« AnteriorContinuar »
Discreditable as this negligence is, it is more excusable than the misrepresentations of Griesbach's critical judgment, which constitute so large a part of the errors which we have noticed. Buttmann does not seem to have even made himself acquainted with the meaning of the signs which Griesbach uses to denote the comparative value of different readings. In the first place, Griesbach is represented as receiving, without question, the readings which he marks as probably spurious, prefixing the sign =. There are not far from five hundred cases of this kind in the New Testament, some of them of much importance. The passage concerning the woman taken in adultery (John 7: 53–8: 11) is a striking instance. In the Gospel of Matthew, there are forty-five examples of this error on the part of Buttmann. - There is another class of readings, to which Griesbach prefixes a peculiar mark (2), denoting that they are worthy of consideration, but inferior to those received into the text. Butimann habitually confounds this with another mark ( - ), which signifies that the reading to which it is prefixed is equal or perhaps preferable to the received lection. Compare, for example, his edition with that of Griesbach in Matt. 1: 18, 19. 2: 8, 9, 17, etc. He has fallen into this mistake, in the Gospel of Matthew, thirty-nine times. There is another smaller class of readings which Griesbach introduces into the text with the sign + prefixed. These are given by Buttmann as readings which Griesbach adopts as genuine; whereas this sign, as explained by him, denotes an addition for which there is some evidence deserving attention, but which is probably not genuine. See his Prolegomena (Schulz's edit.), p. Ixxxvii. There are ten examples of this error in the Gospel of Matthew ; see, e. g. Matt. 26: 9, 33, 35, 38.
One other remark may be made in this connection. Griesbach's readings should have been taken from his manual edition, printed at Leipsic in 1805. Where this differs from his larger edition, it generally represents his maturer judgment. The first volume of the larger edition was published in 1796 ; and though the second volume bears the date 1806, it appears by the preface that far the greater part of it had been printed several years before. The differences between the two editions in respect to the text are not very numerous, but some of them are important. For example, the last twelve verses of the Gospel of Mark, to which Griesbach aslixes no mark of doubt in his larger edition of 1796, are designated as probably spurious in the manual edition of 1805, and he argues at length against their genuineness in Part II. of his Commentarius Criticus, published in 1811. It is obviously not doing him justice, to quote his authority, in such a case, in support of the reading of the Received Text.
It is hardly worth while to point out misprints in a work of the character of the present. One or two of the grosser instances which we have observed may be mentioned, as jeta for peotov, p. 246, line 3 from the bottom; and typnuévous for inpoupévous, p. 342, line 8; and also in line 2 of the margin.
It is unpleasant to be compelled thus to expose the faults of a work the editor of which bears so honored a name, and which forms part of a series that has been received with general favor. These very circumstances, however, being likely to give it a circulation to which it is not entitled, make it a more imperative duty to warn the unwary student against its false pretensions.
2.-GILLESPIE ON the Necessary EXISTENCE OF GOD. For two or three years we have desired to insert in the Bibliotheca Sacra a notice of Mr. Gillespie's Treatise on God's Necessary Existence. The intent and the statement of his theory have been highly commended by Lord Brougham, Sir William Hamilton, Bishop Russel, Dr. John Brown, Dr. D. Dewar, and other eminent scholars. The contents of the present volume are fragmentary, consisting of a General Preface; an Inquiry into the Defects of mere a posteriori Arguments for a God; Reviews of the Demonstrations, by Mr. Locke, Dr. Samuel Clarke, the Rev. Moses Lowman, and Bishop Hamilton, of the Existence and Attributes of Deity ; an Essay entitled Necessary Existence implies Infinite Extension ; a Statement of the Argument a priori for the Being and Attributes of a Great First Cause; an Examination of Antitheos's Refutation of the Argument a priori for the Being and Attributes of God.
Of these Parts, the most interesting and scientific is the Statement of the Argument a priori for the Being and Attributes of God. The argument is presented in a logical form, and in a style far superior to that of the author's other writings. The following may be considered a fair, though meagre, compend of the argument, which Mr. Gillespie has exhibited in thirtyfive pages of his volume.
“ Infinity of expansion is necessarily existing; the parts of it cannot be separated from each other; they cannot be moved; therefore infinity of expansion is one and simple. This infinity of expansion is a substance, or else an attribute. If it be a substance, then the substance is one and simple; if it be an attribute, then it must have a substance or substratum which is one and simple; in either case, then, there is an infinite substance, necessarily existing and possessing unity and simplicity.
“ Infinity of duration is necessarily existing; the parts of it cannot be separated from each other; they cannot be moved; therefore infinity of duration is one and simple. This infinity of duration is a substance, or an attribute. If it be a substance, then the substance is one and simple; if it be an attribute, then it must have a substance or substratum which is one and simple; in either case, then, there is an infinite substance necessarily existing, and possessing unity and simplicity.
“ The substance of infinite expansion, and the substance of infinite duration are one and the same substance. This substance or being is necessa
i The Necessary Existence of God. By William Gillespie. New edition. Edinburgh: Adam and Charles Black. Longman, Brown, Green and Long. mans, London. pp. 317. 12mo.
rily intelligent and all-knowing; is therefore an infinite mind. As all material objects were created by this mind, it is all-powerful. It is entirely free, because it is the origin of all motion. This mind is also entirely happy; for, 'every position which we cannot but believe, is a necessary truth. But we cannot but believe that the simple, sole Being of Infinity of Expansion and of Duration, who is all-knowing, all-powerful, and entirely free, is completely happy. Therefore, that this Being is completely happy, is a necessary truth. Being completely happy, he cannot be the free cause of anything but happiness to his creatures; therefore he is entirely good.”
Thus, according to Mr. Gillespie, are the existence and attributes of God demonstrated a priori. It will be seen, at a glance, that he is indebted to Dr. Samuel Clarke for the general structure of his argument, although he presents it in a form peculiar to bimself. He complains that the natural theology of modern times is superficial, and he desires to revive the ancient taste for more recondite, and, in his opinion, more conclusive processes of ratiocination on this most fundamental of all themes. He would be more successful in his aim, if he would write in a more calm and dignified style. His volume deserves a careful study, though by no means an implicit trust.
3.-GILLESPIE ON THE TRUTH OF THE EVANGELICAL History.
The frequent inappositeness of this author's style is indicated on the title page of this volume: “ by William Gillespie, Author of the Necessary Existence of God."" The phrase is understood, but is not an example of the curiosa felicitas in language.
The “ Dogmatical Statement” of the volume is, in brief, the following: “ Matthew's special object in his Gospel is to prove the Messiahship of Jesus, and his Gospel is written expressly for Jews; Mark's special interest is, to prove that Jesus is a teacher, having a Divine commission, and his Gospel is written primarily for the Gentiles, and is pre-eminently devoted to a proof of the miracles, attesting our Lord's supreme authority; Luke's main object is to develop the human character and relations of the seed of the woman;' and John's peculiar design is to exhibit the nature of the personal character of Christ as the Logos, the Son of God." These four propositions are sustained by reasonings which are ingenious, acute, and plausible. We think that Mr. Gillespie is too strenuous in support of some theories, which are now generally abandoned by critics, and which cannot be satisfactorily proved. For example, he insists at length, pp. 133-141 that our Saviour did endure a sweat of actual blood. This theory is not established by Luke, who does not affirm that the sweat was blood, but only that it was woel Spóußol .... aluatos.
1 The Truth of the Evangelical History of our Lord Jesus Christ, Proved in opposition to Dr. D. F. Strauss, the chief of modern disbelievers in Revelation. By William Gillespie, author of " The Necessary existence of God,” etc., etc. Edinburgh : Adam and Charles Black, 1856. pp. 191. 8vo.
The remarks of Mr. Gillespie on pp. 85—90, are specimens of a bad taste, which disfigures several parts of the volume. Still the book is suggestive and valuable, and we shall be happy to peruse the promised Second Part.
4.- Macvicar's INQUIRY INTO HUMAN NATURE. This work is written in an earnest, but not always perspicuous style. It introduces terms which are not accredited as parts of our philosophical terminology. Some of the author's figures of speech are strained and obseure. We must say, however, that the aim of the volume is excellent. It is to defend the great doctrines of human freedom and responsibility, the spirituality and immortality of the soul. Dr. Macvicar is a firm believer in the liberty of the will. His favorite doctrine is : "that the soul, in its essence, is a free principle and volition, a free power capable of good or evil, as it pleases.” He speaks of the soul as a “mere principle of volition;" and teaches, in opposition to what Edwards taught, and, as we think, proved, that the will is not determined by the strongest motives, but the will itself gives to motives their strength. His ehapter on Taste and Conscience, and his appendix on the philosophy and science of Common Sense, are worthy of serious regard. He is an admirer, as his father was a personal friend, of Dr. Reid. We are pleased with his enthusiasm in defending that great philosopher, but we object to some of his extreme views.
5.- MEMORIAL OF DR. TAYLOR, AND HIS PRACTICAL SERMONS.
The Memorial of Dr. Tayloro contains three sermons: the first preached at his funeral, March 12, 1858, by Dr. Bacon, pastor of the Centre Church, New Haven; the second preached in the North Church, March 14, the first Sabbath after Dr. Taylor's interment, by Rev. S. W. S. Dutton, D. D., pastor of the North Church ; the third preached in the Chapel in Yale College, March 14, by Rev. George P. Fisher, Livingston Professor of Di. vinity in Yale College. To the Sermons is appended an Obituary Notice of Dr. Taylor by Rev. Chauncey A. Goodrich, D. D., Professor of the Pastoral Charge in Yale College. From these four narratives of the great and good man, we learn that Dr. Nathaniel William Taylor was born in New Milford, Conn., June 23, 1786; he prepared for college under the tuition of Dr. Azel Backus; was graduated at New Haven in 1807; was “ approbated” as a preacher in 1810. He “ read theology” with President Dwight; and, while pursuing his studies with that eminent teacher, resided in his family two years, and wrote, at the dictation of the President, a large part of the sermons now so extensively known as Dwight's System of Theology.
An “Inquiry into Human Nature." By John G. Macvicar, D. D., author of The Catholic Spirit of True Religion, etc., etc. Edinburgh: Sutherland and Knux. London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co., 1853.
? Memorial of Nathaniel W. Taylor, D. D. New Haven: Published by Thomas H. Pease. 1858. pp. 43. 8vo.
The position of Mr. Taylor as the favorite pupil and confidential amanuensis of Dr. Dwight, was highly conducive to his mental and moral growth, as well as to his influence in theological circles. In 1812 he was ordained pastor of the First church in New Haven, as the successor of Moses Stuart, who had removed to the Andover Theological Seminary. He remained in this pastorate until 1822, his labors having been crowned with signal success. In 1822 he accepted the Dwight Professorship of Didactic Theology in the Theological Department at Yale college. This Professorship was founded particularly for him; and the Theological Department of Yale college was planned with the expectation of making him a teacher of theology in it. He continued in this Professorship until the time of his death, March 10, 1858. During the period of thirty-six years, in which he occupied the theological chair in Yale college, he instructed nearly seven hundred pupils, and made large contributions to our theological literature in different religious periodicals. During the same period he was engaged, earnestly and with rare constancy, in preaching the gospel, especially in times of religious revival. As a pulpit orator he had few superiors. He was argumentative and impassioned. He was fearless, solemn, attractive, persuasive. He made nice distinctions and energetic appeals. As a theological instructor he was eminently enthusiastic, frank, and affable. He was acute, discriminating, precise. He loved original investigation, and he encouraged it among his pupils. He had singular confidence in the power of truth, and a peculiar boldness in following the dictates of his reason. He devoted a large part of his time and strength to a defence of the Edwardean theory, that the human will is as free as any will can be, either to choose or to refuse the good, even while there is an infallible certainty that it will not choose, but will always refuse it. He resolutely opposed the Pelagian notion, that the soul is in equilibrio, equally inclined to the right and to the wrong; and he has resolutely combatted the Fatalistic notion, that the will has no power to choose what God commands it to choose, and is under a literal and invincible necessity of doing what God forbids. Perhaps a still larger share of his energies was devoted to a defence of the proposition, that the existence of sin may be a necessary incident to a moral system, and may have been permitted by the Creator, not because it is a means of good, but because it results (necessarily so far as the divine power of prevention is concerned) from that which is a means of good. Probably the most objectionable of Dr. Taylor's favorite themes was, “ that all motives that come to the mind find their ultimate ground of appeal in the desire of personal happiness, and that the idea of right, in the last analysis, is resolved into a tendency to the highest happiness.” A favorite speculation, and one which involves various disputable theories, by which Dr. Taylor's system has been distinguished, is, that at a certain period in the order of nature before regeneration, the selfish principle is suspended, and, at that point of time, the unregenerate mind uses the means of regeneration under the impulse of a constitutional self-love, and without any moral choice, either right or wrong. VOL. XV. No. 60.