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deals with the sacred volume, that nothing like either candour or fairness is to be expected from him. A man of truly honest mind would be incapable of thus passing over, without notice, the main difficulties in the way of the conclusion he wishes to establish. But Mr. Greg is constantly doing this. We hardly meet with anything even approaching to fair argument in the entire volume. This will become more apparent as we proceed.
The following is Mr. Greg's judgment in reference to the Pentateuch:-"It results from inquiry, that the Pentateuch assumed its present form about the reign of King Josiah, B.C. 624, eight hundred years after Moses; that the book of Deuteronomy was probably composed about the same date; that the other four books, or rather the separate documents of which they consist, were written between the time of Samuel and Solomon, or from four to five hundred years after Moses; that they record the traditions regarding the early history of the Israelites then current among the priesthood and the people, with such material additions as it seemed good to the priests of that period to introduce; and that there is not the slightest reason to conclude that they were anything more than a collection of the national traditions then in vogue." Page 42.
Here then are some of those conclusions in which "unlearned students must acquiesce as they do in those of astronomy, or philology, or geology." Nine pages, not very closely printed, and not entirely devoted to this subect, is all the space Mr. Greg needs in order to establish them, that is, to his own satisfaction. We are not going to occupy our space with any examination of the three or four arguments by which he endeavours to sustain them. Those of our readers who feel interested in the subject, will find them most ably refuted in the pages of Havernich and Hengstenberg. Our purpose at present is to contrast the conclusions stated above with the theory advanced by our author in another chapter, on the progressiveness of the Theism of the Jews. We wish to show how completely his theory upsets his conclusions, and what valuable matter Mr. Greg himself supplies for his own refutation.
It is part of our author's creed, then, that the Theism of the Jews was progressive; that during the early periods of their history, their conceptions of God were crude, contracted, and grovelling; but that they gradually advanced with the advance of the national mind, till they attained the lofty and pure standard to which we find them raised in the writings of the later prophets. He informs us, page 71, "That the Jews, as a nation, were not monotheists, i. e., believers in the exclusive existence of one sole God,-till a very late period of their history; that their early and popular notions of the Deity were eminently
coarse, low, and unworthy; that among them, as among all other nations, the conceptions of God formed by individuals varied according to their intellectual and spiritual capacities, being poor and anthropomorphic among the ignorant and coarse-minded, pure and lofty among the virtuous and richly gifted; and, finally, that these conceptions gradually improved, and became purified and ennobled as the Hebrews advanced in civilization-being, generally speaking, lowest in the historical books, amended in the prophetical writings, and reaching their highest elevation among the poets of the nation."
Here, then, Mr. Greg himself supplies us with a standard, which, for the present, we may make use of to enable us to form a judgment as to the time when the books in question were written. According to this standard, those books of the Old Testament in which the conceptions of God-to use his own language-are "low and unworthy," must have been written at a very early period. Now, as it is chiefly in the Pentateuch that he finds those unworthy notions of God, the Pentateuch must have a very early date assigned to it. Mr. Greg, however, thinks that he fixes a date sufficiently early, when he gives, for the first four books, the times between Samuel and Solomon; and, for Deuteronomy, the reign of king Josiah. Let us inquire, then, how his dates harmonize with his theory.
It is quite a truism that Mr. Greg propounds, when he says that the Theism of the Jews was progressive. Though he announces this as a discovery, it is nothing more than is generally believed and maintained among Christians. It was only gradually, and, as it were, step by step, that God unfolded to man his character and purposes. The light which began again to shine after the knowledge of God had been lost, did not at once burst forth in all its fulness. It dawned gently on man at first, and slowly increased as age after age rolled on, until the perfect day of the Christian revelation. This gradual discovery of God's character and purposes to man is quite in harmony with the gradual advance of man himself in knowledge and intellectual capacity. A wise teacher will suit his instructions to the attainments of his pupil. No one would address himself to a child in the same way in which he would address himself to a man of advanced intelligence. So with classes of men. Instruction communicated to them must be adapted to their capacity for receiving it. We find this principle acted on in the successive revelations made regarding God in the Old Testament history. The revelations of God in the Mosaic age advance on those of the Patriarchal times. Those of the era of David and Solomon advance again on those of the era of Moses; and those of the
prophetical era, on them all. What is this, however, but God, in wondrous condescension, adapting the discoveries he makes regarding himself to the measure of man's capacity. Abraham, previously to his being called by God, had been an idolater. This is admitted by Mr. Greg, and is taught in Josh. χχίν. 2. He had grown up to manhood in ignorance of the true God, and of true religion. Let it be remembered, that the human race was then in the infancy of its advancement, and that this remarkable man must have occupied a very different intellectual position from that occupied by those who lived many generations after him. He was standing (if we may use the figure) at the foot of that ladder of Divine knowledge which was gradually to be climbed by his posterity as they became capable of the ascent, till at length the summit should be gained, and man should have learned all that in this life could be learned of the character and plans of God. The discoveries of God which were made to Abraham were thus just what were suitable to Abraham's stage of advancement.
So with the manifestations of God which were made to the Israelites in Egypt, and at the Red Sea, and afterwards in the wilderness. They were just what were then suited for the people. The great mass of them were rude and ignorant, prone to idolatry, and as thorough slaves to sensuality and vice as they had formerly been slaves to the Epyptians. To win such a people from idolatry, to destroy in them the evil tendencies which had been the growth of centuries, and which had been nourished and strengthened in them by the degrading bondage in which they had so long been enthralled; to accustom them to juster views of truth; to train them, in short, to be witnesses to the world for the true and living God, and the future expounders to the world of the true religion ;-this could be no easy task. It appears to us, that the training which they received was just the kind of training which they needed. The signs and wonders which were wrought in Egypt and at the Red Sea, would tend to convince them that Jehovah, he was God. The destruction of Pharaoh and his army would impress them with a sense of the Divine justice. The awful displays at Sinai were precisely adapted to awaken in them the conception of the Divine holiness. These ideas regarding God would be more deeply impressed on them by the teachings of the Mosaic law; while, at the same time, a way was discovered to them by which the mercy of this awful God could be reconciled with his purity and righteousness in its exercise toward themselves. This teaching, indeed, produced its legitimate effect on the Israelites but very slowly. They continued, in spite of it, for many successive ages, obstinately prone to idolatry. No one,
however, will wonder at this, who looks at modern India, and sees how tenaciously the inhabitants of that country cling to their abominable superstitions, in spite of all the light that has been poured on them by the aid of all the combined facilities which the present day enables us to make use of, and in spite of their constant intercourse with the most advanced nation of the age.
We have made the above observations for two reasons. One is, that we may exhibit to our readers-for a purpose which will soon become apparent-the gradual advance of the knowledge of God among his ancient people; the other, that we may expose the absurd and ridiculous notions advanced by this writer regarding the early Theism of the Hebrews. He informs us (pages 72, 73) that "the representations of God in the history of Abraham leave little doubt that the God whom he worshipped was a family God, selected, for some reason unknown to us, out of a number of others who were worshipped by his fathers and his tribe. . . . . In process of time, the descendants of Abraham became a numerous people, and naturally continued the worship of that God who had done so much for their forefathers. Thus the family God of Abraham gradually enlarged into the national God of the Israelites. As the history
proceeds, the conceptions of this God become purer and loftier, till, in the mind of Moses,
.. they reached to a sublime simplicity of expression rarely surpassed. Still there is no reason to suppose that Moses disbelieved in the existence of other gods. The God whom he serves is still the God of Abraham.
He is never asserted to be the only God." Nothing can be easier than to manifest the utter absurdity of these statements and their inconsistency with Mr. Greg's own avowed sentiments regarding the origin of the Pentateuch. The language from which he deduces the novel idea, that Abraham and Moses were polytheists, is precisely the same as we find repeatedly used in the New Testament, and as we are in the constant practice of using ourselves. Christ speaks of "the God of Abraham." Was Christ, therefore, a believer in other gods? Paul speaks of "the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Was Paul, therefore, a Polytheist ? We speak, at the present day, of "the Christian's God," and of "our fathers' God." therefore, admit a plurality of Gods? Our Missionaries, in addressing idolaters, often compare our God with their gods. Do they thus allow their gods to be really gods? "But," says Mr. Greg, "we do not find the expression, the only God,' in the Pentateuch." What of this, when, throughout the whole of the five books, the Divine Being is constantly named, in sublime simplicity, GOD? This, of itself, implies that he is the
only God, the true God, the living God. Is he not represented, at the opening of the Genesis, as creating the heavens and the earth? The Pentateuch was not written to prove that that Jehovah alone was God. It takes this for granted. It proceeds throughout on the supposition that this is true. Yet, because Jehovah is not called "the only God" in the Pentateuch, he was merely "the family God of Abraham, selected from a number of others, worshipped by his fathers!" Mr. Greg tell us, how those writers, who, according to him, between the times of Samuel and Solomon, wrote the first four books of the Bible, could have represented God as the creator of the heavens and the earth, and yet, at the same time, as only a god selected by Abraham out of a number of others? Is it a different God they speak of in relating the history of Abraham, from him whom they exhibit to us as "finishing the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them?" What Mr. Greg has written on this point gives us a very mean idea of both his head and his heart.
But we return from this digression to our main argument. If the first four books of Scripture were written between the times of Samuel and Solomon, and Deuteronomy was written in the reign of Josiah, as Mr. Greg affirms, then they must contain traces of the Theism of these periods. The national mind, according to his own theory, must have made great progress during the four hundred years that elapsed between the era of Moses and that of David.* And we are not without the means of judging as to the degree of advancement in Divine knowledge at which the Jewish people had arrived at the latter of these
We have them in the Psalms of David, and in the writings of Solomon,- men in whom, we are justified in affirming, was embodied the religious sentiment of the most advanced minds then in the nation. Mr. Greg himself admits David and Solomon to have been the authors of at least much that is attributed to them. He speaks (page 227) of Jesus as having been "nourished on the wisdom of Solomon, the piety of David, the poetry of Isaiah." Here, then, in writings which he himself acknowledges to have been composed by David and Solomon, he had the means of applying a test of the very highest kind to his ideas as to the time when the Pentateuch was written. But he has not applied this test. Perhaps he did not think of it.
Or perhaps he had a secret conscious ness that it would fail to sanction the conclusion he was anxious to arrive at. Or, it may be, that he wished to show how this "scientific criticism," of which he boasts so much, could enable him to vault over obsta
We mention the era of David as the middle point between Samuel and Solomon.
cles, of the most formidable kind, to the most astounding results! However this may be, Mr. Greg's whole reasoning proceeds on the supposition that the Theism which we find in the Pentateuch is far behind that of these two Hebrew monarchs. How, then, can he account for the books which contain the Theism of a former age being written in a later age? How is it that, while we find in them only the Theism of the era of Moses, they were not written till the era of David? It would help Mr. Greg a little to establish his conclusion as to the post-Mosaic origin of the books in question, could he point out in them traces of a post-Mosaic Theism. But he does not attempt this. On the other hand, the simple man occupies not a little of his space in proving that they contain nothing of the kind. He tells us, in effect, that they contain not a trace of a Theism in advance of the era of Moses, though they were not written till the era of David! We grant, then, to Mr. Greg, that the Theism of the Jews was progressive; that that of the Davidic age must have been in advance of that of the Mosaic age; but this conveys, to our mind, a most convincing proof, that the Mosaic age was the age when the books in question were written.
The same argument is applicable, with still greater force, to the book of Deuteronomy, which, according to Mr. Greg, was not written till the reign of king Josiah; that is, eight hundred years after Moses, four hundred after David, and one hundred after Isaiah. What he affirms, therefore, of Christ, must have been true of the author of this book. He, too, must have been "nourished on the wisdom of Solomon, the piety of David, and the poetry of Isaiah." Is there any trace of proof, then, in the book of Deuteronomy, that the author of it enjoyed these advantages? On the other hand, is not its Theism identical with that of Exodus and Leviticus? We venture to affirm, that it would be utterly impossible to adduce any proof of this kind in support of the notion that Deuteronomy was written at a later period than the era of Moses. We defy Mr. Greg, or any one of his school, to bring forward a solitary vestige of such proof. All the indications of this kind, which the book of Deuteronomy contains, go to show that it was written during the Mosaic age, and therefore at the same time with the books that precede it.
We may give our readers a specimen of the way in which Mr. Greg refutes himself in conducting his argument. We have stated that, in exhibiting the advance of the conception of God among the Israelites, he arranged a series of passages in parallel columns from the different books. On the reader's left, are the passages which contain "low and unworthy" conceptions of God. On the right,
Now, let it be observed, that Mr. Greg has told us (page 41), that "the Jehovistic documents," viz., those portions of the Pentateuch in which the name 'Jehovah' is employed," were written about the reign of Solomon." The passage quoted from the book of Exodus, it will be seen, is Jehovistic. Here, then, he quotes a document which he affirms to have been written about the reign of Solomon; and, in order to exhibit the advance of the conception of God, during the lapse of ages, from a lower to a loftier form, he compares this passage, written in the reign of Solomon, with another passage uttered by Solomon himself! According to Mr. Greg's theory on the progressiveness of Theism, the passage from Exodus must have been written some hundreds of years before the passage from 1 Kings, just as we believe and maintain. But, according to Mr. Greg's avowed belief, the two passages were written at the same time!! Here, then, is Mr. Greg quoting two passages, which he affirms were the production of the same age, in order to exhibit the advance which the lapse of some hundreds of years would produce on the Theism of the Jews! How strange and contradictory the conclusions to which our author's "scientific process" leads him. One is, that the book of Exodus was written some hundreds of years before the reign of Solomon! Another is, that the said book was not written till the reign of Solomon! Verily, Mr. Greg is most dexterous at the work of self-refutation! Like a genuine son of Saturn, he devours his own offspring as soon as they are born!
It may be thought by some of our readers, that the weapon with which we are here assailing Mr. Greg has two edges; and that if
our argument goes to prove that Exodus, and the succeeding books of the Pentateuch, were written during the Mosaic age, it proves also that Genesis must have been written prior to the said age. In reply to this, it is sufficient
to point to the representations given of the Divine Being at the opening of this book, in connection with the work of creation. But on this branch of the subject we cannot enter more fully at present. We only allude to it that we may remove a difficulty which might occur to some minds as to the conclusiveness of our argument.
We are sorry that we cannot afford space for a few observations on Mr. Greg's chapter on prophecy. We must satisfy ourselves with little more, however, than merely saying, that it is very evident he does not understand the subject. He seems to have a mind utterly incapable of rising into sympathy with the amplitude and grandeur of the theme. What does not suit the measure of his own narrow and stinted capacity, he is unable to relish. We find him enumerating a few petty difficulties found in the prophetical books, which have long since been brushed away by the researches of our modern criticism. But it does not suit Mr. Greg to take any notice of the solutions that have been given of these difficulties. He passes by without notice the labours of Christian scholars, who, to say the least, are quite as eminent for learning and for patient research as the infidel writers whom he so highly lauds. These infidel critics sometimes remind us of the common fly, when they thus, however often driven from them, pertinaciously persist in returning to suck at the wounds which the want of critical learning and appliances on the part of our forefathers unhappily opened on the body of our own holy faith. Mr. Greg especially seems to delight in this degrading occupation. Our readers have seen with what gust he could indulge this miserable appetite, at such passages as the Hebrews borrowing from the Egyptians, and the apostles believing that the world would end with the then existing generation. So it is throughout his entire book. He sometimes tries, indeed, to open a fresh wound. We give the following from the chapter before us. He says (in a note, page 62, to show the "disingenuousness" of Christian writers), "The Messianic Prophecies are interpreted literally or figuratively, as may best suit their adaptation to the received history of Jesus. Thus, that 'the wolf shall lie down with the lamb, and the lion eat straw like the ox,' is taken figuratively; that the Messiah should ride into Jerusalem on an ass, is taken literally." Now, we think that Mr. Greg might have at once discerned, that there is enough of difference between the simple act of riding on an ass, and the working of such
a change on the instincts of the lion and the wolf, as would, in fact, amount to a re-creation of them-as sufficiently to justify the literal interpretation of the one passage, and the figurative interpretation of the other.
We beg earnestly to recommend to any of our readers who may wish to read a work of enlarged and comprehensive views on this subject, "The Structure of Prophecy," a book of no formidable dimensions, lately sent forth from the pen of Mr. Douglas, of Cavers. Even Mr. Greg himself might derive some benefit from the perusal of it.
We must now close our strictures on this work, for the present, hoping again to return to it next month, and to deal with the great question of Inspiration.
3. THE VIRGIN AND THE SAINTS. the French of NAPOLEON ROUSSEL. 4. THE PORTRAIT OF MARY IN HEAVEN. From the French of NAPOLEON ROUSSEL. 5. WHY DOES YOUR PRIEST FORBID YOU TO READ THE BIBLE? From the French of NAPOLEON ROUSSEL.
6. HISTORY OF A PIECE OF WOOD. From the French of NAPOLEON ROUSSEL.
7. THE BOOK OF BOOKS. From the French of NAPOLEON ROUSSEL.
8. PURGATORY. From the French of NAPOLEON ROUSSEL.
9. THE CHURCH OF THE POPE IS NEITHER CATHOLIC, APOSTOLIC, NOR ROMAN; and were she Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman, she yet would not be the Church of Jesus Christ. From the French of NAPOLEON ROUS
10. THE SOLDIERS OF THE POPE; a Short Catechism for the Use of Roman Catholics. From the French of NAPOLEON ROUS
11. THE BREVIARY. From the French of NAPOLEON ROUSSEL.
12. JESUS AND THE JESUITS. From the French of NAPOLEON ROUSSEL.
13. THERE MUST BE A RELIGION FOR THE PEOPLE. From the French of NAPOLEON ROUSSEL.
Ward and Co.
TRACTS well adapted for circulation among Roman Catholics are by no means so plentifully supplied as they ought to be. The age demands that this benighted class of our fellow-men should have a large measure of the sympathy of the Christian church. Mr. Roussel, who is acquainted with Popery in all its bearings, and has a great talent for dealing with Romanists, has conferred a great boon on the Christian church by the publication of
THIS Discourse is truly valuable for the enlightened and touching exposition it contains of one of the most striking sections of Psa. ciii. 15-18. We do not remember, of late, to have seen a more just or vivid picture of the frailty of human life, when viewed even in its most attractive lights; nor a more happy appeal from the frailty of man to the mercy of God. Both sides of this picture are equally forcibly sketched, and the grand scriptural lessons are fully and wisely enforced.
But the special value of the Discourse consists in the truthful and beautiful narrative which it contains of the Christian character and graces of one for whom we had lorg entertained a more than ordinary respect. Mrs. Thomas Spalding, who was very suddenly removed from her loving circle, was a lady of distinguished excellence, who adorned religion in all the circles in which she moved. Mr. Forster has drawn a portrait of her which all her friends will be able to recognize; and which cannot fail to be impressive to all who look upon it. It is a fine pastoral testimony to the grace of God, which was greatly magnified in the life and death of Mrs. Spalding. We hope the little affecting memorial will be widely circulated; for it is eminently fitted for general usefulness.