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French Emperor. In order to make their auspicious ruler, who came in good part' to be the son of gladness, they have unconsciously done violence to etymology, being unaware that Leto (being akin to know and lateo) has reference to darkness. The mythical invasion of the North, which caused the downfall of Napoleon, has reference to the vain attempts of the sun to overcome the northern cold, whilst the invasion of France from the same quarter represents the frost overpowering all the effects of the sun; and the tricolour is replaced by the white flag, the colour of winter, for the parti-coloured dress of summer. Napoleon was summoned from triumphs in the East to deliver France from disorder; and his career was terminated by his death in a small island, a speck in the Western sea. Who does not see here the reference to the course of the Sun? its day commencing in the East, and ending in the West. The letter from the Directory which recalled him, received on the battle-field of Aboukir, was dated the 7th Prairial; seven, as we know, was the sacred number of Apollo, who was born on the 7th of the month; and it may be mentioned that the birthday of Napoleon is uncertain, and that one record places it too on the 7th (January 7th, 1768), a case where the mythical element is scen contending with the small groundwork of historical fact. The twelve years' rule of Napoleon are the twelve hours' course of the Sun-god; as Casimir Delavigne says of the French hero, 'Il n'a régné qu'un jour.' And if the testimony of history is invoked, there are acts of Louis XVIII., the dates of which are quite at variance with the notion of a real Emperor Napoleon reigning at the same time over the French people.
This is too fanciful. Theodore Parker's exercise of the same kind is better.
The story of the Declaration of Independence is liable to many objections, if we examine it à la mode Strauss. The Congress was held at a mythical town, whose very name is suspicious, Philadelphia,
-- brotherly love. The date is suspicious; it was the fourth day of the fourth month (reckoning from April, as it is probable the Heraclidæ and Scandinavians, possible that the aboriginal Americans, and certain that the Hebrews did). Now four was a sacred number with the Americans; the president was chosen for four years; there were four departments of affairs; four divisions of the political powers, namely, the people, the congress, the executive, and the judiciary, &c. Besides, which is still more incredible, three of the presidents, two of whom, it is alleged, signed the declaration, died on the fourth of July, and the two latter exactly fifty years after they had signed it, and about the same hour of the day. The year also is suspicious ; 1776 is but an ingenious combination of the sacred number, four, which is repeated three times, and then multiplied by itself to produce the date; thus,
444 x 4 1776, 9. E. D. . . . . Still farther, the declaration is metaphysical, and presupposes an acquaintance with the transcendental philosophy on the part of the American people. Now the “ Kritik of Pure Reason ” was not published till after the declaration was made. Still farther, the Americans were never, to use the nebulous expressions of certain philosophers, an “idealo-transcendental-and-subjective," but an “objective-and-concretivo-practical” people, to the last degree; therefore a metaphysical document, and most of all a “legalcongressional-metaphysical” document, is highly suspicious if found among them. Besides, Hualteperah, the great historian of Mexico, a neighbouring state, never mentions this document; and farther still, if this declaration had been made, and accepted by the whole nation, as it is pretended, then we cannot account for the fact, that the fundamental maxim of that paper, namely, the soul's equality to itself“all men are born free and equal' ?-was perpetually lost sight of, and a large portion of the people kept in slavery; still later, petitions,supported by this fundamental article,—for the abolition of slavery, were rejected by Congress with unexampled contempt, when, if the history is not mythical, slavery never had a legal existence after 1776, &c., &c. But we could go on this way for ever.'
Such illustrations, whether they are exaggerated or not, remind us of the chief faults of the method of Strauss. The gamut of human acts and motives is so limited, that phrases must repeat themselves; neglect the differences, and search narrowly for the similitudes; and any one period may be represented as the mythical reproduction of any other. And when distance of time favours, and the records of contemporary history, by which alone this kind of dreaming can be corrected, are sparse and faint, then the mythical philosopher wanders unchecked, and a distaste for the supernatural needs never falter for want of arguments.
This theory, however, has to meet with another formidable objection, the force of which the author in his later work seems to admit. It is essential to its application here, that there should be sure proof that the attributes of the Messiah assigned to Jesus in the Gospels were also the attributes which the current rabbinical theology assigned to the expected Messiah. Myths, if there were any in the Gospels, must have been produced in the first few years after the Lord's death, and produced out of the minds of the common people, by no means instructed in the Jewish law. Their notions of the Messiah must have been the current popular notions; no one on any side pretends that there was among the Christians any great student of the Law who, profoundly reflecting on the prophecies, told his fellow converts that they spoke of a Messiah who should be the Son of
* Miscellaneous Writings,' p. 278.
God, who should suffer and be rejected of men, who should die with ignominy, after founding a kingdom bare of all earthly glory, and great only with a spiritual grandeur, and who should come hereafter in the glory of heaven, to judge the quick and dead. Has it yet been shown, then, that the popular opinion of the Jews of that day had attained this high, spiritual idea of the Messiah? There is much to make this highly improbable. In the Gospels themselves, the more spiritual views of the office of Christ were received by the disciples with the most stolid misapprehension. The disciples asked for high places in an earthly kingdom. The first intimation of Christ's approaching sufferings was received by Peter and the rest with pious incredulity: • Be it far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee.' When the first hands were laid upon the Lord to arrest Him, the disciples were scattered like sheep. When His crucifixion seemed to have ended all their hopes, they gave way to dejection, and almost to despair. The discourse in St. John upon the appropriation of the healing power of his death, the eating His flesh and drinking His blood, so perplexed them that many
of them walked with Him no more.
Recent researches fail to confirm Dr. Strauss' assumption; the popular expectation did not turn towards a suffering Messiah, but towards a chieftain, who with strong sword and stirring appeal to ancient promises, should wake the slumbering courage and faith of the Jews, and retrieve their ruined fortunes as a conquered nation. Of a Messiah who should be the pure and holy Son of God,-of a Messiah glorified by a meck and silent triumph over suffering, -of a Messiah whose kingdom should be spiritual only,—of a Messiah who should hereafter judge the quick and dead,—the Jewish opinion of that time knew nothing. This has been shown over and over again since the former * Leben Jesu' was published; and in his later book, Dr. Strauss is obliged to admit it, for he allows that a much greater share must be assigned to new, Christian ideas, in the formation of the myths. He fails to vindicate his own first position, and so virtually abandons it. At the bottom of Strauss' work, in spite of all its logical power, its wonderful acuteness, and its learning, lay two capital fallacies: “The Gospels are unhistorical, because they have a miraculous element; and miracles cannot be established, in the face of scientific difficulties, by unhistorical books;' and, “The Messiah ought, according to popular belief, to accomplish such and such works, now Christ claimed to be the Messiah, and therefore popular belief attributed to Him such and such works; and if you ask how it appears that Messiah must have done these things, I answer that these are the things
which Christ as Messiah is represented in the Gospels as doing!'
In fact, whilst the prophets did speak of a suffering Messiah, did assign to Him functions that only belong to a Divine power and nature, these passages could only be fully explained by the light of Christianity thrown back upon them. It might be said that no Jew at the day of the Lord's death understood them; and it is certain that the popular view had sunk into
mere political expectation. But with such admissions the theory of Strauss is not merely weakened, it is destroyed. The disciples of Jesus clave to Him, because in Him they found the Messiah their people looked for. Not one of them so understood the prophets as to suppose that Messiah would begin and end without putting his hand to a sword, or claiming for the Jews an improved position among the nations.
They had worldly notions about their Leader, and they were stubborn about unlearning them ; they were pious, uneducated Jews, stiff adherents of the popular convictions. See how these men adhere to the Lord of their choice! They keep for their glorious King one whose life began in the manger, was passed in the carpenter's shop, and ended upon the cross reserved mostly for felons, who were also slaves. They see after all is over that He does fulfil the promises of the past, and is indeed Messiah. They preach Him not merely as a great power of God, but as the Christ of the Jews, Son of God, King of a spiritual kingdom, Judge of quick and dead. What other cause could there be for this than that they had seen in Him such clear proof of the manifestation of the power of God, in His words, in His works, most of all in His resurrection, that they were willing at last to unlearn their own notions of Messiah, and to accept what they had been taught by their Lord, that He was God manifest in the world, that He will come again with power and kingship, acknowledged by heaven and earth, to judge the world which slew Him, which has believed in Him partly, and in part rejected Him. The argument of Strauss was that Christ was little, but the teeming fancy of a people, rich in legal traditions, arrayed Him in royal robes that were not His own ; that He wrought no miracle, but that an imaginative race created round Him a history of wonders. But the facts now look all in a different direction. The popular portrait of the Messiah was drawn in different lines and colours altogether. How came Jews to forget that portrait and accept another? If myths were of Christian invention rather than of Jewish, what touched that invention into activity? Why do all men, so to speak, gatlier out of their conscience their highest conception of holiness and lay it at His feet? Why do those whose aspirations would have been satisfied at first with a successful émeute, refuse to think lower of their leader at last than that He is one with God, and alone among men is perfect in holiness? Who was the man who, discarding existing prepossessions as to' a suffering Messiah, searched through the annals of prophecy with a dispassionate sagacity and drew out the outline of the new and unexpected part which Messiah was to fill? Who stimulated the invention of stories about the Lord ? Who collected them and wrote them in four books ? for whatever popular rumour can do, it cannot take pen in hand and write.
All these questions fall into their proper place if we recognise a unique divine energy on the part of Jesus himself; they are unanswerable upon any other ground.
We said there was a lower deep beneath Strauss's lowest. It was the redeeming point in Strauss's theory, that at least it did not impute conscious fabrication of the Gospels. The Tübingen School, with F. C. Baur at its head, saw the defects of the mythical theory, and its purely negative and destructive character, and sought to construct a theory of what the Gospel history was. According to Baur, each of the Gospels had a tendency-was written for a purpose. There was, he alleges, a much more active feud between two opposite elements in the early Churchbetween the Ebionitish or Petrine element and the Pauline-than would be gathered from the New Testament itself. This controversy began from the time of the Apostles and did not end until the middle of the second century. It was a contest between those who viewed Christianity as Judaism and the Lord as the Messiah, and those who viewed it as a new principle by which both Judaism and heathenism were to be moulded and transformed into a new system. Of the former opinion Peter was the chief champion; the supersedure of temple and law in favour of Christianity, an all-embracing system, was the work of Paul. But the contest, says Baur, was inuch more obstinate and lasting than we should infer from the Acts of the Apostles. The life of Paul was passed in the struggle for recognition as one of the A postles, for perfect equality of Jew and Gentile converts, for emancipation from the law. But the dispute continued far beyond his life, and all the early Church literature is to be interpreted by the light of this dispute. The books of the New Testament are either party-writings on one side or the other, or else they are later productions, intended to conciliate and conceal this difference, and to unite all Christians upon one common ground. And most of the books are of this latter class, and it follows that they are not the genuine productions of those whose names they bear. The lateness of St. Mark's Gospel is inferred from the absence of controversial matter and other reasons. St. Luke's Gospel