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had originally a strong Pauline and anti-Jewish tendency; but in the later edition of it which we possess this tendency was much modified and softened! St. Matthew must likewise have been modified, the original Gospel being very different from what we now possess, more decidedly Judaic intendency,' whilst the Greek Gospel as we possess it has the general character of the other two Gospels, one of conciliation between the two great parties!

Thus Baur. There are here two great assertions-that there was a sharp opposition at first between those who would and those who would not preserve the Jewish law, and that the Gospels were written in the interest of that controversy. Of the truth of the former assertion there is clear and admitted evidence, though not for that exaggerated form of it espoused by Baur. Of the truth of the latter there is simply no credible evidence whatever. The learning and powers of reasoning that have been expended on the question are remarkable; but this only enhances the surprise that there are no premises whatever upon which these boasted results are constructed. The critical power that can discover a strong Gentile prejudice in a narrative, after some one has gone over it with the express purpose of taking out all signs of this, does not belong to the region of science but of second sight. If ever there were books free from all taint of prejudice, from the stifling heat of controversy, the four Gospels are those books. If it has been reserved for this century to disclose a hidden purpose and bias in the writers, the grounds on which it rests should surely be accessible to us all. We can conceive that eyes long exercised in the twilight of antiquity may catch forms and shades that escape our own; but eyes that read not only what is there, but what would have been there if it had not been taken out, are beyond the reach even of imagination. Yet we are told by an English exponent of Baur, Mark's suppression of controversial matter seems to indicate that advanced period of Church development when unity having been to a great extent secured, it seemed more prudent to drop debateable topics than to discuss them.' And this is said of a Gospel about which there is the sharpest divergence of opinion among modern scholars; and the difference is no less than this, whether Mark has copied the other two Gospels, or is himself the original from which they have borrowed. To this day Zeller, as we have said, despises those tokens of originality in this Gospel which so many other critics rely on for placing it the first in order of time, and regards as vain attempts at picturesque effect those minute descriptive touches by which the presence of an eyewitness has been thought to be indicated. To pretend to read in such a work traces of past

editings,

editings, of things that might have been there only they were removed for a purpose, by the light of internal evidence, when the same internal evidence will not decide for us a point so fundamental as whether the Gospel is the source or only the reflection of the other two, is to tax our respect for criticism beyond what it will bear. Add to all this, that the disciples of the same school differ from their great master as to all their results. Hilgenfeld places the supposed original draft of St. Matthew's Gospel between the years 50 and 60, and the supposed re-casting between 70 and 80. He places Mark, to whom he gives the second place, somewhere between 80 and 100, which Baur found to be some half a century too soon. Köstlin and Hilgenfeld assign the date of 100 to 110 for the Gospel of St. Luke, whilst Baur would place it much later. It is difficult for an English reader to form a conception of the strange union of industry and guess-work which the Critical School presents. On one side, every passage of the Gospels has been separately questioned, every ancient document that would throw light on them examined and re-examined; but, on the other hand, the same passages have furnished grounds for inferences diametrically opposed, and words the most colourless have had forced upon them the party colours of some controversy, of which, perhaps, there is hardly any external trace. The discoverer of homocopathy, it is said, after ministering to himself the thousandth part of the millionth of a grain of arsenicum or chamomilla, was wont to sit for hours watching in the most candid spirit for the symptoms produced by this powerful agent, and, upon a faint twitch of pain in his knee, he recorded in his note-book that this drug was sovereign for pains in the knee. Another observer, following the inductive method of the great Hahnemann, observed, perhaps, that the same drug was followed after some hours by a slight singing in the ears; and, accordingly, arsenicum or chamomilla, as the case might be, was set down as sovereign for complaints of hearing. The results were different, but no one would go so far as to suspect the method, which, in fact, was pure scientific induction. Baur was the fellow-countryman of Hahnemann,

The theories that have chased one another, like clouds across the heavens, allow us still to see the pure sky behind them when they pass. Each has threatened permanent darkness and storm, but each has passed; and we have time to reflect that, whilst the clouds change shape and colour, something behind them remains bright and unalterable. Paulus has gone, with his natural explanations of miracles, cumbrous and fanciful, which supposed a set of witnesses who could always tell us the mar

vellous

vellous result accurately, but yet always were deceived as to the means by which it was produced. Under the succeeding shadow of Strauss all nature grows black, and men trembling portend an earthquake and the end; but it passes, and Baur reminds men cheerfully, 'This also has been rejected by every man of education at the present time.' The cloud of myths has passed; but that of fundamental ideas,' which Baur delights in, will fare no better. When they have all swept by, this at least remains to give us courage that a mighty quickening of spiritual life, more mighty the more it is examined, is for ever connected in history with the name of Jesus Christ; that attempts to explain it are made, and forgotten soon after they are made, whilst the light of that far distant spiritual fire shines still, and the stir and murmur of nations awakening to the new tidings of a crucified Lord reaches our ears to-day. The theory of Paulus is utterly forgotten; that of Strauss will soon be with it; that of Baur may last in some form till this generation has passed away. They leave behind them much learning; indeed, it may be said that every existing record of the two first centuries has been carefully explored. But they shew also the utmost that can be done in this direction. With all the learning of Baur, he has led us over all the probabilities, possibilities, and suppositions of the case; but these are not historic results. If there be darkness over the problems of early Church history, he has not dispelled it. The person of the Saviour and the progress of His doctrine are not to be disposed of by a learned man's 'perhaps.'

One advantage of these researches will be to convince us more and more that the picture drawn in the Gospels of a life and of a doctrine is not to be accounted for by accurate research into the circumstances and the prevalent ideas of the age which witnessed them. Of Grecian culture or philosophy there is no question here; they never reached the quiet home of the carpenter in Nazareth. Keim secks in three different directions for the outward influences that were likely to act upon the character of Jesus; in the prophecies of the Old Testament, in the existing religious parties, and in the contact with John the Baptist. But none of these nor any combination of them formed the unique character we are studying, or supplied the doctrine, which so many listeners recognised as higher than human. The prophecies no doubt were sure to hold a large share in his teaching, for these were they which testified of him.' But He referred to them as one having authority and not as the Scribes.' The apparent contradiction of the glories and the sufferings of Messiah received from Him a solution which no one of that generation could have prompted; and the cross of the slave,

411

which had never been assimilated into the current theology, became the stepping-stone to the Father's throne. This is not interpretation: it is prophecy. In the Sermon on the Mount the foundations of Christian morality are laid in the moral precepts of the Law, and thereby the common origin of both is affirmed. But every precept, as it passes into the Gospel code, becomes sublimed and purified. There is no epitome of legal morals; but an expansion of old precepts to heights and depths which rabbis hardly dreamed of. Before that clear intuition, all glosses, all the solemn trifling of rabbinical books, wither off from the Law, and it is discerned in its true essence; and for the numbing and narrowing form is substituted the free spirit. The Law was not the instructor of this great Master; He, so to speak, instructed the Law as to its own true purport, fulfilled its prophecies, enlarged its legal precepts to serve for a code to all the world.

Nor can any of the existing sects of the Jewish Church lay claim to the development of His religious life. There are those who pretend to find here a disciple of the Essenes, and so far as simplicity of worship, simplicity of speech, and of life, characterised the Essenes, no doubt He resembled them. But there was always among the Jewish people a principle of reaction against formalism and rabbinical refinements. The stirring voice of the inspired prophets awakening the mechanical legalism into spiritual life, was only represented now by the asceticism of this small sect. If there was something in common to the Lord and to them, it was also common to the prophets of old. Of deeper resemblance there is little. He renounced the world and witnessed against it; but He Like the Essenes sanctified by His presence innocent joys and employments, which an Essenian severity would have looked on sourly from a distance. The Essenes were essentially a sect; in the teaching of Christ nothing is more marked or more original than His proclamation of one universal religion, the common privilege of every nation and every rank. gion it was needful that the Temple should cease to be the For that universal relireligious centre of the world; but the Essenes forsook it, and could not endure its animal sacrifices, whilst Jesus worshipped there, journeyed thither at the usual seasons, spoke nothing that could tend to its destruction, even said a word for the authority of those who, unworthy though they were, 'sat in Moses' seat' (Matt. xxiii. 2). The Essenes observed the Sabbath more strictly than the other Jews, not allowing even a vessel to be moved out of its place; the discussions that arose out of acts of healing by our Lord on the Sabbath day show that He taught a wiser Vol. 120.-No. 240. 2 F and

and more discriminating rule. Marriage was forbidden among the Essenes, 'gens sola, sine fæmina, omni venere abdicata,' as Pliny describes them, and this came under their principle of renouncing as evil all earthly joys. When the Lord recommends abstinence from marriage it is on account of the imminent troubles of a doomed nation. The Essenes had notions so strict about the purity and impurity of material things that it was more difficult for them to hold intercourse with other Jews without defilement than for those Jews to hold commerce with heathens. He who said to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man,' saw deeper than ceremonial defilement, and in the corruptions of the hearts of men, which brought Him down to heal them, overlooked the artificial impurities of cups and vessels and hands. In a word, this remarkable sect, with its Jewish belief much altered by Pythagorean opinions, offers far more of contrast than of resemblance, to the Lord's teaching. To ascribe to it any large share in the human development of Jesus is quite arbitrary. That He looked at all the forms of religious life in the nation, and that what was more excellent in each was approved by Him, is true of course; but there is not the slightest ground for saying that He was ever in any sense a disciple of the Essenian, or of any other sect.

To the doctrine of the Pharisees Keim is disposed to assign a greater share of influence over the human development of the Lord. But it must be remembered that the Pharisees were not properly what they are usually represented to be, a single sect, rivals of the Sadducees, and separate like them from the great body of the nation. The religion of the mass of the people was that of the Pharisees; they were only the more important and religiously disposed men of the nation, who gave most decided expression to the prevailing belief, and strove to establish and enforce it by a definite system of teaching and interpretation of the sacred books.'† Every appeal to the common religious thoughts of the people by means of the terms they understood best, might thus appear to be a borrowing from the Pharisees, or an assimilation to them. When Jesus uses the words 'righteousness' and Kingdom of heaven' (as Matt. v. 20), these were terms known to the Pharisees, but they had also passed from them into the people, and were understood by every one of the hearers of the Lord. They were not reminiscences of some favourite doctor, but appeals to current belief. But it is under this very word 'righteousness' that the enormous difference

*Pages 32-36.

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Döllinger, Gentile and Jew,' vol. ii, p. 304. (Darnell's translation.)

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