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various sentences spoken by Jesus at other times gradually clustered. In Mark and Luke, the sentences which are here joined together into a tolerably consistent whole are assigned to various uccasions. But there is internal evidence not only of spontaneous growth, but of conscious manipulation.” Several of the joints are easily apparent. In Matthew x., the instructions to the disciples savor strongly of a later time. “Actual experience of persecution is here reflected back upon the time of thought of Jesus.”. Chapter xiii. " groups into arbitrary unity a number of striking parables, which certainly, when originally spoken, did not come galloping upon each other's heels in any such fashion. Equally arbitrary is the grouping of events in chapters xiv. and xvii. And yet a certain progress is discernib e. The period of conflict becomes more clearly marked, and it hardly needs a prophet to foretell the ultimate cat+strophe.”*
As to time for the incidents, etc., the same writer elsewhere deems “the one year of the Synoptists fully adequate to all the conditions of the problem, while the three years of John land us amid a host of incongruities. The Jesus of John is. always appearing and vanishing and flitting back and forth between Jerusalem and Galilee in a vague and purposeless manner, entirely suitable to the Logos phantom of this Gospel, but entirely at variance with the human personality of Jesus.”+
Edmund H. Sears thinks Christ made five visits to Jerusalem. I
In harmonizing the records and determining the preponderant portions, it will be found useful to consider the six rules laid down by Dr. Simon Greenleaf in his Testimony of the Evangelists examined by the Rules of Evidence administered in Courts of Justice, pp. 7–28.
* The Bible of To-day, p. 268. † The Man Jesus, p. 116. I The Fourth Gospel the Heart of Christ, p. 370.
What Two Views as to the Exemption of Narrations concern
ing Jesus from the Ordinary Liability to Accretion ; (and herein) what may safely be considered the Uses of the Oriental Imageries?
(1) The conservative: that either the oral statements and written records of fact were by special providence preserved from perversion, or else (as was quoted by Dr. Strong in the last chapter) there was, owing to presence of eye-witnesses, etc., no opportunity for misrepresentation originally, and hence the four Gospels essentially import absolute historical verity.
(2) The radical: that there does not appear to be intrinsic evidence that, during the interval between the death of Jesus and the recording, all the narratives of the events of his life entirely escaped the usual fate of tradition and history as to amplifications and glosses, but that the pith is, however, preserved. The main and fundamental features of the information, however distorted in the stream of time, is essentially unperverted and reliable,
As sunshine, broken by the rill,
Though turned aside is sunshine still. Like the bon-mots that circulate in society, a legend is tossed from believer to poet, from poet to believer, everybody adding a grace, dropping a fault, rounding the form, until it gets an ideal truth. Religious literature, the psalms and liturgies of churches, are of course of this slow growth,-a fagot of selections gathered through ages, leaving the worse and saving the better, until it is at last the work of the whole communion of worshippers. The Bible itself is like an old Cremona: it has been played upon by the devotion of thousands of years, until every word and particle is public and tunable. And whatever undue reverence may have been claimed for it by the prestige of Philonic inspiration, the stronger tendency we are describing is likely to undo. What divines had assumed as the distinctive revelations of Christianity, theologic criticism has matched by exact parallelisms from the Stoics and poets of Greece and Rome. Later, when Confucius and the Indian scriptures were made known, no claim to monopoly of ethical wisdom could be thought of; and the surprising results of the new researches into the history of Egypt have opened to us the deep debt of the churches of Rome and England to the Egyptian hierology. – Ralph W. Emerson (Letters and Social Aims, p. 147).
And here may properly be considered the utility of the similes, parables, etc. Without either affirming or denying the correctness of any of the views of the Tübingen school as to myths, the words of a reviewer of Dr. D. F. Strauss' last publication may not prove entirely unenlightening in the premises :
The use of allegory as an educational agent is so familiar that, in examining the structure of a matured mythology, especially that which has gathered round a creed, we may assume a large portion to be made up of distorted symbolism. How the premeditated emblems of poet-priests became misconceived by their disciples may be illustrated by the kindred instance of idolatry, which is nothing but an ignorant worship of the sign for the thing signified. It is often, however, a matter of no little difficulty to ascertain, under the corrupted mask of age, whether the features of a legend be truly allegorical or not. The criterion must be mainly negative. Where an elaborate basis of knowledge supports the imaginative structure, the mythist may be reasonably credited with design rather than delusion. The application of this theory is indefinitely extensive and fatally provocative of unintentional mythology on the part of those who employ it.— Anonymous Reviewer (Home Journal).
It has been well observed that fron end to end the Bible supposes and states that the Idea creates the Fact, that Spirit rules Matter, that the Word makes and controls the Thing. God spoke by Moses' lips, or ruled by Joshua's leadership. statement of what is the real substance, namely, the soul or life, with the corresponding statement that things, bodily and visible, are but transitory forms, gives dignity and character to what would else be petty in these histories. True, you can find the same lesson in all history; but you do not find it everywhere written in this Eastern naïveté or simplicity. This is, indeed, the distinction of Eastern thought, habit, and expression. Those Eastern nations were never startled by the idea of spiritual power, unseen, incalculable, but always present. ... It is the story of the Master's life, it is his stories of the good Samaritan, of the Prodigal Son, and the rest, which have taught men what life is, what divine life is, and have made them seek to be sons of God. Paul's letters have helped them, when they came to the detail of character. His epigrams have been texts for action and memory. But it is not a letter of
Paul that sends John Augustus into the prison: it is that he follows his Leader. It is no discussion in the Epistle to the Romans which turns round tearful and repentant woman with the struggling hope of a new life, to leave a house of shame: it is the story of Mary Magdalene.” Thus remarks Dr. Hale, adverting to an actual result wrought by Sarah D. Greenough's poem, “ Mary Magdalene.” And he adds that Bibles are not made by forethought or to order :
This book made itself. Gospels there were, which are lost, alas! These four were so divine that men wou d not let them die. Hundreds of letters Paul wrote, and James, the secretary at headquarters. These letters here had in them that which' men must have. The law of selection worked, and they kept these in being. Nay, you know yourselves how some parts of the Bible are strange to you, because they do you no good, while what you need is a household word and a blessed memory. It is by such compulsion, which no scholarship can overthrow or undermine, that a book like the Bible makes its own way into the affections of the world. And, whenever the world adds to its canon new treasures of wisdom or of imagination, it will repeat its old history. It will read not the digest of a law-book, not the abstractions of a philosopher, but the intense visions of a poet, or the tale throbbing with pathos, which makes visible the struggles of a life.
I have chosen to say this to-day, because, in a few weeks now, the new version of the New Testament will be awaking a new external interest in the shape of the Gospels and Epistles, the Book of Acts and the Revelation. Happily, we shall not handle the book as an idol. Happily. we shall come to it for fruit, for medicine, as we need fruit or medicine; and, where we find neither, we shall not force the words for what they do not give. In the common-sense notion of the Bible to which the youngest child in this church is trained, it has a power far surpassing what it had in any of the days of superstition. "That power is the power which, narrative, dramatic, or historical,when it is the story of God with man, man with God, man's life hid in God,-commands of its very nature. Men must remember; and, if they remember, one day they will comply.
“Theref re speak I to them in parables, that hearing they may hear, even if they do not yet understand; and seeing they may see, even if they do not yet perceive." "Happy are your eyes, for they do see; and your ears, for they do hear
What kings and prophets waited for,
Dr. Edward Everett Hale
Dr. Newman Smyth, however, insists that there wa forethought, an “ante-historic power in Israel and the Bible," some
inner principle of development of religious life and truth, struggling against the outward historical environment, “while other people, though taught by many wise men and seers, and not without their truths, still can show no one connected and progressive revelation like this ”; and he notes two special characteristics of such educational plan :
There is a plain progress of doctrine in the Bible from without inward, from external restraints to inward principles, from law to love. The object lesson is given first, the truth of the spirit afterward. The discipline of conduct precedes the renewal of the heart. The sign and symbol prepare for the essential and the real. God's method in the Bible is like the mother's method with her child. The best truths of the home are the last learned. ... The educational progress or pedagogical intent of the Bible may also be characterized as an advance from the general to the specific, from the indefinite to the more definite. This may easily be traced in the succession of the names of God which occur in the Old Testament, further by certain results, the worth of the family, the abolition of human sacrifice and the abolition of slavery, personal immortality. The Bible is its own commentary and corrective. When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part of itself falls away from the divine law.- Old Faiths in New Light, p. 82, ff.
And still the world is “adding to its canon new treasures of wisdom or of imagination.”
Slowly the Bible of the race is writ,
each kindred, adds a verse to it,
James R. Lowell, A this, too, the wisdom of the heart rather than of the head alone :
Not from a vain or shallow thought
Ralph Waldo Emerson (The Problem,- Poems, p. 14).