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every day life. We have in many respects learned from her to look more kindly and contentedly upon the connections and duties of the world. When we recall to mind the sensation with which we have waded through the literary abominations of some authors who are “new to fame," it must be admitted that this is no slight commendation. We would see this pure-minded writer domesticated in every family in our land. She is a perfectly safe person to introduce to our wives and daughters, and can be left in the children's way much to their amusement and edification. Her pen is plumed from the wing of the dove of peace, and her soul, before it illuminates her page, has caught its light from heaven.
H. J. B.
.. کس کے حامی ہے
ART. IV.- BUSH ON THE RESURRECTION.*
PROFESSOR Bush is well known in our theological world, as a learned and acute commentator, of the Orthodox school, upon the Old Testament. His writings have enjoyed an extensive circulation in the large body of Christians with which he is connected, where he occupies a position of much influence. His opinions are matters of great consequence to them, and the reception which his book has met and is to meet in that quarter is pregnant with many interesting inferences to us; as our readers will understand, when they are made acquainted with the spirit, the premises and conclusions of the work.
But, first, let us attend to the volume itself. It opens with a deprecatory Preface, in which the author expresses his fears that the novelty of his doctrine may bring down denunciation upon his head, which he endeavors to avert by the ordinary but weighty considerations, with which studious, conscientious and deliberate followers of truth have always, with such unanswerable, yet such unavailing demonstration, sought to conciliate the public ear of their
* Anastasis : or the Doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body, rationally and Scripturally considered. By GEORGE Bush, Professor of Hebrew, New York city University. New York and London: Wiley & Putnam. 1844. 12mo. pp. 396.
contemporaries. This excellent preface, which in
argument, temper and style is deserving of high praise, is followed by an Introduction to the body of the work, the title (and main proposition) of which is “The knowledge of revelation progressive." This, too, is deprecatory in its tone. The preface may be considered as an apology for the introduction, and the introduction as an apology for the work. But we fear the preface itself needed a prologue to apologize for it; and, in short, by howsoever many steps of exculpation the learned Professor had approached his unwelcome conclusions, we doubt not an anterior excuse would always have been demanded, in fault of which condemnation would ensue. In a word, the preface and introduction are heresy in themselves of the most malignant sort. Rather let us say they are the parents of all heresies, of which the doctrine of this work is only one comparatively harmless child.
We shall presently return to this portion of the work. The main body of the book consists of two parts in the first of which the doctrine of the Resurrection is considered rationally; and in the second, scripturally.
The work has a negative, and a positive side. It denies the resurrection of the body on rational and on Scriptural grounds, and with abundant conclusiveness. It affirms the resurrection of the vital principle; not merely the continued existence of the soul maintained by the miraculous power of God, but the translation of an actual, substantial germ of life eliminated at death according to natural laws; a spiritual body latent in our material body, which shall thence come forth as the butterfly from the chrysalis and take its flight into the spiritual world. This positive doctrine of the resurrection the Professor urges with all his physiological and exegetical learning and acuteness. He seems not more anxious to disprove the old theory than to establish the new one, and not less certain of the falsity of the one than of the truth of the other. We think the majority of his candid readers will agree with us in thinking his work of destruction more satisfactorily done than his work of edification. Indeed we regard the positive part of his volume as the greatest hindrance to its usefulness. We fear that the cumbrous theological learning, the merely scholastic argumentation, the suspicious acuteness of his method
when he seeks to establish his own views, will prejudice the good sense, the palpable and appreciable reasoning, the clear commentary with which he demolishes the popular doctrine. We are grateful to him for giving us so much Scriptural warrant for rejecting the dogma of the resurrection of the body. We, like the rest of the world who are not tied up in a creed, had not supposed that Scripture taught what common sense forbad us to believe, having taken that for granted. But we are glad to have the means of meeting the objections of those who think that the Bible may teach as truths, matters wholly at war with common sense. Our own conviction of the falsity of the popular notion did not stand in need of Professor Bush's Scriptural evidence; but we doubt not, it will free many minds from difficulties, growing out of misconceptions of the relations of Scripture to the subject.
More than half of the volume is taken up with endeavors to prove from the Scriptures the author's theory of the resurrection. Without objecting to his conclusions, with which in the main (as far as they are disconnected with his theology) we are inclined to agree on grounds of common sense or rational speculation, we must entirely reject the method by which he arrives at them. He conceives that the Scriptures contain a scientifically accurate and minute theory of the resurrection, not indeed obvious to the “ naked eye,” but clearly seen through an exegetical telescope, and, when seen, as unquestionable as those astronomical movements which, long concealed and in direct opposition to the testimony of the senses, are nevertheless absolutely known by scientific observers. Greatly in advance of his school as the introductory portions of his work show the author to be, the body of it is deformed and vitiated by the radical error which runs through all their Scriptural hermeneutics. It is founded on the popular notion of inspiration. We conceive nothing to be more false, and no falsehood more fatal to the simplicity of the Gospel, than the alleged plenary or verbal inspiration of the Scriptures. In the present light of theological science, it is difficult to understand the hardihood, which makes this claim for the sacred writings. Nor is it set up by learned Orthodox critics in treating directly upon the subject; but few writers among them, however they may formally
disown this idea, fail to practise upon it, in their use of Scripture authority. We do not suppose for a moment that Professor Bush maintains the theory of verbal inspiration, which allows, of course, no difference in authority between the Old and the New Testaments, both being directly indited by the spirit of God through human yet mechanical instrumentality; and yet we find him talking about the mind of the spirit” as if the philology of any, and every, part of the Old Testament opened a direct and certain path to the thoughts of God. He quotes the Old and the New Testaments as of like and equal authority, attaching the same importance to the details, illustrations and collateral thoughts of Scripture, which belongs to the great truths or main precepts. Evidently his ruling idea is, that the interpretation of the Scriptures is purely a philological matter, and that to discover the meaning of the writer, even in the least thing, is to arrive at inspired truth. We do not fall below any in our reverence for the Scriptures. None can attach more importance to them, or lend them a more implicit and cordial faith. Nor shall we be forced, by any extravagant definitions of inspiration, from asserting our unwavering and thorough belief in their inspiration. But, in our judgment, their inspiration consists in the supernatural origin and character of the facts and truths which they contain, not in the language, dress or manner in which those facts and truths are recorded. Strictly speaking, the Scriptures are not inspired; but Moses was, and Jesus Christ was, and other actors and writers in the sacred history may have been.
We make a broad distinction between the revelation of Christianity and the record of the revelation. The religion of Jesus is an inspired religion, but we see nothing but error and injury following from the assertion, when made in a strict sense, that Matthew and Luke, or John and Peter and Paul, were inspired to write their respective Gospels or Epistles. What inspiration did they need, supposing them to be truthful men, to record what they said or heard, or to apply Christian truth as they received it from Jesus to the case of the Jews or Gentiles ? We have not the slightest inclination to doubt that Paul had direct communications from his Master in a supernatural way. He doubtless records all the instances of this, and we attach to those VOL. XXXVIII. 4th S. VOL. III. NO. II.
truths or facts which he delivers upon the direct authority of Christ, all the weight which belongs to our Saviour's own instructions. We believe the Apostles to be perfectly credible eye and ear witnesses of Christ's history. Whatever they deliver, either in the way of fact or precept, of history or of doctrine, we accept as an unquestionable source of knowledge of the Gospel which Christ preached and illustrated. Their own reasonings, impressions, inferences, illustrations, applications, we receive with the reverence which is due to the thoughts and opinions of our Saviour's chosen disciples, but without attributing to them any other authority. Indeed we know not what is meant by the inspiration of Matthew and Paul as writers. Is it meant, that they possessed miraculous powers? This is not questioned. But we do not see what connection there is between the supernatural power of healing diseases, and the alleged inspiration by which they are supposed to relate facts or precepts, which they knew by the ordinary exercise of human faculties, under the impulse, direction or superintendence of the Holy Spirit. Is it meant, that they exhibit a greater than human knowledge, memory, wisdom, or accuracy in their writings, to be accounted for only by inspiration ? We deny that there is anything in the Gospel of Matthew, which any honest and believing associate of Christ might not have written and would not have been expected to write. Or is it meant, that we cannot confide in the truth and accuracy of the Gospels, unless we believe them inspired? We would ask, if it is not upon their own supposed authority that inspiration is claimed for them? Is it not reasoning in a vicious circle, to allow them to testify to their own inspiration and then allege their inspiration as a ground of reliance upon their authority? If by inspiration is meant that the New Testament writers indite only the promptings of the Holy Spirit, we cannot see what is added to their authority by their having been eye and ear witnesses of what they record. If anything less than this is meant, we do not perceive its use. We believe them honest, capable and credible witnesses of all that they affirm. This is all that we need, to give us assurance that through them we obtain the revelation of Jesus Christ. Inspiration could make this medium no clearer than it is; the allegation of it only