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The relation between the Divine and human elements in Holy Scripture : eight lectures preached before the University of Oxford in the year MDCCCLXIII .. online

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see Him as He is' (1 John iii. 2). The vision of Moses was still
imperfect ; the loftiest intuition of the older covenant did not reach
the level of Christian knowledge ; and the knowledge of the Christian,
even at its highest, falls short of the glory of the beatific vision.
But the light that reaches us, however broken and fragmentary it may
be, at every step flows straight from heaven.

On the degrees of access to the sight of God, see Manning,
Sermon on The Beatific Vision ; University Sermons, No. VI. ; and
above, Note 2, and Lecture L, Notes 12, 15.

Note 4, page 77. It is convenient to borrow from philosophy
the Kantian term, to express what has been more vaguely called a
' mystery' in religion (Thomson, B. L., p. 125 ; Tulloch, Theism,
p. 370; E. T. of Saisset, Modern Pantheism, ii. 172, note ; &c);
the case of ' problems insoluble theoretically, but capable of harmony
when viewed on the moral side' (Farrar, B.L., p. 117). Compare
the word eravTicKpavua adopted by Bishop Bull; and the Sm^opwr,
but not ii'avriwQ, of Chrysostom ; mt yap irepov kari 5iru/>o'pwe enrilv,
teal payopirovc. eiirelv Horn. I. in Matth. ; Opp., vii. p. 8, C. The
subject might be illustrated at length by the history of contradiction,
which is traceable in philosophy from Heraclitus to Hegel ; and
which is equally traceable in the history of religious thought, from
the antitheses of Marcion, through the Sic et Non of Abelard, to the
chapter in which Spinoza fixed attention on the ' discrepantes opi-
niones' of the prophets; Tract. Theol.-P., ii. 49; p. 45.

The principle itself may be regarded as a double-edged weapon ;
used by error when it dwells on the apparent contradiction ; used 1 ly
truth when it points to the deeper harmony, in which faith sees the
difficulty disappear. In this latter sense it has been a favourite in-
strument of recent theology; employed by Mr. Mozley to account for
tli.' Predestinarian Controversy; by Dr. Pusey and others, to remove
scruples on the nature of the Eucharistic presence; by Mr. Mansel,
in his exposition of the limitations of religious thought. Abun-
dant illustrations will be found in the following Notes; but on the
o-eneral subject I may refer to Archbishop King, On Predestination,
pp. 51-G2, ed. Whately ; Trench, Hulsean Lectures, 1845, p. 118,
and On St. Augustine, pp.35, Gl ; Arnold, Sermons, i. 1G1 ; David-


son, ed. of Home's Introduction, vol. ii. pp. 477-8 ; Isaac Taylor,
Restoration of Belief) p. 279; Pusey, The Presence of Christ in the
Holy Eucharist, p. 17 ; Freeman, Principles of Divine Service, ii. 15 ;
Thomson, B. L., pp. 124-6 ; Mozley, Augustinian Doctrine of Pre-
destination, ch. ii., &c. ; Mansel, Man's Conception of Eternity, pp.
14, 15; B. L., pp.8, 16, 17, 22, &c. ; Wordsworth, On Inter-
pretation, pp. 32, 34, 98, 100.

Note 5, page 79. The principle, that error generally consists in
the mistake of half-truths for truths, is correlative to Leibnitz's
observation, that sects are generally right in what they affirm, and
wrong in what they deny. The following illustrations show the
extent to which this analysis of error has been accepted : —

A'iriov Se rijg kvavrioXoyiag, on htou oXov n dewp^uai, pipog ti
Tvyycuovat. Xiyoi'reg iKartpoi" Ar.,DeGen. et Corr., I. 7; p. 323, b. 17.
Mtdc Toivvv ovang Tijg aXndeiag ' to yap xpevdog pvplag exTpotrag
tX £l ' xadcnrep al Bci/c^cu ret tov Uevdiwg dtafopiiaarrai ueXn, at rijg
<piXo<TO<piag rf)g re fiapfiapov rijg re 'EMijrtci/G a'ipiatig, tKaaTY] oirep
tXayzr wg irdaar ai^tl rijy aXiideiaV S. Clem. Alex., Strom. I. 13;
i. p. 348-9. ' — si quid de scripturis ad sententiam suam excerpent,
cetera nolentes intueri .... proprium hoc est omnium haereticorum.'
— Tertull., Adv. Praxean, 20; Opp., ii. 679. ' J'ai trouve que la
plupart des sectes ont raison dans une bonne partie de ce qu'elles
avancent, mais non pas tant en ce qu'elles nient.' — Leibnitz, Opp.,
ed. Erdmann, p. 702 ; cf. Michelet, Metaphysique d'Aristote, p. 244.
' Each is false only as it is incomplete. They are all true in what
they affirm ; all erroneous in what they deny.' — Sir W. Hamilton,
Discourses, p. 11. ' The Catholic creed is for the most part the com-
bination of separate truths, which heretics have divided among
themselves, and err in dividing.' — Newman, Tract 85, p. 73 ; On
Development, p. 88. ' It being almost a definition of heresy, that it
fastens on some one statement as if the Avhole truth, to the denial of
all others, and as the basis of a new faith ; erring rather in what it
rejects, than in what it maintains.' — Id., University Sermons, p. 338-9 ;
cf. Parochial Sermons, i. 357-8. ' Every heresy almost has been
built upon some insulated statement in God's Word.' — Pusey, Pre-
sence of Christ, &c, p. 19. ' To mistake a part for the whole is
the most common form which human error takes.' — Blakesley, Cone.
Acad., p. 27. ' All the ancient heresies contained a certain element
of truth ; but they all excluded some other truth, which was



necessary to complete that element of truth which they contained.'
— "Wordsworth, I. I., p. 32.

' Truth ever one,
Not here or there, but in the whole hath shone.'

Lyr. Ap., xcix. 2.

j And so ye halve the truth.' — lb., cix. ' Locke erred only in taking
half the truth for a whole truth.' — Coleridge, Aids to Reflection, i. 48.
' A ivhole truth instead of a half truth: — Bishop Thirlwall, Reply to
Williams, p. 27. ' The half truth rounding itself out with false-
hoods.' — Froude, On Job, p. 8 ; cf. p. 14. ' We see in all these
half truths of the different dividers a witness for the ivhole truth: —
Maurice, Tracts for Priests and People, ii. 40 ; cf. xiv. 74. ' One
of those half truths, which have often the mischievous effect of
entire falsehood.' — Birks, Bible and Modem Thought, p. 261. ' Such
have been many of the capital doctrines of later theological systems ;
true or half true in themselves, but deprived of their own vitality,' Arc.
— Stanley, The Bible ; its Form and its Substance, p. 96. 'Half-
truths, perhaps, but also half-falsehoods ; for what, in science, is a
half-truth but an error ? ' — I. O. St. Hilaire, in Lyell, Antiquity of
Man, p. 475.

Note 6, page 81. The following are instances of the forms of
expression under which the combination of half-truths in Scripture
has been recognised : —

' We ought not to be surprised, when we find the Scriptures
giving different and seemingly contradictory schemes of Divine
things. It is manifest that several such are to be found in Holy
Writ.' — King, 1. 1., p. 51. ' It is ever the manner of that Word . . .
now boldly to declare its truth upon this side, and then presently to
declare it as boldly and fearlessly on the other ; not painfully and
nicely balancing, limiting, qualifying, till the whole strength of its
statements had evaporated, not caring though its truths should
seem to jostle one another. Enough that they do not do so indeed.
It is content to leave them to the Spirit to adjust and reconcile,'
Arc. — Trench, /. I., p. 118. 'While each (of two seeming contradic-
tions in Scripture) delivers a truth, each also was meant to hinder
us from dwelling only upon what the other teaches us,' &c. — Arnold,
/. /. ' Such is the well-known course of Scriptural teaching, to
oppose, as it were, one evil at a time, and that with the utmost
force, and often without qualification ; leaving the qualification
required to be sought for in other parts of Scripture directed against


the opposite error.' — Id., Sermons chiefly on the Interpretation of
Scripture, p. 360. ' It is no unusual way of teaching in Holy
Scripture, to speak of that only, which is at the time meant to be
declared or impressed upon us.' ' God inculcates, at one time,
one side of Divine truth ; at another, another : in order that our
finite human minds may grasp, in their degree, truth after truth,
and each may sink more deeply in our souls.' — Pusey, I. L, pp. 17,
19. Add Sermon on Justification, p. 11, where he goes on to
remai'k : ' I do not mean that uninspired man ought to use the
same fearlessness of speech as the unerring wisdom of God.' We
have ' to hold in conjunction, simply and without reserve, some
two divinely affirmed matters or positions, either of which we
should probably make no difficulty of accepting by itself, but
whose compatibility or jiossible coexistence we are unable to per-
ceive.' — Freeman, I. I. ' A contradiction requires a confession of
positive error ; whereas an antinomy only suggests a sense of the
imperfection of our understanding, which can comprehend two oppo-
site results, and not the mode of reconciling them.' — Archbishop of
York, I. I. ' Such is ever the method of Scripture ; to state each of
two apparently conflicting principles (e. g., God's grace and man's
responsibility) singly and separately, and leave conscience rather
than intellect to reconcile and adjust them.' — Vaughan, On Rom.
ix. 18 ; cf. on xii. 6. ' All revealed religion rests upon certain great
principles ; which the human mind can hold together in what it
knows to be a true concord, whilst yet it cannot always by its
intellectual processes limit, define, and reconcile what its higher gift
of intuition can harmonise.' — Bishop of Oxford, Charge, 1860, p. 62.
' It is a characteristic of the Divine mind in Holy Scripture, to speak
strongly on special points of Christian doctrine in particular places of
Holy Writ, and to leave it to the reader of Scripture to supply the
correlative truths from other portions of Holy Writ, which are
necessary to complete the statement of the doctrine as a whole.'
—Wordsworth, /. /., p. 98.

Note 7, page 82. Such contrasted propositions must not be called
contradictories, as though they held a distinct logical opposition to
each other. This caution is implied in the quotation from the
Archbishop of York's B. L. in the last Note ; and compare Professor
Fraser's criticism of Mr. Mozley's work in his Essays in Philosophy,
p. 274 : ' To assert that man must believe both of two " contradic-
tory " propositions, is either to encourage absolute scepticism, or to

x 2


discourage our spontaneous faith in one or other of the counter pro-
positions. If both are intelligible propositions, every logical thiuker
is compelled to make his election between them, and to follow out
that election into its consequences. But to offer an independent
proof that, while aj^parently contradictor)'-, they are really incom-
prehensible, opens a way for the mysterious retention of both,
without offence to logic. It converts into a fact above reason what
had seemed to subvert its fundamental law.' Also Mr. Mansel's
B. L., VII. note 42 ; p. 408.

Incommensurable propositions, here called ' incomprehensible,'
can neither of them be finally reduced to the language of unqualified
logical distinctness, so as to confront each other with a sharp and
clear antagonism. They conform, indeed, to the laws of a loftier
logic, which belongs to the highest reason, rather than the common
understanding. The cry that illogical compromises are often
stronger than trim logical theories, is simply a mistake, in which
this truth is forgotten. The real distinction lies in the breadth
and depth of those laws of the spirit, which rise above the rules
of the sensational world. The former, from their very magnitude,
can find no full expression in the Avords of man. The latter may
easily be clear and orderly, because there is no reserve beneath the
surface to cloud the distinctness of their lucid language.

Another evil would result from regarding such propositions as
contradictories; namely, the assumption that the denial of one
doctrine must needs involve the assertion of its opposite; whereas
the instances in any given case may be expressed in a form so
extreme as to ignore a vast range of intermediate considerations ;
and Avhen so stated, neither the one nor the other would be true.
Thus, in the Eucharistic controversy, those who declined to accept
a particular view of Christ's presence, were alleged to teach His
real absence, or to preach a dead Christ. In disputes on inspiration,
the support of the special claims of Scripture is said to be an
attempt to silence the Spirit in true hearts for ever. To reject one
view of eternity is to identify eternity with time. To maintain
the limitation of the human faculties is to deny that man possesses
any real revelation from God. ' I believe,' says Dr. Williams, ' it is
not sarcasm, but reason, to conclude that in a purely dual antithesis
you hold the opposite of what you blame.' — Letter to Bishop of
Llandaff, 1857, p. 70. On this principle much of the contrast between
' Modern Judaisers ' and ' Rational Godliness ' has been constructed.


{Lampeter Theology, 1856, p. 56, &c. ; cf. Letter, as above, p. 92,
note.) It is sufficient to answer, that in most such forms of expression
the ' antithesis ' is not a ' dual ' one ; and it is a groundless assump-
tion that the rejection of one view is equivalent to the adoption of
the other.

Note 8, page 83. ' Though the maxim, that every event must
have a cause, is undoubtedly true, what kind of a truth is it 1 Is
it a truth absolute and complete, &c, or is it a truth indistinct,
incipient, and in tendency only ? ... It is a truth of the latter
kind, for this simple reason, that there is a contrary truth to it.' —
Mozley, I. I., p. 24. Again, p. 29, as to the idea of Divine power :
' does it belong to the class of full and distinct, or of incomplete
truths ? Certainly to the latter, for there appears at once a counter
truth to it, in the existence of moral evil,' &c. In cases of this
kind, it appears to me that the difficulty is rather absolute than
relative. It is not the fact of the opposition that discloses the
existence of the mystery. Rather we might reason out the existence
of the mystery on either side, and its recognition woidd then
explain the fact of the opposition. Cf. Fraser, /. /., p. 273.

For the rest of the paragraph, see Pascal's chapter, ' Disproportions
or Inequalities in Man ; ' Thoughts, ch. iii. : ' What is man in the
midst of nature ? He is a nothing in comparison with infinitude ;
he is everything in comparison with nullity ; he is a central point
between nothing and everything. Their extremes being infinitely
beyond his comprehension, the finality and the first principle of things
are concealed from his view under an impenetrable mystery ; and
he is equally incapable of searching into the nonentity from which
he was derived, and the infinitude into which he is absorbed.' —
P. 67, ed. Pearce. Of time, viewed ' as a form or condition of our
internal consciousness,' ' neither an absolute limit, whether beginning
or end, nor yet an absolutely unlimited duration is conceivable.' —
Mansel, Eternity, p. 6. ' Our mind is so constituted, that it cannot
apprehend the absolute beginning or the absolute end of anything.'
— Muller, Lectures on Language, 1861, p. 331. ' Leibnitz was never
tired of proving and illustrating the principle that all in nature
tends to infinity. The two abysses of which Pascal speaks — the
abyss of greatness over our heads, and the abyss of littleness beneath
and around us — opened out before his eyes.' — Christian Rem., Jan.
1863, p. 112. So in Kant's Antinomy of Pure Reason, First
Contradiction of Transcendental Ideas: '■Thesis. The world has a


beginning in time, and is also enclosed in limits as to space. Anti-
thesis. The world has no beginning, and no limits in space, but is,
as well in respect of time as of space, infinite.' Cf. Sir A. Grant,
On the Ethics of Aristotle, i. 95.

Note 9, page 85. Many points mentioned in this and the fol-
lowing paragraphs are commonly discussed under the head of the
anthropomorphic language of Scripture ; e.g. the repentance ascribed
to God, in Spinoza, Tract. Theol. Pol., xiii. 26, p. 189. Compare
Glassius, /. I., i. 944; iii. 213-5; Davidson, ed. of Home's Intro-
duction, ii. 403 ; Introd. to 0. T., i. 29, 57, 159, &c. ; Hengstenberg,
Genuineness of Pentateuch, ii. 372 ; Kenrick, Essay on Primaeval
History, p. 43. ' There is one respect in which Strauss is himself
constrained in a remarkable manner to confess, that the Hebrew
religion has no my thus, viz., in its constant maintenance of the
immutability of the Divine Being in Himself His aspects only
changing to the varying world — unlike in this to every heathen
representation of the Divinity.' — Mill, Pantheistic Principles,
ii. 10, note. In another place, ii. 50, p. 45, Spinoza treats 1 Sam.
xv. 29 as a contradiction to Jer. xiii. 8, 10, and Joel ii. 13;
whereas the counter-view of God's repentance is traceable in the
same chapter of Samuel, verses 11 and 35, as has been frequently
remarked; above, pp. 91, 93; Hengstenberg, 1. 1., and On Daniel and
Balaam, p. 425 ; Mansel, B. L., p. 22 ; De Teissier, Village Sermons,
p. 280.

On the fatal weakness of the theory which ascribes to prayer
a merely subjective value, see Mansel, B. L., p. 17 (and notes),
and Man's Conception of Eternity, pp. 14, 15. Compare Bishop of
Oxford, Seventeen Sermons, p. 152. I have dealt with this subject
previously, in Discourses on the Fall and its Results, p. 259.

On the difference between the object of Christ's coming and its
results, which may be connected with the larger qixestion of the
fulfilment of prophecy, see Copleston, On Predestination, p. 101 ; and
Mr. R. P. Smith's Messianic Interpretation of the Prophecies of
Isaiah, p. 295 ; whence it appears that the contrast which can be
traced in the very words of Christ Himself and in the Gospel
narrative, has been offered by Jewish objectors as a proof of
contradiction between prophecies and their fulfilment; e.g. Zech.
ix. 10, Mai. iv. G. Compare Arnold's Sermons, i. 385: 'How
shall the truth of God's Word be reconciled with the laws of His
moral government ? Must He stint for our sin's sake the abundance


of His mercy, or impair for His promise's sake the perfection of His
justice ? Surely here, too, as in other respects . . . hope and
disappointment were struggling together; the promise was still of
blessing, but the experience was of sin, and, therefore, not of
blessing, but of judgment.' See also ib., p. 102, and Stanley,
Jewish Church, p. 465. ' Amid former promises to Israel, there
had been constant warnings that the fulfilment of the promises was
in great measure conditional. God's word should not fail, but it
would not be found to have spoken peace to the wicked.' — H.
Browne, Messiah as Foretold and Expected, p. 43. ' Their Lord,
while His shadow brought peace upon earth, foretold that in the
event, He came to send " not peace, but a sword." ' — Newman, Office
and Work of Universities, p. 158.

The Scripture antitheses on the relation between grace and
man's exertions are drawn out by Hooker, App. to E. P., v.; Works,
ii. 549 : ' David, to shew that grace is needful, maketh his prayer
unto God, saying, " Set Thou, O Lord, a watch before the door of
my lips ; " and to teach how needful our travail is to that end, he
elsewhere useth exhortation, " Refrain thou thy tongue from evil,
and thy lips that they speak no guile." Solomon respecting the
use of our labour giveth counsel, " Keep thy heart with all the
custody and care that may be." The Apostle, having an eye unto
necessity of grace, prayeth, " The Lord keep your hearts and under-
standings in Christ Jesus." '

From the ' two cross-clauses,' Luke ix. 50, xi. 23 (above, p. 92),
Bacon draws out the distinction between ' fundamental points' and
'points not fundamental;' Adv. of L., ii. ; Works, iii. 482; and
Essay of Unity in Religion, ib., vi. 382. On the practical perplexity,
compare Rich. II., Act v. Sc. 5 :

' For no thought is contented. The better sort, —
As thoughts of things divine, — are intermixed
With scruples, and do set the word itself
Against the word :

As thus, " Come, little ones ;" and then again,
" It is as hard to come as for a camel
To thread the postern of a needle's eye." '

Note 10, page 88. There is a doubt on the interpretation of
2 Sam. xxiv. 1, as is noted in the English margin (on which see
Mr. F. Stephen's remark, Defence of Dr. Williams, p. 272). Com-
pare Waterland, Works, iv. 271 : ' If (the objector) had been dis-


posed to look into the original, and had known anything of the
Hebrew idiom, he might have perceived that the text does not say
that God moved David (for the word God is not in the text at all),
but one moved, which comes to the same thing with, David was
moved to say, &c, as Castalio renders.' ' Secundum Hebrreos Deus
non incitavit David contra populum, sed cor David incitavit ipsum,'
&c. — Minister, et Clar. ' Quidam Hebrseorum non male subaudit
cor Davidis, Davidem, q. d. David a propria concupiscentiii fuit ten-
tatus.' — Vatabl. ' Mallem personale resolvi in impersonale, coin-
motus seu incitatus est David, vel si id non placet, interseri nomen
Satano?." 1 — Amam. ' Activum pro passivo, ut sajpe, id est, com-
motus est, nempe a diabolo.' — Grot. (All in Crit. Sacr., ad loc.)
1 Cum tarn en phrasis heec ex se sumpta impium quid et blasphemum
inferat, tribuens Deo malum, quod ab ipso alienum est, uti neque
furor est ullus in Deo, vertendum videtur : Et non cessavit irasci
Dominus in populum suum, quia David malo illorum incitatus fuit ut
imperaret] &c. — Calmet, in loc. See also Glassius, Philol. Sacr.,
i. 24-4, GOO, ed. Dathe. Mr. Barrett gives a later series of comments
in his Synojjsis of Criticisms. In some of these cases, the interpre-
tation has been obviously governed rather by the wish to avoid a
supposed difficulty, than by purely philological considerations.
Dr. Stanley retains the contrast as it stands in the English version :
' The same temptation which in one book is ascribed to God, is in
another ascribed to Satan.' — Jewish Church, p. 48, note ; and so
Lightfoot, Works, i. G8.

' Et tamen peccabam, Domine Deus, ordinator et creator omnium
rerum naturalium, peccatorum autem tantum ordinator.' — S.August.,
Conf.,1. 16; Opp., i. 75. ' Ne putemus illam tranquillitatem et
ineffabile lumen Dei de se proferre unde peccata puniantnr ; sed
ipsa peccata sic ordinare, ut qua; fuerunt delectamenta homini pec-
canti, sint instrumenta Domino punienti.' — Id., Enarr. in Ps. vii. ;
Opp., iv. 37. ' Ista distinctio, aliud fecit et ordinavit : aliud autem
non fecit, sed tamen etiam hoc ordinavit.' — lb., p. 30.

' "Oy diXei (ncXrjpvvei thus becomes equivalent to, He has framed
at His pleasure the moral constitution of man, according to which
the rebellious sinner is at last obdurate.' — Dr. Vaughan, on Horn.
ix. 18. ' Many other of the apparent accidents of Scripture, on
what deep grounds do they rest ! Thus, for example, in the history
of Pharaoh's trial, that God should ten times be said to have
hardened his heart, and he ten times to have hardened his own, or


to have had it hardened, without any reference to other than him-
self this exactly equal distribution of either language

is surely most remarkable.' — Trench, Hulsean Lectures, 1845,
pp. 124—5.

"With the history of Balaam we may compare the answer of the
oracle at Branchida? to Aristodicus, Hdt., i. 159 : ' ApiaTolucov ce,
ovk ctTTopijaraPTa, 7rpog ravra elireiv ' '£2 "vaE, avrog uev ovtu> Toiai
hiri]<ri j3or]d£eiQ • Kv/ialovg Be keXeveiq tov lkETi)v EK^i^ovai ; Tov Be
nuns ufietipaadai ro'iatle ' Nat keXevuj, tVa ye ao-e/3//(7avr£c Odcraov
airo\r}od£ ' wg /x>) to Xoittov 7repi iketeuv ekcooioq e\Qt)te ettI to


Note 11, page 92. Compare the commentators on Eph. iii. 19 ;
where the antithesis is called by Dean Alford ' a paradox ;' by
Bishop Ellicott, ' an oxymoron ;' by Dr. Wordsworth, ' hyperbole.'

The principle maintained is, that Scripture anticipates all objec-
tions based on this ground, by speaking as though with an entire
unconsciousness that there is any contradiction, even when the con-
trasted terms are brought into the closest union. 'How firmly the'
immutability of God 'was impressed on the Israelitish mind, is
testified by the unembarrassed manner in which repentance of a
certain kind is ascribed to God.' — Hengstenberg, Balaam, &c, as
quoted above in Note 9. ' Earnest men, striving for great truths, are

Online LibraryJ HannahThe relation between the Divine and human elements in Holy Scripture : eight lectures preached before the University of Oxford in the year MDCCCLXIII .. → online text (page 23 of 30)