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observation, of correct description, and of lofty piety pervades the whole of the Psalms of David, whether they refer to the anxieties and dangers with which he was surrounded, or to the joys and consolations he experienced. Whether he deprecates the punishment of his sins O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger;'-or rejoices in the prospect of their forgiveness- Bless the Lord, O my soul,'-whatever be the object or occasion of the psalm, the same deep perception of the beautiful in nature, the same lofty idea of the sovereignty of his Maker pervades the whole.
It has been justly remarked that in almost all countries the most ancient poets are considered the best. Whether this arises from the circumstance that every other kind of knowledge is only gradually attained, and that poetry is a gift conferred at once; or that the first poetry so far surprised by its novelty as to retain by consent that approval which it may be supposed to have received as it were by accident; or whether, as the true province of poetry is to describe nature and passion, which are in all ages more or less the same, the first writers monopolized those ideas and beauties which subsequent authors could only imitate and rarely improve ;-whether any or all of these circumstances are calculated to account for the result, the fact is beyond dispute that to the ancients is generally ascribed the possession of nature, and to their followers perfection in art. Now as regards the book of Psalms, its pretensions to antiquity are of the very highest order, it having been composed, as already observed, long before those collections of poems in which ancient Greece and Rome have gloried. Its claims to the veneration and love of mankind are also infinitely beyond those of any other human composition. To all the aids of mere intellectual ability there is superadded the direct inspiration of the spirit of God, and there can be no condition of life, no emotion of the mind where they are not calculated to afford consolation and delight. Their language is not the language of any one city or country, but it is the language of Christian souls in all ages of the world.
David was imbued with a love of music as well as of poetry. He was himself no mean performer upon the harp, as was shown in the influence of his strains in soothing the perturbed spirit of Saul. Many of the Psalms were expressly written and adapted for both vocal and instrumental performance :- Sing unto the Lord with the harp; with the harp and the voice of a psalm. With trumpets and sound of cornet, make a joyful noise before the Lord the King' (Ps. xcviii. 4, 5). 'Praise him with the sound of a trumpet; praise him with the psaltery and harp; praise him with the timbrel and dance; praise him with stringed
VOL. IV.NO. VIII.
instruments and organs; praise him upon the loud cymbals, praise him upon the high-sounding cymbals" (Ps. cl.). From our own experience of the overpowering effects and the high devotional feelings produced by the singing of the psalms by a full choir, when accompanied by the organ or other instrumental music, in our churches at the present day, it is not difficult to understand how animating must have been the influence of those services at Jerusalem in which the Poet-King himself often joined; nor to form an opinion of the still more splendid effects of the Temple service in the days of Solomon, when the Levites in their several choirs performed their music divided into classes.
It has been truly remarked by Bishop Horne that the Psalms are an epitome of the Bible adapted to the purposes of devotion. They treat occasionally of the creation and formation of the world; the dispensations of Providence, and the economy of grace; the transactions of patriarchs; the exodus of the children of Israel; their journey through the wilderness, and settlement in Canaan ; their law, priesthood, and ritual; the exploits of their great men, wrought through faith; their sins and captivities; their repentances and restorations; the sufferings and victories of David; the peaceful and happy reign of Solomon; the advent of the Messiah, with its effects and consequences; his incarnation, birth, life, passion, death, resurrection, ascension, kingdom, priesthood; the effusion of the Spirit; the conversion of the nations; the rejection of the Jews; the establishment, increase, and perpetuity of the Christian Church; the end of the world; the general judgment; the condemnation of the wicked, and the final triumph of the righteous with their Lord and King.'*
The literary excellencies of David are, that his ideas are clearly and consecutively expressed, his images natural and boldly drawn, his language simple and effective. His compositions speak at once to the heart and the feelings. They neither tire the attention, fatigue the understanding, nor outrage the judgment. They are less imaginative than real, less worldly than heavenly, less human than divine. They are the fountain and well-spring of true poetry, whence the young disciple of the Muses may draw the best examples and the richest instruction, and where the veteran poet may learn to chasten his style, enlarge his ideas, and elevate his thoughts.
'I know nothing,' says Dr. Adam Clarke, 'like the book of Psalms. It contains all the lengths, breadths, depths, and heights of the patriarchal, Mosaic, and Christian dispensations. It is the most useful book in the Bible, and is every way worthy of the wisdom of God.'
c Preface to Commentary on the Book of Psalms.
DAVIDSON'S INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW
An Introduction to the New Testament, containing an examination of the most important questions relating to the Authority, Interpretation, and Integrity of the Canonical Books, with reference to the latest inquiries. By SAMUEL DAVIDSON, D.D. of the University of Halle, and LL.D. Vol. ii. The Acts of the Apostles to the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians. London: Samuel Bagster and Sons,
IN this volume Dr. Davidson carries on his work from the Acts of the Apostles to the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians (inclusive). The subjects considered under the heads of the several books possess a general resemblance to those discussed in the Introduction to the Four Gospels (see this Journal, No. IV., p. 342). In treating of the Gospels, and the questions which have arisen with regard to them, Dr. Davidson had to meet a vast quantity of that scepticism which has so especially assailed the historic records of our religion. In the Epistles of the New Testament the case, however, is very different. Here we find many documents, the authenticity of which is admitted even by the greater proportion of those who have relentlessly attacked the Gospels. This circumstance necessarily impresses a somewhat different character on the volume now before us.
We believe that many biblical students will hail the appearance of this volume as a worthy successor of that which the learned and respected author had already published. Many will gladly learn what the questions are which are now discussed by scholars of various countries, and of many habits of thought, with regard to those books of the New Testament which follow the Gospels. And as to objections which have been raised to books, or parts of books, the student will be able here to learn what the objections are, and how they may be met.
We deprecate a morbid appetite for the works of opponents of revelation; a mind may become unconsciously poisoned by familiar association with rationalism-but we also deprecate that self-satisfied ignorance which tries to exclude all knowledge of danger, and which would substitute blindness for security. As inquiries with regard to Scripture have been so widely taken up by men of learning and research, who are really opposed to Scripture and to all revelation, and as these inquiries are more and more made known, it is in a manner incumbent on the friends of Scripture and Revelation to know what those inquiries are to meet the cavils which might injure the uninstructed, and to obtain such a fundamental knowledge of the whole subject as shall (through God's blessing) be a safeguard against the inroads of cavillers. Of one thing we may be sure, self-satisfied blindness is no safeguard for ourselves or for others in such cases.
We therefore rejoice that in the midst of pressing avocations (and also of personal sorrow)," Dr. Davidson has completed his second volume at an earlier period than he evidently contemplated, when he wrote his Preface to the first volume. Having this Introduction we have no occasion to direct any inquirer to doubtful and rationalistic sources of information, to works in which we find a strange and melancholy union of extraordinary learning and exceptionable sentiment. Dr. Davidson tells us what the arguments are by which Scripture is assailed; he instructs how such arguments are met and refuted; he introduces to those points of investigation by which a really accurate knowledge of the Scripture may be attained. Most sincerely do we trust that his labours will be amply appreciated, and that a more extensive acquaintance with the whole range of biblical inquiry may again be found in this country. We are fully aware that learning by itself cannot produce this; but learning is a valuable accompaniment of that sanctification of the heart and reverence for the word of God, which those only can know who have trusted in that Saviour of whom the Scripture testifies.
In considering the Acts of the Apostles, the book with which this volume commences, Dr. Davidson notices the following topics :I. The authorship and sources. II. The credibility. III. The time and place of writing. IV. Genuineness and integrity. V. The writer's leading object. VI. Plan of the work. VII. Chronology. VIII. Original language. IX. Contents.
As to the authorship, he fully meets the exceptions which some have made to its having proceeded from the pen of Luke the evangelist. The external evidence is first relied on (and this is in fact enough to settle the whole question), and then, to show the groundlessness of objections, the internal evidence is minutely investigated. Davidson has excellently shown (pp. 4-6) how the same characteristics of style and diction obtain throughout the book; he then exhibits in a clear light its internal coherence. These considerations are urged in proof that the book proceeded from one author and not from several.
Then the author is shown in a somewhat similar manner to be the same Luke who wrote the Gospel.
We must refer to Dr. Davidson's volume itself for the statement of the objections which some learned men have raised. To most readers we think that it will seem strange that such questions and difficulties could have been raised by any; but still the fact is that they are suggested; and if any think that the consideration of them is not forced upon our attention, we can only say that they still remain happily unconscious
a To this he makes a touching allusion in his Preface:- He had to watch by the bed of a dying son, who gave flattering promise of pre-eminence in literature. But the rich consolations with which the Pauline epistles abound, enabled him to bear up and look onward; and though he had to resume his pen with a sorrowful heart, for the purpose of completing the volume, he trusts that the practical power of Christianity was not lost sight of amid the theoretical considerations to which his mind had to be directed. He considers it a providential circumstance that he was studying the writings of an inspired apostle, fitted, above all others, to sustain the mind amid the melancholy changes of an uncertain world.'
of what goes on around them, both on the Continent and in this country.
We are well aware that many of the objections and doubts on the subject of Scripture, which are brought forward, have no other origin than the love of singularity; men are found who are resolved to advance original ideas; to this end they use all their learning to illustrate some strange paradox; they are often surprised that others listen and receive the new assertions; they (often at first merely for the sake of argument) defend what they have advanced, and at last become, in some cases at least, the dupes of their own hypotheses. We have seen repeated instances of this. There are also cases in which men of but little learning, and with limited powers of mind, seek to obtain notoriety in the same sphere of things in which they see some around them gaining it; and these are yet more unrestrained in their hypotheses. Would that they would take Xenophon or Plato as the field for their minds to revel in, and not God's holy word.
But as these evils must be met, we can but admire the patience with which Dr. Davidson states the perverse arguments, and then shows their utter futility. He discusses the opinions of those who would consider the eye-witness in the book of Acts to be Timothy, rather than Luke; the arguments by which these opinions are defended are shown rather to tell the other way. The question is then considered whether (as some have strangely thought) Silas is the writer included in the first person plural. Of this theory Dr. Davidson says:—
'It is difficult to deal with arguments, if indeed they ought to be so called, which are advanced . . . in favour of this notion. They are hard to manage, because they are shadowy or impalpable. Critical caprice is so great as to despise all sober limits.'-(p. 17.)
The advocate of the Silas hypothesis is shown to act in the most arbitrary manner; the author of the book being represented as using what Silas had written, or not using it, just as he pleased :
There is no possibility of grasping such shadowy conjectures. To call them evidence, or even slight presumptions, were to dignify them with a title to which they have no pretension.'—(p. 19.)
This is really the only way in which some seemingly very wise theories can be treated. And yet we thank Dr. Davidson for the patient toil with which he has unravelled and met many theories in themselves quite as baseless.
The opinion of some who would identify Luke with Silas is noticed and sufficiently met. We fully accord with Dr. Davidson's concluding remark on the subject:-' No impartial reader of the Acts is likely to adopt so baseless an opinion' (p. 21).
The question whether St. Luke made use of written documents is considered by Dr. Davidson at considerable length. We cannot go at all fully into the subject, but we must say that it does not appear to us at all plain that this was the case: we think that Dr. Davidson regards this as clear to the apprehension on insufficient grounds. That he had sources of information both in writing the Acts and the Gospel we hold as most certainly true. In the Gospel he refers to 'eye-witnesses