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spiration of St. Matthew," which seems to the author so complete, so clear, so self-evidencing, that all argument to prove it is superfluous. "There is a kingdom of grace," he says, "having its harmonies, even as the kingdom of nature hath. To those who have no hearts to feel them, they are as if they were not. Their notions as to this kingdom are as blank as those of a blind man to the Kingdom of Light. A man without eyes might grope about, with a tape-measure, among the houses in Jerusalem, and his measurements somewhat avail; of such value are the researches of men like Strauss in the spiritual Jerusalem. As to some things of an unspiritual kind, their fingers may avail something; but the soul-inspiring harmonies of the kingdom of grace, such cannot know. Can men, born deaf, know the symphonies of Beethoven? Such critics of harmonies, poring over the printed notes of 'The Creation,' and measuring with scale and dividers here and there, on the silent page, may detect typographical errors, make some shrewd and more absurd remarks upon the number, arrangement, and proportion of the dots, be witty and wise over those who see what they cannot see, feel what they cannot feel, in the mysterious scroll; but though the mighty master of the organ unroll, in volumes of majestic sound, the music expressed in these mystic characters, all is a blank to them, save what they glean from the mute symbols of a melody they have no faculty to hear. Our knowledge is not to be called in question, because darkened souls, like Renan's, know it not. A world of sight and sound is not less sure, because such men have no hearing and no sight. The spiritual world, with its truth and harmonies, is none the less a world because they are dead. Its truths and harmonies are the only realities."
The closing chapter, in some respects the finest in the book, not only sums up in concise statement the course of the argument, but offers in exquisite phrase some thoughts upon the unbelieving spirit of the age, and the need of recognizing the higher meaning of prophecy and the events of the sacred record. The moral and spiritual significance of this story, which so many carelessly pass by, comes out to him in its
full beauty. He sees in it the fulfilment of that ancient song in which a gentile prophesied that a "Star should come out of Jacob, and a Sceptre rise out of Israel;" in these strangers coming to Bethlehem, the type of that great multitude which from all nations were to come into the company of the Lord; in the Magi worshipping the young child, the sign of the wise and the good acknowledging allegiance to the greater grace of God in religion. He claims that this story of the wise men lays strong hold not only on the heart of the Church, but on the reason of the Church; that the devout reason calls for some such visible attestation of this as the great truth, that while salvation is of the Jews, its reach is to the gentiles, and its appeal is to the natural piety and the matured knowledge of men. It is the answer of the Church to the question, "How near to the Lord did the nearest of the heathen come?"
This spiritual teaching of the story is only hinted, and will doubtless be more fully exhibited in that sequel, of which the present volume seems to be only the proem and the preparation. The finer qualities of the author's thought will appear in that book, in which the critical spirit will be less prominent. But the present volume will be, to all who read it in sympathy with its faith, most interesting and fascinating. It belongs to a class of which we have too few specimens in our life of sensation and intellectual conceit. It is really one of that class which are called, in Germany, books of "Erbauung," and which warm the soul by their gentle earnestness and sincerity of conviction more than it could be by any vehemence of rapture. If the other stories of the Evangelical record, which have about them a mystic and transcendent obscurity, such as the temptation, the transfiguration, the agony in the garden, the resurrection, could be treated in this way, the result would be more edifying than the result of attempting to rationalize what must be accepted as spiritual phenomena, if accepted at all. A sorry bungle the interpreters make of it, who attempt to show any natural way in which the Christ was transfigured, or raised from the dead, or taken up into heaven. These narratives are stories of the Spirit, and are not to be judged by those
who have no faith in the Spirit. They are better peremptorily rejected, as fiction and folly.
Not all minds are constituted like the mind of the imaginative student of the gospel, who, in the long months and years of his thought and inquiry, has found this secret of the story of the wise men, and is moved to tell it; and not a few even of those who call themselves students in the Scripture, will perhaps pass the book by, as too slight for their heed. But others will welcome it, as a real contribution to the spiritual understanding of the legend which is still printed in the record, and which destructive criticism has not yet displaced. Even to those whose faith is different, who have other views. of inspiration and of the nature of the Christ, the reading of a treatise so reverent, so wise, and so gentle in its spirit, while it is so positive in its tone, cannot be without profit. Orthodoxy, in this mild and gracious form, almost wins one away from the heresy which refuses to bow before the Cross, or worship any creature, even the holiest, who is born of woman. There are two forms in which the orthodoxy of our time shows itself, which have no attraction for the liberal believer, the hard, dogmatic, self-righteous form of command and threatening; and the cunning, dialectic form, which would beguile by the speciousness and the subtilty of its logic. But the orthodoxy, which, without compromise or concealment, speaks modestly its word, not claiming a right, and hardly expecting a hearing, in the din of the world's voices, the orthodoxy that is content to bring new light from some obscure passage of the sacred volume, if haply it may give comfort to some inquiring soul, the orthodoxy of a kindled and waiting imagination, that sees through all the noise and hurry of this worldly excitement the quiet glow of the heavenly life that surrounds it, is unspeakably refreshing. Such is the orthodoxy of this story of the wise men.
ART. III.-MR. FOLSOM'S TRANSLATION OF THE
The Four Gospels: translated from the Greek Text of Tischendorf, with the Various Readings of Griesbach, Lachmann, Tischendorf, Tregelles, Meyer, Alford, and others; and with critical and explanatory Notes. By NATHANIEL S. FOLSOM. Boston: A. Williams & Company. 1869. 12mo, pp. 476.
THE appearance of this work, simultaneously with that of Dr. Noyes, is encouraging to those who retain the old-fashioned regard for scriptural criticism. We had feared that the class of studies from which these books originated, was passing into neglect. The tendency of recent thought has not, on the whole, been favorable to their pursuit. The search for the exact meaning of texts in the Bible, which was so earnestly undertaken when those texts were thought to be the very utterance of the Holy Spirit, engages less interest when they are regarded as the language of human writers. Doctrinal discussions, too, have lost, with the majority, that charm which they possessed even a third of a century since; and where they are still carried on, it is less by the weighing and measuring of proof-texts, than by appeal to reasoning of a more general character. It is but natural that the change in modes of thought thus indicated, should affect injuriously for a time that branch of theological study which is concerned with the minutiæ of words and sentences; and as the ancient Fathers have been less read since Protestants learned to appeal from their authority to that of Scripture, that Scripture itself should be less critically studied, now that the appeal is so often taken from its decisions to the tribunal of reason.
But if Biblical criticism has no longer the high claim which it formerly advanced, as the interpreter of the very words of God, it is still worthy of attention as explaining the utterances of holy men, and by the aid it affords in the solution of questions which have been only of late prominently brought for
ward. If it seem of less importance now than it once did, to determine what Moses meant by the command, "Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk," criticism is now called to give her testimony on the deeper question, whether Moses gave any commandments at all, of those which we now possess. If we care not now, as much as in former years, about the construction to be put upon the proem to John's Gospel, we have still to look at texts not less carefully than of old, to determine whether, and in what sense, we have a Gospel according to John. Learning still has its claims, though their ground may vary. It is not yet time for the Christian world to disown its obligations to the great scholars, the Mills and Griesbachs of former days, and the Tischendorfs and Alfords of our own, through whom we know what it was that evangelists and apostles wrote of old; nor to be indifferent to the labors of those who, like Noyes and Folsom, give us the faithful interpretation of those sacred writings.
The work before us is the result of many years' arduous study by one who has brought to his task qualifications of a very high order Mr. Folsom is known to the Unitarian community as having filled for many years, with success, the position of Professor of Sacred Literature in our Western Divinity School. To the Orthodox Congregationalists he is also known, as having held among them positions of importance, both as instructor and as preacher. Change of theolog ical position has had with him, less than is usually the case, the result of producing alienation among those he left; for none who knew him have doubted of his sincerity and conscientious earnestness to know the truth. Being by the result of his studies, aided by his natural temperament, on the very boundary line between Orthodoxy and Unitarianism, averse to all extremes of opinion, and scrupulous not to profess either less or more than he actually believed, the views which he regarded as true seemed to him at one time to lie on one side of that dividing line, and at another time beyond it; and whatever was his conscientious judgment, he did not shrink from declaring. But neither party could gain from him, had they desired it, a denunciation of those with whom he had