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heart, and remarkable readiness in communicating to others any impression which he has himself received. His imagination enables him to combine the scattered hints which the evangelists have dropped, as it were by chance, with his own abundant and ready information, and the plain record of the gospel history, into a real scene, in which he himself lives again, and of which he is a joyful witness. It would seem as if the past had been rolled onward to take its place in his mind, side by side with the present, and to open its hidden and forgotten pictures ; as though the Savior had again been born in Bethlehem, and traversed again the varied and the weary way of his earthly pilgrimage. Such visions, whether seen in the dreams of the night, or whether they rise in bright succession to the glad beholding of the christian scholar, as he revolves the narrative of his Savior, are blessed indeed, and he that can waken them to his own imagination, can read his bible with no mean satisfaction.
But Mr. Schauffler can describe as well as imagine; he can paint to the eye of others, the visions which are so bright and clear to his own eye within. This graphic power, which revives the past, not by lifeless abstractions, but by words of power and skill, and by images which speak to all the senses, seems to be largely possessed by him and to have been abundantly employed in the volume before us. Whether it was a resolute determination, to render visible to others his own thoughts and feelings, which made him so successful, or whether it was simply a natural facility in pouring forth those thoughts and feelings, it is certain that he did, in this instance, set forth to others the workings of his own soul, and transfer to their eyes the objects which his own imagination beheld. But though the author undoubtedly possesses, and has used high powers of imagination and description, we would by no means be understood to intimate, that his work is a sacred romance, or a fanciful amplification of the life of the Savior into a complete history, with its complement of dates, names, family anecdotes and household occurrences, such as have been made out in former days, and of which the “Death of Abel” and the “Life of Joseph” are good examples. Such expansions of scriptural history, though they excited the marvel of our youthful days, and raised our estimate of the wondrous knowledge of their authors, who could tell so much more than Moses, do not now appear to us the best models of the true way to deal with scripture history.
Mr. Schauffler has never departed from the direct line of the facts recorded by the evangelists, nor has he ever given any
new incident as true, for which he has not historical authority. His object was not to enlarge the sacred record by historical additions, but simply to expand the facts which we possess, and exalt them from being mere memorials, into a well-connected series of animated historical descriptions. This he has aimed to do, by availing himself of the copious stores of sacred knowledge which are open to the hand of any one who will use them, and by turning a lively fancy and a bold pen to their best account.
To attain the end proposed in his work, and to fulfill the ideal which was present to his mind, it was necessary, that he should aim to enter into the thoughts, appreciate the feelings, and measure the knowledge of the men who lived in the times of the Savior. It is but little, that the critic is versed in the geography and scenery of the country which he attempts to describe, or that he can be present with past scenes in spirit, and point them out to the eye of others, unless the men whom he introduces are correctly understood by him. Particularly is this true with the life of the Savior, so much of the historical interest of which turns upon the hopes of his followers, the estimate they formed of his person and of the nature of his kingdom, and the bright expectations of good which they framed for themselves. He who reads not aright the men of those times, who does not know their minds and their hearts, by á correct insight and an appreciating sympathy, cannot read their history aright for for himself; much less can he expound it to others.
The author seems to have held this before his mind, as the most important object to be realized, and the ease with which he has triumphed over the obstacles in his way, does him high credit; while the success with which he has presented to us both the men who hated and the men who loved Christ on earth, in the truth of nature, gives his work an extraordinary interest, if it is not indeed the secret charm which lends to it its wonderful fascination.
On the one hand, we have portrayed before us the expectations which were entertained of him who was to come by those, who, because Jesus did not fulfill their hopes, rejected and slew him; and the luxurious and domineering high priest, the crafty and ambitious of the inferior priesthood,—the ignorant, furious and bigoted mob, who acknowledged their infallibility, and cherished their hatred, are all given to us as we doubt not they were when they lived in the days of Herod the king, and of Pontius Pilate the governor. On the morning of the resurrection, Caiaphas is represented as, VOL. X.
Indulging his morning slumbers beneath the silk curtains of his damask couch. Sweet dreams of the future prosperity of that lucrative hierarchy, whose head he is, a hierarchy growing and expanding in his imagination, until the arrival of that warlike Messiah, who is to raise for every circumcised rebel and wretch a golden throne of infernal selfishness, upon the blood and the ruins of a poor perishing world ; occupy and refresh the mind of Caiaphas, when the heavy knocker of his palace gate is touched with a heavy and powerful hand.
The sun arose and filled the city again with noise and bustle, and the temple with sacrifices, fire, incense, songs and psalms, with purchasers and sellers, and with the large assembly of formalists and hypocrites, mingled with a few humble and sincere worshipers upon whom a better day was soon to dawn.'
Other extracts besides these brief ones might be given, to show fully how the hopes from the Messiah, entertained by this class, and their gross ideas of the glory which was to invest his reign-of the splendor of his imperial state, —of the proud height to which he was to raise his people, are grasped by a discriminating judgment, and described by a vigorous pen.
At the same time, on the other hand, the line is carefully drawn, and, as we think, with the nicety of truth, between the hopes of these who were altogether earthly and gross in their expectations, and the ideas of Messiah and of his kingdom, entertained by those who were “ waiting for the consolation of Israel,” and were looking for his appearance, with unshaken faith and pious affections; who, when he appeared, received him with open-hearted confidence, while yet their apprehensions of his character were often inadequate, and very often false. The distinction which Mr. Schaufller sets up between the two classes, is somewhat novel, at least in the definiteness with which he presents it, and furnishes a good explanation of the feelings which they so often express,--the hopes which they cherished,—the slowness of heart to understand the things spoken which tried their divine teacher, and their faintheartedness and treachery at the hour of his great conflict :
'In company with the other apostle, Thomas has often been charged with expecting a temporal reign of the Messiah ; i. e, a common earthly reign, only more powerful, splendid, and luxurious, more successful in battle, more destructive to its enernies, than the reigns of other monarchs. This charge, which many good men retail from the pen of learned infidelity, has no foundation in holy writ; it is on this very point that the apostles must have differed, either positively or negatively, from the epicurean Sadducees, the egotistic Pharisees, and the thought
ess multitude; and it is on this very principle-if any principle was taken into the account that Jesus must have selected them in preference to a thousand other Jews more learned, more skilled in thought and reflection, more eloquent, more influential, and in every respect more fit for the execution of his great plan. Thomas' expectation of the Messiah's reign was a kind of heaven on earth; a notion which you may easily infer by a literal construction of some familiar and beautiful passages in the prophets, the spirituality of which neither Thomas nor the other apostles were prepared to appreciate. The Messiah will come, supreme in wisdom, holiness, love and power; the wayward heart of Israel will be changed, their sins purged; soon the heathen nations will submit, and idolatry will be no more; in their tender and grateful regard for the suffering people of God, the heathen will forthwith liberate and honor them, and return them to the land of their fathers, where they will dwell in perfect prosperity, harmony, and holy peace, with their king, (on whose nature and character, human or divine, their notions were ever divided, floating and indistinct,) with their king enthroned at Jerusalem, and wrapt in a sacred and mysterious cloud.' pp. 294, 295.
The progressive steps by which the eyes of the chosen were opened from their blindness, the various methods to which the Savior resorted, that he might undeceive them, his winning ways and his sweet devices of affection, are all interpreted, with a just appreciation of the feelings of the disciples. The incidents which marked the life of the Savior are connected by this leading idea and illustrated by its light, and are made to fall in, one with another, by a natural and pleasing harmony, and to rise the one above the other, in a fair and regularly increasing proportion.
In these attempts of Mr. S., we have a judicious endeavor to arrive at the “historic sense” of the sacred record ; an endeavor prosecuted under an honest desire to learn what were the historical facts in the case, and without the licentious vagaries, or the daring, if not knowingly false asseverations which have so often passed for the legitimate results of “historical interpretation.” The true historic sense is felt by the author to be, as indeed it is, the secret of the right, correct understanding of the gospel history, and being laid hold of, is made to shed a strong light upon what were otherwise but dimly seen, and the richest hues to play upon what were otherwise pale and dead to the eye. How often has this much abused principle of interpretation, so important, nay so indispensable of itself, and when rightly understood so altogether true, how often has it led the student astray ! How often has it miserably perverted the lively oracles of God, parched its fair and verdant fields by a withering drought, or blighted its fruits and flowers by a killing frost, and left their poor remnants to mock our hopes, and carry a deadly sickness of heart to our warmest and most holy aspirations.
If we open the Life of Christ, by Jeremy Taylor, and place it side by side with this volume, we cannot but notice and be startled by the difference between the two in respect to historical value, and as setting before us the truth of the scenes which each attempts to describe. The one is beautiful even to excess; it carries us through all the windings of a devious yet bewitching fancy, and opens to us the piles of golden stores which the "agglomerative" imagination of the author could alone have collected from every quarter of earth, heaven, and the land which poets only see,-surfeits us with the rich perfume of his most devotional spirit, -and yet, as to giving us the true life of Christ, or as to approximating to such a result, it is an entire failure. We have indeed the facts which the evangelists record, and for those we might open the writers for ourselves; but these events are described as if they had taken place on English ground, and had occurred in the time of the author himself. The whole impression is as diverse from the truth, as is the huge picture accompanying the volume, which represents the feast at the marriage in Cana of Galilee, -with every guest seated at the table bolt upright upon a stool, -is from being a true copy of a Jewish marriage festival. If one is disposed to undervalue or depreciate the exegetical study of the scriptures, and to think slightingly of its actual fruits, let him faithfully compare the work of the modern missionary, with that of the golden-mouthed divine.
We freely allow, that too many of the labors of our modern exegets are grossly deficient in many important features, and are so many bills of indictment against their authors for their intellectual incapacity, or their moral unfitness to interpret the sacred volume. They are men, who, in their eagerness after the historic sense, have left every other sort of sense behind, even that which gives a plain reader of the scriptures a great advantage over them in distinguishing the true from the false, and a greater still in interpreting its spiritual uses and its spiritual realities. Such specimens of criticism as cannot but meet the eye of the scholar in these days, with their tame and prosaic paraphrases of the glowing language of Christ and the apostles, and the cool audacity with which they shape and fit every thing to their own previous dogmas, while they are most valuable for their fairness in some respects, and the copiousness of their sources of illustration, are yet, as expositions of the mind of the Spirit, truly contemptible. If we judge them by an in