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 28 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 28 of 30)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

&c, p. 29 ; Baumgarten, Apostolic History, i. 176, Clark. On the
effect of the Fall of Jerusalem in completing the transition, see
Lyall, Prop>ced. Proph., pp. 316, sqq.

With the reference on p. 203 to Mark vii. 31, we must compare
Matt. xvi. 13, Mark viii. 27 ; our Lord's retirement to Cassarea
Philippi, on which see Dr. Stanley's remarks, Apostolic Age, p. 112,
and Sinai, &c, pp. 399, 419. ' Cesaree de Philippe, sa pointe la plus
avancee dans le monde des Gentils.' — Renan, Vie de Jesus, p. 28.

Note 4, page 204. ' It is most probable that, in Peter's mind,
when he used this expression (Acts ii. 39), there floated an indistinct
allusion to believers from other nations, though it did not appear of
sufficient importance for him to give it a greater prominence in his
address, as it was his conviction that the converts to Christianity
from heathenism must first become Jews.' — Neander, Planting, &c,



p. 20. Compare Bengelius, in loc, as quoted above, Lecture IV.,
note 12.

Note 5, page 207. Each step of this history has been the subject
of discussion. Without entering into further details of reference, I
must leave the historical views adopted in this and other parts of the
Lecture to suggest their own evidence, by the degree in which they
seem to harmonise the probabilities of the case with the statements
of Scripture. It might, indeed, be objected that, though the leaving
Titus uncircumcised may be properly described as ' one immediate
result' of the Council (Conybeare and Howson, i. 234), yet St. Paul's
consent to circumcise Timothy appears to fall later than the rebuke
to Peter (ib., 239, 28G), which could not, therefore, have rested on
the ground which I have suggested. But that consent would be
merely (as in Acts xxi. 26, and 1 Cor. ix. 20) the temporary con-
cession of a question which had been raised, but not decided ; Avhile
St. Peter might have taken alarm at the very fact of its being
mooted, and have withdrawn on that ground from an intercourse
which he had previously and rightly sanctioned.

That it is not easy to adjust the narrative without such an
explanation, the tone of the following comments will suffice to
prove : —

1. On Acts x. ' That such fresh revelations should have been
necessary may appear strange,' &c. ; ' but the effect of Pentecost
was not suddenly to dispel all ignorance and wavering.' — Humphry,
in loc. l It appears surprising that the Apostle Peter,' &c. ; but ' it
must not be overlooked that St. Peter was by no means uncertain
about the entrance of the Gentiles into the Church considered in
itself, but only about the point Avhether they could be admitted
without being circumcised, and taking upon themselves the obliga-
tion of the law.' — Olshausen, in loc.

2. On St. Peter at Antioch, Gal. ii. 11. ' The conduct of Peter
is not easy to understand,' &c. — Jowett, in loc. And again, the
passage is important ' as pourtraying the state of indecision in which
all, except St. Paul, even including Barnabas, were in reference to
the observance of the Jewish law.' ' Peter in their society began to
vacillate. In weak compliance with their prejudices,' &c, ' we find
him contradicting his own principles, and, " through fear of those who
were of the circumcision," giving all the sanction of his example to
the introduction of caste into the Church of Christ.' — Conybeare and
Howson, i. 239. (It appears to me that the language of verse 16,


&c, proves the social question named in verse 12 to Have been
merely the symbol of a deeper difference.) Compare Neander,
Planting ■, &c, i. pp. 67 (and note), 211 ; and Additions and Correc-
tions, ii. 81, sqq. ; and more generally, on the modes of reconciling
Acts xv. with Gal. ii., cf. Conybeare and Howson, i. 244, sqq., and
Ebrard, Gospel History, p. 502, Clark.

Mr. "Westcott gives the following as the ' steps by which the
distinction of Jew and Gentile was removed in the Christian
Church:' '1. The admission of Gentiles, Acts x., xi. ; 2. The
freedom of Gentile converts from the ceremonial law, Acts xv. ; 3.
The indifference of the ceremonial law for Jewish converts, Gal. ii.
14-16, Acts xxi. 20-26 ; 4. The incompatibility of Judaism with
Christianity. The first three — that is, the essential — principles
are recognised in Scripture ; the last, which introduces no new
element, is evolved in the history of the Church.' — Canon of N. T.,
p. 73, note. Mr. Greg calls the council at Jerusalem and the
dispute at Antioch ' the same transaction ;' and very naturally
infers that, in that case, there must be ' some mistake on the histo-
rian's part.' — Creed of Christendom, 1863, p. 164. But he annexes
two footnotes which utterly destroy his text : first, ' The same or
a similar one ;' next, 'unless, as has been suggested, Peter after-
wards, overpowered by the unanimity of the Judaisers, flinched from
his principles, and so incurred Pavd's indignation.'

Note 6, page 208. Compare Stanley, Apostolic Age, p. 90 ; and
for the Epistles, pp. 100-1. His first Epistle ' may well be taken as
the pledge of the last work of St. Peter, in crushing absolutely and
for ever this fatal schism, which wovdd have divided the two great
Fathers of our faith — him who gave it its first outward form, and him
who proclaimed its deep inward spirit.' For a similar remark on
the second Epistle, see Conybeare and Howson, i. 242. A brief
summary of the relation between the speeches and epistles, and of
the respective characteristics of St. Peter, St. Stephen, St. Luke, and
St. Paid, is given in Ebrard's Gospel History, pp. 499-500. On
the extent to which ' St. Peter's First Epistle derives special
interest from his personal history,' see Dr. Wordsworth's Introduc-
tion to it.

Note 7, page 213. For the interpretation of 2 Cor. v. 16, which
is here examined, see Professor Jowett's Introduction to the First
Epistle to the Thessalonians, pp. 7, sqq.

No rejoinder to what I have urged could be based on any proposal

A A 2


to correct the chronology. Mr. Jowett says that ' the series (of
letters) begins with the Epistles to the Thessalonians, identified with
the second apostolical journey by the mention of Timothy and the
sojourn of the Apostle at Athens, after a previous stay at Thessa-
lonica.' — i. 281, 2nd ed. In the same volume he tells us, that ' more
than half the Apostle's ministry had already elapsed ere he set
his hand to this the first of his extant writings.' ' It is a fragment,
the earliest we possess, of the Apostle's life and the history of the
Church.' — i. 6. Now it is surely a most important addition to these
statements, and a correction of the inferences founded upon them,
to note that by the side of the Thessalonian Epistles we have the
discourse at Athens, which gives the most mature view of the
position of the Gentiles ; and that some time before the date oftho.se
Epistles, we have the discourses at the Pisidian Antioch and at
Lystra ; the former embodying the most complete conception of the
doctrine of justification, and the relation which existed between the
law and the gospel.

Note 8, page 2l4t. 'The words lead us to infer that something
of this kind had once been his own state of mind, not only in the
time before his conversion (which he would have condemned more
strongly), but since. If so, it is (like Phil. iii. 13-15) a remarkable
confession of former weakness or error, and of conscious progress in
religious knowledge.' — Stanley, on 2 Cor. v. 16; cf. p. 295, first ed.
See another interpretation in Mr. Bright's Notes on XVIII. Sermons
of St. Leo, p. 131. Compare Neander, Planting, &c, i. 82, note,
and pp. 93, 52G-9 ; and from a different quarter, Mackay, Tubingen
School, &c, 1863, p. 239, note.

Note 9, page 217 . ' Here in this first sermon which St. Paul
is recorded to have preached in a Jewish synagogue, we have the
germ of his two Epistles to the Galatians and Romans — an internal
evidence of genuineness and veracity.' — Wordsworth, on Acts, xiii.
36. ' His concluding words, as St. Luke relates them, might stand
as a summary, representing in outline the early chapters of the
Epistle to the Romans.' — Conybeare and Howson, i. 188. It is to
the passage, Acts xiii. 39, that Mr. Davison makes his appeal, for
1 the general doctrine of St. Paul, when he explains to the Israelite
the difference between the Legal and the Evangelical systems,' adding
in a note : ; This single sentence, therefore, is decisive of the nature
of the Mosaic dispensation.' — On Sacrifice : Remains, pp. 74-5.

Note 10, page 217, Dr. Wordsworth proceeds, in the passage


cited in the last Note : ' It is observable also that St. Paul's address
appears to be formed on the same model as St. Stephen's — another
proof of its influence on him and of the truth of the history.' So
also Conybeare and Howson, i. 190, note. ' In short, Stephen was
the forerunner of the great Paul.' — Neander, Planting, &c, i. 50,
52, 97. ' In many particulars St. Stephen was the forerunner of
St. Paul.' — Conybeare and Howson, i. 73, sqq. ; Stanley, Apostolic
Age, p. 61 ; Jewish Church, p. 29 ; Trench, St. Augustine, p. 114;
Humphry, Boyle Lectures for 1858, p. 12.

Note 11, page 218. 'We have seen elsewhere (chap. iii. 1-8;
v. 12-21 ; vii. 7-11) that in many passages the Apostle wavers
between the opposite sides of a question, before he arrives at a final
and permanent conclusion. The argument in such passages may be
described as a sort of struggle in his own thoughts, an alternation of
natural feelings, a momentary conflict of emotions. The stream of
discourse flows onward in two channels, occasionally mingling or
contending with each other, which meet at the last.' ' Nowhere
does the logical control over language, that is, the power of aptly
disposing sentences so as to exhibit them in their precise relation to
each other, so fail the Apostle as at the conclusion of the tenth
chapter. "We see his meaning, but his emotions prevent him from
expressing it.' — Jowett, on Rom. ix.-xi. ; I. L, ii. 269, 271. Compare
Mr. Mozley's Letter to Dr. Stanley on Subscription to the Articles,
p. 15. The principle of interpretation which I have suggested is
illustrated by Bishop Ellicott's remark on Rom. viii. 20,21, Destiny
of the Creature, p. 3 : ' No text has suffered more from the arbitrary
limitation of the terms in which it is expressed ; and in no case will
it be found more advisable to give boldly to every term the most
comprehensive meaning the context will warrant, and to every clause
its fullest and most extended significance.'

The language of Professor Jowett is not in this case framed on
Dr. Arnold's model : ' In u St. Paul " there is not only all Christian
truth, but it is free from the mixture of human foolishness and error.
In his Epistles all is equal ; all is grave and sober, and wise and
true ; all is fitted to be an authority and a rule.' ' He who amidst
the goodness and the sense of the Fathers is grieved from time to
time at those marks of human infirmity which make it clear that
they are no staff to lean upon, may turn with greater thankfulness
to the Epistles of St. Paid and of the other apostles, and may there
find that which the human heart so eagerly craves for — an authority


which it may trust without reserve.' — Sermons chiefly on the Inter-
pretation of Scripture, pp. 269-70.

Note 12, page 219. The highest sense of law, within the moral
and spiritual sphere, is that in which God ' is a law both to Himself
and to all other things besides.' — Hooker, E. P., I. ii. § 3. The
purest reflection of that law may be conceived to guide the move-
ments of unfallen spirits ; but the introduction of evil introduces
that element of severity Avhich causes law, in its ordinary sense, to
be adjusted to the vicious rather than the virtuous (vopog <T, tv olg
aSiKia. — Ar. Eth. N., V. vi. § 4 ; 1 Tim. i. 9). It is according
to this, which in the text I call the ' third sense,' that ' by the
word Law ' St. Paul ' means " any rule of life which restrains
our natural inclinations, and which we obey through fear and
with an effort.' 1 " — Arnold, Sermons, i. 139. 'Laws do not only
teach what is good, but they enjoin it, they have in them a certain con-
straining force.'' — Hooker, LI., I. x. § 7. And at this point Ave meet
with two contrasted statements : on the one hand, that there is no need
of law where there is no risk of transgression (1 Tim., as above);
on the other, that there is no possibility of transgression Avhere
there is no law (Rom. iv. 15 ; v. 13 ; vii. 13 ; 1 Cor. xv. 56). To
reconcile them we observe that, in this sense, kw as Avell as sin
implies a state of evil ; a race which is not only imperfect by crea-
tion, but deteriorated by actual transgression. And on this basis
Ave may arrange the order of conceptions thus : 1. There is potential
sin — evil Avhich is not yet developed or made active. Where this
is not present as the groundAvork, there is no room for laAv, as above
defined, anymore than there is room for sin. 2. For the prevention
or removal of this evil, it is necessary to bring in the restraints of
law, which in itself, however, conveys only knoAvledge, but not grace
(cf. above, Lecture III., Note 15, and Discourses on the Fall and
its Resxdts, pp. 227-8). Here we reach the first of the above con-
trasted statements — that there is no need of laAv Avhere there is no risk
of transgression. 3. This laAv may be either obeyed or disobeyed.
If obeyed, it leads to a recovery, in Avhich law conveys the know-
ledge Avhile grace effects the cure ; if disobeyed, the grace is rejected,
and the laAv becomes ' the savour of death unto death.' In this
calamity, Ave trace the operation of the second of the two contrasted
statements, Avhen law becomes ' the strength of sin.' What avus
given as a guide iioav remains only as a witness (cf. Blakesley, Cone.
Ac, p. 175); in which character law points the condemnation, which


leads through disobedience to death. We may divide it according
to the three stages of the law of conscience, the Old Testament, and
the Gospel ; and in each of these we may confront it with the uniform-
ity of evil, which constitutes ' the law of sin and death.' By this
method, therefore, we reach the same four ultimate meanings, which
I have pointed out in the usage of St. Paul.

Note 13, £>«#<? 220. ' The granite mountains, on whose hard blocks
were written the Ten Commandments of the Mosaic Law.' — Stanley,
Sinai and Palestine, p. 11.



Note 1, page 232. ' Speciatim in sermonibus et actionibus Cliristi
elucet ejusmodi Decorum, quod ab evangelistis tarn bene expressum
argumento est, illos a Spiritu S. actos scripsisse ; neque enim id
humani ingenii quamlibet excellentissimi fuisset ... In rebus
summe buniilibus tamen Filius Dei cavet juri majestatis suae.' —
Bengel., in Matt. iii. 15. ' In omni humiliatione Christi, per decoram
quandam protestationem cautum est gloria? ejus divinse. Hoc loco,
per prasconium angeli ; in circumcisione, per nomen Jesu ; in purifi-
catione, per testimonium Simeonis ; in baptismo, per exceptionem
Baptistae ; in passione, modis longe plurimis.' — Id., in Luc. ii. 9.
' Cum decoro divino pulcre congruit, quod praesente vita? duce nemo
unquam legitur mortuus.' — Id., in Joann. xi. 15.

Recent publications on the Life and Opinions of Mr. E. Irving
have recalled to prominent notice the errors on our Saviour's human
nature into which he was betrayed, and another phase of which was
represented in some unhappy speculations of the late Dr. Donaldson.
Compare the strong remonstrances of Dr. Mill, Five Sermons on our
Lord's Temptation, pp. 37, 53, 152; and Bishop Ellicott, Historical
Lectures, &c, p. 111. Also see Mr. Mozley, Avgustinian Doctrine
of Predestination, p. 97. A firm grasp on the doctrine of Christ's
Divine Personality will save us from embarrassment in connexion
with the collateral error of His alleged human ignorance, as it has
been still more recently maintained. I am thankful to be exempted
by the date of the controversy (which falls later than the delivery of
these Lectures) from entering here upon the painful subject ol'M.
Eenan's Vie de Jesus.

Note 2, page 233. Compare the answer given by Bishop Ellicott
to the question whether any inaccuracies are really to be found in
Scripture : ' As, in the case of the Incarnate "Word, we fully recog-
nise in the Lord's humanity ;ill essentially human limitations and
weaknesses, the hunger, the thirst, and the weariness on the side of the
body, and the gradual development on the side of the human mind


(Luke ii. 40) — in a word, all that belongs to the essential and original
characteristics of the pure form of the nature He vouchsafed to assume,
but plainly deny the existence therein of the faintest trace of sin, or of
moral or mental imperfection, — even so in the case of the written
"Word, viewed on its purely human side, and in its reference to matters
previously admitted to have no bearing on Divine Truth, we may admit
therein the existence of such incompleteness, such limitations, and
such imperfections as belong even to the highest forms of purely truth-
ful human testimony, but consistently deny the existence of mistaken
views, perversion, misrepresentation, and any form whatever of con-
sciously committed error or inaccuracy.' — Aids to Faith, pp. 417-8.
The same course of reasoning is suggested by others of the writers
cited above, Lecture I., Note 4.

When it is wished to prove by such catena? as those of Dr.
Davidson and Mr. Stephen, that high ai;thorities in the English
Church have gone beyond this position, by teaching, either that the
inspiration of Holy Scripture was only partial, or that it is accom-
panied by an acknowledged fringe of definite error, we must submit
the passages cited to a critical examination, and exclude all those
Avhich fail, for any of the following reasons, to support either of the
above propositions. We must exclude, then : —

1 . Those passages which merely teach that the revelation is par-
tial ; or which allege, that no revelation was required for matters
which fell under the personal knowledge of the inspired writers ;
above, pp. 25, 146, and Notes. If the word inspiration is occasionally
used in this connexion, it is simply because the exact difference
between inspiration and revelation (above, Lecture I., Note 5) has not
been always present to the minds of the writers. The context will
generally show that what they really mean to limit is not the inspira-
tion, but the revelation of Scripture. See, e. g., Tillotson, as referred
to in Lecture I., Note 5 ; Warburton, in Stephen, p. 142 (' it would
be putting the Holy Spirit on an unnecessary employment' 1 ); Watson,
lb., p. 146 ; Tomline, lb., p. 149 (they 'did not upon every occasion
stand in need of supernatural communication''); Whately, lb., p. 156,
&c. Some of the passages here cited might be alleged also under
the following head, viz : —

2. Those which distinctly recognise the presence of collateral
information, the use of common sense in ordinary matters, the
employment of current scientific terms, and other indications that
the lrunian element was complete ; admissions which, as I have urged


(Lecture V., and above, pp. 231, 234), amount to neither an exclusion
of the inspiration nor an acknowledgment of error. To this head
belongs the use of optical or phenomenal language; above, p. 158
and Note. Passages of this kind, I repeat, simply carry out the full
recognition of the human element. They do not involve any neces-
sary limitation of what is strictly called inspiration — the special
presence of the Holy Spirit, which raised those human agents to a
loftier power.

3. Those which merely coincide with Butler's warning, above,
pp. 155, 233 (cf. Stephen, p. 138 ; and Dr. Mill, cited in Lecture V.,
Note 9), against all attempts to impose a deductive theory of inspi-
ration, and against the disposition to complain if others think that
the facts will not support the position which such reasoners had no
right to assume.

4. Those which merely warn us against staking too muck on
difficult or questionable positions ; as Paley, above, pp. 141—2.

5. Those which insist on the argument which has been worked out
by several recent writers, on the large share which must be ascribed
to our own ignorance of details, as an explanation of countless
Scripture difficulties. Compare Heber, in Stephen, p. 154. This
position must of course be used with judgment : for it is obviously
inadmissible to argue, as some have done, that we may expect discre-
pancies, because a more minute acquaintance with the facts would
cause discrepancies to disappear. What is meant can only be that
this consideration might lead us to expect the appearance, but not
the reality, of discrepancies.

6. Those which cannot be used without an alteration of the
language of the writer quoted, by arguing across from assertions to
negations, or from admissions to exclusions. Compare Lecture III.,
Note 7. We find a remarkable instance in the use which Mr.
Stephen repeatedly makes of Hooker's words (E. P., I. xiv. § 3,&c),
that ' the several books of Scripture having had each some several
occasion and particular purpose which caused them to be written,
the contents thereof are according to the exigence of that special end
wlnreunto they are intended.' 'The substance of his view is this :
Scripture is perfect for the end for which it is designed;' and there-
fore, it is argued, for that end only. — Stephen, pp. 9G-7, 128,
131-4-7, 14G-9, 151, 161, 173. For the real rigour of Hooker's
opinion, see the extract above in Lecture I., Note 20 ; and cf.
Burgon, Inspiration and Interpretation, pp. 77, 115 ; Phillimore,


Speech, &c, pp. 92-96 ; M'Caul, Testimonies, &c, pp. 100-8,
' The word of God in itself is absolute, exact, and perfect' — E. P.
III. viii. § 4, &c.

Note 3, page 234. Particular attention lias been lately called to
this point by Dean Milman, History of the Jews, Pref, p. xxix. ;
and i. 65, 98, 120, 122.

Note 4, page 234. See above, Lecture V., Note 14.

Note 5,])age 235. See above, Lecture V., Notes 24, 25, and 26.

Note 6, page 240. Compare Van Mildert, B. L., p. 139 ; and
the summary of opinions in the Commentaries of Ellicott and
Alford, in loc.

Note 7, page 241. E. and E., p. 377. See Bishop Marsh also,
l.l., pp. 321, 466, 508 ; and above, Lecture IV., Note 1 ; Coleridge,
Confessions, &c, p. 24 (those ' who take up the Bible as they do
other books, and apply to it the same rules of interpretation');
Davidson, ed. of Home's Introduction, ii. 207 (' the Bible is to be
explained on the same principles as other books ; ' ' yet we cannot go
all the length of those who insist on the fact absolutely and unquali-
fiedly '). See also above, quotation from Bacon in Lecture IV.,
Note 1, &c. And for Dr. Arnold's feeling on this subject, compare
Mr. B. Price's letter in Stanley's Life of Arnold, p. 167, ed.

Note 8, page 244. ' A doctrine which is based on one text of
Scripture will generally be found to rest on no text at all.' —
Wordsworth, Lectures on the Apocalypse, p. 33. In one of Mr. P.
Freeman's papers on the Eucharistic Controversy, he asks : ' Is it not
the case that most of such errors in doctrine as the Irvingite, Mr.
Maurice's as to eternal punishment, the Arian, all rest on single texts
(Eph. iv. 11 ; John xvii. 3; xiv. 28)?' See above, Lecture III.,
Note 5 ; Lecture V., Note 23. On the other hand, compare Mr.
Jowett's Essay ' On the Imputation of the Sin of Adam;' St. Paul's
Epistles, ii. 162, first ed., 'How slender is the foundation,' &c. ;
' two passages in St. Paul at most, and these of uncertain interpre-
tation. The little cloud, no bigger than a man's hand, has covered
the heavens.' Also E. and P., p. 358. It is felt in such cases that
an important step has been gained against doctrines which really lie
beneath vast portions of Scripture, if they can be forced back within
the confines of a single text. The fact that the method admits of
a right application as well as a wrong one, makes it all the more
necessary that any alleged instances should be carefully tested.


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 28 of 30)