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three years later. We cannot far err if we say that he was born 749 U.c. and crucified in 783, and that his public labors continued a little more than three years. The topographical questions, which have been raised in connection with his history, are of very little importance, and interest us, not as casting any special light upon the evangelic narratives, but from the instinctive desire to give to every incident its "local habitation." The contest is still fiercely waged over the site of the sepulchre; nor is there entire agree ment respecting the cave of the nativity or the place of the ascension. We do not yet know with certainty where Capernaum stood, nor whether there were two Bethsaidas or but one. Still Palestine has become to us in all its main topographical features a well-known land, and every year adds something to our knowledge. Very recently the examinations of Dr. Thomson have cleared up satisfactorily some difficulties connected with the miracle of the healing of the demoniacs in the country of the Gergesenes, and with that of the feeding of the five thousand in the neighborhood of Bethsaida. Robinson has pointed out with strong probability the site of Ephraim, and Barclay affirms that he has discovered the site of Aenon. So far as our Lord's life can be illustrated in this way, we have already gathered ample material, which needs only to be sifted and arranged. Nor in regard to historical questions has there been less success. It is becoming more and more clearly seen that the evangelists were not men ignorant of the general history of their times, nor did they indulge themselves in random statements. There are, indeed, points not yet wholly cleared up, and which probably never will be. We do not know how it was that both Annas and Caiaphas were high priests at the same time, nor the exact nature of the taxing decreed by the emperor Augustus. But the most thorough investigations go to confirm, and not to disprove, evangelic accuracy. The old objections that Lysanias was not the tetrarch of Abilene, nor Cyrenius governor of Syria, as stated by Luke, can scarcely be again repeated by any competent critic.

As to the asserted discrepancies between the evangelists, these also are dwindling away. Gradually the fact is becoming recognized, that no one of them proposes to follow an exact chronological order, but arranges his matter with freedom, having reference both to the spiritual condition of those for whom he especially writes, and to some principle of affinity in the matter itself. This is a great step gained, and except from those who stumble at the Gospels on dogmatic grounds, we shall not hear much more of the objections, that Matthew and Luke are at variance with each other, because one speaks of the Lord's flight into Egypt and the other is silent; and that Matthew on the one side and Mark and Luke on the other cannot be reconciled because the former speaks of two demoniacs and two blind men as healed, and the latter speak of but one. This style. of criticism will vanish away and become as obsolete as the Osiander style of harmony. What is now especially needed is a commentator able to enter into the spirit of the several evangelists, and bring out with clearness that which is distinctive in the scope and arrangement of each. But this demands something much higher than learning, or acuteness, or fine exegetical tact. The first and chief requisite is spiritual discernment. He only who inspired the evangelists can give the power to interpret their words. They who come in their intellectual pride with their learned apparatus to the study of the gospel, as they go to the study of a heathen historian or poet, will miserably fail of their end, and find only the dead and unmeaning letter. Seeking to lay hold on Christ that they may set him up as a show for the world to wonder at, ho now, as of old, vanishes out of their sight. Only to one who, like the beloved apostle, reclines upon his bosom will he reveal himself, and only in the light of this personal revelation can the records of his life on earth be read, and their meaning be discerned.

The time, we are persuaded, is near, when, the follies of all negative criticism having been fully exposed, we shall have a history of the Lord upon its positive side, which

shall show forth in a more comprehensive manner than has yet been done, the "treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are hid in him." What a glorious theme is here! Starting from the fact, so often and distinctly declared in the scriptures, that by him and for him were all things made, we find in him the great Archetype of the creation, the Begin ning and End of all the works of God. All worlds and all creatures were made for him, and all are what they are because he is what he is-the God-man, the Word made flesh. He is the image of the invisible God, and in him all things consist. What a field is open here for the investigations of Christian science. To learn the purpose of God in him; to trace the historical fulfilment of that purpose from the day when the foundations of the earth were laid, the long ages of preparation for him, the stages of his earthly life, his present priestly work, his future kingdom and eternal majesty; to discern how all history is a prophecy of him, how all nature is full of types of him, how every created thing reflects his image; to show how the universe stretches itself out around him as its centre, and rests upon him as its corner-stone, and the ages circle around him as the Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last; this is the high calling of the church. It cannot remain unfulfilled; for the Spirit of truth is come to guide into all truth, and Christ is the truth.

It will be remarked by the reader that the works named above are but a part of those worthy of insertion. We might have added those of Neander (1845) and of Lange (1847), both of which have been translated, and are acces sible to English readers, and the recently published works of Schleiermacher, Strauss, and Schenkel (1864). Of Renan's work, and the numerous replies it has called forth, we have no space to speak. In every part of Christendom the life of the Lord, and the history of the church during the first and second centuries, are subjects attracting to themselves the attention of all, more and more. The result must be the furtherance of knowledge and truth.




THE most noteworthy Lives of Jesus that have appeared during the last two or three years are those of Renan, Schenkel, and Schleiermacher, and the revised edition of Strauss's. The first of these has been so widely circulated, and has called forth so many criticisms, that it seems almost superfluous to add anything to what others have said. Nevertheless, for the sake of completeness and of convenience of comparison, it may be well to take here a cursory view of the work.

If we compare Renan with Strauss, in reference to the general impression which their works are fitted to make, the former must be pronounced the least objectionable. He aims at a more positive result. He does not manifest such an utter lack of sense for the dignity of Christianity. There are parts of the book which, by the vividness which they impart to certain scenes in the life of Christ, must be called by every one exceedingly interesting and valuable. German critics usually call Renan's work less profound than that of Strauss; and so it is, if minuteness of discussion and criticism is made the test. But Strauss wrote for the scientific, Renan for the popular, reader. This gives Renan's work a perspicuity and attractiveness which by no means necessarily indicate lack of learning or of care. In one respect, certainly, Renan is superior to Strauss; we mean in his acquaintance with the genius, customs, and literature of the Jews. And this acquaintance has been skilfully used. In one particular, however, we may admit the charge to be well founded. While Strauss by one fundamental assumption, that of the unreality of the supernatural, and the consequent simple humanity of Christ, jus

tified his absolute rejection of the New Testament as a source of history, Renan, though starting with the same assumption, ascribes also a considerable degree of credi bility to the Gospels. Consequently he is obliged to resort to numerous, and often fanciful, conjectures, in order to make the two assumptions harmonize. His logic is less rigorous than that of Strauss, because his appreciation of Christianity and his regard for historic probability are greater. In short, he has not the courage to develop a fundamental error so fearlessly to its legitimate results.

As to the four Gospels, Renan's view is as follows: they are all, speaking in general terms, genuine and authentic; but we do not have them in their original form. For, at first the Christians had no scruples in making additions to and changes in the Gospels. "Each one wrote on the margin of his copy the sayings and parallel passages which he found elsewhere, and which pleased him." Not till after the middle of the second century did the Gospels receive their present form and authority. Mark is more authentic than Matthew, and Matthew more than Luke. John's Gospel is, as to the historical part, superior to either of the others; but the language there ascribed to Christ is in general not so authentic. Although the origin of this Gospel is a puzzling problem, it must be considered probable that John wrote the most of it, putting, unconsciously, his own later-learned philosophy into the mouth of Jesus. For "our recollections are formed like everything else; the ideal of a person whom we have known changes with ourselves." In general, of the fourth Gospel we may say that it contains "the reminiscences of an old man; sometimes marked by wonderful freshness, sometimes by strange errors." But all the Gospels are "partly legendary." This must be inferred from the fact that they are so "full of the miraculous and the supernatural." The problem, therefore, is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and construct an authentic life of Jesus. In order to do this, the chief thing needed is an "aesthetic sense"; "conjecture" must be

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