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respect. Whoever will compare the "Critical Remarks" of that learned and liberal scholar and truly excellent man, the Catholic Dr. Geddes, with any Commentary on the Old Testament which has yet appeared in this country, will see reason enough for our insisting so emphatically on moral courage and freedom in a commentator. We by no means assent to all his opinions, critical or expository; but we are free to express our belief, that his work is the most valuable commentary on the Pentateuch, which has been produced in the English language for the last hundred years. How great is the contrast between this independent and honest expositor, and that bigoted Churchman, Dr. Bloomfield, who cannot give an opinion upon a various reading, or a Greek particle, without having his judgment annulled or distorted by the creed of his


Whatever may be said of the importance of creeds or of unity of faith in a Church, or in the Church universal, one would suppose there could be no doubt, that from a commentator and critic we have a right to expect his own private judgment, in conformity with the established laws of interpretation. Systems of theology and symbolical treatises may be good in their place. But they are out of place in what professes to be an exposition of the Scriptures. Criticism, from the very nature of the thing and of the term, implies judgment. But in reading many of the English commentaries we are compelled to doubt, whether we have the genuine judgment of the commentator, poor as that may be.

Dr. Barnes is so well known by his Notes on the New Testament, that it is perhaps unnecessary to say much of his books on Job and Isaiah. But the plan of these latter is somewhat different from that of his commentaries on the New Testament, as appears from their title, in which he calls them critical, as well as explanatory and practical. As our readers may desire to know something of their character and value, we shall devote a few of our pages to an examination of them.

So far as his commentaries on Job and Isaiah are merely explanatory and practical, they are of about the same character as his works on the New Testament. They contain the remarks of a man of sense and talent, who knows well how

to adapt himself to the popular mind. That one engaged in the duties of the ministry in the city of Philadelphia should be able to accomplish so much as he has done, is evidence not only of great ability, but of the most unwearied and praiseworthy industry. But from the manner in which his works have been composed, it would not be reasonable to expect to find in them much evidence of accurate scholarship or critical sagacity. In his volumes on the New Testament, which he prepared for Sunday school teachers and scholars, there was perhaps less necessity for the exhibition of such qualities. In his works on the Old Testament he appears to the greatest advantage in that kind of commentary, which he has used upon the New. In the translation of Job or Isaiah, and in the notes of a philological character, we cannot say that he has given evidence of accurate learning, or good taste, exact judgment, or critical sagacity.

His work on Job is in two thick duodecimos, containing Notes on the Common Version, preceded by an Introduction of one hundred and twenty-six pages, relating to the various questions which have been raised concerning the book, and followed by a new Translation. In the quantity of their comments, it appears to us that both Dr. Barnes and Professor Bush, of whom we shall speak more particularly hereafter, greatly exceed the true measure. The former indeed still more than the latter is prone to repeat in weaker, diluted language, what is perfectly plain in the sacred writer. His moral reflections will, without doubt, be valued by many readers; while to others some of them will appear tedious, some common-place, and some forced. For ourselves, we love to read the works of Job and Isaiah as we read those of Shakspeare and Milton, unincumbered by any but illustrative or critical notes. But we have no doubt that Dr, Barnes has consulted the popularity of his book by crowding it with practical observations.

In regard to some of the opinions expressed by Dr. Barnes in his Introduction to Job, we have been a good deal surprised. After all that has been written, especially by the modern critics of Germany, in illustration of the late origin, and the Hebrew origin, of the book of Job, Dr. Barnes sees no improbability in the opinion, that the very finest production of Hebrew literatúre in respect to

language, poetic excellence, and religious sentiments, was written by an Arabian, four hundred years before the time of Moses. Moses, Dr. Barnes thinks, adopted it among the sacred books of the Jews. The reasons assigned for these mere conjectures amount to nothing; and we cannot but think that Dr. Barnes very much underrates the force of the objections, which have been, and may be, urged against them. We cannot now go into an examination of the subject. Some remarks on it may be found in a former number of our journal.*


Another opinion, expressed by Dr. Barnes, excites our special wonder, that the book of Job is in substance the the record of an actual discussion, which took place between Job and his friends; "the work of a compiler, or editor, rather than an author." "No one can prove certainly," says he, "that the several persons named in the book-Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu - were incompetent to compose the speeches which are severally assigned to them, or that all the time necessary for such a composition was not taken by them." Again he says, "all the difficulty may be removed by a supposition, which is entirely in accordance with the character of the book and the nature of the case. It is, that the several speeches succeeded each other at such intervals as gave full time for reflection, and for carefully framing the argument. There is no evidence that the whole argument was gone through with at one sitting." We wonder that Dr. Barnes did not bring in the Deity, when he spoke of the persons named in the book, as being "competent to compose the speeches, which are assigned to them." Does he really believe, that the speech ascribed to the Deity was actually delivered by him in articulate words from the midst of a tempest? Was it not a feeling of the improbability of it, which led him to omit the Deity from the

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* Christ. Exam. for Sept. 1837, pp. 45, et seq. Against the supposition that an Arabian, an inhabitant of Uz, or Job himself, was the author of the book, we will mention one reason, however, which we do not recollect to have seen stated. It is found in Job i. 1, 3. An inhabitant of the land of Uz would hardly speak of himself, or of his hero, as the greatest of all "the men of the East." To an inhabitant of Judea, Uz or Arabia was the East. But to an inhabitant of Uz there was an East beyond him, and it is highly improbable that he would call his own country "the East." Massachusetts is "the East" to an inhabitant of Philadelphia. But none of us thinks of giving the name to our own State. We go to "the East," when we go to the State of Maine.



persons, "competent to compose the speeches which are assigned to them." Dr. Barnes has referred to the description of the animals, in the speech ascribed to the Deity, as proof that "the habits of many portions of the animated creation had been observed with great care" in the time of the author of Job; thus implying that the speech is ascribed to the Deity, only as a part of the machinery of the poem, and proceeded from the mind of the writer of it. For it could not be his meaning, that the habits of the animal creation had been "observed with great care" by the Deity. Dr. Barnes is also of opinion, that the conversation between the Deity and Satan in the prologue of the poem is not to be regarded as historical, but rather of the nature of parabolical representation. What objection, then, is there to regarding the form of dialogue throughout the poem, as the mere plan of the author of Job for presenting the different views, which might be taken of an important question concerning the moral government of God? The dialogue in heaven is represented by the author as real history, as much as the dialogue on the earth; and to our mind the former is attended with as few difficulties as the latter.

That the whole poem was the production of one mind, appears from the uniformity of style which prevails throughout the poem, from the improbability that a man reduced to the gates of death by leprosy should be able to compose poetry never surpassed, and that all his friends should happen to be poets equal to himself, and that the result of a discussion between four or five persons on a moral subject should be an incomparable poem, distinguished by unity of purpose and plan, by a progressive development of the subject, and by a highly artificial arrangement. That so beautiful and harmonious a whole should be in any sense the record of a discussion between Job, four friends, and the Deity, appears to us as incredible as the atheistic notion, that the casual concourse of atoms should produce a world.

No one has spoken more strongly of the highly artificial arrangement of the poem than Dr. Barnes.

"Besides the parallelism," says he, "the poem bears the marks of a regular design or plan in its composition, and is constructed with a rigid adherence to the purpose which was

in the mind of the author. I refer to the tripartite division of the book, and to the regularity observed in that division. No poem in any language exhibits a more artificial structure than this." p. lv.

Dr. Barnes also quotes from Professor Stuart with approbation the following passage.

"If we withdraw our attention from these obvious and palpable trichotomies,* in respect to the larger portions of the book, and direct it to the examination of the individual speeches which are exhibited, we shall find the like three-fold division in many of them. If we descend still lower, even down to strophes, we shall there find that a great number consist of three members. Thus the economy of this book exhibits a regular and allpervading series of trichotomies, most of them so palpable that none can mistake them. This seems to settle two things that have been called in question, viz. first, the highly artificial arangement of the book; and secondly, that the prologue and the epilogue are essential parts of the work. The great contest about the genuineness of these, and also of the speech of Elihu, might have been settled long ago, had due attention been paid to the trichotomy of the book. It is proper to add, that notwithstanding the highly artificial arrangement of the poem, such is the skill of the writer in the combinations, that every thing appears to proceed in a way which is altogether easy and natural." p. lvi.

How Dr. Barnes can reconcile these statements with his opinion that the book is, even in substance, the record of an actual discussion between Job, four friends, and the Deity, we are wholly at a loss to conceive. We regard it as probable, that he borrowed one view from one writer, and the other from another.

All analogy is in favor of the supposition that the whole book is the production of one mind, making use of the form of dialogue in order to present different views of an important subject, and finally to intimate what was regarded as the truth. Thus Plato, Cicero, Berkeley, and others have adopted the form of dialogue. In other parts of the Old Testament, dialogue is used by the writer as an impressive way of conveying his sentiments. An example occurs in Isaiah lxiii. 1-6, where Jehovah and the Jewish people are represented as addressing each other.

*Lest any one unskilled in Greek should fail of understanding the meaning of this term, it may be well to mention that by trichotomy the Professor understands a division into three parts.

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