The Irrationalism of Infidelity: Section i.

Being a reply to "Phases of Faith"*

J. N. Darby.

{*London: 1853.}

<06001-129E> File Section i.


We now come to the Book of Daniel in general.* The reader will remember the positive and direct proofs, from different parts of the book, of the fact that Daniel distinctly refers to God's final dealing with the Jews. He must do so, if shewing God's ways as to them in government. For what else should definitely display these? All the prophets who so take them up do so; indeed, all do when rightly understood. Daniel positively declares it. And remark here, that we have positive historical and ocular testimony that he who does this must (whatever the final result be with this people) leave an immense gap unfilled up, because they have been set aside as a people for a long period. Hence, again, Daniel gives us specifically the "times of the Gentiles," whether it be the apostate principles on which they would govern,** or general historical views on to the end;*** or particular prophecies connected definitely with the end, which was the grand epoch in view, as the Spirit declares to the prophet.

{*"At the same time I had reached the conclusion that large deductions must be made from the credit of these old prophecies. First, as to the Book of Daniel: Daniel 11 is closely historical down to Antiochus Epiphanes, after which it suddenly becomes false … Hence we have a prima facie presumption that the book was composed in the reign of that Antiochus." (Phases, p. 171.)}

{**That is, these are idolatry (Dan. 3.); blasphemous insults against God (Dan. 5); and setting up to be God Himself, as far as pretending to exclude all other. (Dan. 6).}

{***As the statue (Dan. 2), or the beasts (Dan. 7).}

260 These particular prophecies (i.e., Dan. 8:10-12, the last three chapters being one prophecy) refer to the Eastern or Grecian kingdom; for there the final scene was to be unfolded. Not that the Western power would not come in — that was the grand general power at the close; but another local one was also to be depicted.

We may now examine Daniel 11, to which Mr. N. objects. Here we shall find exactly what I stated — a particular prophecy, as to the Eastern or Grecian power, taken up from its commencement and pursued quite to the end. The king of the north comes to his end, and none helps him; and Michael stands up at the same time, in the time of trouble which has no parallel — of which the Lord speaks in Matthew. Further, in Daniel 10, the messenger of God declares, "Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for [many] days"; and in Daniel 12:4, "But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end." So also in Daniel 11:40 — exactly the prophecy in question: "And at the time of the end shall the king of the south push at him," etc. — that is, at the king who does according to his will. So that we have in the writer's mind details down to Antiochus Epiphanes, as I agree; and afterwards, right or wrong, other details as to what is to happen at the end in the latter days — those days in which Michael was to stand up; and at the close of thirteen hundred and thirty days blessing comes in, and Daniel stands in his lot. But this, it will be said, leaves a great gap. No doubt. To be exact, it must do so, because, as we know, the Jews have been set aside for centuries.

But let us see with greater exactness, how and where the gap comes in, and is introduced. The prophet does, as alleged, pursue the history down to one who, I doubt not, is Antiochus Epiphanes — that is, the last king of any importance of Grecian Syria, and the great persecutor of Israel, who profaned the temple, and destroyed, or at least sought to destroy, all the books of the law, and prohibited the Jewish worship. The ships from Chittim are then introduced upon the scene, that is, the Romans — the power under whom the whole Jewish system was to remain in abeyance. But another important element was still more in the mind of the Spirit here (that is, the alliance of the local Gentile power with the apostates of the Jews). This, and the profanation of the temple, were to be, and will yet be, the special characteristics of the last days. A full picture* of this state of things is drawn so far as the elements go which characterize it (that is, the intervention of the Western Roman power, apostasy among the Jews, profanation of the temple, and interruption of Jewish worship, and of all service rendered to the true God). This will be the final state of the Jews, as presented in scripture, till delivered by the coming of the Lord. Hence the elements and vivid picture of it in these comparatively early days is given to us.

{*I say picture; for I have no doubt that Daniel 11:30-31, 32, applies to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Maccabees, &c.}

261 But there will be a remnant active and energetic then, but having also another general character, instructors of the people of the Jews in the truth. Still the people shall fall under their enemies [many] days. God shall permit even those who, having been faithful to God, might have hoped to escape, to be cut off also by their enemies: but it is for purifying and making white even to the time of the end. That is, we have just the gap onward from the introduction of the Romans at the close of the SyroGrecian kingdom, and that up to the very end.

We have not here the Roman destruction of the Jewish polity in detail: that had been given at the end of Daniel 9, and could not be the anticipative picture of the latter days, because the Jewish affairs are to take the form they had in Antiochus Epiphanes' time, that of the apostasy of the Jews, and their being linked up with the heathen. This was in no way the case in the time of Titus. The unclean spirit of idolatry was not entered in with seven others more wicked than himself, so as to make their last state worse than the first. They were empty, and swept, and garnished. They stumbled on the stumbling stone and were broken: in the end it will fall on them.

But we have the general desolation to the time of the end. Then, when that has been shewn, we get a king doing according to his will, setting up idolatry, rejecting the God of his fathers, which Antiochus never did, disregarding all Jewish hopes as something which is supposed to belong to him, exalting himself above every god, and distributing the land among his chiefs. The king of the south pushes at him at the time of the end (that is, he who shall be in Ptolemy's geographical place); and the king of the north comes against him (that is, he who shall have Antiochus's geographical place); so that the wilful king cannot be Antiochus Epiphanes. Yet it is a full and minute prophecy of what is to be at the time of the end, when the great gap is over; and it goes on to state the course of the king of the north, and his ruin; and in Daniel 12 the trouble that accompanies this period, the duration of the trouble, and the deliverance of Israel — the contrast of the wicked and the wise; all of which would come out at the time of the end, not before; when Daniel also, as we have seen, would have his share in the blessing in the end of the days.

262 This part it is which the Lord also quotes as to be fulfilled at the end of the age. There is, then, as much particularity as to the events at the end as there is to those previous to, and during, the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. With the speculations of interpreters in applying it I have nothing to do, with Mr. N.'s objections I have; and they, as to the facts of the chapter, are totally groundless. As to the enduring days of desolation and captivity, we are witnesses of its truth, that is, of the truth of the very part where Mr. N. says it breaks down. The fulfilment of all the rest cannot yet be proved, because it is at the time of the end, which we all know is not yet come. No one can say it becomes false. The triumphs of the Maccabees, and the long period of desolation and captivity, are true; and that is what is stated.

As to Daniel 7, Mr. N. informs us that "the four monarchies in chapters 2 and 7 are the Babylonian, the Median, the Persian, the Macedonian. Interpreters, however, blend the Medes and Persians into one, and then pretend that the Roman empire is still in existence." "Chapter 7 also is confuted by the event; for the great day of judgment has not followed upon the fourth monarchy." (Phases, p. 171.) There is nothing like being bold enough: somebody will believe it, or at least, somebody will doubt; and nothing will be certain. "Interpreters, however, blend the Medes and Persians into one." Indeed! It is not very extraordinary; because, though distinct nations, they are blended in history, though "the highest came up last.*" But is it only interpreters who do this? What does Daniel do? He says, in interpreting Upharsin, "Thy kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians." That is, he brings them in on the scene together. It may be said, "But Darius, who was of the seed of the Medes, was set over the realm of the Chaldeans." One "interpreter" has used this to prove that it was still the Babylonish empire. Where was this distinct empire of the Medes to which the Persians succeeded as another?** Cyrus, king of Persia, takes Babylon, and the temple is built by his orders. Darius may have ruled in Babylon till Cyrus had finished his conquests and had settled the empire; but the Persians were, at the epoch of the fall of the Babylonish empire, joint possessors with the Medes of the imperial power as a people.

{*Sculptured heads of rams have been found at Persepolis, with one horn higher than the other.}

{**I do not doubt that the Median branch had the supremacy at first. The prophecy so states it, as does profane history; "the highest came up last." And Cyrus succeeded to a Median prince, though as to this, there is some confusion; but that is not the question here, because Cyrus took Babylon; and the Medes and Persians were, undoubtedly, at that time a united empire. Evil-Merodach was slain by Cyrus before the close of the Babylonian empire.

At any rate, as the kingdom, according to Daniel, was given to the Medes and Persians, his four monarchies cannot be made out by making of the Medes and Persians successive kingdoms.}

263 Mr. N. says, consequently, on his Median scheme, that the last empire is the Grecian. The ten horns have no kind of analogy with the Grecian kingdom, which Mr. N. supposes the prophet to be describing as a thing past. But not only so: Daniel himself most positively describes (for, unhappily, he is, as to this point, one of the "interpreters," or, at least, the angel who explained the vision is) the Medo-Persian empire as one beast, and by the well-known Persian emblem: "The ram which thou sawest, having two horns, are the kings of Media and Persia. And the rough goat is the king of Grecia." That is, it is absolutely certain (for he says so) that Daniel considers the Medo-Persian as one empire, or beast; and that, consequently, the whole of Mr. N.'s argument is not worth a straw, unless it be to shew that the prophet does really give ampler details of what was future, and is so yet, on to the day of judgment, than he does of what Mr. N. would make historical. For, if the Medo-Persian empire be one empire (that is, the second), then the Roman is confessedly the last — that with the ten horns. Now, even supposing the unfounded assertion to be true, that the author of the book ascribed to Daniel wrote in the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, yet still the Roman empire (that which is given with far the greatest detail, and whose division into divers kingdoms is a matter of history) was future. That is, he acts, wherever you put him as w date, as a prophet, and commits himself fully to the details of future events, such as the subdivision of the Roman empire into ten kingdoms, its final blasphemous character, and judgment. Not only so; but the fact of the declaration of the writer, that the Medo-Persian kingdom is one only, considered as a beast destroys the whole foundation of Mr. N.'s reasonings. He states that "he [Daniel] gives the Grecian kingdom, under which he lived, as the last, and then passes to the general judgment," "the great day of judgment has not followed upon the fourth monarchy. * Now, if the Medo-Persian be one only, then he gives a beast or empire after the Grecian, and that with very much greater detail than as to those which preceded; and the allegation is so far from having any foundation, that we have historical proof that he is right; for another kingdom has succeeded the Grecian, divided into many horns — that is, he is a prophet. I need not say, that I agree with all existing testimony, that it was Daniel the prophet, the captive in Babylon, who wrote it.

{*"The four monarchies in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7 are the Babylonian, the Median, the Persian, the Macedonian."}

264 In fine, Mr. N. says the book of Daniel cannot be proved to have existed earlier than the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, that is, than the last events it describes. The reader will remember that this is casting off the New Testament altogether — that is, really, Christianity — because the Lord there cites his book as that of a prophet. But, as to other proofs, it is beyond all controversy that, at all times of which we have any evidence, this book has been received by the Jews as Daniel's, written during the captivity. The Talmud has put it among the Cherubim, or Hagiographa, with Chronicles, Psalms, Proverbs, &c. But none has called its inspiration in question. Josephus is very particular he gives the number of the books of the Old Testament, and refers to Daniel as the most renowned of prophets. He moreover declares, that the Jewish canon was closed in the reign of Artaxerxes, that is, with Malachi; so that he bears the strongest possible testimony to the date of Daniel as an authentic book.

It may be asked, "On what are the assertions founded of the recent date of the composition of the book?" The answer is, "On nothing. The objectors think there cannot be prophecy: hence, they argue, there is not. Hence, when an era is spoken of, the book must have been written after it. In this case, indeed the book of Daniel must have been written after the division of the Roman empire; for he speaks of that; and the history of Josephus must have been also written subsequent to that division into two kingdoms, for he speaks of the book of Daniel which refers to it. But Mr. N. cuts this all short by saying nothing about the passages which speak of the end; and by making (contrary to history and the positive assertion of the book itself) the Median and Persian two consecutive empires, and maintaining a profound silence on the ten horns.

265 Not only does Josephus present the number of the books of scripture as composing a whole, divided into three parts, and Daniel as one of the most admirable among them, thus assuring us the Old Testament such as we have it was a known volume, but the Wisdom of Jesus, the son of Sirach, refers to this volume, though not distinguishing the books, in the same threefold division — the law, the prophets, and the other books. That is, he shews the body of scripture complete. Not only so, but he refers to these being translated, declaring that the law, the prophets, and the other books had not the same force in the Greek tongue. That Daniel lived in the time of the captivity, we have proof from Ezekiel, who names him by name, and who wrote at that period. The book of Daniel, moreover, had its place in the Septuagint translation. It is not, indeed, the one we have, which is Theodotian's; but there was one, of which fragments are now extant in the Chisian MS. Now this translation was probably as early as the beginning of Antiochus's reign, that is, B.C. 175,* Mattathias's revolt being in B.C. 167. The book of Maccabees, probably from the contents dating about B.C. 130, refers to Daniel. In sum, if we receive the New Testament, we have the authority of the Lord Himself for Daniel's being a prophet. Further, we have (for the historical truth of his existence as a remarkably well-known man at the period the book of Daniel refers to) the testimony of his contemporary, Ezekiel. We have Josephus, thoroughly versed in Jewish lore, bearing witness that Daniel was of special eminence among the prophets, and the complete volume of the books of scripture specifically noticed, saying that they had not a multitude of books, but twenty-two (now made twenty-four by the separation of Ruth from Judges, and Lamentations from Jeremiah); that they were all completed by the reign of Artaxerxes, thus letting in Malachi and Esther, and no more; that there were indeed other books among them, but that they had not the same authority because there were no prophets to authenticate them.

{*It is generally agreed now that the Septuagint was made at different epochs: the law, in the reigns of Ptolemy Soter and Philadelphus, or during their joint possession of the throne (according to Hody, about B.C. 280, in the reign of Ptolemy Evergetes). The son of Sirach seems to speak of an existing translation; and if so, of this, about B.C. 130. The other books we have no positive date for, unless it be Esther in the reign of Ptolemy Philometer.}

266 Nothing can be simpler than this. Without entering into details which change nothing of the substance, we have, on dear and intelligible grounds, the canonical scriptures and the Apocrypha. The canonical books are divided into three parts: the law, prophets, and hymns; or, as the Lord says in Luke, the law, prophets, and psalms. But this is not all. The first book of Maccabees refers to Daniel, and no doubt to the LXX translation. This book was written some hundred and thirty years before Christ. Jesus, the son of Sirach, refers to the canonical books, by their well-known tripartite division, and to a translation of them; that is, Daniel existed then, and was translated into Greek. The lowest date for this is B.C. 130. Some place the son of Sirach B.C. 200. The Septuagint translation, of which Daniel formed a part, was made from B.C. 280 by degrees. The revolt of Mattathias was more than a hundred and ten years after it commenced to be made. It is supposed by some that Esther was translated in the reign of Ptolemy Philometer, and this would tend to shew that the translation was complete earlier. Now we have no authorities whatever to refer to during the interval between Malachi and the Septuagint translation. But we have the concurrent voice of all the authority we possess that Daniel is authentic; and the fact of its being part of the Septuagint makes it to the last degree improbable that its date could be any later one; while the Jews, who certainly knew their own canon, most undoubtedly received it as the book of the prophet (Josephus also, who was thoroughly versed in the question, giving, not his opinion, but clearly and elaborately the Jews' judgment upon it, and the very intelligible grounds of it). All other authorities agree, not merely as authorities, but refer to these very books as the books known (settled by authority) and received of the nation. We have not an earlier testimony than the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, for none exists; but we have a testimony to the earlier and universal reception of these books as scripture. Hence, it can be proved to have existed earlier, for it was then fully received by all as an authentic book, and translated as a part of scripture, probably some time before the period referred to, certainly then as being fully acknowledged, which is exactly the same thing as to our present question (that is, that it was not written for the occasion, for it was then translated as a well-known book).


In order to connect the Pentateuch with the time of Hezekiah, Mr. N. declares the first reference to be in Micah 6:5. The reader may remember that in another part of the book Mr. N. declares that it was never given out as an authentic book till found in the eighteenth year of Josiah's reign, that is, it is referred to by Micah about seventy years before it was brought out, and referred to as well known to the people. But Mr. N. is on slippery ground here. His friend, Mr. Theodore Parker, the translator of De Wette, thus gives his author in English (vol. 2, p. 154, second edit. Boston, 1850): "About B.C. 790 we find that Amos unites the Elohistic and Jehovistic fragments in Genesis 19:29. Therefore he must have had the book of Genesis in its present form (see Gen. 2:9), he says, 'Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them.' Accordingly, he seems to have been acquainted with the book of Numbers. About B.C. 785 Hosea affords us a trace of its existence. (Hosea 12:3-5.) Here the allusions are obvious to the story of the birth of Esau and Jacob in Genesis 25:26 … Again chapter 9:10. This refers to Numbers 22:3." I do not go any farther. He refers to Isaiah, Micah, Jeremiah, whose "acquaintance with our present Pentateuch," he says, is pretty clear. Moreover, I apprehend no unprejudiced, intelligent person can doubt the reference of Joel 2:1, 15, 16, to Numbers 10:1-10. Now De Wette, as do many others, places him in B.C. 810; some so far back as B.C. 870, 865; Mr. N. (in his Hebrew Monarchy) between B.C. 840 and 818. That is, mark, that the Pentateuch is quoted as soon as there is a prophet to quote it. But to apply these facts to Mr. N.'s statements; if we take in Joel, we have prophecies referring to the Pentateuch about a hundred years before Hezekiah's reign, and nearly two hundred years before Josiah's. Omitting Joel, we have, at any rate, prophecies in B.C. 790 and 785, which, according to De Wette, prove that these prophets had two books at least of the Pentateuch in its present form.

{*"Next as to the prophecies of the Pentateuch, they abound, as to the times which precede the century of Hezekiah. Higher we cannot trace the Pentateuch."*}

{{*"The first apparent reference is by Micah 6, 5, a contemporary of Hezekiah, which proves that an account contained in our Book of Numbers was already familiar." (Phases, p. 171, and note.)}}

Josiah, according to Mr. N., mounted the throne In B.C. 40. The law was found in his eighteenth year: that gives us B.C. 622 That is, according to De Wette and Parker, the prophets had the Pentateuch, as we have it now, about a hundred and seventy years before it was composed as it is now, and published, according to Mr. N. And the proofs of Dr. De Wette are founded on the newest and most accurate discoveries of Elohistic and Jehovistic documents afforded us in the book which Mr. N. himself refers to. I should add, perhaps, to make every allowance, that Mr. N. places Amos in B.C. 770; so that, according to his shewing, the Pentateuch, as we have it now, would have been quoted only a hundred and fifty years before it existed!

268 This paragraph of Mr. N.'s has puzzled me a little: "Next, as to the prophecies of the Pentateuch, they abound, as to the times which precede the century of Hezekiah; higher than which we cannot trace the Pentateuch." (Phases, p. 171.) He adds, in a note, "The first apparent reference is by Micah 6:5, a contemporary of Hezekiah." The object of this is obvious: it is to prove that they were composed just then, and gave out history for prophecy. That is plain enough — a very strange thing to urge, when they were most certainly, as he tells us elsewhere, compiled and published in Josiah's days, and never before. "As I considered the narrative, my eyes were opened. If the book had previously been the received sacred law, it could not possibly have been so lost that its contents were unknown, and the fact of its loss forgotten. It was, therefore, evidently then first compiled, or, at least, then first produced and made authoritative to the nation." (Phases, p. 137.) But the former was a discovery. His eyes were opened. But I pass from this now: it lasted thirty-three pages; and that is something for a German discovery — provided, that is, that it suffices to raise a doubt. But now why this singularly vague expression — "as to the times which precede the century of Hezekiah?" They contained accurate accounts, it is to be supposed, as to the times preceding his century. Now we have found from De Wette that these books existed, and were referred to as well-known public documents nearly seventy years before Hezekiah's accession, about eighty years before his sickness in the middle of his reign. Now where are we to begin "Hezekiah's century?" If we set fifty years before and fifty years after him for his century, then we have prophecies existing twenty or thirty years before it, and so clear that Mr. N. takes them for histories. If we take B. C. 800 to B. C. 700 as Hezekiah's century, we have according to De Wette and Parker, prophecies proving the Pentateuch to be well-known public books, appealed to by prophets in Judah and Israel in the first ten years of his century; and Joel, whom De Wette does not mention, but in whose prophecy the reference is equally dear, proving their existence before Hezekiah's century some thirty years, perhaps many more. That is, the Pentateuch, according to Mr. N., is full of prophecies as to the times in which it is proved to be publicly referred to as a well-known authentic book already in existence. What does this prove? And why all this vagueness as to times in Mr. N.? Why this omission of the testimony of the book he recommends, in which passages are given as a certain proof that the Pentateuch existed long before Hezekiah's reign, Micah alone being referred to by Mr. N. — a book, too, as infidel as Mr. N. could wish — nay, which is his grand armoury?

269 Of course, Mr. N. is not bound to adopt the opinion of the author he recommends; but is it quite candid to say the first apparent reference is Micah without alluding to the citation of passages of the Pentateuch in Amos and Hosea, in the book he himself uses and recommends? But a doubt upon a doubt is a shocking thing when all depends on boldness of assertion to create one in the mind of the reader. But to return: it is true that, vague as it now is, the passage in the "Phases of Faith" will, if not closely examined into, disarm the testimony of De Wette and Parker of its effect, because their proofs of the existence of the Pentateuch are within the century preceding Hezekiah; and the note, if we do not compare it with the text, will bring proofs down to Hezekiah's own days, and cut off, for him who does not pay attention, about another century of proof. But this is, to say the least, a strange passage, not helped out by a declaration elsewhere, that they were compiled in Josiah's days, and could not at any rate have been known before. The fact is, the Pentateuch is referred to most distinctly in the earliest of the prophets, whom Mr. N. puts about B.C. 830, so that the only thing Mr. N. proves here is, that the Pentateuch abounds in accurate prophecies, written, at any rate, a good while before the event.


But if the Old Testament be attentively examined, we shall soon see that it is a continuous history, whoever was the means of making it so (God, as its divine Author, I doubt not), with moral and prophetic addresses joined to it, beginning with the creation and ending with the re-building of the temple and city, after their destruction by Nebuchadnezzar; not setting aside, however, the Gentile dominion, which had taken the place of God's throne in David's family in Jerusalem — a dominion which will continue till Christ takes His, and that at Jerusalem again, as David's son. But this continuous history is in each successive book carried on, with just so much reference to the previous parts, and especially to the Pentateuch, the foundation of all, as was real and true in the state of the time they refer to; the last verse of Malachi throwing back (while announcing the coming of the great day of the Lord) the thoughts of the hearer to the days of Horeb and of the law. In first Samuel we have seven references to the Pentateuch, one to Joshua; in the second, two. That the law was forgotten in practice is most certain. But the whole of the Old Testament has the character of a successive history stamped on it in the very plainest possible way. This is its clear, natural, intrinsic character.

270 Mr. N. states that "no prophecy of the Pentateuch can be proved to have been fulfilled, which had not been already fulfilled before Hezekiah's day." (Phases, pp. 171, 172.)*

{*Here we have slipped on from the times before Hezekiah's century to Hezekiah's day; that is, a margin of about a century is left. We have the Pentateuch cited 830, or at any rate 800, years before Christ, according to De Wette. Hezekiah's accession was, say, B.C. 725. Now suppose a prophecy in the Pentateuch was fulfilled in 750 before Christ, it was twenty-five years before Hezekiah's day, and yet fifty years after the prophecy was certainly in existence. Hence it was better to leave the date as vague as possible. The consequence is, Mr. N.'s statement proves nothing — a hundred years is rather a long epoch to leave out and pass sub silentio, in order to escape the necessity of proving one's point We have Hezekiah's day bold enough in Phases, p. 172; the times which precede his century (ib. p. 171), as if it were the same thing; and in the note (ib. p. 171), the first reference to the Pentateuch is in Micah, his contemporary (leaving out Joel, Amos, and Hosea, preceding prophets by whom it is quoted), and that makes a bridge from the times preceding his century to his day. Had I not looked into De Wette, who proves in due form that the Pentateuch, as we have it, is cited "in the times preceding Hezekiah's century," I could never have discovered what this singular phrase was worth; or why Hezekiah's name was introduced for dating quite a different epoch from his own. But then it glides, with Micah's help, much easier into "Hezekiah's day" in Phases, p. 172.

I take the opportunity of this note to insert a statement from Lightfoot, in reference to the period at which the Magi came up, the sheet to which it properly belongs being already printed off. He supposes, as I have done, that the Magi came up some time after the birth of Christ, making the interval at least a year.

"Since, therefore, only fourteen years passed from the nativity of Christ to the death of Augustus, etc., we must reckon that Christ was not born but in the last years of Herod. Thus we conjecture:

"In his thirty-fifth, Christ was born.

"In his thirty-seventh, now newly begun, the wise men came: presently after this, was the slaying of the infants — and after a few months, the death of Herod."}

271 This assertion is so flatly contradicted by the contents of Leviticus 26, and the well-known public history of the Jews, that it is needless to go farther. It is quite clear that Israel had not been scattered among the heathen before Hezekiah's reign, and quite clear they have since, and that God's sanctuary has been destroyed.


We now come to the Gospels. In the first place, though there is a remarkable similarity of spirit and doctrine in the gospel and epistles of John, they are very easily distinguished by any attentive reader. The presenting of the person in the way of historical fact in the one, and the deduction of the nature of God, Christ, and the new man, from that manifestation in the other, are respectively the characters of the gospel and epistles. This renders the epistles much more abstract; and hence the connection of the reasoning is known only where the inward thread of divine life, which links it, is known; whereas Christ in the gospel is clearly and definitely presented, though the divine glory of His person is brought out.

I do not in the least agree with the assertion, that the divine nature of Christ is not clearly taught in the first three gospels.* Take the word Emmanuel, "God with us." Again, "Thou shalt call his name Jesus; for he shall save his people from their sins." I cite these as examples which present themselves at once. A multitude are found at the beginning and end of the gospels, if we except the beginning of Mark, which commences with His service; and the same truth is found there in the course of that service — as for example, the comparison of the healing of the paralytic with Psalm 103, and of the feeding of five thousand with Psalm 132. That the Holy Ghost selected for its communication by John what related to the Lord's person is beyond controversy: that, with the sending of the Holy Ghost, is the grand object of the book. Hence he has given what John Baptist taught his disciples, and not merely his public testimony. Moreover, there are but two verses in what John Baptist says, which can give occasion to any remark (John 3:35-36).** The rest is a touchingly beautiful comparison by John of himself with Christ. Otherwise there is nothing like John the Baptist's testimony. The testimony that he that believes has everlasting life is the only thing that passes in its character the general spirit of John's teaching, that is, the witness to the person of Christ. But it is not in elevation of doctrine more than being Son of God — Lamb of God — Baptizer with the Holy Ghost — and this last is even more remarkable because it belongs to the display of Christ's power after His departure, as much and more than as having eternal life by Him, and is immediately connected with the Father as having put all things into His hand. There is one thing very clearly proved by Mr. N.'s remarks in this page — his insensibility*** to divine things; for it is notorious that John's gospel has delighted, fed, drawn out, and comforted the hearts of thousands, perhaps more than any other book of scripture — for a simple reason, that it presents more of Christ Himself, and more immediately Christ Himself. Mr. N. finds it "monotonous."

{*"That the divinity of Christ cannot be proved from the first three Gospels was confessed by all the early Church, and is proved by the labouring arguments of modern Trinitarians." (Phases, p. 173.)}

{**"I saw it infallibly to indicate that John had made both the Baptist and Jesus speak as John himself would have spoken; and that we cannot trust the historical reality of the discourses in the fourth Gospel."}

{***"The monotony also of the Gospel had also excited my wonder." (Phases, p. 172.)}


I recall to the reader the very convenient form of Mr. N.'s book for administering doses of infidelity: as he is merely recounting the course of his own mind, he can give a conviction as it formed itself, without the least proof. Thus he has a "high sense of the lucid force with which he [Strauss] unanswerably shews that the fourth gospel is no faithful exhibition of the discourses of Jesus." (Phases, p. 174.) What has produced this conviction we are left to imagine; of course it is supposed to be something Before this, however, Mr. N. says, "It had become quite certain to me that the secret colloquy with Nicodemus, and the splendid testimony of the Baptist to the Father and the Son, were wholly modelled out of John's own imagination." (Phases, p. 174.) How did it "become quite certain?" It is left to be supposed because it is "quite certain." One can only, to such kind of assertions, answer in the negative — that it is not "quite certain."

273 Such assertions have this immense difficulty standing in the way: — that it is a "splendid testimony" on subjects which Alexandrian philosophers have essayed to teach — that this testimony contains the holiest and truest teaching on man's real condition, and what he needed — the profoundest knowledge and application of the Old Testament, and the connection between the universal principles it contains and the particular application in which a Jewish doctor ought to have understood them — and yet the clear distinction as to how, in their universality as applied by God in grace, they would reach to all (besides the positive revelation of what introduced the heavenly development of the character to which these general spiritual principles lead), and that connected with what we know to be historically true, and prophetically announced, though contrary to all Jewish thoughts, and in its actual form only discoverable in prophecy by the key which the person of Christ gave to it — yet, with that key, as simple as possible. All this, and much more than this, in the compass of a few verses (and such is John 3), we are told, is the invention of an impostor, and quite certainly such. It is a pity Mr. N. does not tell us why. If imposture be such, and so true, and has such a stamp of divine knowledge on it, what is truth? And what must the original living witness and exhibition of this truth have been? And besides, however profound, nothing can be simpler. There is nothing obscure and mythically mysterious about it.


It may be well here to say a few words on the manner in which the discourses of the Lord would be given to us, assuming the Holy Ghost to record them. For it is the character which would result, not the proof of the fact by evidence, that I now seek. First, it is perfectly certain, that we have a very small portion indeed of the discourses of Jesus. The Holy Ghost would give us those which divine wisdom considered permanently useful to the Church in all ages — that which brought out great principles and abiding doctrines; and such is in fact the case. Take the sermon on the Mount, Matthew 13 Luke 15, 16, and the discourses in John, and the like: all bring out some special view of Christ's person, God's ways with men, or the principles of His rule as Father. Even in the same discourse He would give us, according to the connection in which it was recorded, that part which applies to the subject treated. Thus, supposing it had been said, "They killed at Jerusalem the Son whom the Father had sent," I might say, if the guilt of favoured Jerusalem was in question, "They killed the Son at Jerusalem;" if the mere extent of their guilt in respect of the dignity of His person, "They killed the Son." If I sought to shew the slight of the Father and the contempt of His love, I might say, "They killed the Son whom the Father had sent." And all these representations would be perfectly true; and in the pursuit of an object, such as God must have in recording these things, my leaving out a part which did not immediately bear on the purpose of God in the revelation would only give a truer force to the words — more of the sense and meaning, according to the mind and teaching of God. Now each gospel might give only one of these (much more pertinent and instructive, but) incomplete citations; and hence there would be a difference. But so far from there being an inconsistency, there would be a great help to understanding the mind of God in the word.

274 Would any man say of these, that any one was not a true account? It would be a great deal truer if the object be to communicate God's mind in the discourse to me; and what else can it be if God inspired the account of it? I repeat, we have not a hundredth part of Jesus's discourses. We have what the Holy Ghost was sent to give for the permanent good of the Church — the very words Jesus used, if needed, for the divine teaching, perhaps the substance perfectly fitted for future ages, or some of the words which had a permanent application.

Again, suppose there were a question of blaming me for taking some one to a distance, and it were affirmed that I had, on the contrary, said to him, "Come into the next room;" whereas I had said, "The next room is airy and will suit you: come into it." The report made to justify me is not literal, but it is exactly true. Now I do not doubt that the Holy Ghost, by the apostle, has given the discourses of Jesus, not necessarily in every case literally, but in the way alluded to in the example I have given, so as that they exactly communicate the mind of God in them which He meant to be preserved in writing, and word for word when that was needed so to do. Many things may have been said, and undoubtedly were, by which what He said was adapted to the persons and circumstances which surrounded Him, but made no part of the truth to be conveyed. These would be only so far preserved as would be needed to give a perfect idea of what He said to them, and how. Hence the force of the discourse would be, as the Holy Ghost used the mind and pen of John, or any other writer, exactly what the Holy Ghost meant to communicate.

275 Now this is much more really a divine communication by the Holy Ghost, than a mere repetition by human memory of what the Lord meant only for the good of the individuals at the moment, or forms of expression adapted to suit what He said to them, and not for the permanent good of the Church, and the full revelation of Himself. I have His instructions with divine perfection, as He meant them to be given for the permanent use of the Church, written by the power of the Holy Ghost. If the Holy Ghost employed John or Matthew to convey a particular part of the truth as to Jesus, as He undoubtedly did, their writings would necessarily take the form of the particular truth or aspect of Christ they were employed to set forth. Thus Emmanuel shines through Matthew, and Jehovah King in Zion; in John, the Son's relationship in every way with the Father, both in nature and mission: Judaism is quite set aside. The vessel used was fitted for its use, but conveyed exactly what it was meant to convey. The form, as we have said, of the jet was according to the fountain-maker's design, but the water which took that form was unmixed and pure.


Mr. Newman objects to John's account of the raising of Lazarus, and of the healing of the man born blind,* on the ground of their not being mentioned by the other evangelists, and John's writing long after. Now the miracles Mr. N. objects to were immediately in connection with the subject the Holy Ghost employed John to treat of. One was in demonstration of His Sonship in the direct way of power; and the other, of the light-giving power which accompanied the recognition of His mission, leading to the owning of Him as Son. Now I repeat here what I have already said, that the Holy Ghost must have an object in writing such histories. He is not — could not be — a biographer, to write a life with circumstances which there was no divine reason for communicating. He was revealing Christ under various characters of glory, Son of God, Son of David, Son of man, Emmanuel.

{*"How was it that the other writers omitted to tell of such decisive exhibitions? … When, where, and in what circumstances did John write? It is agreed that he wrote fifty or sixty years after the events, when the other disciples were all dead." (Phases, pp. 174, 175.)}

276 Now let us examine whether there is not such a definite bearing of the two miracles referred to as is to be expected in a history given of God; whether they do not bear the stamp of a divine revelation of Jesus. From chapter 4, John's Gospel had systematically unfolded the new thing in contrast with Judaism. Spiritual worship of the Father instead of at Jerusalem or on Gerizim. (John 4) Life-giving power, instead of human strength using ordinances; judgment executed to secure Christ's glory in those who rejected Him: here He is the life-giving Son. (John 5) Next, He is the humbled Son of man instead of King Messiah in Israel, the spiritual food of faith while away, having come down from heaven and been crucified. (John 6) Then, the time for His glory before the world being not yet come, the Holy Ghost is to be given to believers, witnessing His heavenly glory as Son of man. (John 7) Then He is the light of the world in contrast with the law; but His word is rejected (John 8); as is the evidence of His works (John 9), of which hereafter. He will at any rate have and save His sheep. (John 10) That closes the direct revelation of Christ in the gospel.

From John 11 we have the public testimony given by God to Him who was rejected: — first, as Son of God, life-giving, resurrection-power was His proper glory; and Lazarus is publicly raised.* This sickness was not unto death, but for the glory of God, and that the Son of God should be glorified thereby. Hence all say, "If thou hadst been here, he had not died." They knew His miraculous power of healing; but now close to Jerusalem, the most public testimony possible is given to His life-giving power as Son of God. How truly this is in its place is seen by this, that after this we have His glory as Son of David publicly proclaimed by His entry into Jerusalem, and the time come for His glory as Son of man marked by the Greeks coming up; and then the Lord shews that to this the cross is necessary, and looks in spirit at the coming hour. Thus the peculiar bearing of this remarkable miracle is clearly seen — the public indication of Christ as Son of God who raises the dead.

{*There is no "Tell it to no man" here.}

Now Matthew is employed by the Holy Ghost to present Christ in another way — that of Emmanuel, Messiah. Hence the Spirit does not give what was specially used to prove another point; but He does give with much more detail the riding in as Jehovah, the King Messiah, with all that followed on it — in the judgment of Israel, chief priests, Pharisees, Sadducees, Herodians — every class, in a word, and the whole moral position of those who rejected Him; and then shews from Psalm 110 that the Messiah ought to leave them, and to ascend up on high, because He was David's Lord as well as David's Son. That is, he gives in greater detail what was suited to his subject.

277 Again in the case of the blind man, the same considerations apply. We have the contrast between the blind receiving sight from Him who is the true light of the world, and the judgment of those who set up to be lights, and that by the most ignorant believer who finds his place with the rejected Son of God. And mark the process. First, in the typical act, He puts clay on the man's eyes — a figure (I doubt not, from what the apostle says) of Christ come in the flesh. But this operation in itself produces no effect; but the moment he washes in Siloam (which, says the apostle, signifies "sent"), he sees. That is, the moment he, by the purifying word and Spirit, recognizes that Christ is the sent One, all is clear. In result, the poor man, the subject thus of the delivering power of Christ, honest of heart, bears witness to the power of which he had experienced the effect, knowing Jesus only as a prophet; but, having received in his heart the authority of His word and mission, he immediately receives Him as Son of God, and prostrates himself before Him. The rest are blinded; for the effect of His mission is, that they that see not might see, and that they that see might be made blind.


Now this unfolding of particular testimony to Sonship, in contrast with the blinding of the Jews, is John's subject all through. Matthew's, as we have seen, is different; as is Luke's, who gives us the Son of man, and what is suited to the display of that truth. But there is such total and profound ignorance in all these infidel writers of the purpose of the author, that they do not understand the scope of a single passage. How should they? It is as if some wise housemaid should clean out a powerful voltaic battery, because dirty wire and plates and useless water were in it.

And I beg the reader to call to mind, that if God was writing a book, He must have such objects. Adequate evidence of the facts proving His mission in Israel among the Jews was given in Matthew's Gospel among themselves, and I suppose (it is hardly to be doubted from the evidence we have) in their own tongue as well as in Greek, before the destruction of Jerusalem. John was employed (when Christianity was now, in one sense, established, and no longer in the cradle of Judaism) to give the great leading truths concerning the person and glory of Jesus, and the presence of the Holy Ghost needed for its building up and consolidation, and the guarding it against the inroads of heretical pravity. Could anything be more suitable, more timely, or more gracious on God's part? He preserves also an apostle himself, that, as external proof, we might have an eye-witness, and one most especially intimate with Jesus — one we may reverently call His bosom friend — to shew what really was the true doctrine of Christ when there was danger of departure from it, and need of building up in it; when it was no longer sufficient to believe that Jesus was the Christ in order to be preserved from the machinations of the enemy. And this is what we have in John. He is occupied entirely about the person of Christ, and the testimony of the Holy Ghost operating in the saints, whether to convict the world by, or to build up the Church in, the glory of that Christ. Meanwhile, if God chose fitting instruments, the Holy Ghost Himself, as Christ had promised, was the Author and Inspirer of all, whether in Matthew or in John, or any other. Now John was just the person fitted for this. The time was the time it was required, the thing done exactly what was called for: just as the general course of Christ's working was recorded by Matthew; but in Matthew, hundreds of miracles in a verse or two, to introduce the true character of the kingdom of heaven, which was his subject (all his detailed miracles bearing on his subject, as the few John relates do on his; and Luke's in an equally remarkable manner on his — the healing, cleansing, forgiving, and quickening of man lost in sin).


Hence nothing can be more out of the way than Mr. N.'s remarks. If John had in Asia Minor (if he was there), after the destruction of Jerusalem, and the dispersion of the Jews, given the general history of miracles and acts as a proof of the truth of his mission as Messiah to the Jews, then, though it would not hinder one taught of God from believing, there would be something plausible in what Mr. N. says, in objecting to a new history of miracles at so late a date.* This was already done; and that John should then develop Christianity doctrinally and in its spirit, relating only two or three miracles of Jesus, specially connected with this, is exactly in place and keeping. John's testimony as eye-witness was just as valid. These events must have been much more vividly impressed upon him than more recent ones. The Holy Ghost, while acting suitably as to His instruments, and for His purpose, always acts in His own divine power.

{*Note, here, infidel candour. It suits Mr. N. to accept the usually received date of John's Gospel; and he says, "It is agreed that he wrote fifty or sixty years after the events;" but it is much more universally agreed that Matthew and Luke wrote much earlier, though the precise year is. not known. But this has no weight with him.}

279 Mr. N.'s low and disgusting introduction of John as a witness is without sense or force. He puts a question* which only shews his ignorance of the matter. The Holy Ghost acted on his memory, "He shall bring to your remembrance." Does he mean to say that God cannot call to a man's memory what He thinks fit? Such a notion is ridiculous — a man can do it. But He puts the memory into activity, and recalls to it the images of what had passed before it. How many scenes and thoughts has the sight of a person called back to our minds! How well does the sinner know that when God acts convertingly on his conscience all his sins come up fresh into his memory! Could God not do as much as to the life of His blessed Son, and control the memory in its activity so as to give what He wished, if He purposed to give a revelation by eye-witnesses? This is what Jesus said the Holy Ghost should do. Hence it is not a "romance," but a history — a real history by eye-witnesses, and a real history by God Himself through their instrumentality. It is much more incredible that He should have sent and given His Son, and not given such a history of Him, but left it unknown, or only traditionally guessed at in after ages.

{*These are the words: "O aged sir, we understand that you have two memories: a natural and a miraculous one … Be pleased to tell us now, Is it from your natural or from your supernatural memory that you derive your knowledge of the miracle wrought on Lazarus?" (Phases, p. 176.)}

Further, I repeat, miracles may arrest and draw attention to truth; and truth may arrest and fix attention on divine power shewn by miracles; but the fact is, both were concurrent testimonies to the person and glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.* On this point also Mr. N. only shews he is far from the plain and very simple state of the case. Suppose the anxious father, who entreated deliverance for his son, found that the fever left him exactly at the moment that Jesus said, "Go thy way, thy son liveth"; and thus, giving ear to Jesus, found that truth, the entering in of which gives light and understanding to the simple, would an infidel's scepticism or the parent's conduct be more just?** In the main, the Gospels just give us an authentic history of those things, and of plenty of scepticism too, which has not happily succeeded in anything save confirming, in the state of the sceptic Jews, the prophecies and warnings which they disbelieved and rejected.

{*Compare John 6:14; John 7:40.}

{**Note, here, the clear proof of power in miracles done on one at a distance unconscious of what was said.}

280 Suppose, on the other hand, one heard Him who spake as never man spake, and received precious truth in his soul, yet remained pondering as to who He should be who spake, and whether all His claims were real, and, as John's messengers, saw that the blind received their sight, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, the deaf heard, the dead were raised, and, in the absence of all the pride and selfishness of religious grandeur, the poor had the gospel preached to them; was it not a just means of receiving Him who spake grace and truth itself, and confirmed the word by signs following? Or must he have settled the knotty, logical point whether miracles were to be believed on account of doctrine, or doctrine on account of miracles, before he did; or remained in torturing doubt if the Saviour he wanted was there, or in proud and indifferent ignorance? He had nothing to settle. Truth and power concurred in assuring his soul that Jesus was the Christ the Son of God. If he did not believe it, it was that his heart was so hard that it resisted both. We have lost the sight of the miracles and possess the truth more complete as a whole, and an historical testimony which nothing but folly and self-will can dispute: an historical testimony which makes the whole course of miracles more powerful morally, though less impressive to the senses. Christianity exists. It arose from something. What it did arise from is believed by all the world except voluntary sceptics and mythical dreamers like Dr. Strauss, who will serve for a nine years' wonder for the Germans, as the Paulus school did before them.

It will be said, "But people believe Mohammedanism too": so do I historically, though far less fully authenticated in detail than Christianity. The difference is this, that if the history of Mohammedanism be true, it is an imposture. If that of Christianity be true, it is incontestably divine. But you might better deny the history of Mohammedanism than of Christianity. I turn to the examination of St. Paul's testimony.


I think I never read more thorough nonsense than Mr. N.'s remarks on the tongues. The Irvingites were a convenient loophole of escape, indeed, as regards the remarkable testimony afforded by the tongues; but I cannot say that Mr. N. has managed it well, though in some respects subtly enough. Indeed it was a difficult task. St. Paul's speaking tongues more than they all is slipped in at the end as "hallucination." It was an awkward fact to deal with. And now let us examine Mr. N.'s dealing with the facts of the case. They were the same, he says, as the Irvingite tongues. St. Paul's "moral sobriety of mind was no guarantee against his mistaking extravagances for miracles." So that the tongues which Paul spoke were extravagances like the Irvingite tongues. And "Luke (or the authority whom he followed) has exaggerated into a gift of languages what cannot be essentially different from the Corinthian, and in short from the Irvingite, tongues." (Phases, p. 179.) So that Paul, in speaking the tongues he boasted of, was never understood. They were mere extravagances, "hallucination!"

He, whether through delusion or imposture, encouraged others in the thought that they had these tongues, and only boasted of having more "extravagances" than they, and of course different kinds of extravagances; for he spake several tongues — a thing hard to conceive, that he should speak several kinds of jargon as if they were languages, and yet remain an honest man. Did he mistake his own diversified extravagances for miracles? It is very credible for a sceptic, but for no one else, I should think. If it comes under the class of logic or philosophy, I know not; but it certainly seems an "extravagance" to a plain mind that a man should speak a number of tongues which were no tongues at all, and never find out he was deceiving himself, nor think of deceiving others; but appeal to others who indulged in like extravagances, and without smiling, like Cicero's augurs, when they met each other. I have known some who held that Paul's tongues were simply languages that he had learnt and was thankful to use. Mr. N. treats this notion as cheaply as it deserves, by not noticing it, and distinctly declaring the tongues to be an extravagance; whereas it is clear enough there is no extravagance at all in speaking a language we know to those whose language it is. Nothing more wise or simple. I say as cheaply as it deserves; because to suppose that people's speaking a language they had learnt at school was a proof that the Holy Ghost had come upon them, is really not worthy of consideration. And not only on the day of Pentecost, but at Samaria, and at the reception of Cornelius, the speaking of tongues is advanced in a very specific and distinct way as a proof of the descent of the Holy Ghost, and in the last case as a warrant for receiving the Gentiles into the Church of God (God having given them the like gift as to the apostles). Now, that a man's speaking a tongue he had learnt in an ordinary way should be a warrant for so doing, is too absurd an idea to entertain for a moment. No: they were extravagances or a miracle.

282 But there is this untoward difficulty in the way of their being fancied tongues, that all the different nations to whom the tongues belonged understood them. "Are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue wherein we were born?" And then Peter speaks to the Jews in theirs. Now this fact is the substantial point of the whole affair. It was that which struck the multitude. Three thousand people were converted by it. The Church begins its existence, and was formed in virtue of this multitude understanding what was said. Christianity was planted and rooted in the world by it.

It was this was the proof that the Holy Ghost was indeed come down. It marked and characterized the day of Pentecost. Mr. N. says, it "cannot have been essentially different from the Corinthian." Surely not; but there was this difference, that there was nobody at Corinth who understood the strange tongues. It was not needed, and it was not for edification; and, therefore, with his usual "moral sobriety," Paul forbade the exercise of this gift unless there was an interpreter, because then, as is evident, it would edify.

He would not preclude its use, as it was a sign of divine power, provided it was for edification: all was to be subservient to that.

Thus all was the very opposite of extravagance. An immense aid was given to the propagation of the gospel, obvious to all, as well as a sign of divine power accompanying it.

283 Now it seems to me, not only was such a miraculous aid peculiarly appropriate for a religion propagated by preaching; but, besides that, there was a very special and gracious meaning in this gift.

In Babel, where man had once been of one lip, and one language, God had confounded their pride, and men were shut up into a dissociable condition, used of God for providential purposes, but which set up barriers which precluded common communications. Israel had one of these tongues perhaps, and, probably, the original one; and the true knowledge of God was confined to them. When Christianity came in, power was not yet going to set the world right, but grace was overstepping these barriers, and the over-flowing love of God saluting the heathen where they were, in their darkness and misery, without compelling them to bend their neck under the galling yoke of Judaism. What could be more expressive of this than speaking to every one of them in their own tongue? The barrier was gone — at least God's love had over-stepped it, and visited every heart where it was at I home, where judgment, indeed, on man's pride had placed it. Was there not something most beautifully significant in this? Surely there was. Hence it became a kind of distinctive miracle.

So when Samaria was received, they spake with tongues. When God would outstrip man's tardy love, and He visited the Gentiles in the person of Cornelius, He put His seal on the Gentiles before the Church had put hers — an unusual act. Yet surely the first place in grace belonged to Him; and how could the apostle refuse those to whom God had given the same seal as to the Jews and the apostles themselves? But when they were used for personal vanity, and not for edification — for of what is not man capable? — then they are restrained; not absolutely, which would have taken away a just testimony to the Holy Ghost's presence, but unless there was an interpreter who could turn it to edifying, which was certainly the Holy Ghost's purpose. With Mr. N. this is the same thing as Irvingite extravagances. What profound moral judgment, and estimate of facts!

But I must here (without any reproach to Mr. N., as it is a matter of memory) recall some facts, and rectify some statements. At Pentecost the languages were universally understood by those who spoke them; the Irvingite tongues never by any one: a notable difference. And this is so true, that after first trying their hand at making Chinese of it, it was suggested among them that it might be the tongue of angels, as it was said, "If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels" — delightful idea!

284 Mr. N. is not quite exact in his account of the report of the "Irish Clergyman," or at least of what the "Irish Clergyman" saw and heard. There was a pretended interpretation. Two brothers (respectable shipbuilders at Port Glasgow, of the name of M'D—), and their sister, were the chief persons who spoke, with a Gaelic maid-servant, in the tongues, and a Mrs. J—, in English. J. M'D— spoke, on the occasion alluded to, for about a quarter of an hour, with great energy and fluency, in a semi-latin sounding speech — then sung a hymn in the same. Having finished, he knelt down and prayed there might be interpretation; as God had given one gift, that He would add the other. His sister got up at the opposite side of the room, and professed to give the interpretation; but it was a string of texts on overcoming, and no hymn, and one, if not more, of the texts was quoted wrongly. Just afterwards there was a bustle; and apparently some one was unwell, and went into the next room; and the gifted English-speaking person, with utterances from the highest pitch of voice to the lowest murmur, with all strange prolongation of tones, spoke through (if one may so express oneself, as if passing through) the agony of Christ. Once the Gaelic servant spoke briefly in "a tongue," not, if the "Irish Clergyman" remembers right, the same evening. The sense he had of the want of the power of the Holy Ghost in the Church made him willing to hear and see. Yet he went rather as deputed for others than for himself.

The excitement was great, so that, though not particularly an excitable person, he felt its effects very strongly. It did not certainly approve itself to his judgment; other things contributed to form it. It was too much of a scene. Previous to the time of exercising the gifts, they read, sung psalms, and prayed, under certain persons' presidence (one of them a very estimable person, whom he has since seen free from all this, and a minister of an independent or some dissenting church in Edinburgh, then a church-elder). This being finished, the "Irish Clergyman" was going away, when another said to him, "Don't go: the best part is probably to come yet." So he stayed, and heard what has just been related. He was courteously admitted, as one not believing, who came to see what was the real truth of the case. The parties are mostly dead, or dispersed, and many freed from the delusion, and the thing itself public; so that he does not feel he is guilty of any indiscretion in giving a correct account of what passed.

285 It may be added, without of course saying anything that could point out the persons, that female vanity, and very distinct worldliness, did not confirm, to his mind, the thought that it could be the Spirit's power. The M'D—s were in ordinary life, quiet, sober men, and, he believes, most blameless. Their names were so public that there is no indelicacy in alluding to them, but the "Irish Clergyman" did not think they had that kind of peace and deliverance from legal thoughts, which is a sign in another way of the Spirit's power. They never received the apostolic pretensions of London and Albury, but repudiated, in the strongest way and on full enquiry, the blasphemous doctrine of the Irvingites as to the person of the Lord. Mr. N.'s reporter, the "Irish Clergyman," doubts that they were in the least aware of it at the time they professed to receive the gifts; but they certainly entirely repudiated it when he saw them afterwards.

It may not be generally known that the "gifts" among the Irvingites were founded on this doctrine of Christ's being a sinner in nature like ourselves. Mr. Irving's statement was, that he had long preached the "gifts," but there were none, because there was nothing for the Holy Ghost to testify to; but that when he preached this doctrine, they came as a witness to it. His teaching moreover on the subject was confirmed by what was received as the prophetic power amongst them. I am afraid the tongues are not quite "exploded" yet, as they have allied themselves with other influences suited to the world (that is, the spirit of Romanism and Puseyism). At any rate, there is one consoling fact, that as yet, in God's patient mercy, in spite of efforts from without and provocations of many Mr. N.'s from within, the lapse of eighteen hundred years, instead of three, has not "exploded" the effect of Paul's "extravagances" and "hallucinations," and Luke's "exaggerations." We possess the blessed testimony that the Holy Ghost has given to the glory of the person of the Lord Jesus; and, despite their many sins, mercy is yet extended to the Gentiles.

The rest of Mr. N.'s remarks on the tongues are not worthy of an answer. The term "barbaric jargon" is avowedly used because it was not understood by the hearers. He that spoke was "as a barbarian." The rest is composed of a kind of sneer, which, in the presence of the proofs and facts, throws scorn on the sneerer, not on the things sneered at.


The next point noticed is St. Paul's preaching a glorified Christ, not a lowly One. It is quite true: and equally true that he was not called to be a witness of Christ's oral teachings. So it is declared in his mission as distinguished from that of the twelve. He was to be the great witness of that part of truth which put Jew and Gentile on the same footing in a heavenly way, which could only be in connection with a glorified Christ. But if that be supposed to mean, that he attached no importance to the history of Christ's humiliation,* nothing can be more false; only he takes it up, as he does all else, as a part of the vast counsels and plans and purposes of God.

{*"Paul shews total unconcern to the human history and earthly teaching of Jesus … The Christ with whom Paul held communion was a risen, ascended, exalted Lord … He surely therefore must have been wholly and contentedly ignorant of the oral teachings of Jesus." (Phases, pp. 180, 181.)}

The following passages, not to speak of unnumbered ones which speak of the cross, will prove what I say. In John 15:26-27, it is said, "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning." They were eye-witnesses of His life down here. As to Paul's ministry, it is said, Acts 26:16, "But rise and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee." Here we have the two commissions clearly stated.

So Peter calls himself a witness of Christ's sufferings, and a partaker of the glory to be revealed. Paul not only speaks of "the gospel of the glory," but says, "for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus" his Lord; and, instead of speaking of himself as a witness of the sufferings and partaker of the glory, seeks "the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings." Phil. 3:10. He descends, so to speak, into the sufferings, because of the glory, and as the way to his high calling above He does not speak of waiting for its revelation. And this was so very distinct, that Peter proposes, in Acts 3, to the Jews repentance, that Christ may return to them; Paul never. Peter's testimony had been rejected, and Stephen killed and received on high; and there was no thought then but receiving Jew and Gentile through the ministry of him whom grace had called away from Stephen's martyr-ground, and from the apostleship of Jewish hatred, to Christ, to be the witness of heavenly things connected with that glorious Christ, by the vision of whom on the way to Damascus he was arrested, and his pride laid low. The Holy Ghost also opened his spiritual eye on the Lord, leading him to preach Him whom once he destroyed.

287 Hence he boldly declares, after speaking of the "gospel of the glory," that he does not know Christ in the former or Jewish way, after the flesh; and that if any man was in Christ, there was a new creation — he belonged to what took him out of Jew and Gentile; as it had been said to him by Christ, when He appeared to him by the way, "Delivering thee from the Gentiles, to whom now I send thee." Acts 26:17. But this only fills up. the perfectness of the gospel revelation in its place. And the humiliation of Christ takes, in Paul's view, all its immense and vast importance in the counsels of God, and is not a mere personal history, perfectly interesting and divinely instructive as that is in its place; for the gospel has a thousand aspects in one divine truth.

Paul was eminently the vessel of the counsels of God in Christ. Does that make the personal history of Jesus less interesting, less profoundly, divinely, though humanly, instructive? No; the heart goes back to study in every detail, One who in every detail was divine love and holiness, near enough to man's eye to study it for himself. But how does Paul speak of this? See the sweep of truth with which he brings Christ's humiliation in: "Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things." Eph. 4:9. What a place does His humiliation fill here! Again, take His, so to speak, official exaltation: "Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow."

Thus the history of Christ's humiliation was looked at by Paul, through the Holy Ghost, not in the touching detail of Christ's individual life, of which he was not witness, but as one immense fact, and a cardinal one, in the vast scheme of God. This was exactly in its place, and in keeping with the service for which he was employed. John gives us the divine nature; Paul, the divine counsels; Peter, the walk of him who has a lively hope through the resurrection of One whose walk he had known and followed in its bright display on earth, towards the heaven into which resurrection is meant to introduce us (all founding the accomplishment of blessing on the redemption which He has wrought out for us).

288 Mr. N. next complains of Paul not affording us the grounds on which he believed the facts as to Christ's resurrection.*

{*"But I now saw that this independence invalidated his testimony. … It avails not to talk of the opportunities which he had of searching into the truth of the resurrection of Christ; for we see that he did not choose to avail himself of the common methods of investigation." (Phases, p. 181.)}

I have, in principle, answered this. The business of a revelation is to afford the objects of faith in such a full display as makes the evidence of it, not to discuss the logical grounds of its reception. Nothing can be more absurd, more demonstrative of the petty narrowness of mind which cannot discern the true character of what is before it, than the claim of such a logical discussion in scripture. Moral appeals of the most touching character to all, the evidences given and slighted, are indeed found. That we can understand. But I venture to say, there is not a right-thinking man in existence, who would not (if he had found in the New Testament a discussion on the logical grounds of evidence) have at once concluded that it was not, or at least that such a portion formed no part of, a revelation of God.

Even as to logic,* I must beg to be entirely exempted from partnership in that of Mr. N. "Our" is a very comfortable, comprehensive word; as if his reasoning were the universal grounds of enlightened modern conviction. I must beg to think, poorly as I esteem men's competency in such matters, that is far from being the case. Take the example Mr. N. appeals to — Paley. He has examined all these subjects with a clear and accurate mind; he has come, and written to show why he has come, to the full conviction of the authenticity and divine authority of that to which Mr. N. denies both. What kind of logic had he?

{*"How different was the logic [Paul's] from ours! To see the full force of the last remark, we ought to conceive how many questions a Paley would have wished to have asked Paul; and how many details Paley himself, if he had had the sight, would have felt it his duty to impart to his readers." (Phases, pp. 181, 182.)}

289 But let us ourselves examine the evidence St. Paul affords in writing to the Corinthians. The question was, Will the saints rise again? The proof of the resurrection, insisted on as evidence, is the fact of Christ's resurrection; for if there be no resurrection, then Christ is not raised; and the whole gospel, which is really founded on it, falls to the ground. Besides, therefore, a doctrinal statement (to which the evidence of his own mission, already afforded, gave authority), he appeals to historical proofs. And what are they? Some one apparition to an excited individual, whose imagination may have misled him? No; different and repeated manifestations of Himself by Christ to persons who very well knew Him. The apostle states (besides these manifestations of Christ taking place often to those who were intimate with Him) on one occasion He appeared to some five hundred persons, of whom the apostle takes care to say that the greater part are still living to testify, if needed, to the truth of the statement. Now what so good evidence can you have of a person being actually there, as being repeatedly seen by those who knew him well, his daily companions; and (if prejudice or feeling may be alleged as leading a dozen of them to concur in and continue a most elaborate falsehood, and suffer for it) having the certainty of the truth confirmed by His being seen by above five hundred persons at once, who were then most of them living to tell the story? It is difficult to imagine what "our logic" could have, in the way of evidence, more convincing.

St. Paul, it is true, does not discuss its validity; but he produces what is valid; and that is just what he had to do. We are discussing it now; we do not want St. Paul for that. When he wrote, they were living to be examined who had seen Him. What other kind of evidence would Mr. N. require? What other could he have? Would he require some palpable proof of its being real? Christ eats and drinks with them after He arose from the dead. Is he still unbelieving? Thomas, happily for us, had the same scepticism; and Christ's wounded side and pierced hands extorted the acknowledgment of the fact, and of the divine person to whom such a fact testified.

And remark here, we are discussing the nature of the evidence afforded.* It will be said, "You should bring the proof of enemies as well as friends." Were such adduced, it would have been equally alleged, they would not have known Him; and if convinced, were they to be excluded as witnesses, because they were honest enough to become friends? Must a man be necessarily a sceptic to have truth and sense? I judge a man more honest who avows his convictions and suffers for them. I can produce thousands, ay, millions, of sceptics, who are constantly making profession, for their ease' sake, of this and many things besides, which they do not believe. This was certainly not the course of those who received and professed the testimony of Jesus. But I do bring the best proof of that kind (that is, of thousands of enemies thoroughly convinced by the evidence they had where the facts occurred, so that they embraced and suffered for the truth of it).

{*Mr. N. says, "He does not afford to us the means of sifting and analyzing his testimony;" but he did, in the fullest way, to those to whom he wrote — giving the names of those well known, and adducing five hundred others who were, he declared, mostly then alive; so that there was the fullest means afforded to sift his testimony. As far as the lapse of eighteen hundred years allows, there is the amplest opportunity given now.}

290 Among them was St. Paul, who, not for his conviction but that he might be an eye-witness, did see Him when he was an enemy. He very modestly introduces this, with the expression of the sense of his own unworthiness, but declares expressly here in Corinthians, as he does elsewhere, that he saw the Lord. St. Paul then produces five hundred witnesses, and declares they are alive. The simplicity of the proof needed no comment. It has the dignity of a plain, unanswerable testimony. It wanted no "extravagating,"* no "revelling" in it. It carried its own weight. He adduces his own testimony in the same simple way — "Last of all he was seen of me also."

{*"Conceive, farther, how a Paley would have dealt with so astounding a fact, so crushing an argument, as the appearance of the risen Jesus to five hundred brethren at once! How would he have extravagated and revelled in proof! How would he have worked the topic! … Yet Paul dispatches the affair in one line." (Phases, pp. 182, 183.) What is so crushing? If it be the effect, we have it. What more does Mr. N. want? If it be crushing, it is all we want. Why is Mr. N.'s reasoning crushed by it?

Mr. N. asks, "Did he see Him as a man in a fleshly body, or as a glorified, heavenly form?" (Phases, p. 182.) There was such a manifestation of glory as left no mistake with any present, though they were not intended to be eye-witnesses of Jesus, nor to hear His voice. The general blaze of glory and the sound from heaven confounded them, and they fell to the earth. Paul, to whom the Lord meant to reveal Himself, then saw the glorified Lord, and heard His voice speaking to him — answered Him, received His reply at large and in detail. He made no mistake as to the glorious light; and when One who gave such plain proof of glory, and whom he saw in a glory which surpassed the sun's brightness, declared to him Himself that He was Jesus, Paul believed the glorious One he saw from heaven. Perhaps Mr. N. might not have done so, might have been "disobedient to the heavenly vision;" but I know not that he would have proved his wisdom in his disobedience. And, though Mr. N. does not like threats, there certainly is a day which will declare it, or the grace (as the Lord grant it may be!) which has forgiven it.

291 But this was not all the evidence Paul had, nor all he refers to. A godly, sober man, well reported of by his enemies and the truth's, but whom he did not know, comes to him unsent for, and declares to him that he has had a vision, and that he has been sent to him by the same Jesus who had appeared to him by the way; and not only this, but that he had been sent to give him back his sight, which accordingly took place, and moreover that he should receive the Holy Ghost. Accordingly we find Saul, previously astounded by the vision, and the immense revolution it must have produced in his mind to find he was fighting against the Lord of glory, and that all the heads of his religion were the bitter enemies of the glorious Christ of the God they professed to serve — we find him, I say, boldly, with great force and conviction, proving that the Jesus whose disciples he persecuted was indeed the Christ, and soon naturally becoming himself the object of persecution, but persevering to the end.

Now was the glory seen by all — the confounding voice from heaven — the vision of His person by Saul — the detailed conversation in which he was convinced and his mission given to him, confirmed by the independent evidence of Ananias the righteous Jew — his receiving his sight and such spiritual power as confounded the Jews that dwelt at Damascus — all confirming the reality of the positive declaration of One whom he saw in glory, that He was Jesus — evidence which changed the man's whole life — of such a character as proved a man had "lax notions of evidence,"* because he was convinced by it? I apprehend that when he had himself seen the Lord, talked with Him, received from Him sight and power, he did not think much about notions of evidence, because he had a full revelation for himself. He might leave it easily to sceptics, and wonder at their notions, well convinced that "if his gospel was hid, it was hid to them that are lost, in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine into them." 2 Cor. 4:4. He had seen that Just One and heard the words of His mouth. He had told him who He was. All was confirmed by signs of power and holiness and truth. What needed he more?

{*"How can I believe, at second hand, from the word of one whom I discern to hold such lax notions of evidence?" (Phases, p. 183.)}

292 And remark here, that all the testimony of the apostle bears the stamp of this for some thirty years after. His gospel is "the gospel of the glory of Christ." He knows Him only in this way, knows Him for himself — his doctrine, the union of the Church with Him who said, "I am Jesus whom thou persecutest" — the deliverance from Jewish habits of thinking in so remarkable a way — the very hatred of the Jews perpetuated to this day — all bear the stamp of the origin of his mission by this vision of Christ. As to the character of his testimony, Mr. N. does not deny it; but effects shew, more or less, their cause. And then here it was exactly what was needed, if it be true; just the point of progress at which Christianity had arrived. The Jews who sent Saul had denied and rejected it. The time was come to bring out the Church as such, and the Gentiles into a place common to them and to the Jews, dropping the privileges of the Jews (forfeited by rebellion persevered in against mercy); for they had "filled up their sins, and wrath was come upon them to the uttermost." The doctrine of Paul (of the reception of the Gentiles, and the building of the Church in union with its Head, Christ in glory) all flows naturally and necessarily from the vision on the way to Damascus; the sovereign grace which gave it to a Saul, stamped its character throughout.

My business is not with the logic of the apostle, but with his truth, with his testimony. I may look for it in Mr. N.; and his reasonings, which expect logic from a witness instead of his testimony, are as illogical as they are narrow and petty in their scope of apprehension of the character and effect of the evidence.

Mr. N. says, "Peter does not attest the bodily, but only the spiritual resurrection of Jesus." (Phases, p. 184.) I can only say to this, that Mr. N.'s views of Greek are as narrow as of logic. Indeed, he must be a hardy man, and have very "lax notions of evidence," who could allege Peter as one who attested only the spiritual resurrection of Jesus. He it is who declared the twelve were witnesses of it, having eaten and drunk with Him after He rose from the dead. They preached Jesus and the resurrection — that neither did His soul remain in Hades, nor His flesh see corruption. He it was who proposed that one of those who had constantly accompanied Jesus should be with them — a witness of His resurrection.

293 But will Mr. N. say that ζωοποιηβεὶς πνεύματι or τῳ π. means simply that His spirit was raised and not His body? Is that the simple force of the dative in Greek (viz., to be the direct object of the active power of the verb)? Mr. N. knows just as well as I do that it is not; and that his remark has no solid foundation whatever. For if Mr. N.'s remark has any weight, it is that ζ. π. meant that His spirit was made alive. On the face of it this would be absurd, because the only thing put to death, if we so take it, was the flesh; for it is said, θανατωθεὶς μὲν σαρξί. The enquiry as to the Messianic prophecies remains.