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ing.” Id. S. 79: “The oldest poetry of the Hebrews was epic, and celebrated the creation of the world and the first history of the human race with immediate reference to their national history. It received its form from Moses, who also gave the first model for lyric poetry.
Schlosser in his translation of the Universal History, 1. 1. S. 237, expresses himself as follows: “ This (the composition of the greatest part of the Pentateuch by Moses) was so much the more probable and natural, as Moses had been educated in Egypt, where all transactions, even civil processes, were in writing, as he found characters for the sounds of his own language already among the Phenicians, and he himself instituted a numerous.class of writers in the country, who were partly employed in the police, and partly in order to prevent controversies about the boundaries of lands, had to keep the genealogies, and record important changes.”
Leo bad formerly, in his Vorlesungen über Jüdische Geschichte (Lectures on Jewish History) submitted himself fully to the authority of the theologians, and was quoted by them with great triumph as one of their party. They had, indeed, reason to triumph, as he was in fact the first historian of any importance whom they had been able to allure into their snare. . But Leo began afterwards to see more and more with his own eyes, and found that while he had been zealously searching out the traces of a pretended great priest-cabal in Israel, he had himself been taken in the net of a real priest-cabal in Germany, and at last openly renounced his obedience, and returned back to the sphere of history. In his Lehrbuch d. Universal geschichte (Text-book of Universal History), Bd. I. Halle, 1835, S. 570, he thus speaks of the Pentateuch : “We have then, after examining what has recently been written on this subject, come to the decided conviction, that the essential parts of the law, as well as a great portion of the historical accounts, which form the groundwork of the Pentateuch, and cannot be entirely separted from the laws, as they show their import and design, were written by Moses himself; and that the gathering of the whole into one corpus, if not done by Moses bimself, certainly took place soon after his time, perhaps during his life, and under his own eye and that the obtaining of a different result from the critical investigations made on this subject, and which certainly in point of learning are very valuable, has its cause simply in the fact that men have not sufficiently distinguished
between the East and the West, and between the infantile character of that ancient age with its phenomena and circumstances, and these modern times which by refined reflection and hyper-wisdom have got beyond all the natural modes of judging and acting.”
Von Rotteck has surrendered himself so entirely to the spirit of the times from which the theologians have received their prejudices against the Pentateuch, that we could not wonder if we saw these prejudices in him in their greatest extent. And still this is not the case. Between him and De Wette for example, there still remains a great difference. In his review of the sources of history for the first period, Allgem. Geschichte (Universal History), Th. I. 1lte Aufl. Freib. 1835, S. 57, he remarks : “ It cannot be denied that the narratives contained in the first book of Moses are distinguished above all these worthless accounts (on the origin of the earth and of man-by Sanchoniathon, Zoroaster, and in general all Oriental, Chinese, Thibetan, and Indian accounts and also those of Grecian historians and philosophers) as well by a mode of statement more agreeable to reason and the eternal laws of nature, as by their having come down to us uncorrupted; and therefore these Mosaic documents, which there is besides good ground for regarding as the oldest in the world, will always obtain approbation and respect even before the bar of a criticism purely scientific and having no reference to religious views. ... The same judgment is to be pronounced in regard to the original history of
Here also the Mosaic accounts have such a manifest superiority over those of all the so-called profane writers, that we cannot deny them, at least comparatively, a high degree of probability.” In his review of sources for the history of the Hebrews, S. 73, he says: “For the history of no other people of this period do we possess so ancient, so circumstantial and such credible accounts. The above-quoted biblical writers were (leaving inspiration out of view) for the most part eye-witnesses and participators in the events recorded, or else were in a situation which enabled them to collect and compare original documents and traditions in regard to former national events. These traditions go back to the very cradle, to the very first origin of the Hebrew nation, and so far as regards the great chain of events, their credibility cannot be denied for as to the attendant circumstances and what is perhaps only figurative representation, the case is different."
Of all the historians of the latest times who are really important, or are so regarded, there is left for the opposers of the Pentateuch not a single one. They have to satisfy themselves with people like Mannert, who in his Handbuch d. alten Geschichte (Manual of Ancient History), Berlin, 1818, already forgotten, or which rather came dead into the world, does to be sure talk in their style. It is sufficient, in order to characterize him, to quote such passages as follows: S. 12, “ The superiority of man to brutes consists only in his fingers, his erect form, and language. The elements of reason are possessed also by other animals ;'” and S. 6, where a tremendous blow is levelled against the flood in these words: “ The thought at once arises, how could a righteous God destroy the innocent brutes because guilty men had broken his laws?” The good man ought certainly to abstain from eating flesh; nay, the slaying of beasts is in this view a kind of fratricide, and the eating of them a Thyestian feast. Men of this way of thinking are worthy of no notice even were they more gifted than the one before us. Where all sense for that which is high and noble is wanting, and where there is a real hatred for that which is divine, there one's historical conscience is of no more avail on the subject of the sacred history, and the historian becomes the bad theologian. Neither would we acknowledge the philosophizing historian as competent in this field. Were history sold into the service of some philosophical system, as e. g. the Hegelian, then indeed the case might occur of a friendly agreement between the historian and the pseudo-theologian. For as the latter, so the former of these, does not examine the materials be-. fore bim with tender conscientiousness, indifferent what kind of results he arrives at; but he is only concerned to make his materials coincide with his predetermined views; and these, in the case of the new philosophical systems now in vogue, do not admit of the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch. But until this bargain is completed, such a coincidence can never be certain. Ranke's History of the Popes is a pledge that for history better times are coming.
We add to all this that with the most important historians of the latest times, is associated also the most distinguished chronologist. Ideler, in his Handbuch des Chronologie (Manual of Chronology), Berlin, 1825, not only takes for granted throughout the Mosaic origin of the law, but also expressly declares it. So, for example, Th. I. S. 479: “During their for
ty years' wandering through the stony and desert Arabia, their leader gave them a constitution which was not to be put fully into operation until they had entered the promised Canaan, the original country of their nomadic ancestors. This constitution had for its sole design to make them an agricultural people. This is shown by their calendar, by which the observance of their
prescribed feast days and their sabbaths was regulated.” The chronologist tries the genuineness of the book especially in reference, as is proper, to his own science; and as he finds all right here, and just as it would have been, had the book been genuine (compare e. g. S. 508), he leaves unregarded the loud exclamations of the theologians.
[To be continued.]*
WHAT WERE THE VIEWS ENTERTAINED BY THE EARLY REFORMERS, ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION, FAITH,
, AND THE ACTIVE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST ?
By the Rev. R. W. Landis, Jeffersonville, Pa.
“Incidere in falsae opinionis errorem, priusquam vera cognoscas, imperiti animi est et simplicis : perseverare vero in eo, postquam agnoveris, contumaciae."-Vide Salviani Epist. ad Aprum et Verum.
In itself considered, the views entertained on these subjects by the venerable men referred to, is a matter of minor importance. They were men like ourselves, and liable to err. But
* The author in the remaining part of this Article attributes the origin of the denial of the genuineness of the Pentateuch, by the theologians of Germany, to the prevalence of Naturalism-Pantheism,-the fashionable opinions of sin and holiness-Aversion to the leading personages of the Pentateuch-Incapacity of entering into the spirit of it, and the stagnation of fundamental study. The discussion is interesting and instructive, and we regret the necessity of deferring it to a future No. of the Repository.--Ed.
the question assumes importance from the fact that, by most, if not all, in the present age, who embrace the system of doctrine called Calvinism, it is tacitly admitted, and that by those who profess a rigid adherence to that system, it is earnestly contended that the views of the early Reformers on the subjects embraced in the foregoing question, were strictly in accordance with truth. The doctrine of justification by faith, has ever been regarded as the “ distinctive doctrine of the Reformation;" and however erroneous the views of the reformers may have been on other points of theology, all true Calvinists agree that · on this point they were substantially correct. It is this doctrine which Luther has so finely denominated the “ Articulus vel stantis vel cadentis ecclesiae.”
But intimately interwoven with their conceptions of this doctrine were, of necessity, their views of faith, and of the obedience of Christ. We must, therefore, be fully possessed of their belief on these topics, or we cannot have a distinct understanding of their views of the doctrine of justification by faith. Hence, although it was primarily our intention to treat in this Article, on the subject of justification only, we have judged it important to accompany our examination of that doctrine, with a view of the other points referred to.
The bearing which a consideration of these topics must have upon some of the agitating controversies of the times, will be apparent to many. It is, however, foreign from the intention of the writer to mingle in these controversies. It is his desire to treat this subject not as a controvertist, but as near as may be, with the calm impartiality of a historian. In illustration of the positions which he may attempt to establish, he will simply refer to plain, undeniable matters of fact. If in any instance he should deviate from this rule, it will be from the infirmity to which he is subject in common with his fellow men. He wishes not to descend to disputation. The tears and the blood of a lacerated Zion, already sufficiently proclaim, that in the controversies which have been, and which still exist, the elements of human imperfection have been too largely blended.
It is, however, to be lamented, that in the controversies referred to, there have been manifested much confusion of views and not a little want of information respecting the real teachings of Calvin and the other reformers. Some, who profess to be the strict and uncompromising disciples of these venerable men, and who have perseveringly urged the discipline of the church Vol. Xl. No. 30.