« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Epochs in the Life of Jesus. By A. T. ROBERTSON, D.D., Pro
fessor of New Testament Interpretation, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Ky. (Hodder and
Stoughton. 1908.) 25. 6d. net. The Introduction describes this book as 'the harvest of long ... labour in the widest and richest of fields'; but the harvest' is, frankly, disappointing. Dr. Robertson's book, which gives a straightforward account of the important stages (why does the author talk of 'epochs'?) in our Lord's Life, traces the development of the struggle between Christ and His enemies, but with a superfluity of sermonizing' of a somewhat obvious kind. The style is a mixture of clear-cut description, rhetoric after the model of Edersheim, and a looseness of diction amounting to slang. The book, in fact, in endeavouring to dress up the Gospel story in modern garb, lacks dignity of treatment. The author, for example, comments thus unhappily on the miracle at Cana : * The light wines of that time were taken with three parts of water, and were about like our tea and coffee. Jesus was no advocate of the modern saloon with its traffic in human souls '! (p. 33). Such a sentence, too, as this : ‘Did the Sanhedrin believe in Jesus ? Not much !'has its defects.
In so cursory a work the author would have done well to avoid scrappy discussions of difficult problems. The two or three pages on the Virgin Birth are hardly illuminating, while the sentence—' That is a conception capable of comprehension, that the Father should have a Son, a necessary corollary of Father in fact' (p. 11)-besides being grammatically chaotic, is theologically crude. Spirit in the New Testament. By E. W. WINSTANLEY, B.D.
(Cambridge University Press. 1908.) 35. 6d. net. This small volume deserves a warm welcome from students as a careful and reverent study of the New Testament references to the Person and work of the Holy Spirit. The systematic study of this subject is still too widely neglected ; and, so far as the doctrine is studied, it is generally with the aid rather of small works of a devotional or theological character. In this respect the present inquiry fills a gap, supplying as it does in convenient form a complete list of passages which in any way bear upon the subject, with brief notes to each. In the second part the passages are arranged into groups, and the evidence is reviewed in connexion with the various writers or books of the New Testament.
The conclusions to which Mr. Winstanley has been led have somewhat influenced his statement of the evidence. For instance, in connexion with St. John's Gospel, there is only a scanty summary of the teaching, obscured by reference to the apparently divergent views of the Spirit's work found in the earlier and later chapters. It would have been well to give the summary clearly, and then to have reflected upon it. The development of the Church's teaching is an important study, and one that requires much more attention than it has up to the present received. The difficulties attending it are obvious, and so long as the historical authority of the Fourth Gospel remains undecided, the conclusions must differ widely. For those who think that the Synoptic Gospels give us the accurate and sufficient pourtrayal of the teaching of our Lord, it is natural to follow Mr. Winstanley. He is so impresssd by the fact that little is mentioned, that he is led to challenge the historical accuracy of even that little. He concludes that there is no weil-established assertion by Jesus claiming the Holy Spirit as the inspirer of His message and work. But we believe that it is being steadily recognized that the Synoptic Gospels preserve only a very incomplete tradition of our Lord's teaching, and that there was deeper teaching of spiritual facts, which was at the time but dimly apprehended, and by only a few minds. This teaching would of necessity be linked on to the Old Testament, in some instances directly, at other times as an outcome of our Lord's consciousness. We believe St. Luke iv. 16 s99. (the incident in the synagogue at Nazareth) represents the former, and were disappointed to find that Mr. Winstanley is content to challenge the place which St. Luke has given it in his Gospel, and to let it drop out of sight. Even if the incident did not happen at the very beginning of the ministry, its value as evidence of our Lord's claims may still be recognized. If so, it certainly suggests that His teaching to the inner circle would turn to such passages of the prophets.
This agrees with another fcature in our Lord's character, the place which the Old Testament Scriptures occupy for Himself. It is impossible to study His life without finding that His mind and spirit were steeped in their deepest teaching. To a wonderful extent the Scriptures lie behind His Life and teaching. We know how He spoke with authority on its contents. Even on such subjects as the defilement by meats His comments were only understood later. 'This He said making all meats clean' illustrates the difficulty found in grasping His teaching,
so that we can readily understand that the difficulty would still more be felt with His teaching upon the Spirit. It may have been only in the light of Christian experience that the intelligent memory of His words began. Even then the New Testament goes to shew that only a few minds, e.g. St. Paul and St. Luke and St. John, gave the teaching a central place in the life of the Church.
How little hold this doctrine had taken of the Church generally may be seen in the writings of the sub-Apostolic age. These writings explain clearly the sense of need which led St. John to write the Gospel which contains a lifetime of Christian experience, but also, we are convinced, teaching given by our Lord as the foundation and source of all. In this Gospel one recognizes the naturalness of such statements as 'Peace I leave with you ... let not your heart be troubled' in the period immediately before the arrest, and the historical situation here supposed renders natural the further teaching about the Advocate, which in itself is akin to that hinted at in the Synoptic Gospels. To admit this makes one expect previous preparation bearing upon the place of the Spirit in the Messianic Kingdom.
One other point requires explanation. St. Peter understood from the first that the phenomena of Pentecost were the fulfilment of the Old Testament expectation and promise. Even if it be only the external aspect of the Holy Spirit's power that is first seen, can that be understood unless we admit a good deal more preparation of the disciples' minds than is actually recorded or hinted at in the Synoptic Gospels ?
In conclusion, may we draw attention to an instance of misreading evidence. On p. 135, after dwelling upon the place which the Holy Spirit occupied in St. Luke's outlook, Mr. Winstanley adds : Nevertheless the fact remains that it is in Luke's work alone that the efficient cause of the various stages of the Church's growth is so frequently and regularly identified with the Holy Spirit.' Where else could we expect to find it?
II.-METAPHYSICS AND PHILOSOPHY OF RELIGION. The Logic of Will. A Study in Analogy. By HELEN Wode
HOUSE, D.Phil. (Birm.). XX, 157. (Macmillan and Co.
1908.) 35. 6d. net. The main purpose of the present work is to suggest analogies ' between the two sides of our experience which we call the world
of knowing and endeavour.' 'Every process of experience,' we are told, 'is on the one side a presentation process, and on the other side an action process, and mere psychological description seems to show that these two sides are rhythmical in all their important features, that object works on subject and subject on object in the same sort of way' (pp. I, 152). It will be seen that the psychological description of the facts is one which assumes that the world can be stated in terms of states of consciousness; and indeed we are told that knowledge is not the contemplation of certain “facts” which are independent of our experience of them'-a view rather strangely identified with the correspondence theory of truth (p. 109)—but that in being known the object. world modifies its own objective nature (p. 58). In fact, cognition and conation are regarded as two modes in which the self interacts with the not-self, truth and good being alike that which is satisfactory in either process of interaction. But whereas in cognition the process is initiated from the side of the not-self, viz. in sensation, it is initiated in conation from the side of the self, in craving. Hence, in tracing the analogies we must remember that the 'conative self' corresponds with the 'cognitive not-self,' and vice-versa. For example, my endeavours result in altering the world in which I seek to carry them out, called here my 'conative environment'; similarly, the world about me, my cognitive not-self, as the result of a process of cognition, leaves my cognitive self altered in respect of intelligence and tractability (p. 58). Again, we may believe that the world is such as to yield to our intellectual demands'; 'though the cognitive world as appearance is full of discord, yet as reality it is perfectly harmonious'; the corresponding 'conative argument' would be not that the world ‘will yield to our moral demands, but that, though in appearance we are full of conflicting desires, still in reality we are such that we might be wholly and perfectly satisfied' (pp. 116, 117). Once more, an endeavour may fail because of intractable environment; the parallel case on the side of cognition is not that a train of thought should fail on account of the difficulty of the matter, 'confusion and complication in the presentations themselves,' but on account of stupidity or some such defect in the cognitive subject (pp. 66, 67).
A protest may be made in passing against the loose use of the words world' and 'universe,' which is becoming popular in psychological writing. It would probably be said that the words only mean a whole of some kind; but why use words
which denote the biggest wholes ? Is it not too much like the newspaper slang which speaks of the world of golf or the world of bridge? And in fact it tends to conceal important philosophical issues. We read in the present volume of the world of need, of divers and overlapping worlds of cognition, and of knowledge and will as two worlds (p. 75); and yet surely in each we are concerned with the same world, and the other language helps to make false comparisons possible. The author has not indeed formulated any philosophical position, but states that she writes broadly from that of an Hegelian idealist. It seems to us that much of the argument rests on what Henry Sidgwick called 'mentalism.' When a belief establishes itself in my mind, it ' leaves an effect on my mind for one thing'; but it also' means a modification of the not-self, and still more of the not-self as it appears in my world of knowledge' (p. 57). Now 'the not-self as it appears in my world of knowledge' means presumably certain states of myself—i.e. something which would not exist if I did not exist, and which with convenient vagueness may be called my experience; to call this the world is mentalism. But what, as distinct from this, is the mere not-self, and how can that be modified by changes in my belief?
Besides the analogies between the spheres of knowledge and will, so far as the processes are independent, we are introduced in Chapter II. to analogies in their interaction with each other. This chapter shews indeed that knowing and willing are implicated together ; but it gets analogies by regarding as cognitive the impulse that is exhibited in endeavouring to understand things, and as conative the understanding that is displayed in the pursuit of our ends.
Another kind of analogy altogether is, however, also suggested between our conative and our cognitive natures, viz. that as there is one intelligence in all of us seeking to reach a common truth, so there is one disposition seeking to realize a common good; and that for this reason the real intelligence in all of us would agree, and the real needs be fulfilled by the same things. But the author thinks this analogy more dubious. She develops with a good deal of penetration some of the difficulties that beset the notion of a common good, and is prepared to make dangerous admissions as to the identity of knowledge. “If there were a being who had no difficulty in clearly and steadily believing contradictions, then these would not invalidate the truth of his experience' (p. 84). Surely, if the hypothesis is to have any meaning, the admission that follows abolishes knowledge.