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ART. I.-1. Christologie des Alten Testaments, und Commentar ueber die Messianischen Weissagungen der Propheten, von E. W. HENGSTENBERG, der Philosophie und der Theologie Dr. und der Letzteren Ord. Professor an der Universität zu Berlin. Berlin, bei Ludwig Oehmigke. 1829: 1835.*
A Christology of the Old Testament, and a Commentary on the Predictions of the Prophets which relate to the Messiah. By E. W. HENGSTENBERG, Doctor of Philosophy and Theology, and Professor of Theology in Ordinary at the University of Berlin. Berlin: Ludwig Oehmigke. 1829: 1835. 2. Lectures on the Criticism and Interpretation of the Bible, with two Preliminary Lectures on Theological Study and Theological Arrangement; to which are added, two Lectures on the History of Biblical Interpretation. By HERBERT MARSH, D.D. F.R.S. and F.S.A., Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge, and Bishop of Peterborough. New Edition. London: Rivingtons. 1838.
THE first of these works is one of the most valuable which have appeared in proof of the divinity and predicted character of the Messiah, but one of the least known in this country: it is not tainted with the speculative and sceptical tendency of those theological productions, which disgrace the intellect of the German school, nor does it contain any thing which we may justly denominate heterodox. The opinions of the rationalists are reviewed and censured: they are fairly stated and summarily refuted; and demonstration is added to demonstration, that the prophetic page could not have possessed a meaning repugnant to that which the orthodox church has ever attributed to it. In the Commentary there is a great treasure of learning; in it a critical know
* This is one of the books against which Strauss inveighs with a pecuiar acrimony.
ledge of the Hebrew is displayed, and authorities are collected from the fathers and the best writers, who have attempted to elucidate the several passages.
To the whole a General Introduction is prefixed, in which God's gradual preparations of lapsed men for the elevated doctrines of the Messiah, and the reconciliation effected by him between them and God, are exhibited; and in which God's merciful leadings of the heathen world to receive the Gospel of Christ are ably treated. "The self-constituted religions had outlived themselves; the self-constituted systems of the philosophers had completed their career: one system had thrust out the other, till at last, through the multiplicity of human systems, men became mistrustful of their truth, and doubtful on all points of human knowledge, and, consciously or unconsciously, panted after a higher certainty." The knowledge of the original revelations, though greatly obscured, was not entirely lost among the pagans, as Eckhard has shown in his "Non Christianorum de Christo Testimonia:" many testimonies may also be seen in Clemens Alexandrinus; although unfortunately, actuated by an undue zeal, he has pressed into his service several which will not stand the test of criticism. These, in a great variety, Hengstenberg has discussed, at the same time adverting to the doctrines of the ancient Persians.
That the most ancient people of God had some idea of a Restorer, is clear from the prophecy of Jacob, and inferable from many parts of the early Scriptures; but the title of Messiahor the Anointed One-seems to have been derived from the second Psalm, and fixed by the book of Daniel. The prophets had a luminous insight into the object of the Divine proceedings: they viewed the theocracy, not according to its apparently restricted nature, but according to its real tenor: the insulation, as it were, of Israel from the rest of the world, they regarded as a temporary dispensation; foreseeing that, at the advent of the Redeemer, all nations, as well as the Jews, would become participants of his great salvation. Not only was the divine government vindicated in this view, but the hope of the Messiah was exhibited as an incitement to steadfastness in religion; for on this the prophetic consolations were founded: it was admixed with existing political events, and was embodied in all the allegories and imagery, amidst which many of the prophetic oracles were delivered. In the time of David, the inspired knowledge of the coming Messiah acquired a clearer and more distinct character; it was then revealed, that the Messiah should' belong to his line, and sit on his throne; and until the captivity, notwithstanding the many periods of idolatry which intervened, an accession of prophetic light continued increasingly to flow upon this national expectation. Nor, when the prophetic volume was sealed, and the last lingering light had disappeared from the
returned exiles, was the influence lost on the contrary, this great national hope, though encumbered by strange traditions, and as in Philo disfigured by the vague speculations of the Gentile philosophy, increased in vigour as ages rolled onwards, and perhaps had attained its climax when the Saviour actually appeared. But he appeared not as Jewish tradition and philosophic notions required him to appear: he was a man of sorrows, not a desolating conqueror,-a spiritual, not a temporal king of the house of Israel:-he mortified their pride, destroyed their supererogatory appendages to the law, and taught that the true worshippers must worship God in spirit and in truth; therefore he suited them not, and they would not have this man to reign over them.
The prophecies respecting Christ began in the first age; in the promise made to our first parents we discover them. This promise must have been understood by them more distinctly than some are apt to imagine, from the clear references to it which occur in the patriarchal history: if it were not so understood, it would be difficult for it to have conveyed any consolation. Unless it had been so understood, whence are we enabled to discover a sort of interpretative allusion to it in the name of Seth? But in the following ages, particularly in that of Noah, it acquired a certain distinctiveness, which cannot be mistaken; -one, in which several * have seen the restriction of the Messiah to the line of Shem.
In the promises which were made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, reiterating that in their progeny all the nations of the earth should be blessed, the final object, namely, the evangelization of all nations in consequence of the advent of Christ, as the
Some have conjectured that God, not Japheth, was predicted to inhabit the tents of Shem; thereby understanding the adoption of Christianity by the race of Japheth. Others, among whom are Gesenius and Winer, have insidiously endeavoured to detract from the prophecy, by denying Shem to be an appellation, and affirming the words to mean tents of name; i. e. splendid or illustrious habitations. This last requires not the answer which our author has given to it; it is too contemptible for serious notice. The idea, however, that is the nominative to
, is comparatively old; for Theodoret, after assigning to Shem the blessing of εὐσεβεία, and to Japheth that of πολυγονία, says, τὸν γὰρ θεὸν ἐν τοῖς σκηνώμασι τοῦ Ζὴμ κατοικήσειν προείρηκε· κατῴκησε δὲ ἐν τῇ σκηνῇ πρότερον, καὶ ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις ὕστερον. Ακριβὲς δὲ τέλος εἶχεν ἡ προφητεία τὸ τῆς οἰκονομίας μυστήριον, ὅτε αὐτὸς ὁ Θεὸς Λόγος ἐσαρκώθη καὶ ἐνηνθρώπησε. Το which interpretation Psalm cxxxii. 13, 14, is compared. But it is urged on the other hand, that if bx, GOD, were the nominative, the word would have been repeated after 1. A stronger argument would have been, that Japheth was the nominative, from Canaan having been decreed to be his servant. And it is to be remembered, that the Japhetidæ actually dwell in the tents of
descendant of these patriarchs, has been so repeatedly shown, that on this point we must not detain ourselves with the arguments of Dr. Hengstenberg. Like Herder, he supposes, that the mode in which all nations should thus be blessed, was also made known to Abraham; and conceives the fact not to have been merely implied in Gen. xviii. 17, but to have been advanced to a positive certainty by our Saviour's words in John viii. 56. Ignatius, in his Epistle to the Philadelphians, indulged the same idea, stating, avròs (scil. Christus) v ǹOúpa тov Пarpòs, δι ̓ ἧς εἰσέρχονται ̓Αβραὰμ, καὶ Ἰσαὰκ, καὶ Ἰακὼβ, καὶ οἱ προφήται, καὶ οἱ ̓Απόστολοι, καὶ ἡ ἐκκλησία.
The blessing of Jacob to his sons has received as many assailants as interpreters: the German theological magazines, repertoria, and bibliothecæ abound with speculations on the text, and attempted illustrations of its meaning. The advocates and impugners of its authenticity have been equally wild in search of something new, which might be applied to it; and dogmatism, as usual, has not been sparingly used. On this subject our author's matter is peculiarly excellent; in many respects it is highly illustrative: and the futile objections, which the Neologians in particular have made to the chapter, are exposed with vigour. For instance, the objection which respects the possibility of a man on his death-bed uttering such a poetical and extemporaneous effusion, is disproved by incontrovertible examples of the practice among the Arabs. The authors of the Moallakat are adduced in evidence of this extemporaneous facility; and Lebid, on authorities cited by Reiske and De Sacy, is shown to have attained the age of 157 years, and, whilst dying, to have composed a poem. Hareth, also, when he recited improvisatorially his Moallakah, was 135 years old. In the same clear manner Dr. Hengstenberg proves by historical examples, the correct transmission of far longer poems than the blessing of Jacob, before the invention of writing, from father to son, through a series of generations; which fact Sale has equally corroborated. Evidence of this description is always valuable, and particularly so in cases where the defence of the Scriptures against carping dogmatists is concerned: indeed, we know none stronger than that which coinciding manners and customs will supply. Accordingly, availing himself of Teller's previous labours, the writer has but little difficulty in demonstrating the authenticity of the 49th chapter of Genesis, and from thence in passing to a consideration of the proofs which it exhibits of a prophetic annun
the Shemidæ,-that among the latter God was manifested in the flesh,and that the true religion has passed to the former. Thus Jerome and Augustin understood the words; and the Targum of Jonathan, and the Commentary of Calvin may be consulted to the same effect.
ciation of the Messiah. Here it is most perceptible, that an advance had been made beyond the previously recorded revelations; for Jacob fixes the locality of the tribes descending from his sons in Canaan, and notifies the character of the Redeemer in the name Shiloh. The prediction, which related to the tribe of Judah, shows that the particular branch of his descendants, from which Shiloh should spring, was known to the patriarch: and the minute fulfilment of these prophetic words has been illustrated by Hengstenberg, in a manner far more copious than by those who had previously devoted their studies to the inquiry. The evidence is indeed complete.
Examining the oracular pre-notifications of the Messiah, he fixes his attention on those portions of the Pentateuch which undeniably disclosed similar revelations. Here the legal and typical nature of the books prevents their frequent recurrence in exactly the same form, but portrays them under ordinances and institutions which, analyzed and compared with their historical fulfilment, maintain in equal vigour, though under a more obscure imagery, this grand national expectation. The prophecy of Balaam, and that of Moses respecting the appearance of a prophet similar to himself, whom we shall not err in calling a legislating prophet, are those to which the writer applies his critical care. The various conjectures to which these passages have given rise, require not a detail; but concerning the latter the words of Nathaniel (John i. 46), ὃν ἔγραψε Μωϋσῆς ἐν τῷ νόμῳ . . . . . εὑρήκαμεν 'Inσovv; and the acknowledgment of those who had been miraculously fed, ὅτι οὗτός ἐστιν ἀληθῶς ὁ προφήτης ὁ ἐρχόμενος Eiç Tòv Kоoμov (John vi. 14), are very appropriately quoted. The prevalence of the idea, that the predicted prophet would appear about this time, may be collected from John i. 21; vii. 40; and is strengthened by the words of the Samaritan woman, in John iv. 25; for åvayyedeí ýμív távτа are expressions evidently taken from the prophecy.
From the Pentateuch Dr. Hengstenberg passes to those Psalms which treated of the Messiah. The race, and its particular branch, from which the Messiah should proceed, had been already defined; but now additional criteria were vouchsafed. The promise of individual descent was fixed in the family of David; this was probably revealed by Nathan to David, when the divine word assured to him the perpetuity of his throne (2 Sam. vii. 16—29); for although he referred to it in his directions to Solomon (1 Chron. xxii. 7, sqq.), and though Solomon himself (1 Kings v. 5; viii. 18, 19; 2 Chron. vi. 7, 8, 9,) had it in view, when he caused the temple to be erected, the words Dy Ty extended into long futurity, and are to be accepted in the strongest sense, as the amplification of them in Ps. lxxxix. 28, 29, 34-37; lxxii. 17, sufficiently demonstrates. It is consequently certain, that David looked beyond Solomon and his descendants, who successively