Page images
PDF
EPUB

It may

conclusions we are driven. It is necessary here to recall the terms of the Archbishop's letter to the Patriarch, quoted above. This letter, we saw, acknowledged a perfect solidarity of interest between the two Churches—a perfect unity of faith, even if there be some interruption of active union. The Patriarch and the Archbishop are brothers in the rule of the Church of God ;' there are ‘faithful members in both Churches' who desire a more perfect union. It is clear that language like this does not debar, but rather encourages, the occasional transfer of an individual from the worship of the one Church to that of the other. Convenience of time or place, the needs and opportunities of work to be done, might render such transference desirable or 'practically unavoidable.' But it absolutely debars all mention of 'conversion' from one Church to the other. If, then, the Lambeth ‘Advice' is to be interpreted in the sense of the Church Missionary Society, the Archbishop is involved in a hopeless contradiction.

Again, the language of the letter to the Patriarch is consistent with a recognition of practical corruptions in the Eastern Church. What Church is without them? be in grievous need of reformation. The English Church may possibly be a 'purer Communion.' But can the Prelate who wrote that letter justify secession from the one Church to the other? They are conceived as two parts of one Flock.' The Church Missionary Society sees no difficulty here. The Eastern Church is so utterly corrupt that no man enlightened can stay within ; he is bound to seek our purer communion. But the Archbishop does not so view the Eastern Church. He knows of no vital differences between the two Churches ; for if there were vital differences he could not write in such terms as we have read. If, then, he allows secession, he allows it on the ground of differences which are not vital. But this is precisely the Dissidence of Dissent. The question here is not whether dissidence is a good thing or an evil. The question is whether the Archbishop can be supposed to uphold it. By English dissenters it is strenuously upheld as a sacred principle, and the most unyielding Churchman may allow that a fair case can be made out for it. But it is not a principle that is acknowledged in the English Church ; it is, indeed, the most prominent issue between the Church and Dissent. The meaning of Dissidence is that men who think alike should worship together; that men who differ should organize themselves in separate communities. In this way disputes will lose their acrimony and charity will most abound. The Church, on the other hand, maintains that all

once

Christian men, whether they differ or agree, should continue in the saine community and join in common worship. Her congregations are ordered by territorial divisions, which theoretically may not be transgressed. All should worship in the parish church; and as the taste and preferences of all cannot possibly be followed, a common order is provided to which all are to conform. Nothing short of the most vital necessity can justify the breach of this external unity.

There can be no question that such are the principles of the English Church. They were maintained as long as possible by force. They underlie the Act of Uniformity. They inspired the intolerant legislation of the seventeenth century. That weapon broke in the Church's hand, and perhaps no Churchman would care to wield it now. But though no longer upheld by force, these principles are still retained. The whole organization of the Church assumes them, rests on them.

We are bound to suppose that the Archbishop gave his ruling in accordance with these principles. The Church Missionary Society may renounce them—nay, we need make no conjecture--they are renounced. The Intelligencer boldly adopts a parallel. The Society in Palestine is in the position of a Dissenting body in an English parish. What is right for the one is right, on dissident principles, for the other. The converts of the Society are strictly analogous to those whom the Dissenting minister draws by his earnest preaching from the parish church. But no one can suppose that the Archbishop of Canterbury accepts the principle of Dissidence. It would be as reasonable to expect the Congregational Union to adopt the principle of Conformity.

It is, therefore, impossible to believe that the principles enunciated in the Church Missionary Intelligencer are approved in the Lambeth ‘Advice. But this is not all. It is inconceivable that if these principles had been acknowledged before the inquiry they would have been passed over in silence. Why was not this definition of proselytism put forward sooner? Why was not this frank acceptance of the principle of Dissidence made known before ? Why were these hopes of a plentiful harvest of conversions so discreetly veiled? The arbitrators have been played with. They gave their verdict on the case before them. Another case is now produced and paraded as the foundation of the verdict. An acquittal was obtained by a suppression of certain facts, and those facts are afterwards put forward as covered by the acquittal.

It will easily be understood that we do not write in defence of the Lambeth Advice.' It contains much that we regard with the gravest apprehension. It seems to us to justify every objection which was brought against the revival or continuance of the Jerusalem Bishopric.' It shows that, however good may have been the intention of the revival, the bishopric is burdened by its history and bound by its antecedents. No one can doubt the excellent motives and sound principles which have governed the conduct of Bishop Blyth, and which find expression in the Charge to which we called attention in a previous number of this Review. No one, again, can doubt the goodwill of the Archbishop of Canterbury towards the Eastern Church, his devotion to the cause of union, his belief in the Apostolic order of the Church. But when he has to deal with this perilous institution he is hampered by precedent, and tied by the vested interests of schism. We deplore this Advice, as we deplore the circumstances which called it forth. But we cannot ignore it, and we cannot allow it to be worsened by a disingenuous interpretation. To the agents of the Church Missionary Society we make a present of all in their favour which it contains, but we cannot allow them to claim it as condoning everything which they do. We must insist on its being interpreted not as an isolated pronouncement, but in the light of other documents, in which are defined with official sanction the relations of the English Church to the Eastern Patriarchs. The Jerusalem Bishopric, if it be not speedily dissolved, has the promise of many further troubles to the Church, but at least we will not have those which it now brings sharpened by the ingenuity of the fautors of disunion.

SHORT NOTICES.

The Law in the Prophets. By the Rev. STANLEY LEATHES, D.D.,

Professor of Hebrew, King's College, London ; Prebendary of St. Paul's; Rector of Much Hadham, Herts; Honorary Fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge. (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode,

1891.) A school of modern criticism regards the Jewish Law in anything like its complete state as later than the majority of the prophets. An important part of the consideration of this theory from the critical point of view lies in the comparison of the language and allusions found in the prophets with the words and history contained in the Pentateuch. If it can be shown on the one hand that the passages in the prophets which are sometimes thought to indicate ignorance of the Law can be explained consistently with its existence, and on the other hand that there is much in the writings of the prophets a reasonable interpretation of which points to a knowledge of the Pentat ch, a very formidable argument can be framed against the new views of Jewish history. An inquiry into this latter subject forms the chief part of Dr. Stanley Leathes's book, The Law in the Prophets. He has collected and printed in order all the passages in the prophets which appear to him to contain reminiscences of the Pentateuch. The number of these is very large. They vary greatly in character. Some are not more than verbal coincidences such as, if they stood alone, would naturally be expected in independent works. Others are ways of speech which might be common in a nation, and by themselves would show nothing as to the relative dates of documents which agree in containing them. Others are very difficult to account for on any other hypothesis than that the prophets knew and used the Law. It is when the different classes of passages are viewed together that their real force is seen, and when so regarded the impression they naturally make is that the minds of those who wrote them were imbued with the enactments and phraseology of the Pentateuch. As Dr. Stanley Leathes himself says :

It must be understood that the coincidences here exhibited are not supposed to be all of equal weight; they will not strike all readers with equal force, and some few will not improbably be rejected as of no value whatever. But my object has been, as far as possible, to collect all the cases of apparent similarity, in order to make the list complete. It is more than probable I have still overlooked some, if not many ; but I think that the ordinary reader of the English Bible, for whom I have written, will not fail to be struck by the mass of evidence here presented. If that evidence is reduced by twenty per cent., the remainder is more than sufficient for my purpose ; for the strength of my position, that the Law was known to the prophets, lies in the cumulative character of the evidence exhibited. (preface, pp. ix, x).

We are inclined to share the opinion the writer anticipates will be held by some, that in his desire for completeness he somewhat overstates his case, but, when this is allowed for, the impression we have mentioned still remains. And it is to be noticed that in many cases the force of the coincidence is greatly strengthened by the consideration of the Hebrew words; that the references are to all parts of the Pentateuch, including the so-called “ Priestly Code;' and that the parallels in Malachi, in whose time it is admitted the Law existed, are less striking than those in Hosea, who wrote at a much earlier date.

Our thanks are due to Dr. Stanley Leathes for the careful collection of passages from the prophets to which we have referred, as also for useful lists of passages from the New Testament, which illustrate our Lord's appeal to Scripture and His supernatural knowledge. But the value of the book is not confined to these parts of it. There is much important matter on the witness of other books of the Bible to the Pentateuch and on the bearing of the teaching of our Lord upon the subject, which applies the arguments derived from the compilations which we have mentioned.

There is a useful appendix on the Pentateuch which formerly appeared as a series of papers in the Guardian. It deals briefly with some of the chief arguments commonly used for the purpose of attacking the Mosaic character of the Pentateuch, and contains passages of weight. We think the following important:

"It is not a little remarkable, and it is certainly germane to the general subject, that for eighteen centuries the Jews have shown sufficient tenacity to continue the observance of their national ritessuch, for instance, as the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles, and the Day of Atonement, and that under every possible disadvantage ; but, upon this theory, they had not only not observed them for the fourteen centuries before Christ, but had completely remodelled their national customs and constitutions five centuries before the Christian Era, and had forgotten that they had done so. It would seem that their national character must have changed entirely from what it was before Christ came. That is to say, from what we know of the extraordinary tenacity of the Jewish race as a fact for eighteen centuries, it is far more consistent with probability that they should for fourteen centuries have observed the customs delivered them by Moses than that, contrary to all the evidence of their historical literature, they should have entirely remodelled those customs in the time of Ezra and retained them unchanged for the eighteen centuries since their dispersion' (p. 305).

Is it more likely that the advocates of a theory should be carried beyond the limits of discretion by their theory, or that the belief and tradition of a nation should be mistaken in such a matter as the existence of the tabernacle? Is it more likely that the ark of the covenant, of which we know nothing after the Exile, should have had an imaginary ritual invented for it by priests in Babylon, or that the original history and ritual of the ark should have survived that catastrophe in the memory of the nation? . . . Is it more likely that the story of the rebellion of Korah should have been invented, with all its features of verisimilitude and graphic touches of reality, to raise the status of the priests who were willing to return from Babylon, than that that story should have descended from remote antiquity, being alluded to in the Psalms ? In short, before we can accept the most modem theories as to the composition of the Pentateuch must not only believe that the history of the nation was developed upon entirely different principles, but that God's government of and dealings with His people were conducted in ways totally different from those which are presented to us in the books themselves' (pp. 307, 308).

We have expressed elsewhere our opinion that a great task lies before Christian students of the Old Testament at the present time. If we are not able to follow Dr. Stanley Leathes in quite all the details of his latest book, we welcome it as a piece of careful work on the lines which will, we think, lead to important and true results, and we hope it is but the forerunner of a inore elaborate treatise on the meaning and history of the Law.

we

« PreviousContinue »