J Hannah.

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

. (page 27 of 30)
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 27 of 30)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

(Birks, pp. 12, 22); nor have the Bishop's arguments done more
than expose the weakness of some careless and indefensible expla-
nations, for which the truth cannot be made to suffer. Another
instance of the same kind is the Bishop's interpretation of ' the fourth
generation,' in correction of which see the careful analysis of Mr.
Birks, p. G2. Other cases, where he refuses to admit the most
reasonable suggestions, are his positions that all who were summoned
to hear the voice of Moses or of Joshua attended ; that all the laws
came into immediate operation in the desert ; and that even the most
servile duties fell to the lot of the highest dignitaries. In the Preface
to his Third Part, p. ix., note, an elaborate historical argument in a
Layman's Vindication of the Historic Character of the Pentateuch,
p. 16, sqq., to prove that the patriarchs must have been attended
by a large following (as in Gen. xiv. 14 ; xxx. 43, &c), is c disposed
of as merely ' assuming that Jacob went down to Egypt with a
thousand or more followers.' In some of the above instances,
Bishop Colenso substitutes assumption for argument ; in this case
he disparages argument by calling it assumption.

Note 24, page 157. ' Tamdiu non est contra fidem, donee veri-
tate certissima refeUatar. Quod si factum fuerit, non hoc habebat
divina Seriptura, sed hoc senscrat huniana Lgnorantia.' — St. August.,
De Gen. ad Lit., i. 38 ; Opp., iii. 12'.). ' Aliud est quid potissimum


scriptor senserit non dignoscere, aliud autem a regula pietatis
errare.' — lb., 41 ; p. 132. ' Brevitur dicendum est de figura coeli
hoc scisse auctores nostros, quod Veritas habet ; sed Spiritum Dei,
qui per ipsos loquebatur, noluisse ista docere Homines nulli saluti
profdtura.' — lb., ii. 20 ; p. 138. Compare Whewell, History of Scientific
Ideas, ii. p. 308 ; Pratt, Scripture and Science not at Variance,
pp. 14, 17, notes.

Note 25, page 158. ' "After all," says Buckland, " it should be
recollected that the question is not respecting the correctness of the
Mosaic narrative, but of our interpretation of it," a proposition which
can hardly be sufficiently reprobated. Such a doctrine, carried out
unreservedly, strikes at the root of critical morality? — Goodwin, in
E. <§f R., p. 231. We are here on the track of an older controversy.
' A rule on this subject, propounded by some of the most enlightened
dignitaries of the Roman Catholic Church, on the occasion of the
great Copernican controversy begun by Galileo, seems well worthy
of our attention. The following was the opinion given by Cardinal
Bellarmine at the time : " When a demonstration shall be found to
establish the earth's motion, it will be proper to interpret the Sacred
Scriptures otherwise than they have hitherto been interpreted in
those passages where mention is made of the stability of the earth
and movement of the heavens." This appears to be a judicious and
reasonable maxim for such cases in general.' — Whewell, I. I., p. 306.
The position as thus stated was assailed by Mr. Kenrick on much
the same grounds as by Mr. Goodwin (Essay on Primaeval History,
1840, p. xvii.). The objectors in both cases appear to miss the sense
in which the word ' interpretation ' is used. The question is not
what the actual words of Scripture signify, but whether their
literal meaning conforms to a temporary or permanent conception of
science. So long as science proves nothing to the contrary, we take
the words literally. If the literal sense is found to rest on a scientific
belief which has now passed away, we simply transfer the passage to
another class, and explain it as language appropriate to the writer,
whose words it was no part of the Divine plan to modify, so as to
meet the future disclosures of scientific doctrines which were then
undiscovered and unknown.

Note 2G, page 158. For the word 'phenomenal,' see Trench,
Star of the Wise Men, p. 57, note. For the word ' optical,' see
Hitchcock, Religion of Geology, p. 32, &c. (quoting Rosenm tiller N / ;
Hugh Miller, Testimony of the Rocks, pp. 134, 1G6-7, 169, &c. ;


Davidson, in Home, ii. 372, and Introd. to 0. T., i. 158 ; Birks,
The Bible and Modem Thought, &c, p. 317, sqq. 'According to
the appearance,' Keil, On Joshua, pp. 257-8; Pratt, Scripture and
Science not at Variance, p. 8 ; Challis, Creation in Plan and in
Progress, p. 6 ; Huxtable, Sacred Record of Creation Vindicated
and Explained, p. 25, note. But ' it is a great mistake to conceive
that the language of common life, adopted also in Scripture, is the
expression of simple falsehood, and not of a most important variety
of scientific truth.'' — Birks, I. I., p. 312. The above writers differ in
some cases on the degree in which this solution of the difficulty is
applicable .

Note 27, page 160. The proof of this assertion must be sought
for by an analysis of any hostile, but reasonably fair, summary of
the geological difficulty. See, for instance, Kalisch, Genesis, pp.
43-52 ; Colenso, Pentateuch, &c, p. 172 ; Davidson, Introd. to
0. T., i. 151-164, &c.

Note 28, page 1G1. 'In the delineation of the future state, given
in the closing part of the Apocalypse, and given, too, at considerable
length, we are all aware that it does not, strictly speaking, furnish
any historical statement of the outward conditions of our state as
it will then be, but that it simply images forth certain spiritual
characteristics of that future state ; giving, in short, merely religious
truth, and not information about physical facts.' — Huxtable, /. /.,
p. 73. ' The account in the first chapter of Genesis having reference
to facts out of the pale of human experience, clearly comes under
the same category as prophecy. It ecpially claims to be Divine
revelation ; to be a communication from the Spirit of the Creator
Himself.'— Challis, I. I, p. 3.

Note 29, page 162. See the table in Kalisch, Genesis, p. 63 ; and
compare Dr. Rorison, in Replies to E. fy R., p. 284.

Note 30, page 163. Moreover, 'A prophetic vision which reveals
past events is without example or analogy in the whole range of the
Biblical records.' — Kalisch, 1. 1., p. 47, where this theory is examined
more at length.

Note 31, page 163. See Professor Challis's Creation in Plan an J
in Progress, 1861.

Note 32, page 163. For the one opinion, see Mr. liuxtable's
Sacred Record of Great inn; for the other, Dr. Rorison's Essay,
The Creative Week, in Replies In Essays <nt<I Reviews.

Note 33, page 166. See Hugh Miller's Old Red Sandstone,


p. 136, &c. ; and Testimony of the Rocks, Lectures V. and VI. ;
' Geology in its bearings on the two Theologies.' Also Hux table,
I. L, p. 57, sqq. But the recent controversy on the antiquity of
man is an additional lesson, had one been needed, to teach us the
danger of grasping precipitately at gains which have scarcely yet
become our own. Compare Hardwick's Christ and other Masters,
i. 47 ; a page which could hardly have been written now.



Note 1, page 172. For the double sense of leaven, as used in
Scripture, see Trench, On the Parables, p. 113 ; Stier, Words of the
Lord Jesus, ii. 254, E. T. : ' With this expansion of the small seed
in the field of the world the tares of corruption will mingle all the
more powerfully (like a leaven), but the good seed will notwith-
standing choke the thorns ; the mustard-seed will gain the victory ;
what is heavenly will also mingle itself with every mixture ; in a
word, will show itself as a subduing anti-leaven." 1

1 Humanity before Jesus Christ may be divided into two categories;
one, a privileged minority, placed under the immediate direction
of God. This was the Jewish theocracy. Later on, we shall show
how this privilege was in reality in the interest of the whole race.' —
De Pressense, Religions before Christ, p. 15 ; cf. pp. 189, 202, 204,
258 ; and Mr. Goldwin Smith, Rational Religion, &c, p. 57.

' "We must consider what was the object of God's dealings with
man recorded in the Bible. If it was to put human society at once
in a state of perfection, without further effort, political, social, or
intellectual, on the part of man, the inference is irresistible that every
institution enjoined in the Bible is part of a perfect scheme, and that
every institution mentioned in the Bible without condemnation will
be lawful to the end of time. But if the object was to implant in
man's heart a principle, viz. the love of God and man, which should
move him to work (God also working in him) for the imj^rovement
of his own state and that of his fellows, and for the transforming of
his and their life into the image of their Maker ; in this case it will
by no means follow that any social institution recognised in Scrip-
ture for the time being, or mentioned by it without condemnation,
is for ever good or lawful in the sight of God.' — Mr. Goldwin Smith,
Does the Bible sanction American Slavery? pp. 2, 3. ' The religious
system of the Jews was primitive, and therefore gross, compared
with Christian worship. It was spiritual compared with the reli-
gious system of the most refined and cultivated heathen nations.' —


lb., p. 23. ' If we look at the Mosaic dispensation in itself, we may-
regard it as peculiarly ceremonial ; but if we compare it with any
other dispensation except the Chiistian, we shall probably find that,
instead of being peculiarly ceremonial, it is peculiarly moral.' —
lb., p. 57.

Note 2, page 175. See also above, pp. 99, 100. On the laws of
slaves and children, and some other points of the same kind, compare
Mr. Goldwin Smith, I. I., pp. 12, 37, 50, 54 ; and Rational Religion,
&c, p. 51 ; a Layman's Pentateuch Vindicated, pp. 202, 205, note ;
Stanley, Jewish Church, p. 170 (usages ' assumed and tolerated,'
but 'restrained'); Milman, History of the Jeivs, i. 1G8 ('of all the
ancient lawgivers, Moses alone endeavoured to mitigate ' the evils of
slavery); 171 (' Moses, while he maintained the dignity and salu-
tary control, limited the abuse of the parental authority').

Note 3, page 175. Most of the difficulties which are usually urged
are detailed and discussed in the Introductions to the Pentateuch of
Hengstenberg, Macdonald, and others, and will be found under
their respective places in the recent works of Dr. Davidson, Dr.
Stanley, and Dean Milman. Some points which are generally con-
nected with them are discussed above in Lecture III. : e.g. the repent-
ance ascribed to God, pp. 84, 91 ; the hardening of Pharaoh's heart,
p. 88 ; and the visiting of the sins of the fathers on the children,
p. 96. On the special difficulty of the apparent commendation of
falsehood in such cases as the midwives of the Hebrews and Rahab,
see the notes to Grotius, De Jure B. et P., iii. c. i. 10 ; S. Thorn.
Acpun., II da II dae Qu. ex. Art. iii. ; and Whewell, lectures on
Moral Philosophy, ii. 78, 1862 ; ' Christian morality ; St. Augustine
on Lying.' On the Destruction of the Canaanites, see a sermon by
Dr. Mill, University Sermons, 1845, No. vii. p. 117. On the general
question, compare Mr. Mansel's B. L., pp. 42, 243-4, and the con-
troversy to which those passages gave rise.

To a great extent, in truth, the argument falls under the erroneous
belief, against which Art. vii. is directed, that the Old Testament is
contrary to the New. Hence such works as the Christianity without
Judaism, of the late Professor Powell. On the other side, I may
refer to Mr. Macleane's Unity of God's Moral Law as Revealed in
the O. and N. Testaments, 1847 ; and Mr. Perowne's Essential
Coherence of the O. and N. Testaments, 1858.

Note 4, page 176. ' There are some particular precepts in Scrip-
ture, given to particular persons, requiring actions which would be


immoral and vicious were it not for such precepts. But it is easy
to see that all these are of such a kind as that the precept changes
the whole nature of the case and of the action, and both constitutes
and shows that not to be unjust or immoral which, prior to the
precept, must have appeared and really have been so ; which may
well be, since none, of these precepts are contrary to immutable mo-
rality. ,' — Butler, Anal., ii. 3, p. 220. This last qualification supplies
the precise protection which I plead for against supposing that God
could utter a command for the purpose of turning wrong into right.
Butler expressly excludes actions that are wrong in themselves, and
expressly confines his argument to acts of a judicial character, by
means of which the command of God deprives the unworthy posses-
sor of either property or life.

Compare S. August., Contra Mendacium, 34, Opp., vi. 469 : ' Et
ubi ponimus voluntatem ac potestatcm Dei ? ' or, as Dr. Whewell
states it, 1. 1., p. 86 : l God's Providence can bring about its purposes
without being aided by the false utterances of men.' Almost the
very phrase of a recent writer of fiction : ' God's omnipotence did
not need our sin.'

Note 5, page 176. On ' the imperfect standard allowed and
even approved under the old dispensation, as contrasted with the
perfect law of love in the new,' Dr. Stanley cites the judgment of
St. Chrysostom ; — Sermons and Essays on the Apostolical Age, p. 41 ;
also in Jewish Church, p. 250. Similarly Dr. Whewell quotes from
St. Augustine, I. I., p. 83 : ' That these women were " according to
their degree approved and rewarded of God." Their act was better
than a lie of malice, but it was not absolutely good.' The hypothesis
is put more antagonistically by Dr. Davidson, Introd to 0. T., i. 474 :
' The morality of the Old Testament was progressive, incomplete,
imperfect : it was simply the reflection of the purest existing morality.
To say that it was a standard morality for all time, or even for the
time of its manifestation, is to mistake its character,' &c.

Note 6, page 181. The principle is traced on from Joshua and
Judges to the Psalms and Ezra, and thence to the New Testament,
in Dr. Newman's sermon, 'Jewish zeal a pattern to Christians, 1
Parochial Sermons, iii. 197, sqq. On its counterpoise ' Sobriety,'
see Lyra Ap., lxv.-ix.

Note 7, page 182. For the use which has been made of the death
of Sisera, see Coleridge, Confession*, &c, pp. 34, 44, 54 ; Mr. F. W.
Newman's Phases of Faith, p. 69, 3rd ed. ; Davidson, /. /., p. 475.


The subject is discussed, with various results, in almost every treatise
bearing on these questions. Compare Waterland, Works, iv. 254 ;
Arnold, Sermons chiefly on the Interpretation of Scripture, No. viii.,
p. 76 ; R. Williams, Rational Godliness, Sermon vii., p. 89 ; Burgon,
Inspiration and Interpretation, p. 223, sqq. ; Stanley, Jewish Church,
n. 329, sqq.

Note 8, page 182. ' The solemn religious commencement, the
picturesque description of the state of the country, the mustering of
the troops from all quarters, the sudden transition to the most con-
temptuous sarcasm against the tribes that stood aloof; the life, fire,
and energy of the battle ; the bitter pathos of the close — lyric
poetry has nothing in any language Avhich can surpass the boldness
and animation of this striking production.' — Milman, I. I., i. 246.
' The song of Deborah is a very old specimen of Hebrew poetry,
which may challenge comparison in sublimity and beauty with the
lyrics of any other langiiage.' — Davidson, 1. 1., i. 471. ' The song
of Deborah bears in itself the marks of antiquity, and may have
been written soon after the time of the prophetess herself — lb. ,
p. 465. We may fairly set this opinion against Bishop Colenso's
attempt to bring down the poem to a later date. Pentateuch,
§§ 447-452 ; Answer to Dr. M'Caul, p. 14. See also Dr. Donaldson,
Jashar, pp. 269, 289. For the antiquity of the oldest uninspired
compositions, see Max Muller on the Veda, Ancient Sanskrit Liter-
ature, p. 65 ; ' the most ancient literary work of the Aryan race, a
work more ancient than the Zendavesta and Homer;' the published
form of the Vedic hymns the same ' in which they existed at least
800 years before the Christian era.'

Note 9, page 183. On the days of the Judges, compare Stanley,
Jewish Church, pp. 305, 308, 328, 337 ; on Jephthah, p. 358 ; on
Samson, pp. 364, &c. In these and in many similar cases throughout
these Notes mere reference must not be taken to imply any further
agreement than may be inferred from the argument of the Lectures.

Note 10, page 184. Compare Dr. Newman's sermon above
referred to, and Milman, 1. 1., i. 187 : ' How wonderfully the event
verified the prediction of the inspired legislator, how invariably
apostasy led to adversity, repentance and reformation to prosperity,
will abundantly appear during the course of the following history.'

Note 11, page 185. For the geographical and other details, it is
sufficient to refer to Dr. Stanley's Sinai and Palestine, p. 339 ;
Jetvish Church, pp. 316, sqq.


Note 12, page 187. Dr. Milman still follows the older version :
Tor the noise of plundering archers by the wells of water, now
they meet and sing aloud Jehovah's righteous acts.' — i. 248. So also
Dr. Williams, 1. I., p. 95 : ' The places of drawing water were beset
by the bow of the oppressor;' and p. 105 : 'Like the archers of
Canaan by the watering-places of Israel.' But Dr. Stanley : ' From
amidst the shouting of the dividers of spoils, between the water-
troughs, there let them rehearse,' &c, p. 334 ; and Dr. Davidson :
' For the rejoicing of those who divide the spoil between the draw-
wells, there they celebrate,' &c, p. 473. Dr. Donaldson, again, on
a different hypothesis : ' meditaminor, ob jubila lignatorum inter
aquarum diluvia.' — Jashar, p. 238; cf. pp. 276-80.

Note 13, page 189. The point is put with earnest force by Dr.
Arnold, I. /., p. 33, Semion on the Wars of the Israelites : 'It is
better that the wicked should be destroyed a hundred times over,
yea, destroyed with everlasting destruction, than that they should
tempt those who are as yet innocent to join their company. And
if we are inclined to think that God dealt hardly with the people of
Canaan in commanding them to be so utterly destroyed, let us but
think what might have been our fate, and the fate of every other
nation under heaven at this hour, had the sword of the Israelites
done its work more sparingly. . . . The Israelites' sword, in its
bloodiest executions, wrought a work of mercy for all the countries
of the earth to the very end of the world.' So also Stanley, /. /.,
p. 253. See too Lord A. Hervey, Inspiration of Holy Scrtpttu-e,
p. 68, who discusses, in the following pages, the killing of Eglon and
Sisera, and the question of Deborah's inspiration.

Note 14, page 192. Compare Dr. Pusey's Sermon on the Day
of Judgment, 1839 : ' As He unfolds the fuller measures of His
goodness in our redemption, He accompanies them with more awful
notices of His wrath ; He disclosed not to us everlasting joys,
without warning us of everlasting fire.'

Note 15, page 193. ' It is a remarkable circumstance which has
been often observed, that if we look to some of the most eminent
saints of Scripture, we shall find their recorded errors to have
occurred in those parts of their duty in which each had had most
trial, and generally showed obedience most perfect. Faithful
Abraham through want of faith denied his wife. Moses, the meekest
of men, was excluded from the land of promise for a passionate
word. The ivisdom of Solomon was seduced to bow down to idols.


Barnabas, again, the son of consolation, had a sharp contention with
St. Paul.' — Newman, Parochial Sermons, i. 53-4. Compare Lyra
Ap., xx. But I have pointed out that the history appears to prove
the existence of the double strain of temper through all portions of
the legislator's life. Dr. Stanley says, however, that ' no modern
word seems exactly to correspond to that which our translators
have rendered " the meekest of men," but which rather expresses
"enduring," "afflicted," "heedless of self."' — Jewish Church,
p. 199.

Note 16, page 193. Compare Arnold, Sermons chiefly on the Inter-
pretation of Scripture, pp. 396-9 ; Stanley, Apostolic Age, pp. 246,
258, 278-80 ;Westcott, Introd. to Study ofN. T., pp. 234, 281. So of
Christ Himself, Newman, I. L, iii. 200 : ' There was an occasion when
our Lord is expressly said to have taken upon Him the zeal which
consumed David,' &c. ' Such is the pattern afforded us by our
Lord ; to which add the example of the angels which surround
Him. Surely in Him is mingled " goodness and severity ; " such,
therefore, are all holy creatures, loving and severe.'



Note I, page 200. See this remarked in Dr. Stanley's Apostolic
Age, pp. 381-2 (partly repeated in Comment, on Corinth., i. p. 4G) :
1 It is by catching a glimpse, however partial, of those wild dissen-
sions which raged around and beneath the Apostolic writings, that
we can best appreciate the sublime unity and repose of those writings
themselves.' Compare p. 298, of St. James : ' It was not, we may
believe, without an object that the Divine Providence, which so
carefully excluded froni the sacred volume those harsher or more
temporary peculiarities on which the Palestine Jews dwelt with
exclusive pleasure, has admitted into it the great Epistle, where
the same general character, indeed, appears before us, but refined
and purified from the earthly admixture by which the merely
human record of him is marred.' And of St. Peter, Neander,
Planting, &c, i. 372, note ; defending ' the old distinction for
securing the idea of inspiration between vitium conversationis and
error doctrinm?

Note 2, page 200. ' Every one has a distinct conception of
St. Peter. . . . Quick in action even to rashness, and bold in word
even to presumption, he is yet the founder of the outward Church.'
' — Eager to realise to the full a blessing of which he only half per-
ceived the import, and unable to wait in calm assurance on the will
of his Master. This impatient energy, which seems to be ever
striving after the issues of things, made him give expression in many
cases to the thoughts which others cherished, perhaps vaguely.'
' He cannot rest in uncertainty where knowledge might prove the
guide to deeds.' ' We feel at once that the Avalking on the waters
and the failing faith are a true figure of his following Christ to the
place of judgment and then denying Him. Then follows the swift
and complete reaction.' — Wcstcott, Introd., &c, pp. 277-280.
' Peter, over-hasty, as was so often the case.' — Trench, Miracles,
p. 377. 'By the natural constitution of his mind, he was disposed
to surrender himself at the moment entirely to the impression which


seized hini . . . but he was easily misled by a rash self-confidence
to say more, and to venture more, than he could accomplish.' —
Neander, Planting, &c, i. 368, ed. Bohn : cf. pp. 66, note; 72, &c.
' Boldness and timidity, first boldness, then timidity, were the
characteristics of his nature.' — Jowett, Comment, on Gal. ii. 11.
Compare p. 343 (first ed.) : ' He who is the first, and even the
ablest to speak, may be often deficient in firmness of will or grasp of
mind.' Also Stanley, Apostolic Age, pp. 82, 95 ( ' whose character-
istic it was, that, with his thoughts ever bounded by time, his spirit
was ever open to the first dawn of things eternal '), 104 (' who took
the first critical step in advance ? ' ' the characters of simple unhesi-
tating zeal, which act instead of reflecting, which venture instead of
calculating, which cannot or will not see the difficulties with which
the first struggle of an untried reformation is of necessity accom-
panied'), &c.

The reverent analysis of the human characteristics of the Scrip-
ture saints is a work of deep interest and constant profit ; but only
so long as we recollect that their mission contributed a very diffe-
rent element, in the message of pure revelation which was entriisted
to their keeping, and which was received and handed on through
the presence and light of a special inspiration.

Note 3, page 202. Compare Neander, Life of Christ, p. 281,
ed. Bohn; Moberly, Sayings of the Great Forty Days, pp. 14, 39-42;
Stanley, /. I., p. 92; Ellicott, Historical Lectures, &c, pp. 202, 218,
220. On the steps by which the early Church disengaged itself from
Judaism, cf. Trench, St. Augustine, pp. 61, 71 ; Neander, Planting,

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 27 of 30)