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debater are quickness of perception, readiness in noting the point at issue, and promptness in seizing the salient features of the matter under consideration. Sometimes, if he hesitate, his case is lost. Some movement will intervene. Some motion will be made which will take the subject from consideration before he has an opportunity to discuss it.
There are some motions in the General Conference that have to be carefully guarded. While rules of order are absolutely necessary in a deliberative body, yet they are often calculated to do injustice, especially to inexperienced members. Take, for example, the previous question." It absolutely cuts off debate, and unless the subject is popular, or generally recognized as important, it is often moved, to the great grief of some whose favorite subject is, in their opinion, scarcely discussed. There are in every deliberative body those who make a specialty of thus moving the previous question, and who sometimes seriously annoy a minority who are anxious to discuss the matter under debate. A case occurred in the last General Conference. The discussion on the admission of women had gone on for several days. The only point before the Conference was the eligibility of the four women present who had been elected as lay delegates from their Annual Conferences. The bishops presiding gave large liberty to the discussion, and many speakers considered also the main question, whether women ought to be admitted. When the compromise measure came up for consideration the two questions were coupled together, namely, the resubmission of that question to the Annual Conferences and also the securing of the required two thirds by the General Conference in order to make the action of the Annual Conferences effective and final. Before the latter proposition, which was the central proposition, Lamely, whether women should be admitted to the General Conference, was at all discussed the previous question was ordered, and the whole body was shut out from the discussion of the fundamental question. It is true that the main question had been so fully discussed for the previous eight years that no new light could possibly be shed upon the subject; and yet there were those who desired to express their opinions on the precise issue involved when the vote was taken, who were by the ordering of the previous question deprived of an opportunity of explaining their vote.
Another motion which is embarrassing to the inexperienced member of the General Conference is that of “laying on the table.” If a resolution before the body seems to be obnoxious to the majority, or even to the minority, a rapid movement to lay on the table often disposes of it before the mover has had time to have it adequately considered. Here, again, skill in getting the floor and the ability to employ parliamentary tactics often cause embarrassment to the unskilled parliamentarian. The only remedy for this consciousness of injustice on the part of many is to include among the rudiments of a ministerial education some training in the rules governing a deliberative body.
On the other hand, there is danger of the excessive application of parliamentary ability. This excess has not only often wrought injustice, but has also seriously impaired the standing of the person who employs it. There are many occasions when strictest parliamentary usages might be employed but need not be. In matters that are apparently indifferent, when no great issues are involved, little irregularities of order should not be noticed. The constant raising of points of order, when no good can be effected thereby, even though correct, is a needless waste of time, and is frowned upon by the general body. The safe rule in this case, as in all others, is to use one's knowledge and skill only to reach the truth, and never with a view of securing a partisan advantage or the attainment of a personal triumph. All knowledge is valuable only as its aims are high and noble, and knowledge of parliamentary law and skill in its application constitute no exception.
Again, there is a usage employed in all deliberative bodies which seems to be overdone, namely, that which is technically designated as calling for the " ayes and noes.” In the General Conference, on the application of one hundred members, this is done. What is the purpose of this calling? It may be answered that it is intended to put men on record, so that anyone who is critical can ascertain how they voted on some important issue. It is to be presumed that no one casts a vote on any great question which he is not perfectly willing to avow to anyone who is entitled to know, yet the only object that ought to be sought in a discussion is not to know who voted one way or another, but to secure the decision of the voters as to the point under consideration. When the votes are counted for and against any proposition this end is attained. Take, for example, the question of the admissibility of women to the General Conference. The important issue was whether two thirds favored their admission. No calling of the ayes and noes was needed. The count of voters on either side was sufficient.
Is there not, then, in the process a covert threat that if a person votes one way or another that action may damage him either in his reputation or in his future position? The attainment of precise results is the great object for which a parliamentary body exists, and anything calculated to destroy the absolute freedom of the voter should not be encouraged. There are, however, occasions when the calling for the ayes and noes is important. A minority may feel that a great injustice has been done them and that they are thereby put in a false position, and may desire to explain themselves to the world. The rights of a minority should be sacred in any deliberative assembly, and in no case should these rights be more regarded than when it refers to the Church of Christ.
The inference from all that has been said is that our young ministers should acquaint themselves particularly with the traditions and usages of the Church to which they belong; and that, in order to their highest usefulness, they should become familiar with the methods employed in deliberative bodies, and should thus prepare for the better service of the Church when called to deliberate in her highest ecclesiastical body.
ARCHEOLOGY AND BIBLICAL RESEARCH.
THE NEW CRITICISM,
It would be hard to conceive that greater harm could befall the Church of God in any age or clime than to have padlocks placed upon the lips of its ministry, so as to make sober, intelligent criticism of the Bible impossible or even difficult; for few things have ever impeded either mental or spiritual growth more than a blind adherence to tradition without reflection and inquiry. Passive indifference, arising from moral inertia and intellectual stagnation should always be deprecated; but an intelligent study of the word of God, such as would enable one to give a reason for the hope that is within him, should be encouraged at all times by every lover of Christ. Wherever the possibility of temperate criticism has ceased religious decay and moral relaxation have resulted.
On the other hand, reckless criticism, rash speculation, and disregard for holy things are to be regretted no less than blind subscription to articles of faith or systems of creeds. In criticism, as in all else, there are two extremes, and there is just as much danger of erring at one extreme as at the other; therefore, he who keeps near the center of the road, as far as possible from the precipices on either side, will be in & position to benefit men and to glorify God more than the extremist of either class.
The past few years have been years of unrest and agitation in more than one of the large evangelical bodies in the Protestant Church. And it may be asserted without fear of contradiction that wherever agitation arising from questions regarding the new criticism have been most pronounced the spiritual growth has been correspondingly small. The real cause of this spiritual decline or numerical decrease will be explained differently, depending largely upon individual sympathies. The time has come when the Church must look into these things. The superficial observer will overlook the real causes of these disturbances, and like the average correspondent of the secular press will refer to them in a semihumorous manner as questions hardly worth the consideration of thoughtful men, and will sneeringly ask, like Pilate, “What is truth ?" Or, like Gallio, he will regard it all as “a question of words and names," a mere matter of Jewish or other obsolete laws. Unfortunately, there are also too many, even inside our churches, who have no idea of the magnitude of the questions at issue. Many ministers pay next to no attention to the subject, virtually saying, “None of these things move me.” And a still smaller number, though almost entirely ignorant of biblical criticism as taught by destructive critics, yet lose no opportunity in lampooning the narrow, old-fashioned theologian" and in proclaiming the benefits of untrammeled criticism.
There are several things the evangelical Churches should know concerning these latter-day utterances of the new school, whose disciples are variously known as “historical critics," "destructive critics," and
higher critics.” One of the principal errors of this school is to regard all those who do not hold their views as unscholarly, and either hopelessly ignorant or willfully blind. Indeed, a professor in one of our schools said at a recent gathering that it would be difficult to find a competent orientalist under forty-five in the camp of the traditionalists. This, if true, would be very sad, for probably ninety-five per cent of Methodist ministers, whether under or above forty-five, have not yet accepted the teachings to which he referred. And what is true of the ministry in our Church is probably true of that in most of the so-called evangelical Churches of England and America. What a sad thing it is that there should be such a gulf between the great majority of evangelical preachers and the exact truth as it is in the new school! But granting the truth of the above assertion—which we are far from doing-what of that? When Dr. Tholuck was made professor at Halle, in 1826, it is said that scarcely any of the theological professors and students believed in the divinity of Christ. It was not long, however, till the veil of rationalism had been lifted and evangelical doctrines prevailed once more. All American scholars have not abandoned the old way. Indeed, the majority of the most illustrious names in American theology are still true to the ancient landmarks, and their writings show just as much logic and scientific culture as those of the new school. And why not? Does anyone think for a moment that orthodox theologians have the least desire to discard or even disparage the established conclusions of science or literary criticism? And another truth must also be emphasized, that the professed, self-styled biblical critic, whether in Germany or America, is not so infinitely removed from the average intelligent, well-educated minister of the Gospel that the latter cannot follow him into the niceties of historical criticism.
The next mistake of the newer critics is to regard their method as purely scientific and to represent their dicta to be the results of inductive reasoning, founded upon the solid rock of logic.
Let him who doubts this statement turn to any cyclopedia or book which discusses pentateuchal criticism during the past one hundred years, or let him read the second chapter in The Pentateuch, its Origin and its Structure, by Bissell, or the third, fourth, and tenth chapters of a little volume by Lias, entitled Principles of Biblical Criticism. Or should Bissell and Lias be regarded as over forty-five years of age and too conservative, then let him read the article on Isaiah, by George Adam Smith, in Hastings's Dictionary of the Bible. Even a cursory perusal of any of these will convince the most skeptical that the writings of the newer critics are not distinguished by an unswerving loyalty to scientific principles, but that
many of them possess very vivid imaginations. The newer criticism involuntarily reminds one of a kaleidoscope, changing at every move or
Take the Polychrome Bible now passing through the press. Who can call it scientific ? Even as liberal a critic as A. B. Davidson in speaking of this work says that here “individual subjectivity operates uncon. trolled.” We pass the same verdict upon the latest great work of the new criticism, The Encyclopædia Biblica, edited by Cheyne. It is full of the wildest assertions and the most complacent assurance regarding many of the points not yet established. Let no one be deceived ; the stamp of science cannot be honestly impressed upon everything written by this new school.
Again, the new criticism not only overestimates the validity of its conclusions, but it underestimates the great harm done by the promulgation of many an unestablished theory. Of late years it has been quite common to take for granted many an unproved hypothesis. This is especially true of the authorship of the books of the Old Testament. It certainly cannot be demonstrated with mathematical precision that Moses did not write the greater part of the Pentateuch, or that Daniel was not written during the Persian period. Yet the new school in speaking of Daniel and the Pentateuch speak of a late date as if they were giving us axiomatic truths. While there may be some interpolations in the Pentateuch and some portions of it may show the hand of a reviser, we are not willing to follow Wellhausen and his school and brand the whole book as unhistorical and uninspired, consisting mostly of myths and legends, the work of cunning priests and shrewd political prophets. As Bissell has well said, “The Scriptures, it is true, have a human side, but it has been left to these critics to charge upon not a few of its writers conscious trickery and imposition." Let the reader once for all dismiss the silly idea that the newer criticism concerns itself chiefly with dates and authorship. There are questions back of these, far-reaching in their influence, which our self-styled modern critic should squarely face. These criticisms sound innocent enough when clothed in language learned at the knees of pious mothers or set in the words of a consecrated minister filled with the Holy Ghost, but what of them when divested of such a disguise as they come from a rationalistic critic like Wellbausen or Meyer ? What phase will they assume a generation hence in the hands of men brought up under the influence of the new school? Many of our readers will recall with unmixed pain the course of more than one young man who twenty years ago or more became saturated with rationalistic doctrines, lost his moorings, and drifted away. Where are these now?
It is not, then, a mere question of dates and authorship. These would be comparatively harmless. Whatever may be the exact creed of the average newer critic, it is evident that one of the chief reasons for the conclusion of this school is an effort to magnify the human at the expense of the divine element in the Bible. We are far from charging all