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cism has but one method for the Old Testament and New; and, forsaking this, it becomes the lower criticism,— not criticism at all in fact, but mere apologetics. So great has been the multitude of counsels that the wisdom has been often hard to find; but the Points-no-Points, which fail us as we hug the shore, come out clearly in the offing, flashing beacon lights. The grand result as to the Synoptic Gospels is that the priority belongs to Mark, that Matthew comes next, and Luke the last, with intervals not long between. The allowances of the more conservative and the revisions of the more radical suggest the last quarter of the first century as the time-limit that includes them all. The interest attaching to the Fourth Gospel is hardly less central to the New Testament than that attaching to the Pentateuch is to the Old. After much pushing back and forward on the smoky field, the fight seems nearly at an end, and the victory to be with those denying the authorship of John. For the last twenty-five years the tendency has been strong this way, as for twenty years before, after the Rupert charge of Baur, it was the other. But the final victory has not been upon the lines of Baur's position, either in the matter of date (170 A.D. was Baur's) or character. There came a time in tunnelling Mont Cenis when the workmen from one end heard the click of tools which were in the hands of workmen from the other end. Something like this has happened in the criticism of the Fourth Gospel. Both parties have not been working for the same result. The defenders of the authenticity have been endeavoring to find some piece of harder rock there in the darkness that should bar the others' way. But ledge after ledge has crumbled at their feet under their vigorous tests, until at last they hear the click of the opposing tools, the sooner, because the opposing party have come toward them a good deal further than they were led by Baur. To drop the simile, each side has been compelled to make concessions by the changing fortunes of the great debate, until at length they stand quite comfortably together on the common ground that the gospel, in its present form, was written in the sec
ond quarter of the second century; that its long discourses are the parts farthest removed from the historic truth; that, nevertheless, there are elements of a genuine tradition, both of fact and phrase, which may have derived its impulse from the apostle John. To this conclusion it makes no difference whether Justin Martyr did or did not know of such a gospel in the fourth decade of the second century. "The swan' upon that once much troubled lake "floats double, swan and shadow."
With regard to Paul's Epistles, also, the tendency is to a more liberal allowance than the four allowed to him by Baur,— Romans, the two Corinthians, and Galatians; the additions, First Thessalonians, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon. If there are Gnostic elements in these, may they not be prophetic streaks of dawn, and not reflections of the fulness of that fierce and sultry day? Taking these eight, we have in them the growth of Paul's ideal Jesus from a man in Thessalonians, through the increasing grandeurs of Corinthians and Romans, until at length in the Epistles to the Colossians and Philippians he stands upon the utmost verge of super-angelic power and grace, where, but a step and he has crossed the mystic line which divides him from the Eternal Logos of the Fourth Gospel. Another constructive achievement of the Higher Criticism has related the pastoral Epistles to the developments and controversies of the second century, and also those ascribed to John and Peter's second. Meantime, the Apocalypse, which was once the impreg nable fort of John, from which the authenticity of the Fourth Gospel was battered down, is now generally given up as his, Martineau following some of the strongest Germans in the idea that it is a Jewish Apocalypse of 69 A.D., or thereabout, with Christian head and tail pieces and additions of a later date.
Time presses, and I cannot as I would exhibit that most significant achievement of this criticism,— the connection of the New Testament books, almost without exception, with the controversy between Judaizing and universalizing ten
dencies, of which Peter and Paul were the actual and ideal representatives. Unquestionably, this tendency business has been overdone. But, when every proper abatement has been made from its first extravagance, it remains as central and interpretative to the New Testament as the tendency to priestly or prophetic interpretation is to the Old, like that marshalling the different books the way that they should go, fixing their order of precedence, and, like that, giving a splendor of dramatic interest to the whole body of literature which it never had before.
The general result, we are assured, does not invalidate the essentials of the gospel history. That depends on what the essentials are. If they are the facts, whatever they may be, it does not invalidate them; for nothing can invalidate a fact. If they are "the Christian creed" of the "Lux Mundi " people, it is so "disastrous" to them that those people may well insist that the method of Old Testament criticism cannot be safely used upon the New. For here, too, the general result is an ideal evolution,—an evolution of the nature of Jesus as conceived from time to time, beginning with the pure humanity of the Synoptic Gospels and ascending by degrees through the earlier and later Epistles of Saint Paul until it reaches its climax in the Fourth Gospel, where as the Eternal Logos, though infinitely more than man, he is not yet identical and commensurate with God. How is it possible in this heel of time for any one acquainted with the idealizing tendencies of religious sentiment and of personal devotion to believe that in the last, and not in the first of these opinions, we have the more exact report? It is only possible by wilfully disowning everything we know of such idealizing tendencies. Who can help seeing that the change in Paul's own thought was purely one of daring speculation? If there is one constructive achievement of New Testament criticism that is more manifest than any other, it is the pure humanity of Jesus, the natural and almost inevitable relation of his thought and work to the time and place which made the circumstantial setting of his life and death.
The grand achievement of Biblical Criticism is not merely
a separate synthesis of Old Testament and New: it is a synthesis including both in its majestic sweep. There is no break in the development from the fetichism of the early Semites to the filial and fraternal heart on which the loved disciple leaned. And the development is as strictly human as that of any child from his first feebleness to the maturity of all his powers. Human, but not therefore any less divine; for there is nothing without God. We cannot deprecate too much such words as Canon Driver's, when he says of the negative and positive achievements of the Higher Criticism, "They do not touch either the authority or inspiration of the Scriptures." They do not, if by their authority is meant the weight of their established truth, and by their inspiration is meant their power to touch our hearts and quicken us to higher things. But, if they mean the authority and inspiration of a special, supernatural revelation, such inspiration and authority are pulverized by the impact of the critic's negative and positive results. And why endeavor to make it appear that it is otherwise than so? Why stretch out the hands to save "the sifted sediment of a residuum," when a cup of blessing full to overflowing is so near? There is a kind of atheism in the endeavor to save some special aspect of the world to God, as if all things and persons and events were not the channels of his boundless tide. The amount of Holy Scripture is not lessened, but immeasurably increased, when the partition walls between the Bible and all other noble literature are broken down, and we can go in and out and find pasture, never escaping from the care and guidance of that Power which saith, "All souls are mine."
"Take heart, the Master builds again :
A charmed life old goodness hath;
"God works in all things; all obey
His long propulsion from the night;
TEMPTED OF GOD.
IT may well be doubted whether the writer of the Epistle
of James who was possibly, but not probably, James, the brother of Jesus was justified in his confidence that no man, when he is tempted, should say he is tempted of God. His way out of the difficulty was not entirely satisfactory. His solution of the problem was, at best, but superficial: "But each man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." The tendency of human nature to be "drawn away of its own lust, and enticed," is a tendency rooted in the fundamental ground of things. It is a tendency which we could not safely, would not willingly, forego. It is a tendency on which depend the tragedy of history and the pathos and the power of literature in no small degree. We might get along without these; but we could not get along without the greatness and the dignity of human life, which are inseparable from the tendency which makes for these, inseparable from the conflict of that tendency with the better self. But there are temptations from above as well as from below; and, even if it could be shown that all the latter are empty of divine significance, the former would remain, and would be divine temptations even by the canons of that wretched dualism which has always dominated Christian thought. It is too much the habit of our speech to talk as if all the temptations of society and the inner life were away from all the high and pure and holy things. Surely, it is not so. Surely, there are temptations to these things. Tempted of God are we, as well as of the Devil, whatever we may think about the origin of the devilish temptations in the economy