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This collection of writings of the New Testament arose neither accidentally, nor in consequence of critical investigations, nor through the ordinance of a synod, but it had its origin in the interest felt for every thing that proceeded from the Apostles and their companions. It was adopted upon the testimony of reliable men who had associated with the Apostles. And when many spurious writings made their appearance, this collection was carefully separated from them by the sound judgment of the Christians and carefully preserved. In exercising this judgment they were governed by external and internal
The possibility of the enlargement of this collection was soon obviated; for only the Apostles, and a very few of their companions, were filled with the Holy Spirit, by means of which they were enabled to write down the words of God. Upon the whole, a chasm so deep and wide separates the writings of the Apostles from those of their companions that the writings of the latter, with the exception of a very few books which we have from them in the New Testament, (for example, the Gospels of Mark and Luke, and the Epistle to the Hebrews,) could be regarded by only a few Christians as sacred writings.
Before the middle of the second century the greatest part of our present New Testament was known to the Gnostics of that period, who quoted passages from it in support of their system. Of this, Basilides, the Ophites, and Valentinus are examples. Valentinus, who set up his system in the time of Hadrian, (117-138,) made use of the Four Gospels and many other Books of the New Testament. Marcion and Cerdo likewise used a part of the New Testament.
In the numerous quotations of the Gnostics from the New Testament there is, with few exceptions, an entire absence of quotations from apocryphal writings. Only the Gospel of Thomas, in the midst of one hundred and sixty-seven passages out of the New Testament, is once cited, and it is mentioned that the doctrine of the Ophites agrees with the Gospel of the Egyptians.
But so far as these apocryphal writings are ancient, they confirm the still greater antiquity of the canonical Scriptures; for the Apocryphæ are, as every body, even the Tübingen school, acknowledges, nothing more than (in the highest degree unsuc
cessful) imitations and supplements of the canonical Scriptures. And as the Protevangel of James and the Gospel of Thomas arose before the year 150, it follows that our four canonical Gospels before this period were generally acknowledged as such.
That these books already at an early period were known and possessed unique authority among the Catholics is evident from the old Epistle of Barnabas, in which a passage is quoted out of Matthew as a testimony of SCRIPTURE; perhaps also from the EPISTLE of POLYCARP; certainly from the TESTAMENTS OF THE TWELVE PATRIARCHS; also from the very old Epistle to Diognetus.
All this can be confirmed by the authority of F. C. Baur, namely, the credibility of Hippolytus, the age of Basilides, Valentinus, and Heracleon; the antiquity of the Ophites; the use of the writings of the New Testament by the oldest Gnostics; their forced allegorical explanation of these Scriptures, and the custom of the Catholics in appealing to the living preaching against the Gnostics.
The quotations of the earliest Gnostics are made from the very same Gospels that we possess. And there is not the slightest indication (quite different from the Apocryphal Gospels, which depart so widely from each other) that in the time of Basilides, a contemporary of the last surviving Apostle, or in that of the Ophites or of Valentinus, our Gospels existed in any other form than that in which we now have them.
The pretended results of the historical criticism of the Tübingens on the late origin of most of the books of the New Testament are hereby once for all refuted. There exists for the antiquity and genuineness of the principal Books of the New Testament such a connected series of old and certain testimonies as can scarcely, if at all, be found for any other writings of the earlier centuries. Most clearly can this be shown of that writing which has been most disputed-the Gospel of John.
In our next article we shall give the substance of De Groot's arguments in proof of the apostolical origin of this Gospel.
ART. II. THE MUSCOVITE AND THE TEUTON. THERE is, in the mighty realm of the Czar, a new and aggressive movement on the part of the enthusiastic Russians, who look more to the half-barbaric splendor of the past than to the need of the present or the glory of the future against all nationalities that are not of Sclavonic origin; and there is, at the same time, an almost insane effort on the part of these same Russians to incorporate into their national plexus every tribe or nationality that can possibly be construed as belonging to the Sclavonic family.
Thus modern Russia aspires to the proportions of that fabled giant that needed to stoop to enjoy a view of his own limbs, while at the same time he would undertake the stern task of assimilating to himself all that his long arms can reach, so that we monthly listen to the story of new conquests on the shores of the Caspian or the confines of the Eastern Pacific. But this digestion is by no means always perfect; and the object of this article is to treat of a case which is just now causing Russia considerable uneasiness and discomfort.
The German element has long exerted a controlling influence in civilizing and refining Russia. The army of Peter the Great was largely commanded by German officers, who thus, in the earliest days of Russia's national existence, performed a great part in giving her strength, form, and organization. When the State was fairly formed, it was German publicists and statesmen who molded and developed her internal affairs, and German diplomatists who cultivated and guided her foreign policy and relations. Thus German became the language of her army and her court, and the vehicle for the transfer of foreign culture to her soil. For many years there was scarcely a teacher within her realm who was not a German, and all science and literature that came from without bore the Teutonic garb. The language of her schools was German, as was that of her scientific bodies. Only one short year ago the Academy of Natural Sciences of St. Petersburg resolved hereafter to transact their sessions and publish their proceedings in Russian.
The industrial interests of Russia were fairly built up by
German artisans and mechanics. They manned her factories, ran her workshops, worked her mines, and were the first to develop nearly all her internal resources. Her steam-engines and steamboats were largely constructed and commanded by Germans, and in later years these same men have done a portion of labor in the introduction of railroads and telegraphs, sharing these enterprises with English and American capitalists, machinists, and mechanics. Under these circumstances it is not wonderful that the Germans have exerted a controlling influence in Russia, amassing wealth, and filling the most significant positions in every sphere of the Empire. Large numbers of them have emigrated to Russia to find less crowded fields of enterprise than at home, and have settled permanently throughout the land. Some authorities count them by millions, and others make them less numerous, the numbers given varying according to the interest of the statistician, in the absence of any very definite enumeration.
But after having furnished the leading-strings for the infant nation, and taught him all the true elements of national greatness, the rapidly maturing giant, outgrowing these teachers and becoming jealous of them, is now turning on those who showed him wherein lay his strength. Modern Russia is so rampant that Germany can now scarcely live in the same house with him, and in some parts of the realm there is open and declared war between the German and the Russian elements. It is becoming a part of the creed of advanced Russians to despise every thing that is German, and to imagine that they are already equal to their teachers if not superior to them. These latter, therefore, are to be stamped out or Russianized in matters of language, religion, and nationality. And this ungrateful and unmanly task is now the main endeavor of the Russian party, which is as blind as it is assuming. Russia is far from being able to dispense with German skill and genius, patience and culture, and, in its selfish efforts to do so, it is depriving itself of its most valuable instruments for developing its resources and keeping in the true path of national greatness.
The immediate scenes of these internecine troubles are the Russian provinces of the Baltic known as Courland, Livonia, and Esthonia: these extend along the southern shore of this
sea, from the Prussian frontier to the Gulf of Finland, and approach St. Petersburg. One hundred and fifty years ago the Germans began to creep along these shores and settle in the interior, and their advent was favored by the Russian Government, as were their rights and privileges guaranteed by treaty. They have long been the ruling race in these regions, and their farms, and schools, and workshops have been the nurseries whence the Empire has drawn its young and cultivated forces for new enterprises and development. But they are and desire to remain Russians as to their national obligations, preserving their language and their Lutheran religion. Nearly all classes are Germans except the peasants, and these latter are of course quite numerous, and could become a formidable element in a national collision so near the borders.
Now Russia assails and pretends to fear the German predominance in these provinces, and is resolved to root it out by fair means or foul. The pretense that, in case of national collision, they would side with Prussia, is declared to be totally unfounded, as the mass of the strong arms is found in the Russian peasantry, and their German leaders have all grown up with national ties and interests in Russia. On the other hand it is equally unwise to believe, as is universally affirmed by the Russian press, that Prussia desires to possess these provinces, and is looking toward them with eager eyes. They contain so large a proportion of foreign population that it would be a blind ambition, indeed, that would aspire to possess them. Prussia has a far nobler task before her than that of indulging in foreign conquest-it is that of uniting all the different German nationalities into one strong and invincible Teutonic brotherhood, and in this she can reap far more honor and renown than in any wild foreign conquest.
The days of crossing national frontiers and appropriating a neighbor's territory will, we hope, soon be among the things of the past in Europe, as there is just now scarcely a boundary line that could be infringed upon without bringing about a European contest. Germany desires no extension of its territory, and simply wishes no interference from outsiders, as France and Russia, in internal consolidation. The fear of Russia of being molested in its territorial lines is wholly