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as you pass from sentence to sentence, that you are really advancing-gaining views of what is already past, and discovering what has hitherto been hid in the distance. Like the aspiring conqueror, instead of sitting down to enjoy the fair fields already won, each point gained becomes the signal for new conquests. And when ihe theme is dropped, an impression of completeness is left upon the mind, as though it had obtained a full and symmetrical view of the subject discussed.
The correctness of many of this author's conclusions, is easily admitted, from the fact that they are founded upon operations of the mind of which all are conscious. This remark is especially applicable to his Essay on Decision of Character. No one can read this, without the conviction that the writer possessed an intimate knowledge of the workings of the human mind; and yet in so happy a manner does he introduce his metaphysics, that they lose their offensive features, and become interesting to all classes of readers, who are but willing to think. In the masterly description which he gives of Indecision of Character, one cannot but feel that he is speaking from his own experience; and it is probably from this circumstance the report has arisen that the author is distinguished for this very Indecision. Certain it is, that he has described it far better than the opposite quality.
Another characteristic of our author's writings is, that they are eminently suggestive. Many writers possess the power of amusing and instructing us by what they actually say, and that is all; they leave nothing to be done by the reader. A person perusing their productions, like the traveller on the banks of the Nile, sees much that is beautiful immediately around him; but bis heart sickens as he beholds, at a little distance on either hand, the prospect bounded by a hopeless desert. With the writer before us, the case is far different. If he says much, he suggests more.
He excites the mind to vigorous action by the glimpses of truth, no less than by what he actually reveals. He conducts us along a high road, where many attractive objects present themselves, while ever and anon our path is intersected by others, which, stretching far away over hill and dale, disclose to our hasty glance views dim yet beautiful, and each inviting the labor of a separate journey. He gives us the materials of thought, no less than the thoughts themselves. He surrounds us with the fairest fruit, but the toil of collecting it is our own. With admirable skill he points out the position of the ore, but leaves to us the labor of removing it from its bed and preparing it for use. Hence, it is no easy thing to read this author. If you go with him, you must work your passage. He does not take you up in his arms and carry you gently along over a level surface, pointing out the flowers that bloom bere and there by the way-side. He leads you through regions hitherto uptrodden ; and when, from some bigh eminence, you survey the magnificent prospect, the pleasure experienced results, in no small degree, from the reflection that it has been procured, in part at least, by your own agency. Thus the mind becomés emulous of the toil so abundantly rewarded. The power of rousing others to vigorous exertion, is one of the greatest proofs of a vigorous mind. None but a Hannibal or a Buonaparte could conduct an army over the horrid precipices and the eternal snows of the Alps ; none could go with them without imbibing something of their vigor and decision.
The materials out of which many compositions used in the arts are made, have, by modern discoveries, been concentrated, by the removal of substances naturally existing with them. They are kept in this state for convenience, and prepared for use by admixture and dilution. The author before us seems to have understood the art of concentrating thought, and many writers have availed, and many more will yet avail themselves of his skill. His writings afford an abundant supply for almost any number of religious publications of a certain order. In the empty brain of most modern book-makers they may be expanded indefinitely, like a drop of ether in an exhausted receiver. Out of this lumbering baggage-wagon loaded with gold, as Robert Hall significantly calls these writings, multitudes obtain the material for trinkets and small wares, which they manufacture for the religious world, and which, like the jewels given on one occasion to Aaron, are far more likely to make Calves than Men.
The crowning excellence of this writer is the high tone of moral feeling displayed in bis productions. His philosophy is imbued with the principles of the Bible, and in all his plans for improvement he keeps prominent the fact of our dependence upon God. With deserved severity he rebukes those who hope by any merely human means to reform the world, and shows that not only infidels, but Christians even, are too little sensible of their impotence when unaided from above.
The style of the author has been justly censured as harsh, and soinetimes obscure, and some of his positions are doubtless stated with less qualification than truth will warrant.
tences are occasionally too long, yet it may fairly be questioned whether, as a general thing, it is possible to express the author's meaning more clearly or in fewer words than he has done. One of the most distinguished living writers remarks, that these faults are justly chargeable, not to the author, but to the language, which is unable better to express his vast conceptions. Allowing him to be guilty of all the faults ascribed to him, it is certain they bear a small proportion to his excellence ; and no one can attentively read his works without becoming a better thinker, a better reasoner, and a better man. While the metaphysician admires his luminous depths, and the philosopher is delighted at the soundness of his reasoning, “the Christian,” in the words of another, “indulges a benevolent triumph at the accession of powers to the cause of evangelical piety which its most distinguished opposers would be proud to possess."
GENUINENESS OF SEVERAL TEXTS IN THE GOSPELS.
By M. Stuart, Prof. of Sac. Lit. Theol. Sem. Andover.
As I have already intimated, in my review of Mr. Norton's work contained in the preceding numbers of this Miscellany, there are several other passages of the Gospels, besides Matt. 1. II., which this writer affirms to be of a suspicious character, or more probably spurious. The length to which my remarks on Mr. Norton have already been extended, will not permit me to examine these in minute detail. A brief notice of each, with some general remarks on the whole, is all that seems to be requisite and proper at the present time.
In passing to the examination of Matt. 27: 3-10, which Mr. Norton supposes to be an interpolation, he remarks, that “ we have but a single authority, the Greek translation, the representative perhaps of but one copy, probably not of many, for determining the text of Matthew." This, he thinks, " is evidence of no great weight against a strong presumption of the spuriousness of a passage.” p. Ixiji.
It is unnecessary for me to repeat here the considerations, which may well induce us to decide against the probability that our present canonical Matthew is a translation. It bears no marks of such a character; and the conduct of the ancient churches in regard to this whole matter, is decided evidence that it was never practically treated by them as such, whatever a few individuals may have said or conjectured in respect to this subject.
Even if it were a translation, how can any one now tell how many copies of the Hebrew Gospel were compared when it was made, in order to ascertain the best text ? Why should we presume that a work so well done as this translation surely is, (if indeed it be one), was so negligently performed as to consult only one or a very few copies of the text? If we do so, we must venture, not upon one, but upon several presumptions, in order to proceed with Mr. Norton in the work of excision.
The passage in question, which is suspected by Mr. Norton, respects the repentance and suicide of Judas, and the manner in which the thirty pieces of silver he had received for his treachery, were disposed of by the chief priests. Mr. Norton tells us, that “ at first view this account of Judas has the aspect of an interpolation.” The whole story, if true, he asserts to be “out of place.” According to him, it refers to " a subsequent period of time.” The narration states, that Judas repented, when he saw that Jesus was condemned ; and early in the morning" no condemnation had yet been passed upon Jesus by the Roman governor ; and Judas could bave no new convictions that the Sanhedrim would use all their efforts to procure the death of Jesus.” The suspected passage further “represents Judas as having had an interview with the chief priests and elders (i. e. the Sanhedrim) in the temple; which is irreconcilable with the course of events as represented by Matthew in the context of the passage, as well as by the other Evangelists." • Matthew could not have represented the council as held in the house of Caiaphas, and at the same time as conferring with Judas in the temple.'
To this last remark one may well reply, that Matthew does not so represent it. He does not say where the council was actually held. He merely tells us, that the chief priests and the elders met in council
, early in the morning, nowią; and Mark also says, (which amounts to the same thing), that the whole Sanhedrim (ölov to ouvidglov) were assembled. Where?
No one says, as Mr. Norton assumes, at the house of Caiaphas, on this occasion. Nor is this at all probable. I do not understand, from any thing which we know respecting this subject, that the hall of the high-priest's house was the place for the meeting of the Sanhedrim.
Judas, then, who, no doubt, had passed a night of dreadful horror, appeared before the Council thus assembled, and cast the money down in their presence. Then he went forth with and hanged himself. That money they dared not put into the sacred treasury. What should be done with it? They decided to purchase with it the Potter's Field, as a burial place for strangers. It is not necessary to suppose that all the particular transactions of actual purchase were gone through with on this very morning. Enough that they directed the money to be so appropriated; and inasmuch as this was done, the Evangelist, naturally enough, mentions the purchase with other particulars of the story in the same connection.
Thus far then there is nothing in any degree improbable. but Mr. Norton tells us that Jesus was not yet condemned, and that there was no new ground of conviction, in the morning, that the Sanhedrim would pursue their bloody persecution.'
Yet the circumstances of this occasion appear to my mind very differently from what he represents them to be. After the apprehension of Jesus, the evening before the crucifixion, he was brought immediately to the house of Caiaphas. On this occasion, no intimation is given by the Evangelists that the whole Sanhedrim were assembled. Plainly they were not.
It was the next morning, that Ölov to ovvidolov was assembled, and doubtless at the temple, where they usually met, and not at the house of the high-priest. In this council, after the examination of Jesus, which was very short and summary, the highpriest asked his colleagues in council : “What think ye? And they answered and said: "Evoxos Davárov ļoti,” Matt. 26: 66. Mark makes use here of the very expression employed in Matt. 27: 3, which is regarded as a part of the interpolation by Mr. Norton. He says: Οι δε πάντες κατέκριναν αύτον είναι ένοχον Javátov, Mark 14: 64.
Now all this could have been done, and probably was done, very early in the morning, even before the sun had risen. The mock-trial did not require one half-hour. Judas, beyond all doubt, was present. His conscience urged him too much to allow of absence. The condemnation of Jesus, moreover, is