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the friends knew the truth, without rightly using it. How often had they, and Bildad last of all, dwelt on God's unsearchableness? Then they should have said: Because no one has access to God's all-ruling wisdom, we know not the reason of thy suffering. But they did not do so. In practice they violate their own principle. It seems to me this explanation is as natural as it is simple, and to the point. Certainly it suits our whole exposition. It summarizes what Job has learnt from the dispute (chaps. XV. xxiv.). First, it is the knowledge of the preciousness of his innocence and, what is the same, piety which sustained him against the personal attacks. Again, by this sense of innocence he came to see the error of the doctrine of his friends in its generality; i.e., unless he was to doubt God's justice, he must refer to the unsearchableness of His ways, and this is done in xxvii. 11 f., xxviii., where a new truth shows the mistake of the doctrine in chaps. xx.-xxv."
Chaps. xxix.-xxxi. JoB's LAST APPEAL. Job has withstood the twofold temptation of his friends—their unkind behaviour and false teaching. He here finally asseverates his innocence, but more kindly than before. He appeals to his life for witness, at the same time forcibly contrasting his former with his present condition. The whole address is a tacit appeal to God to appear as his defender, an appeal to which God presently responds. Thus Job comes out finally victorious; and not only so, God is justified, Satan is foiled. “What was it that finally preserved Job from falling ? Holding fast to his integrity and piety. It is the sole blessing left to him which he cares to preserve. Certainly it has brought no gain. But if he still holds fast to it, he proves that selfishness is not the root of piety. This holding fast to his innocence and upright walk is itself piety; for morality and piety are inseparable in the Old Testament and even in the Book of Job. Holding fast to right-doing, he holds fast also to God, who is the source of morality.”
Chaps. xxxii.-xxxvii. ELIHU's DISCOURSES. Scholars like Hengstenberg, Kamphausen, Budde, Cornill, find in these discourses the main teaching of the book. Prof. Meinhold cannot reconcile them with that teaching as he understands it. The discourses deal with abstract questions, questions of the schools, rather than with the personal, living question of the former chapters. Job has made his last appeal; it only remains for God to speak, as He does in chap. xxxviii. These discourses look like an interruption. Dillmann, it seems, takes similar ground.
Chaps. xxxviii. xli. GOD SPEAKS. Prof. Meinhold thinks it a confirmation of his interpretation that God is here represented, not as settling theoretical difficulties or solving abstract problems, but simply as rebuking what was faulty in Job's spirit and attitude. The substance of Job's declarations was right; but he had treated the Almighty too much as an equal, almost demanded an answer, cast doubt upon God's ability to vindicate right. His words fail to manifest the trustful devotion expressed in chaps. i. and ii. He had rightly enough fallen back on God's incomprehensibleness in theory, but had failed to give practical effect to it in his own thoughts and words. Hence in chaps. xxxviii. and xxxix. God's inaccessible greatness, and in xl. 6 ff. His Almighty power are set forth with overwhelming force. Job accepts the rebuke, xl. 5, xlii. 3. “All that remains is that Job's outward position be improved; and this is done. Proof is thus given that the pious man is not pious because he is rewarded by God; but because he is pious God rewards him.” Satan does not again appear on the scene. He has lost the battle, and has nothing more to say.
It will be seen that the above exposition has its weak points, especially in its failure to explain certain portions of the book.
THE MISSIONARY COMMAND AND Missionary Work. By A. HOFSTÄTTER, Leipzig (Neue Kirchl. Zeitschrift, 1892, No. 4).-In missionary, as in all Christian work, we must distinguish between the essential principles and aims on one side, and the methods of giving effect to them on the other—the first remaining the same from age to age, the second changing with time and circumstance. We should do wrong to depart from apostolic principles; we might do wrong to imitate apostolic methods. Two extremes meet us in these days: the extreme of those who, regardless of order and system, go to work of their own choice and in their own way; and the extreme of those who make certain methods of work as binding as the essential spirit and aim. “ Not even the example of Apostles can be set up as an unchangeable standard for missions in every age. We must carefully distinguish between what is essential to missions by their very nature and what is required by the special circumstances of the times. The first we find, without doubt, in the missionary command itself: there missions are set before the Church in their deepest ground and final aim. Its hints on the nature of the work are inexhaustible. It is anything but a mere bald command or law of the Lord. The time when, and the entire way in which, the Lord commands the work exhibits its inmost nature as the fruit of His redeeming work; the conveying of His salvation to all; the beginning, middle, and end of His prophetic and kingly rule; and also as the response of the saved disciples to the mercy they had experienced their living thanks.” The original command gives us the permanent laws of missionary work.
1. The first word is full of significance: “Go, preach.” It sends the disciples into the midst of the heathen world. Though they were to wait in Jerusalem till Pentecost, they were not then to wait till the heathen came, but to go to them with the invitation of the Gospel and the offers of grace. Missions have to work by personal testimony; by preaching the word of salvation. It is not enough to circulate Bibles and tracts. Preaching the word must be the beginning, middle, and end of mission work. Education is useful, but only secondary. The more intelligent a people are, the more desirable it will be to influence them by schools. But this agency must not be overvalued, or put in the first place. “ Unless we are mistaken, the cost of schools is often disproportionate to the gain to the mission.” School-work may be more pleasant, but the permanent fruit is small. “Besides, the chief effect of instruction is on the understanding; Christian knowledge is secured, but not Christianity itself. For this something else is needed—an effect on heart and conscience. Decision for Christ takes place in the heart, not in the head; it demands, not argument, but conviction."
2. “All nations.” Missions are universal. Not perhaps actually so. All cannot be reached at once. Many nations pass away without hearing of the Gospel. The mystery of Divine election remains true in regard to nations. But the aim is universal. Many reasons determine the Church in its work of extension-special receptiveness in a people, providential openings and calls, the preparatory influence of commerce and conquest, although missionary work cannot be kept too free from political and mercenary connections. Extension should be gradual and steady rather than spasmodic. Dissipation of strength is an evil, although the breaking of new ground may sometimes generate enthusiasm. The command is not merely to make disciples among all nations, but to disciple the nations themselves—a work which includes both the conversion of individuals and the leavening of society with Christian truth and righteousness.
Three points are to be borne in mind. First, work should start from the great centres of population. The Apostles went first to Athens, Corinth, Antioch, Ephesus, Rome. The villages were evangelized from the towns, not conversely. It is only another side of the same principle to say that the higher classes should not be neg
Current German Thought.
lected. They are the most difficult to reach, but we are debtors to them as well as to the lower classes. Again, national customs and habits should be respected. It requires great wisdom, no doubt, to distinguish in this field between right and wrong; but heathen peoples are not to be denationalized and reduced to a dead level of outward uniformity. A third point is the prime importance of employing native talent and strength.
3. “ Disciple.” A brief command, fixing for ever the spiritual character of missionary aims. It can never be a duty of missions to promote culture and civili. zation in the first place. Although this aim may be more attractive in the eyes of the world, the Lord knows nothing of it. It is a perilous thing to invert the relation fixed by the Lord's will and the nature of the case between Christianity and culture, and to make the effect the means, as is often done.” The experiment has always failed. Not even is culture the work of missions in the sense that they have to win scholars for Christ, such as receive His teachings and keep His precepts. As the Lord did not come to earth to disseminate a system of doctrine after the manner of ancient philosophers, but to seek and save the lost, so He does not seek scholars, but disciples, who follow Him in the way of life. He has not founded a school, but a church. He will not be our Rabbi and Master, but our Saviour. So missions have to do with winning disciples to Jesus Christ, with converting souls to Him, the Prince of life."
Some think that this is to put the standard too high, and reduce the“ discipling” to a mere outward change. We must, of course, recognize different stages of Christian culture. Mission work at first is largely foundation work. But the work must not remain at this stage. How but by the conversion of individuals can the aim of Christianity be fulfilled ? " Discipling" also implies careful, patient training and teaching as well as conversion.
4. The means are Baptizing and Teaching. No other means are lawful-another note of spirituality. The two means go together, and in the order stated. The question of infant baptism need not be raised. Our Lord's words refer mainly, if not exclusively, to adult baptism, which is necessarily the principal form in mission work. Baptism is the seal of that universal work of Divine grace which precedes all the
"Little as the Lord ascribes to it a magical effect, He certainly bids us see in it the divinely-appointed beginning of discipleship and the new life produced by Himself alone. All Christian life is a growth, but a growth on the ground of something existing. We trade only with what God has given. His is the beginning, His the creation of life. He must break the old and implant the new, must renew the heart by the power of His Spirit, if there is to be spiritual life and growth. Therefore no mission without baptism.” Of course, baptism itself supposes a certain amount of previous instruction. But it is to be followed by definite " teaching ” of practical truth. Teach them to observe what I have commanded." There is no keeping Christ's commands which is not born of faith, faith in the Son of God and man, who delivers us from the bondage of sin, and makes us children of God."
“Of course all human forces are vain, unless the Lord works with them and gives His blessing. He, who is the Head of His Church and the Captain of salvation to believers, it is alone who will conduct the fierce battles of missions to victory. Therefore, while we do not despise the labour and zeal, the wisdom and tact of men ; while we will not undervalue methods of mission work, and still less pass by unnoticed the significant hints which the Lord Himself gives in the missionary command, still less will we lose ourselves in an overvalning of methods, and expect from human skill what belongs to God alone. High above everything which men can accomplish in the obedience of His name, to say nothing of their own schemes for furthering missionary success, stands Jesus' promise of power to crown all His people's
work of man.
work with blessing. Although it is humbling to find ourselves so often mistaken in our own thoughts and hopes, and obliged to give up so many plans, our true strength springs from this very weakness ; and missions will succeed most gloriously when the Church both looks with absolute longing and confidence to the Lord, who gave command for the work, and also expects all victory from the power of His cross, of which to the end of the days it will be true, In hoe signo vinces."
RECENT WORKS ON INSPIRATION. (1. KÖLLING, Dr., Die Lehre von der Theopneustie, 470 S. 7.50 M. 2. DIECKHOFF, A. W., Dr., Die Inspiration u. Irrthums. losigkeit d. heil. Schrift, 110 S. 2 M. 3. Gess, W. F., Dr., Die Inspiration der Helden d. Bibel und d. Schriften d. Bibel, 438 S. 7 M.).—In reviewing these works in the Theol. Literaturblatt, Prof. Nösgen, of Rostock, justly points out the bearing of the doctrine on other evangelical doctrines as commonly held. The doctrine of justification by faith only, e.g., is a question of Scripture interpretation, and must be influenced by the view taken of the authority of Scripture. We are glad to see that Dr. Nösgen, while himself holding a very definite doctrine of inspiration, does not bind himself to the rigid definitions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. A distinction, he says, must be made between the faith of the Church on the subject, and the expression of that faith at a particular time. Any one who confounds the two will simply substitute a Lutheran or Reformed for a Romanist tradition.
" The most distinguished divines of those centuries remain the children of their age, and could only handle and set forth the doctrinal treasures of the Church with the means of that age.”
1. Dr. Kölling's elaborate work is an attempt to defend the position of the divines mentioned above. Dr. Nösgen, though strongly sympathizing with the conclusions, expresses great disappointment at the conduct of the argument. He says that the work presents more assertion and testimony than real argument and inde. pendent treatment. The first eighty-two pages deal with the Scripture proof, but in an inadequate manner, omitting some important passages such as Matt. x. 19; 1 Thess. ii. 13, and including others of little relevance. The author makes no attempt to bring out the variety of the Old and New Testament evidence in a genetic way. The second part (S. 83-457) discusses the history of the doctrine in the Church. Here also the critic finds many defects. Great diligence is shown in marshalling the long array of witnesses, but little insight into the heart of the subject. Witnesses seem to be counted rather than weighed. Great fault is found here with the peculiar grouping and omissions in the account given of writers of the present century.
2. The author of the second work is Dr. Nösgen's senior colleague at Rostock. The object of his pamphlet is not, of course, to discuss the whole question, but simply to state the writer's position and his view of what is necessary in regard to present controversies. Dr. Dieckhoff holds firmly by the doctrine of inspiration as stated in the Lutheran confessions. His divergence is from the definitions of the later Lutheran divines, to whom Dr. Nösgen refers. He wishes to have these defini. tions discarded and a new one drawn up doing more justice to the human side of Scripture. It might be replied that, as they have never been adopted by the Lutheran Church, they cannot be discarded. Calov and Gerhard speak only for themselves, like Dieckhoff and Nösgen. Dr. Dieckhoff finds fault with the "absolute” character of the old statements of the doctrine, and thinks that those very divines themselves, like Augustine and Luther, were not faithful to their formal definitions when they had to deal with the practical difficulties of the case; their practice was less "absolute” and mechanical than their theories. Dr. Nösgen does not say much in criticism of his colleague's work. He thinks, however, that more
investigation is necessary before some of its statements can be received. Dieckhoff states his own view thus :
“The faith, which finds in Holy Scripture God's inspired Word, is certain, that by inspiration the evangelical testimony is raised, in that which it certifies to Divine certainty and clearness, far beyond the credibleness and definiteness of human tradition ; and yet it is not inconsistent with inspiration to say that by it the truly human side of the Scripture-word, and with it even the human element of uncertainty and error, are not absolutely excluded. It is also certain on the ground of inspiration that the truth to be preached is given and certified in the Holy Scriptvres with the completeness necessary for the faith of all ages. The decision of what is true does not lie with the subjective opinion of believers, who are to take the truth from Holy Scripture ; but Holy Scripture certifies the truth to faith by itself, by that which it gives."
3. The author of the third work was an eminent theologian, as well as a leader of the Kenotist school of Christology. The present work was completed by the author, though not published till after his death. Like his other works, it gives evidence of great mental originality and vigour. Dr. Nösgen says: “The title had awakened in me the hope of finding in the work a real contribution to the re-statement of the old theory of inspiration. Gess, indeed, never appeared to me orthodox in the old sense; but he stood high as a student of Scripture. Alas! his last work shows that, however deep his study of Scripture, he belonged to the theologians who regard their individual faith as an authority above Scripture, and credit themselves with the power of deciding what in it is to be regarded as inspired, and what not. Let us say at once that, however suspicious the positions of the author are as a whole, there are many excellent apologetic hints, fine remarks, and notable suggestions for expounding Scripture.” This judgment seems to be borne out by the brief analysis given of the five books into which the work is divided. The distinctions made seem often most arbitrary. The author apparently divines what is inspired or not by instinct. Still, “Gess makes no concessions in principle to naturalism. In the Old Testament he acknowledges theophanic and inspired revelation, and four kinds of inspiration, puts the New Testament form above these four, and in Rev. ii. and iii. finds a section which, in fact, is to be accepted as dictated by the Holy Spirit.”
In the Beweis d. Glaubens for April, Dr. Zöckler, of Griefswald, criticizes Dr. Gess's work more fully and, on the whole, more favourably. He thinks that the author has sometimes spoken too boldly, perhaps too roughly. “ The consideration that God's revelation in the Old Testament is an organic whole, in which, with much that is clear, some obscurer elements will be necessarily associated, should have restrained him from passing such harsh judgments in some cases." Dr. Zöckler expresses general agreement with Gess. He says: “Our standpoint generally is the one maintained by representatives of modern believing theology: The Bible is (not merely contains) God's Word. This Divine authority, however, is based, not on an absolute, but on a relative, Divine inspiration through human agency. We adhere, not to a verbal, but primarily to a personal inspiration, holding the latter with all earnestness, and considering the Biblical writers together as the channels of truth divinely revealed and indispensable to the Church."
It is unfortunate that so many works should appear on one side and so few, and those mostly unsatisfactory, on the other side of the question. We sorely need a calmly-reasoned statement of a more comprehensive character than has yet appeared.
ANOTHER CRITICISM OF CHEYNE's Bampton LECTURE. By Dr. R. K. BUDDE, Strassburg (Theol. Literaturzeitung, May 14).- Dr. Budde, who occupies about the same " advanced " position as Dr. Kautzsch (see former number), expresses similar