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How.stand the facts ? The term åvopes, when addressed to a Greek audience, conveyed much the same idea as the word 'gentlemen' does to an English one; and was in equally general use. As an illustration of this, the satirist Lucian, with bitter irony, represents Jupiter as addressing an assembly of the gods with the words. 8 åvepes Oéou (literally, men gods, but really meaning sirs, or gentlemen gods). "Avopes 'Aonvasor was the term habitually used by an Athenian orator when he addressed a public assembly of the citizens. "Avdpes Egéolou would be no less appropriate at Ephesus; and åvopes, with the addition of the name of the people of the place, at any other city. To this an exception must be made. It would have been incorrect if placed in the mouth of a Roman speaker in an address professing to have been delivered to a body of assembled citizens. Thus we require no other reason for being assured that the speech of Antonius in the play of Julius Cæsar is the composition of Shakspeare, and not of Antonius, than the fact that the latter is made to address a body of Roman citizens with the words, *Friends, Romans, countrymen. Again, Jews and Christians viewed one another as brethren; therefore the words ävdpes äderpoi, either by themselves, or with additions, are exactly the expressions which a Jewish or Christian speaker would naturally employ. The inference, therefore, which the use of these terms suggests may not inaptly be expressed in ‘S. R.’s' own words slightly altered : ‘There can be no doubt that the common use of these expressions by all the speakers of the Acts affords a strong indication that the author of the work has incorporated many of their real utterances into these discourses. Equally valid with the reasoning of 'S. R.' would it be to argue, that because the addresses of English public speakers for the most part commence with the words Sir, or Gentlemen, 'that this betrays the hand of the same composer throughout.' Probably 'S. R.' has a little private theory of his own, that Lucian, to whom the word ävepes must have been an extremely favourite expression, as is proved by his putting such words as ở ävdpes Déou into the mouth of Jupiter, when addressing an assembly of gods, assisted the author of the Acts in the composition of the discourses.
The few remaining remarks must be on the subject of the Resurrection. 'S. R.'s' mode of treating this subject need not detain us long. While he does his utmost to detract from the value of the testimony to its truth which is afforded by the Pauline Epistles, he passes over without notice those points which render their testimony in an historical point of
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view of pre-eminent value, and which are fully set forth in the Bampton Lectures already referred to. But after all his reasonings, ‘S. R.' apparently admits the only point, the proof of which is absolutely necessary to the validity of the Christian argument, viz., that the belief in the Resurrection was general among the followers of Jesus, and that the Church was reconstructed after His crucifixion on the basis of His supposed resurrection. Now, it cannot be denied that Christianity and the Society in which it has been embodied have formed the mightiest force which has acted on civilised man during eighteen centuries of history, and that the Church came into existence at a well-known period of time. This Society has always affirmed that it was reconstructed in the firm persuasion of His followers that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. If that belief is true, it furnishes a rational account of the origin of the Church, and the mighty influence which has been exerted by the Galilean peasant on the history of the past which satisfies the demands of a sound philosophy. But, if the Founder of the Church never rose from the dead, then this great institution, and the influence which its Founder, Jesus Christ, has exerted on the long course of history, have been based on the delusions of a body of credulous fanatics, who mistook a set of visionary appearances and conversations with the departed Jesus, the creations of their own distempered imaginations, for objective facts, even while His body was at hand corrupting in its grave; and, in the firm conviction that this delusion was a reality, proceeded to reconstruct the Church in the face of the opposition of a hostile world. If, therefore, it is affirmed that the belief in the Resurrection was a delusion, those who affirm it are bound to offer an explanation of the great facts of history which shall be consistent with such a theory ; to prove such a delusion to be consistent with the facts of human nature ; and to explain how it has come to pass that a baseless delusion has proved the mightiest moral and spiritual power which has ever been
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On this point 'S. R.' has little fresh to offer. He falls back on the theory of visions as affording a philosophical explanation of the belief in the Resurrection. This theory, as has been hinted above, affirms that the credulous, superstitious, and enthusiastic followers of Jesus took to seeing visions of their departed Master, in which they fancied that they saw Him alive, and held conversations with Him after His crucifixion, and that they mistook these for objective realities, and not only so, but in the fulness of their convictions, and in the face of every opposition, that they proceeded to lay deep the foundations of that great institution which has indelibly stamped its impress on the forms of thought, the customs, the arts, the legislation, in a word, on the entire civilisation of all the progressive nations of mankind. This theory our author is ready to supplement, if necessary, by the additional one, that Jesus did not die from the effects of the Crucifixion, but that He recovered, and retired from the public view; and that His credulous followers, aided by a set of visions, mistook this for a resurrection and an ascension into heaven. Both these theories, as has been pointed out elsewhere, if they are veritable explanations of the historic facts, only succeed in substituting a different set of miraculous occurrences in the place of those recorded in the Gospels.
The only novelty in ‘S. R.'s' treatment of this subject is the use which he makes of the three principles laid down by Dr. Carpenter in his work on Mental Psychology, viz. • Prepossession, Fixed Idea, and Expectancy,' as affording a rational account of the origin of numerous delusions, and among them those of modern spiritualism. ‘S. R.' is of opinion that these three principles will afford considerable assistance in accounting for the delusions on the part of the followers of Jesus, to which reference has been already made. He is probably not aware that Dr. Carpenter, about a year and a half since, read a paper entitled The Fallacies of Testimony before a considerable body of clergy assembled at Sion College, which he afterwards published as an article in the Contemporary Review. In this paper Dr. Carpenter propounds these and other similar principles as affording a philosophical account of the origin of the belief in the miracles which are recorded in both the Old and the New Testaments; but it should be added that in the discussion which followed Dr. Carpenter was understood to admit that these three principles were inadequate to explain the origin of the belief in the Resurrection. If so, we lament that this admission was not repeated in the article in the Contemporary; for it is certain that, as far as the ordinary reader is concerned, it can produce no other impression than that the writer regards belief in the Resurrection as one which can be explained by the aid of the three principles in question.
But whatever Dr. Carpenter's views may be on this subject, it is evident, of the origin of whatever delusions these three principles may form a philosophical explanation, they utterly fail to account for the belief in the Resurrection. The prepossessions of the followers of Jesus were, no doubt, great and
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many ; but not one of them suggested a vision of a man who had been crucified as an impostor for claiming to be the Messiah risen from the dead, and of the erection of a new Messianic kingdom on its basis. Such as they had would have all tended in the contrary direction. So, likewise, whatever "fixed ideas' they might have possessed, if they produced visions at all, they would have been of the very opposite character to those which this theory presupposes, for fixed ideas are necessarily in the highest degree conservative of the past. As to 'expectancy,' nothing can be more certain than that of a resurrection they had none; for, even if, as ‘S. R.' endeavours to prove, a belief in a resurrection had become a popular tenet (which I greatly doubt), there was nothing in the past history of the Jewish people which would suggest the expectation that God would vindicate the cause of a murdered prophet by raising him from the dead. The only ground on which a strong expectancy of a resurrection could have possessed the disciples would have been the fact that our Lord not only predicted His own death, but His resurrection also. This our Gospels tell us that He did in terms most express and definite; but as this would involve the presence in Him of a superhuman foresight, unbelievers decline to accept their statements on this point as historical. The utmost, therefore, that can be suggested is, that He may have thrown out some vague hopes that God would vindicate His cause after the termination of His earthly life, and that He should live again in it. But vague hopes of this kind could not have produced such a state of expectancy in minds utterly depressed by the events of the Crucifixion, as to cause them to see visions of Him risen from the dead, to mistake them for realities, and on the strength of these delusions to engage in the work of reconstructing the Church on the new basis of a crucified Messiah. It follows, therefore, that neither these nor any other principles, laid down by Dr. Carpenter, afford us the smallest aid in accounting for the unquestionable historic facts which form the foundation on which the Christian Church was erected, and equally impotent are they to explain the subsequent facts of history. If the theory of visions and that which has been invented to supplement it, viz. that the followers of Jesus, in the depth of their credulity, mistook His gradual recovery from the wounds which were inflicted in His crucifixion for a resurrection (how He managed to escape alive out of the hands of His enemies we are not informed, but we must assume that He did so, or the theory collapses), are the true account of the actual facts, then we must assume a number of events to have happened which are as unaccountable as the result of those forces which energise in the moral and spiritual worlds, as the Resurrection itself is unaccountable as the result of those which energise in the material world. All that we get is the substitution of one class of miracles for another, with this additional disadvantage, that the substituted ones, if real, prove that a power which has exerted a mightier influence on mankind for good than the labours of the wisest and the best, rests on zero for its foundation, or, to speak more truly, on the vices of credulity, superstition, and fanaticism, in their most extreme form.
The state, therefore, of the case stands thus. The Christian Church has always given an account of its origin, which, if true, forms an explanation of it, and of the events of history, which fully satisfies our reason, i.e., the cause assigned is adequate to the effect. Unbelief, on the other hand, propounds a set of causes which break down, not only when the tests of a sound philosophy are applied to them, but even those of common sense. The alternative is before us. The Resurrection is either a fact or a fiction. If the latter, the theories above referred to are the only solutions which unbelief has to propound of the historic facts. What, then, is the course which reason demands ? Only one answer can fairly be given to accept the adequate cause as the true one, and to reject the inadequate ones as mere creations of the imagination of those who propound them.
ART. III.—THE ICON BASILIKÈ.
1. Tracts on the "Icon Basilikd. By the REV. C. H. R.
WORDSWORTH, D.D., Master of Trinity College, Cam
bridge. (London, 1824, &c.). 2. The Icon Basilike.' 1648 edition. 3. A True Account of the ‘Icon Basilikè.' By Dr. WALKER.
State Tracts, William III.
IT was stated in the article upon the Personal Government of Charles I. which recently appeared in this Review, that the 'enduring importance of this reign’still affords sufficient excuse for the renewed investigation of any portion of it, even though the subject has been already treated by the greatest writers of English history.