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bed it?-then it cannot be from God-then Moses who ascribes it to God cannot have been one sent of God-then he cannot have proved himself such by miracles and prophecies-then the Pentateuch which ascribes so many of these to him cannot have been written by him. Spencer was besides not satisfied with robbing the ceremonial law of its deeper significancy and its divine character-he endeavors also as much as possible to take away the substance of the moral part of the law. Thus he labors to show, p. 28, that the decalogue is not a general summary of moral duty, but was only designed to keep down gross idolatry.

The influence of Spencer's book was very great, as is shown by the repeated reprints of it, and the editions in Holland and Germany. Even theologians (as Bossuet, Einl. uebers v. Cramer 227) were imprudent and short-sighted enough to coincide more or less with him. His opposers, some of them very learned men, mistook the right mode of assaulting the new and remarkable position he had taken. Instead of applying all their strength to a fundamental and sober examination of the symbolic and typical signification of the Mosaic ritual and thus showing the miracle of the law itself, they employed themselves in the fruitless labor of proving that the external forms of the ritual were not borrowed by the Jews from the heathen, but exactly the reverse.* In the meantime theologians continued to explain the ritual in the old arbitrary way, thus affording Spencer some excuse for his hypothesis.

Spencer was followed by Clericus,† who adopted the hypotheses of his predecessor without any modification or improvement. Nothing more is necessary for a perfect characterizing of the man in this respect than his remark on circumcision: See his Comm. Gen. 17: 10. "It appears to many incredible that a rite of this kind, inconvenient in itself, and when performed on older persons scarcely decent, and which besides. can contribute nothing to good morals, was originally instituted

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The view here so unceremoniously rejected by Hengstenberg is maintained by the greatest names among orthodox divines. See especially Wilsius in his Egyptiaca, and Gale's Court of the Gentiles. Hengstenberg himself makes a remark (infra, p. 39) which would appear to settle the question: "Such an apeing of what is human by that which is divine would be the greatest absurdity imaginable."-Tr. John Le Clerc, Professor at Amsterdam. Ob. 1736. VOL. XI. No. 30.


by the great and good God. They suspect therefore that Abraham who had seen it practised by the Egyptians, thought it an excellent custom; and that God, who accommodates himself to our weakness with the greatest condescension, when he observed this, commanded Abraham to do that himself which he had approved in others." The shallowness of religious views and principles, which is indeed a peculiarity of the Arminians, appears in him in its highest degree. The ground which he in reality inwardly takes is entirely a deistical one. Everything that goes beyond his own abstract idea of God, that refers to a living God, he calls at once 'Anthropopathy,' Anthropomorphism.' It is to him a shell without a kernel.' Remarks of this kind occur so frequently as to be tiresome. He never suspects that his own abstract idea may be itself the grossest anthropomorphism. From his imagined lofty religious height he looks down with pity upon the sacred characters and the sacred writers of the Bible. That such kind of views when they who adopt them have obtained a clear insight into their real character and bearings (in our times Gesenius might be regarded as a Clericus redivivus)-must lead to the denial of the genuineness of such books as the Pentateuch, scarcely needs proof. Books which speak so childishly of God, themselves refute the supposition of their inspiration. Miracles and prophecies, which really took place if the Pentateuch is genuine, could have proceeded only from the living God; and if a man is anxious lest even the words of the sacred book be too gross for the deity his reason has formed to itself, how must he feel in regard to those deeds which quite break through the pretended brazen walls of nature: That the author also really began to be conscious how little a belief in these last agreed with his fundamental religious principles, appears from the attempt he has made, in only a few cases however, to explain the miracles so as to bring them within the bounds of natural operations. Compare for example his treatise de maris Idumaei trajectione (on the passage of the Red Sea), attached to his

*"Parum credibile multis videtur ritum ejusmodi incommodum, et quando a grandioribus suscipiebatur, parum honestum, qui denique neque ad bonos mores quidquam conferre potest, a deo opt. max. primum institutum. Suspicantur Abrahamum, qui hoc viderat in Aeg. fieri-in illorum sententiam ivisse; quod cum animadverteret deus, qui summa ovyxaτáßaσa sese nostrae imbecillitati attemperat, idem Abrahamum jussit facere, quod jam in aliis probabat.”

Commentary on the Pentateuch. He wanted indeed an indispensable requisite to faith in miracles, viz. a knowledge of the dependence of the common laws and course of nature upon God; the miracles therefore appear in his hands as events taking place without means and contrary to rule, and assume almost a grotesque appearance. He has great dread of every thing like depth of meaning. This can be accounted for only by his incapability of comprehension; but often it is plain that there is at bottom the fear, lest by admitting a deeper sense, he may forsake the ground of the natural developement of events, and Concede something to the Scriptures which can belong to them only as sacred writings. Thus he uses every means of ridding himself of those passages which show that the limited system of the theocracy was not something opposed to, but a foundation and a preparation for, the universal plan of the Gospelthat the limited was designed as the means for the unlimited.

The passage Gen. 12: 3, "In thee shall all nations of the earth be blessed," by which at the call of Abraham, the very beginning of the limited dispensation, this great design of ultimate universality is plainly expressed, is explained by him thus: "That is, by reference to thy name or example shall benedictions be expressed among many oriental nations, in these or similar words: God bless thee as he blessed Abraham." He allows himself grossly to violate the laws of the language rather than adopt a sense which, aside from a divine coöperation in the case, was so little to be expected, and which would lead into a field where he did not feel at home. His incapability of theological interpretation indeed exceeds belief. That exposi tion like his then, must have been a direct preparation for the mythical understanding, and so for the opinion of the spuriousness of the Pentateuch, is shown by a striking example in his remarks on the Fall. That catastrophe is turned by him into a low caricature. He remarks on ch. 2: 9, "As the tree of life may have been a tree whose fruit was medicinal, so the tree of knowledge may have been a poisonous one, which the wise

Where Clericus contends that the water of the Red Sea was driven by a strong north wind into the Ocean, leaving the bottom where the Israelites passed bare.—Tr.

+"h. e. tuo nomine exemplove probato, benedictiones apud plurimos Orientis populos concipientur, his aut similibus verbis: benedicat tibi deus ut benedixit Abrahamo."

would avoid, and by the eating of which the foolish would become more wise. There may have been several trees of this kind, as there are several species of those that are medicinal. Pliny, 1. XII. c. 6. mentions an India fig which he thus describes There is another, sweeter than an apple, but prejudicial to the stomach." He adds: "Alexander commanded that no one of his army should touch this fruit;—a circumstance which may illustrate the history before us."* On ch. 3: 7, "and the eyes of them both were opened" he says, “After they had eaten the unlawful fruit, they observed what before they had not attended to, viz. either that they had drawn upon themselves the divine anger, or, because of the pain in their intestines that that fruit was noxious instead of their deriving great advantage from it as they had hoped."† On ch. 3: 24, he says: "Grotius thinks this is a Hendiadys, and that 'Cherubim and a flaming sword' is put for 'cherubim, that is, a flaming sword;' and he interprets the flaming sword to be burning fires on the bituminous soil of Babylon, through which alone there was access to Paradise, which therefore was in this way closed to Adam. I rather think Moses meant to say that God sent angels who set on fire the bitumen of the Babylonian or a similar soil, and used this as a flaming sword for keeping men off."‡

"Ut arbor vitae potest esse arbor cujus fructus essent àλežitýgios s. medicati, ita arbor prudentiae erit arbor venenata, quam vitare prudentium est, et cujus gustato fructu imprudens fit prudentior. Hujus generis plures arbores esse potuerunt, quemadmodum plures sunt medicatarum species. Plinius, 1. XII. c. 6., meminit cujusdam Indicae ficus, quam ita describit: est et alia, similis huic, dulcior pomo, sed interaneorum valetudini infesta. Subjicit: edixerat Alexander, nequis agminis sui id pomum adtingeret, qua circumstantia haec illustrari potest historia."

"Postquam illicitum fructum comederunt, auimadverterunt, quod antea in animum non revocaverant; nempe aut se sibi divinam iram conciliasse; aut intestinorum dolore, fructus illius usum esse noxium, nedum ut ex eo emolumentum ingens, ut speraverant, ad se rediret.”

H. Grotius existimat hic esse Ev dia dvoir, et dici cherub et flamman gladii, avtɩ to cherub i. e. flammans gladius; flammeumque gladium interpretatur ignes ex bituminoso Babylonis agro accensos, per quos solos dabatur aditus in Paradisum, qui proinde Adamo eo pacto clausus erat. Crediderim potius hoc voluisse Mosen; deum, scilicet, angelos misisse, qui Babylonici aut similis agri bitumen accenderent,eoque quasi gladio flammeo ad arcendos homines uterentur."

One might feel tempted to believe that the author meant to make sport of the Bible, and by showing the absurdities of the literal historical sense, hint at the necessity of giving it up. And certainly, if this was not his conscious design, there was doubtless an obscure feeling of the kind at bottom. It is scarcely supposable that the few pretended marks of a later age, and the supposed historical contradictions, on which (in his Sentimens de quelques Theologiens de Hollande sur l'histoire critique du V. T. p. Richard Simon, Amsterdam, 1685), he based his attack on the genuineness of the Pentateuch, and the retraction of which afterwards in his Commentary is not entirely free from suspicion, should themselves have had the power to determine him to a decision at that time so important. There must have been something else which gave importance to these grounds-for they alone could have made him but little difficulty. But be that as it may, this is certain, that after time had brought to light the necessary consequences of this mode of exposition, it was absurd to follow that mode and yet maintain the genuineness of the Pentateuch. The surprise was therefore perfectly reasonable, when Rosenmüller, who in his mode of exposition did not stand in the least above Clericus, nay transcribed him almost throughout, appeared all at once as the defender of the genuineness of the Pentateuch. For a fuller characterizing of our author, whose Commentary has had an influence equally extended and lasting, we will quote a few sentences from his treatise de lingua Hebraica (prefixed to his Commentary on Genesis). These show that standing on classic heathen ground, he looked far down upon the sacred writers; that these, whose glory is internal, had for him no form nor comeliness; that he was destitute even of Herder's tenderness of fancy which found means to reserve for the sacred writers at least a modest little place by the side of profane literature; that he had no conception of a peculiar standard by which the sacred writings should be judged, different even from that of oriental literature. P. VII: "In accordance with the genius of their language, they cultivated poetry somewhat more, and there are many things in their poetic compositions strongly and elegantly expressed; but from these you will see rather what they might have done if they had applied the study which other nations have devoted to this object, than that they actually attained to the praise of eloquence."* P. VIII: "They

"Poeticen, pro linguae suae ingenio, paulo magis coluerunt, et

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