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selected and adjusted with Divine aid and care. All, therefore, carries with it the authority of a Divine sanction. Every mode of representing God through the analogy of human passions and conceptions, is itself sanctioned as embodying the very wisdom of heaven, and as conveying the truth in the highest mode in which the Infinite can express itself by finite forms, or the human mind receive intimation of the Divine.
This view Prof. Lewis defends with great vigor and beauty through several chapters of his work, maintaining that we need not fear to admit the anthropopathism of the scheme, since every manifestation of the Infinite in the finite must of necessity possess this character, and the objection, if carried out, would render a revelation impossible. While we should feel some hesitation in adopting the strong language in which he clothes his doctrine, we cannot be insensible to the vigor of his defense of it. He fearlessly carries up the argument to its highest plane, and contends very instructively for the possibil. ity of a revelation of the Infinite to man, however such a revelation must take place through finite forms of thought and speech. The discussion is exceedingly suggestive, and brings up many points which will greatly stimulate and expand the views of his readers, impart new confidence to their faith in inspiration, and increased conviction of the radical weakness of the skeptical theory which rejects it.
From this portion of the treatise, which is presented at some length, Prof. Lewis passes to an argument in behalf of the authentic and inspired character of the Scriptures. The transition is made through several chapters of great beauty and power upon the enduring vitality of the Word of God in all ages and against all forms of assault-and upon its universal character as adapted for all nations and races of men. This he regards as the great problem of which it is necessary for every skeptical theory to give an account. It is easy to assign the origin of the Bible to fraud or to fanaiicism; but this only brings up at once the greater difficulty how any local and transient impulses of this kind could have given birth to a system so marvelously enduring, so wondrously adapted to mankind, and so lofty in its moral inculcations as to satisfy all the demands, and surpass all the achieve
ments, of man's moral nature under the most favorable circumstances. This course of argument leads to a formal consideration of the theories which have been offered to account for the origin of the Bible; and here the author enters upon what we regard as the most valuable portion of his work, a discussion of the various hypotheses of the skeptical world to account for that wondrous fact, the Bible.
These are all reducible, he observes, to three suppositions, one of which must express the truth. The sacred books must be either :
I. Wholly true, an authentic and reliable history written upon adequate data; or,
II. Wholly false, and consciously fraudulent; or,
III. Honestly mistaken-a compilation from legend and tradition having a certain basis of truth, but destitute of all historic accuracy.
The third of these general suppositions does not clearly distinguish the two forms of skepticism which have played the greatest part in its modern development—the rationalistic and the mythical. It is, indeed, difficult for any one to do this completely; for the theory of mythus, which makes the biblical fact to be wholly a birth of fancy, itself implies a nucleus of fact round which the myths are to crystallize.
In order for the Hebrew fancy to shape its myths and legends, there must have been a man whose character and history awoke the conviction that he must be the Messiah ; then, around him, it is possible that many of the supposed attribntes of the Messiah might cluster. The fancy of his Jewish followers might attribute to him such works and such experience as became the predicted Prince of Israel. Hence the theory which assigns a late origin, and a mythical character, to the Gospels, proceeds on the same basis of fact as that which maintains an origin contemporaneous with the events, and regards those events, when supernatural, as the mistakes and exaggerations of credulous eye witnesses. Both these theories are in fact discussed, and the falsity of their fundaVOL. XVIII.
inental postulates most ably shown, in the argument which Prof. Lewis presents.
Between the first and second of the three theories above described, it is now generally conceded that there can be no question. There is no such thing as willful fraud in the Bible. The hypothesis that these books were written with any selfish or sinister aim, is no longer even pretended. This was long a favorite theory of infidelity; and its advocates wasted much labor in vain attempts to show that the Gospels were devised for the purpose of elevating the authors to power, and accomplishing thus the ambitious and covetous ends of most unscrupulous and wicked men.
The impossibility of sustaining this view has long been felt and acknowledged. That out of such low and base aims should come such wealth and profusion of the finest and most dignified forms of character which the earth ever saw--that the very authors of this hypocrisy should have borne themselves more bravely and heroically in the face of persecution, more generously in the deepest poverty, than the noblest of other men—that they should have so surpassed in their instructions the highest conceptions which philosophy could reach, insomuch that both theoretically and in practice the science of morals should have taken in their hands a form of holiness which has invested it with a loftiness and glory otherwise unknown among men-all this were inexplicable and incredible. That mere vulgar and sordid fraud should give a new impulse more powerful than any-nay, than allthat had preceded it, to the moral and spiritual life of the world, infidelity itself has not the hardihood to maintain this. The theory has, therefore, been frankly given up, and the advocates of unbelief have had recourse to one which seems at first sight far more plausible, as it is far less offensive.
In this more recent view, it is contended that the evangelical authors were not the fraudulent knaves which infidelity has reproachfully suggested. No; they were earnest and honest men who really intended to preserve a truthful record of a great and precious history. They did not invent such a conception as that of Christ; there was really such a person. A man of extraordinary dignity of character—of singular force of will—of high and earnest enthusiasm--of rare moral discernment,—did really appear in their day. His exalted characteristics impressed themselves most powerfully on the public mind of his age. His striking sayings were observed and recorded. The remarkable incidents of his career were written and perpetuated by enthusiastic disciples, whose admiration and attachment exaggerated, multiplied, and transformed all. He saw a pretended case of lameness, a lying mendicant whose pretence of suffering and weakness he at once discerned, and with a kick of honest indignation and contempt bade him “get up and walk.” The detected impostor obeyed and shrunk away; and the astonished disciples accounted it a very miracle.
Here this theory of exaggeration and credulity seems to blend into another. The effort to explain the miracles of the Bible by such influences as supposed all the writers to be mere idiots—the shepherds to have inistaken a man with a lantern for an angel in the heavens--and the evangelist to have written the account of the changing of water into wine under the influence of a somewhat free use of the latter fluidthe serious aim to do this became labored, and at length ridiculous. Then a fresh aspect of credibility was given to unbelief by the hypothesis of a late origin of the Gospels; and the miracles were attributed to the glowing fancy of the Hebrew mind, excited by the appearance of what seemed the long expected Messiah. The early origin of the Gospels was denied ; they were supposed to have originated in a poetic disposition to attribute to Jesus all that the national conception demanded that the Messiah should be. In the course of one or two generations which elapsed before the Bible was written, this ardent imagination had done its work, obscured the simple beauty of the life of Jesus, and converted a warm appreciation of his greatness and worth into a degrading superstition.
This theory, a diligent and learned criticism has recently endeavored to substitute, both for the more gross and offensive one which accounts the Bible a frand, and for the still less defensible one which considers it a stupidity. The more refined and scholarly unbelief, which shrank from these coarse imputations, found, in the reckless criticism of the Tubingen School, an effectual and satisfactory substitute. Rationalists, and skeptics, of all diverse classes, sent up their gratulations over Strauss's life of Christ, in which infidelity, divested of much of its grossness, and clothed in the garb of philosophical and critical science, was enabled to assail on new grounds the faith which had proved so impregnable upon the old.
The theory which accounts the Gospels and the Bible a late and fortuitous aggregate of legends, instead of a collection of original and authentic narratives, has been the subject of much recent debate. Even before it had formally been proposed as a complete theory, it had been in effect defeated in advance. Much of the argument which, like that of the Horæ Paulinæ, had elucidated the astonishing consistency of the biblical writings, bore with great directness and force upon the new theory. The intellectual condition, too, of the age in which the New Testament appeared, was soon shown to be as hostile as that of our own could be, to such an undiscriminating aggregation of myths and legends. It was an age of high cultivation, with models of elegance that delighted the learned, and with orderly histories and biographies which were familiar even to the common mind. The historical testimony, too, so carefully collected and digested by the great scholars of a century or two ago, to the existence of the books of the New Testament at a very early date-evidence which all our research into antiquity increasingly confirms—renders the later unbelief as indefensible as the former. On all grounds, then, of argument, the theory is fatally assailed; and nowhere is it able to maintain itself as anything more than a daring and plausible speculation.
Several, however, of these methods of argument are, by the recondite character of the inquiries involved in them, almost confined to the learned, and little likely to be appreciated by the mass of the readers to whom the theory itself appeals. For them, it is desirable that the discussion should be carried into other departments of thought than those of scholastic learning, and elaborate criticisin of authorities. Some vigor