William Rainey Harper.

The Biblical world [microform] online

. (page 6 of 55)
Online LibraryWilliam Rainey HarperThe Biblical world [microform] → online text (page 6 of 55)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


for our Lord he is thus obliged, in his
view of our Lord's resurrection body,
to assume that our Lord's body passed
through two changes, once at the resur-
rection and again at the ascension.
Now of the last change we see plainly



that the New Testament knows noiking,
but, on the contrary, that there was no
such second change as Bishop Westcott
assumes, our Lord ascending up to
heaven with his ph3^cal body with
which he rose from the grave. Now of
course we agree with the Bishop that
there was no going up of any such ph3^s-
ical body, but the New Testament says
there was^ and, therefore, the fourth of
the Thirty-nine Articles, attached to all
Anglican prayer-books, is fully war-
ranted, according to New Testament
teaching, in asserting that "Christ did
truly rise again from death, and took
again his body, with flesh, bones, and
all things pertaining to the perfection
of Man's nature: wherewith he ascended
into Heaven." Warranted as this
fourth article is, however, by the teach-
ing of the New Testament, what it
says is absolutely rejected by Bishop
Westcott and modem biblical scholar-
ship generally and also by thoughtful
men everywhere. Thus it is that Bishop
Herbert Ryle, preaching recentiy on this
subject, with special reference to the
resurrection of our Lord, said, "It
assured to mankind the nature of the
personal life, not of the flesh, but of the
spirit, continued beyond the death of
the body" {The Guardian, December
16, 1915}. In view of all the evidence
now produced, what is the l(^cal con-
clusion of the whole matter ? It is this,
namely, that the New Testament in its
teaching, Pauline or otherwise, has no
message whatever for us on the subject
we have been discussing, since what it
does say here is in absolute contradiction
to the accepted teaching of science, as
this is fully indorsed by modem biblical
scholarship.



Digitized by



Google



CURRENT OPINION



The LoTe Whieh Is Not tlie FnlliU.
lug of the Law

The Hibbert Journal for April has an
article under the foregoing title by Con-
stance L. Maynard. The discussion has
been provoked by the present war, and
especially by the anemic morality which has
flooded the country in the name of pacifi-
cism. In particiilar Mr. Maynard has in
mind a call which has been made for love and
forgiveness, while at the same time there
s^paiently is no appreciation of the moral
dynamic which moves his countrymen in this
conflict. He first discusses the question
which is raised by the possibility of being
killed. This is the question whidi the com-
batant must face. The view taken in this
article is the one which is commonplace
among British people, namely, ''It is one
of the first principles of the Kingdom of
Heaven that, though human life is of value,
there are things of more value." He finds
it more difficult when he comes to the prob-
lem raised by the killing of other men. He
points out that the position of the pacifist
who calls for forgiveness in every case
actually amounts to a position which insists
that human pain must be ^>ared, that
human life is of supreme value, but that it
is quite a secondary matter whether that
life is to be spent in the service of God or of
Satan. The pacifist neglects the alter-
natives of justice or injustice, liberty or
slavery, truth or falsehood. Mr. Maynard
takes the position that the belief that love
stands outside all law is the error which
accounts for the fallacies of the pacifists.
In the course of his discussion the writer
makes a distinction between religion and
ethics which is quite noticeable. He main-
tains that the issue of the war is in the
sphere of ethics and not in that of religion.
This he seeks to demonstrate by inviting
attention to the fact that there are both



Giristians and non-Christians on each side
of the trenches. The reader of this distinc-
tion may be inclined to feel that the writer
would be willing to grant the pacifists their
claims if the problem centered about Chris-
tians versus non-Christians. Another im-
portant thing which the writer pushes to the
forefront is the necessity of being assured
that the state has a real definite existence
such as he can look to with approval. Mr.
Maynard is satisfied that the maintenance
of the British Empire is fundamentally
important. Nevertheless he makes an
impressive appeal that the people of his own
country take seriously to heart the respon-
sibility which the war places upon them,
namely, to become worthy to be champions
of their "spotless cause."

Cardiiud M eroler

The OuUook for May 30 contains an
interesting account of Cardinal Merder.
The article has this striking sentence by way
of introduction: "Against the lurid and
awful background of conquered Belgium one
figure stands out in sharp silhouette, a
personality that has succeeded in dominat-
ing the chaos of events." Mr. Gade, who
has been representing the Commission for
Relief in Belgium, is the writer of thb
article. We are told that life in many
phases has fashioned Cardinal Merder and
that the war has revealed him to the world.
Leo Xin chose him to teach the philosophy
of Thomas Aquinas in the University of
Louvain and to create the Institut Sup6rieur
de Philosophie. One of the Cardinal's
statements is this:

It is not the mission of philosophy to predict
what ought to be, but to explain what is ... .
to study facts, and as far as possible all the facts,
those that belong to inorganic as well as to
organic nature, those of history as well as those
of the economic or political order; such must be



35



Digitized by



Google



THE BIBLICAL WORLD



the first care of whoever asi^res to establish a
real philosophy. Philosophy does not go ahead
of the sciences, but follows them to synthesize
their results under the guidance of the first
principles of hximan knowledge.

This view of philosophy has found expres-
sion in the preparation which the Cardinal
has made for his work in philosophy. He
has made diligent study of science and
medicine, worked assiduously in chemical
laboratories, stood beside Van Gehuchten
in his famous researches into the nervous
system, and attended the clinics of La
Salp^tridre when Charcot was astonishing
the world by his treatment of mental
diseases. In his latest address to the
Belgian soldiers he said to them:

St. Thomas Aquinas, the most authoritative
teacher of Christian theology, proclaims that
public retribution b commendable. A just war
has austere beauty; it brings out the disinter-
ested enthusiasm of the whole people, which
gives, or is prepared to give, its most precious
possession, even life itself, for the defence and
vindication of things which cannot be weighed,
which cannot be calculated, but which can never
be extinguished— justice, honor, peace, liberty!
.... Have you not felt in these two years that
the war, the ardent, unflagging devotion which
you give it, purifies you, separates your higher
nature from the dross, uplifts you to something
nobler and better than yourselves?

Mr. Gade says of Cardinal Mercier:
"He is nearer the heart of Belgium than
anyone else, because no one knows so well
what she has suffered and no one else has
seen so clearly all her manl grandeur. He
has been 'all things to all men' — ^the
embodiment of patriotism and courage."
"Patriotism and Endurance" is his slogan, as
* 'Virtue and Work" is his motto. We are
told that never were independence and pas-
sion for truth stronger than that shown when
Cardinal Mercier denounced Cardinal von
Hartmann, Archbishop of Cologne, who,
despite the hundreds of undeniable and
irrefutable proofs to the contrary, sub-



servient to hb Kaiser, made public denial
of the true fate of the deported girls of Lille.
One of the noteworthy features of the Car-
dinal's services has been his pastoral letters,
of which one of the most remarkable has
been his pastoral on "The Sacred Value of
Patriotism and Endurance," in which one
of the highly significant sentences addressed
to the people of Belgium is: "Who does not
gaze with pride upon the reflection of glory
from the slain fatherland ?"

Clurisdan Ethies

Christian ethics is the subject of a dis-
cussion by G. F. Barbour in the Hibhert
Journal for April. He is impressed with
the increased emphasis that, owing to the
European war, has been placed on the inter-
pretation of Christian ethics. So far as the
teaching of the New Testament is concerned
he is of the opinion that the view is fre-
quently taken that violence ought to be
met with weapons other than those of force.
The early Christians, for instance, looked
for the conquest of the world, including evil,
through other agencies than the force of
arms. Paul, however, accepts the use of
force by magistrates as part of the divinely
appointed order. From Paul's point of
view there is a distinct antithesis between
the "flesh" and the "spirit" which enables
him to extend the antithesis to love and
force. But with the abandonment of this
antithesis our writer holds that the absolute
distinction between love and force faUs.
This is due to what he considers a fact —
namely, that there are an infinite series of
gradations between the use of sheer, im-
tempered force on the one hand and the
pure activity of love on the other. This
relation necessitates two questions in the
moral consideration of any given case:
First, was it impossible for the more directly
^iritual energy to come into full and effect-
ive play? Secondly, if it was impossible,
did the ^iritual impulse maintain the
masteiy of its material instrument, or was



Digitized by



Google



CURRENT OPINION



S7



it ''like the dyer's hand, subdued to what
it worked in"? Mr. Barbour concludes
that there must be an appeal to force, either
when the moral appeal to conscience is
impossible from the outset or when it has
proved ineffective. He reminds his readers,
however, that when the machinery of force
is set going, the higher and harder way of
the moral appeal is most frequently left
behind. He takes pains to emphasize his
view that action from spiritual motives and
action involving the use of physical force
are not of necessity mutually exclusive, but
it is not in accord with the spirit of Chris-
tianity to allow the legal conception of
responsibility to form the last word with
re^urd to a great ethical problem. An
even more subtle question is raised when the
writer asks, "Granted that force may be
necessary to arrest evil, can force ever really
and permanently overcome evil ?" His own
answer to the question is in the negative, and
the reason for this negative answer is that
force cannot get to the roots of moral evil.
But he is also convinced that the attitude of
non-resistance is entirely inadequate to meet
the situation of moral evil. But he is then
confronted with the difficulty of discovering
some principle by which evil can be assur-
edly overcome. The solution which he
offers for this difficulty is suggested in his
own words: "There is an absorbing desire,
not to secure gain, but to bring help; while
the trust in the natiural response of the
human heart to a generous appeal has passed
into a deeper confidence — into faith in the
Divine Power and Will to renew the hearts
of men." This he understands to be the
Christian way. Again the writer finds a
difficulty in the proclivity of men to let
selfishness and materialism so atrophy and
incrust the soul that its fineness of perception
is destroyed. This has led many persons to
trust in the Divine Power to overcome evU,
and in New Testament times it took on the
apocalyptic form. Again this apocalyptic
expectation is coming into vogue with



increased emphasis, but it belongs to a past
world and does not satisfy. In his con-
cluding remarks the writer takes special
care to emphasize his view that in the great
venture of overcoming evil the plan of
Christianity is essentially positive, and for
this reason the term non-resistance fails to
do justice to its nature.

The Relation between Research
and Interpretation

Lynn Harold Hough discusses the rela-
tion between research and interpretation in
the May- June number of the Methodist
Review, He recalls the fact that historically
interpretation of the Bible has been given
a new lease of life because of the practical
necessity of making an author mean some-
thing quite different from what he actually
meant. The effect of this knowledge upon
Mr. Hough is that he finds a touch of "some-
thing sinister" about the whole history of
interpretation and concludes that only a
man of miraculous optimism can be entirely
enthusiastic about it. The author of this
article apparently has an appreciation of
literatiure which extends beyond the limits
set by the Bible, but in this treatment he is
concerned with the methods of interpreta-
tion of Biblical literatiure. He discusses five
different methods of interpretation. The
first is "interpretation widiout research,"
for which he finds a classical example in
the Alexandrian allegorical method. This
method he understands was essentially
transcendental and based on the view that
the Bible contained a mechanically infallible
literatiure. The main thing that is to be
said of the allegorical method is that "when-
ever you meet a problem allegory gives you
wings," and that what a man brings to a
passage of Scripture is infinitely more impor-
tant than what he finds there. Mr. Hough
is not unmindful of the opportunity which
the allegorical method afforded interpreters
to suggest many spiritually helpful things;
The second method of interpretation, which



Digitized by



Google



S8



THE BIBLICAL WORLD



is called ''research as a check on interpre-
tation/' is exemplified by the school at
Antioch, and particularly by Theodore
of Mopsuestia. The latter stood for a
grammatical and historical interpretation.
Unfortunately the Antiochene school did
_not produce men of gigantic stature to per-
petuate its type of activity, and, in addition,
the problem, which became acute centuries
later, began to emerge with respect to the
difficulty of combining evangelical passion
with intellectual passion. A third step in
the advance of method is named "research-
as a substitute for interpretation." The
interpretation of the Reformation degener-
ated into a kind of scholasticism of its own
and this was responsible for a reaction.
This reaction took the form of scientific
study of the Bible. The keynote of this
method was history rather than interpreta-
tion. In the main the latter part of the
nineteenth century came nearer to achieving
objectivity in Bible study than had any
earlier period, and in many conspicuous
instances it attained an entire freedom from
prejudice in favor of tradition. However,
our writer regrets that with the progress of
the scientific study of the Bible there has
been no successful attempt to synthesize
the restdts of research. Accordingly a
fourth method has come to the forefront
which is known as ** research as a preparation
for interpretation." During the time which
has been occupied in the scientific study of
the Bible, ministers and others have had
to make the best use of the Bible that they
were able to, and the difficulty has been a
real one. Many and varied have been the
attempts to meet the difficulty, and the pro-
foundest spirits have sought sources of
certainty which left criticism free because
it could not touch their position. The view
which underlies this position is that the
Christian religion is a fact of inner experience
which authenticates its own necessary
materials. Noteworthy among such efforts
are those represented by Schleiermacher,



Eucken, Bergson, and Ritschlians. The
mental sifting caused by all these processes
has resulted in an increasing consciousness
that research is by its very nature a prepara-
tion for the ultimate task of interpretation,
and that the spot where research and a
living experience meet is the spot where
the work must be done. Finally, the writer
mentions some characteristics of the inter-
preter as he desires him to be. He thinks
the interpreter must be a man with a
cosmopolitan intellectual outlook, for the
reason that the work of the interpreter is
done at the place where many departments
of specialized activity meet. Furthermore,
the interpreter must have a synthetic type
of mind. Our writer understands that
interpretation is synthesis, and therefore
the interpreter must be a man who by
temperament, by training, and by intel-
lectual sympathy fuses various materials
into an organism. He strenuously main-
tains that the interpreter must have candor
constantly on its guard against a host of in-
vading dishonesties. The interpreter must
be alive. His task is to give expression in
the terms of life and he himself must thrill
with its energies. Finally, he thinks we
must face the fact that the literature whidi
we call the Bible is the creation of a powerful
and passionate religious experience and can
never be interpreted adequately apart from .
such an experience. Mr. Hough points out
two dangers: On the one hand there is the
tendency to indulge in hasty and unwar-
ranted generalizations, which is the constant
temptation of the impatient mind; on the
other hand there is the tendency to treat
research as an end in itself, and to refuse to
raise the question as to the significance of
the material so patiently gathered.

Peace and tlie World-Power

James H. Kirkland has an article in
Rdigums Education for April whjch merits
attention. His discussion centers about
the present world-order, especially as it is



Digitized by



Google



CURRENT OPINION



89



accentuated by the war. He analyzes the
situation and indicates the extreme difficulty
of determining the exact issue that is at
stake in the conflict. For instance, he
shows how the religious question is not the
real driving force. The remarkable adjust-
ments that have existed between the social
classes heretofore thought to hold serious
difiEerences show that the war is not the
resultant of the social grievances which have
been brewing for the past decade or more.
But, strangely enough, in the midst of the
confusion of issues the warring nations
have been most diligent in presenting the
righteousness of their claims and in endeav-
oring to put on their antagonists the respon-
sibility of beginning the war. Our writer
invites his readers to recognize the fact that
this whole condition of affairs attests to the
increasing power of public opinion and the
weight now attaching to the moral judg-
ments of mankind. Mr. Kirkland cites the
opinion of H. G. WeUs as representing the
view current among the people of the British
Empire, that this is a war of ideas, a strife
between two forms of culture. But he is
not satisfied to accept this opinion as a just
analysis of the facts. He admits that
Germany led the way in the direction of
militarism; but the lead of Germany has
been followed by other nations. This has
been done in the effort to offset the increas-



ing superiority of the militaristic strength
of Germany. He maintains that his point
of view is illustrated by the increased
acceleration of larger armaments and the
marshaling of nations under the name of
diplomacy. In this way he thinks the
militaristic conceptions came to dominate
the whole life of the state and "poisoned its
very dreams.'' The conclusion at which
Mr. Kirkland arrives, therefore, is that the
present world-war has restdted from the
dominance of identical systems. Having
interpreted the cause of the war in this way,
the writer of the article proceeds to point
out what he considers to be the matter of
primary importance. It has to do with the
settlement which is to follow the war. He
says: "The evolution of society must not
be strangled by artificial political lines, but
must proceed to something that approaches
a world-organization." Education must be
given a large place in the development of a
more permanent world-order. But he' warns
us lest education be aUowed to become
subservient to militarism, as it was in
Germany. Furthermore, he warns us
against the danger of reacting favorably on
the militarism of Germany. In this con-
nection he quotes the significant words of
Norman Angell: "A country at war is led
by an almost mechanical process to adopt
the very morality that it sets out to fight.''



Digitized by



Google



THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD



MISSIONS



The Passing of S. G. Wilson and
Andre^r Watson

The foreign missionary staff has been
weakened by the passing of two respected
and coiirageous missionaries. S. G. Wilson
was one of the ablest of the all too small band
of missionaries devoted to the work of the
Moslems. He died in Tabriz, Persia, on
Sunday, Jtdy 2, 1916. He was bom in In-
diana, Pennsylvania, in 1858, and spent
thirty years in tireless and energetic service
to the work of the Christian Missions
in Tabriz. His primary work was the
development of work for boys. He began
with Armenians, but later was able to get in
touch with Moslem boys, and, at the time
of his death, of the three himdred boys in
the school one-half were Mohammedans.
The school had become the largest mission-
ary school in Western Persia, and the most
respected and influential institution in Ta-
briz. In addition to the educational inter-
ests he was an able evangelist preacher.
But the last work in which he was engaged
was the distribution of relief to the Arme-
nians and Syrians. At first he made his
headquarters in Tiflis, in the Caucasus,
where he purchased and distributed sup-
plies in behalf of the Red Cross Society.
The American Consul viewed his energy
with surprise and pride, and in one of his
despatches he reported that, in his judgment,
a more superior man for the task cotdd not
have been found.

Dr. Andrew Watson, who has been de-
scribed as " the Nestor of the American Mis-
sion in Egypt," died in his home in Cairo,
December 9, 1916. Notwithstanding the
fact that he was eighty-three years of age,
he conducted the English service in the Mis-
sion church on Sunday evening, November
26. Dr. Watson was a Scotchman by birth,
but went from America to Egypt in 1861.



He has spent fifty-five years in Egypt, and
at the time of his death he was one of the
oldest foreign residents, and probably he
was the oldest resident missionary in Africa.
On his arrival in Egypt there were only six
members of the embryo native Protestant
church. At the present time there is a na-
tive Protestant commtmity of 30,000-40^00
members, containing over 13,000 communi-
cants. In 1864 he helped to establish the
Mission Theological Seminary— the oldest
school of Protestant theology in Egypt. In
1892 he was made the head of the institu-
tion. When in America in 1897 Dr. Watson
was chosen the moderator of the General
Assembly of the United Presbyterian
church.

Revolution and Roll^on in Russia

Rev. William Fetler has written in the
Missionary Review of the World for May an
informing article on some interesting aspects
of the present upheaval in Russia. He was
pastor of ''Dom Evangelia" Church, Petro-
grad, when the war was declared in August,
1914. The description which he gives of
the mtdtitude which assembled at the time
the emperor proclaimed the imperial mani-
festo is strikingly suggestive of the radical
change that has come since then. Mr. Fet-
ler writes feelingly of the significance of the
prohibition of vodka for the people of Rus-
sia, and he appears to be hopeful, if not con-
fident, that the measure will be retained
even after peace shall be made. Indeed,
he says that the Holy Synod, which has
always been noted for its reactionary ten-
dencies, has asked to have the vodka pro-
hibition made permanent, and like requests
have been made by town councils and im-
portant societies. One of the conspicuous
things which accompanied the early years
of the war was the demand made by the sol-



40



Digitized by



Google



THE CHURCH AND THE WORLD



41



diezs for the Bible. Mr. Fetler says: ''While
Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaivetch was in-
^)ecting a part of his army and was inquir-
ing of the conditions and needs of the men,
some one of them asked for a Bible, or New
Testament. The Duke immediately made
an order for several cartloads of Bibles to be
sent to the camps for distribution. Within
two weeks after the beginning of the war
the demand for Bibles was so great that the
printing offices of the Holy Synod were not
able to meet the demands." But at the



Online LibraryWilliam Rainey HarperThe Biblical world [microform] → online text (page 6 of 55)