old Testament history as that advocated by thoroughgoing disciples of Wellhausen and Stade. In this undertaking he will have the sympathy of very many in this country and America, who, while recognizing the brilliant results which the two scholars just named have obtained in certain directions, are repelled by their pronounced naturalistic prepossessions from accepting many of their conclusions.
This willingness on Dr. Robertson's part to accept, if need be, the more important results of the newer criticism in its literary aspects, gives him a great advantage over such able but more conservative apologists as Professor Green of Princeton, or our own Principal Cave. For it is hopeless at this time of day to attempt to invalidate the results, for example, of Pentateuchal analysis as obtained, with ever-increasing unanimity, by a host of critics of various schools from Astruc to Driver. I should be much surprised to hear that either Principal Cave's Journal Theory or Bishop Ellicott's so-called “ Rectified Traditional Theory” has any considerable following among younger Hebraists in this country. Dr. Robertson, therefore, has chosen his ground with the skill of an accomplished strategist; and it is with great interest that we follow him as he proceeds, in his second chapter, to summarize with fairness, in the main, the two contending theories of the history of Israel, which he names respectively the “ Biblical" and the “ modern ” theory.
In the third chapter he comes to close quarters with the advocates of the latter theory, and, as I have already indicated, challenges them on their own ground and with their own weapons. He takes his stand, that is, at the period within which, according to the critics, fall the earliest writing prophets, Amos and Hosea (850750 s.c.); and in the light of the undisputed data which they furnish he proceeds, in the following chapters, to examine, point by point, the leading conclusions of the Wellhausen school with regard to such topics as the name and dwelling-place of Israel's God, His visible representation and worship. Without entering into details, which is scarcely possible here, I think it will be admitted by all readers, whatever may be their critical sympathies, that in these chapters Dr. Robertson is at his best. He shows himself thoroughly acquainted with the positions of the extreme critical left; and although one occasionally feels that he is attacking an excrescence rather than a necessarily genuine growth, a badly-constructed outwork, and not the inner citadel, it must be allowed that no one, either in this country or in America, has exposed with such commanding skill and merciless logic the weak points of the * critical theory." In the opening words of chap. vi. (the key to the critical position) -a felicitous application of Emerson's words of welcome to Walt Whitman-Dr. Robertson appears to me to have laid his finger on the weakest point of the naturalistic theory of Israel's religious development. “ I greet you," writes the sage of Concord, “ at the beginning of a great career, which yet must have had a long foreground somewhere for such a start.” Similarly, students uncommitted to extreme views will be convinced as they study the attainments in culture and religion
of Israel in the eighth century B.C., that there must have been in the social and religious history of the Hebrews “a long foreground somewhere for such a start” (p. 137). The rise of “ethical monotheism ” will be found to have been post-dated by Kuenen and his disciples by several centuries.
While, therefore, an impartial study of all the facts of Israel's history, or even the single fact of the uniqueness of Israel among the nations of the earth, leads to a general approval of Professor Robertson's position in this part of his book, it is otherwise when he proceeds in chaps. xiii. xvii. (pp. 326-463) to discuss the authoritative institutions, codes, and lawbooks of the ancient Hebrews. Here the lecturer's position is somewhat difficult to define. He rejects, of course, the modern conclusions on these points, but he appears to be equally opposed to so-called orthodox or traditional views. Thus, after calling attention to the repetition of certain laws, “ with little or no alteration," in the same collection, to the discrepancies, want of systematic arrangement, and the other well-known features of the Pentateuchal legislation as we now have it, Dr. Robertson proceeds as follows: * Advocates of the traditional theory burden themselves with an unnecessary difficulty by assuming that the books of the Pentateuch were written by Moses; for the books do not say so of themselves, and even the older Jewish tradition that Ezra • restored the Law' pointed to redaction as a probable solution of many of the difficulties” (p. 382). Here, then, in my opinion lies the weakness of the second part of Dr. Robertson's book. He declines to accept both the traditional view of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuchal codes, and the theory of their origin and date advanced by the critical school and now so widely accepted in this country, without, as it seems to me, formulating a theory of his own which will account for the phenomena above indicated. My own position, as opposed to that of my respected teacher and friend, is this : The modern theory of the Old Testament breaks down, it is true, in its attempt to explain the rise and growth of the Old Testament religion, but it has succeeded in laying down, for the first time, the lines along which we must trace the gradual growth of Israel's religious institutions. Now, Dr. Robertson admits that three distinct codes of law have been proved to exist side by side in our present Pentateuch, but he combats the modern view that these codes “cannot have been all the production of one man or the product of one age” (p. 403). He selects one of the strongest positions of the modern theory for special attack (pp. 403 ff.). “On one subject, in particular, it is held [the codes in question] give clear evidence of a progress from the simple to the complex, of a development which required centuries to accomplish, and that subject is the legislation relating to the place of worship.” I venture to think, however, that a careful and unprejudiced study of the modern arguments in favour of the gradual centralization of worship in ancient Israel, and of Dr. Robertson's counter-arguments in the pages that follow the passage I have just quoted, will leave the victory with the former. Thus, on p. 404, it is surely going too far to deny that “a true case of development" can be made out with regard to centralization of worship; and if the history of Israel shows one thing more than another, it is that “worship at any indefinite number of places” was “recognized by the religious leaders of the nation ” (p. 412). These remarks do not preclude the fact that not a few weak points in the modern theory are here detected and exposed. My contention simply is that the final solution of the problem which the development of Israel's religious and cereinonial institutions presents to us will ultimately be found to proceed on the lines of the now dominant * critical theory."
In his concluding chapter, Dr. Robertson shows his readers, with perhaps