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CHURCH REACTION BY MEANS OF ARCHITECTURE AND
ARCHÆOLOGY. This may appear to some of our readers a riddle of a heading, who may also wonder how we, with our very scanty space, can afford to notice any thing so slight as the pamphlet mentioned below. As to the last point we answer, the thing may be nothing in itself, and yet it may shew a great deal. We act on a hint of Sydney Smith's, who improved on Selden's famous mot—"To see how the wind blows, throw up a straw.” “ No,” says the facetious Canon of St. Paul's— “ throw up a Bishop.” The whole Bench will not supply a fitter subject than Bishop Wilberforce. It was he who took the lead in withdrawing the charges against the Bishop of Hereford (Dr. Hampden), and he now takes the lead in attempting to substitute a social intolerance in the place of the legal intolerance of which the Church has been deprived. Until within a few years, no man could, without exposing himself to a heavy penalty, venture to serve the Crown in a public post, or hold a municipal office, unless he was in communion with the Church of England,--a sentence of proscription, which, being with drawn by the Legislature and Government from the great offices of State, is now for the first time announced by a soi-disant learned body, The form of admission to the Bucks Society is as follows: “We, the undersigned, do hereby recommend
being in communion with the Church of England, to be an
Member of the Architectural and Archæological Society of Buckinghamshire.
“ Seconder, The first year's Annual Report of the Society announces more than fifty clerical and rather less than thirty lay members; and we learn also that there are five Societies in union, we presume established on similar principles. In all these Societies, the Bishop of the diocese is at the head, aided by a body of rural deans and other Church officers. It is curious to observe how a body of Protestant clergy are thus becoming socially intolerant, after a similar intolerance had been abandoned by the only ecclesiastical government in Europe. Even before the accession of the present reforming Pope, the Academy of St. Luke at Rome was opened to those who were not in communion with the Church, by the admission of Gibson and other Protestants.
But this former intolerance of the Church of Rome shewn by the constitution of the Academy of St. Luke, has never been the law or custom of the English learned and scientific bodies. Neither the Royal Society or Academy, nor the Society of Antiquaries, nor the Royal Institution, nor any other public literary or scientific institution, has hitherto ever ventured to proclaim a rule so insulting to a very large portion of the community. It was at least permitted to the arts and sciences to be of no church, when the political institutions were thought to be of necessity connected with the Established Church. A curious fact is mentioned by Mr. Weld in his recent History of the Royal Society. When NEWTON was President, the Society for Promoting Christian
* An Inaugural Address delivered by the Right Rev. Lord Bishop of Oxford, &c., as President of the Architectural and Archæological Society for the County of Buckingham, &c., at Aylesbury, July 27, 1848.
Knowledge were desirous of holding their meetings in the Royal Society's rooms. This the President refused to permit, lest the compliance might dissatisfy those of other religions. The December No. of the Philosophical Magazine directs its readers' attention to the contrast between the conduct of Sir Isaac and the Lord Bishop of Oxford, as illustrating the “march of intellect” so proudly boasted of. That architecture and archæology should be the chosen field for this attempted social exclusion, will not surprise those who recollect how the study of archæology was a few years since rendered ancillary to the designs of the pro-papistical party in the Church, which produced a reaction on the part of the low-church members, and gave rise to the famous contest about stone-altars. This led to a temporary dissolution and modification of the Cambridge Camden Society. This is too recent an incident to be overlooked by the Bishop. He has alluded to this occurrence, and insinuates that his joining the Society has been to preserve it against pro-papistical tendencies. To appreciate this part of the Bishop's Address, it is necessary to bear in mind what has been generally overlooked, -that to consider the going over to the Church of Rome as the great peril of the day, is an egregious mistake, when not a wilful misrepresentation. We do not think that there is a single member of the episcopal order who is really yearning for re-union with the Bishop of Rome, anxious to submit to his authority, and deliver up to him the revenues so long withheld. But can we with equal confidence absolve them from the charge of striving, or at least longing, to nationalize Romish practices and locate them at Canterbury?
Those among them to whom this remark applies, in this respect imitate the first Protestant King, who retained every Romish superstition and abuse, except such as interfered with his own personal power and prerogative. "Whoever has been sensible of this will attach no importance whatever to the zeal against Popery so ostentatiously announced by the high-church party, who in this respect emulate the fanaticism of the Calvinistic low-church party. To no other impulse than this is it possible to ascribe the desire, boldly avowed at least by one Bishop, Henry of Exeter, to revive the obsolete forms and rules of the Rubric. These efforts, coupled with the perpetually occurring secessions from the high-church members to the Church of Rome, have indeed raised a spirit of hostility and jealousy among the low-church or pro-Genevan party, and occasioned a division within the Church so definite and distinctly marked, that even the formation of these Archeological Societies can hardly have any conciliatory effect, except among the most uninformed and submissive of the gentry of our agricultural counties. This is the point laboured by the Bishop in his Inaugural Address. He would find in these archæological remains evidences both of the superstition to which the Church of Rome was addicted, and of the irreverence generated by Puritanism; yet in his endeavour to represent the Church of England as holding a just medium between these extremes, he betrays an amusing ignorance of the character of Puritanism. These are his words : “ Instead of it” [the worship of the primitive Christians], " we find the Puritan establishing a merely intellectual worship, or, as he would term it, one purely intelligent and spiritual, and free from the mysticism of sacramental influences.”“Rome debased the truth of Christianity by sensual admixture; Puritanism destroyed its vital power by subliming it into a mere abstraction of the human intellect."
It will be hard for the descendants of the English or Scotch iconoclasts to recognize themselves or their ancestors in this picture.
Insignificant and almost ludicrous as these efforts seem, when opposed to the great effects of the legal tolerance obtained in modern times, it will become us not to disregard the sign of the times. It will be wise to notice the further extension of these county Societies, which are framed to embrace a large number of members, as is seen in the imposition of so small an annual subscription as 58. Our friends who may be members of the Society of Antiquaries will do well to watch the proceedings of that body, in which the Lord Bishop of Oxford and Sir Robert Inglis are Vice-Presidents. We own, however, that we do not expect that a like practice of exclusion will be adopted there. The five shillings of the country gentlemen may be spared, not the four guineas of the F.S.A.'s by which the Society is sustained.
H. C. R.
PRINCIPLES OF TEXTUAL CRITICISM. It is a familiar thought, that the Jewish and Christian Scriptures have exercised an influence in the religious and moral education of a large portion of mankind, the amount or importance of which it is hardly possible too highly to estimate. The part which the same wonderful writings have played, in assisting the literary and intellectual cultivation of our race, does not, perhaps, so immediately or so forcibly strike us. Yet a very little reflection will assure us that this, too, has been of no insignificant importance. Think of the innumerable books that have been written, in our own country, for example, in connection with the Bible-books the existence of which may fairly be ascribed to the existence of the latter : think how this literary labour begins at the earliest period in the modern revival of letters; and how the stream, from its first commencement, has gradually grown in breadth, in depth, in strength and in volume, until now at last it has become a very ocean of literature in itself: think then, again, of the equally abundant materials accumulated by the learned industry of other Christian countries, in modern times—Germany, for instance-and go backward still, through the middle ages, up to the early ecclesiastical writers, with their interminable folios; and further back, again, through the labours of Jewish scribes and commentators, till you come even to Ezra and his great synagogue : what an incalculable amount of power have we here, put forth, as it were, by this Book of books, attracting to it minds of the highest order, calling out and exercising their faculties, and assisting thus, silently, but surely and effectively, in promoting the intellectual, not less than the moral and religious, progress of the human race !
Principles of Textual Criticism, with their Application to the Old and New Testaments. Illustrated with Plates and Fac-similes of Biblical Documents. By J. Scott Porter, Professor of Sacred Criticism and Theology to the Association of Non-subscribing Presbyterians in Ireland. 1 Vol. 8vo. Pp. 515. London, Simms and M'Intyre.
This reflection presents itself forcibly to us in reading the work, the title of which we have given below. That work contains what is equivalent to a very good history of what has been done, from the earliest ages down to the present time, in one great department of sacred literature; and it thus gives the reader some idea of the amount of thought and labour which must have been expended in all the departments of that vast subject, taken in their full extent.
Mr. Porter introduces his handsome and well-printed volume in very modest terms. He says,
"It will be perceived that the present volume is a mere initiatory compend of the most important facts and principles in the Science of Textual Criticism. It is intended for the use of beginners only, and to their wants it has been adapted. Hence it is of a simple and elementary character......Usefulness to the class of readers for whom the book is intended I have kept continually before me—to this I have sacrificed all higher aims and pretensions—and by this principle I have been guided, alike in the admission of certain statements which to some readers may appear too obvious and too well known to require reiteration, and in the exclusion of others, which, though of great importance, are not adapted for the commencing stages of critical study.”—Pref., p. iv.
This statement may serve very well to describe the elementary character of the work. But, we must add, the volume is not adequately described in such a statement. It is, also, a tolerably full and complete treatise on the subject to which it relates; and it is distinguished throughout by great clearness, both of style and of arrangement.
It is hardly necessary to observe that, in a work like this, and on such a subject, there is little possibility of introducing what may be entitled to the name of new, or original, matter. The main excellence to be aimed at is accuracy and clearness of statement. In saying, therefore, that these qualities characterize the volume before us, although accompanied by a little occasional diffuseness, we give it the highest praise,-praise in no way diminished by the fact that the work is, chiefly, a republication, in a compendious and useful form, of what has been often written before, on the subjects that come under notice.
The volume comprises three Books. Book I. states the general Principles of Textual Criticism, as applicable to any ancient writings whatever; Book II. treats of the materials, and the mode of applying those principles to the text of the Old, and Book III. to the text of the New Testament. Each Book is divided into several Chapters, on distinct branches of the general subject; and throughout the volume references are given to important authorities, chiefly in Latin or English, in whose works the different points that arise may be found more fully discussed, by the reader who may wish to go to the original sources.
We cannot accompany the author through the wide field which he traverses. Nor is it necessary to do so. Our object of recommending the work to the attention of our readers will be attained if we endeavour to give some brief account of its contents, and select for notice one or two topics of interest, among many such that offer themselves to us in reading it.
The first Book, on the general Principles of Criticism, is, as might be expected, the least interesting of the three. It is also the shortest, forming less than a tenth of the entire volume. It comprises (1) a brief statement of the object, and some illustration of the necessity, of the
science; (2) an enumeration of the aids available for ascertaining the original text, namely, Manuscripts, Ancient Versions, and Citations in the works of early writers ;-these forming the external evidence bearing on the subject. (3) A chapter is devoted to an examination of the value and weight of this external evidence, and (4) another to a statement of the causes and classes of various readings, with examples in illustration. (5) We have a summary of the rules according to which the comparative value of different readings is to be determined, -a chapter in which the author follows Griesbach pretty closely, giving such examples as may serve for needful proof and explanation.
In accordance, then, with the general principles thus clearly laid down in the first Book, Mr. Porter proceeds, in the two following Books, to the Criticism of the Old and of the New Testament. Chapter 1. of Book II. contains a brief, in some points too brief, history of the Old-Testament text. In this history, the condition of the text in different periods is described, the efforts made for its preservation or restoration are related, and the author concludes by awarding a just tribute of praise to the learned men of the Jewish nation who have bestowed such incredible pains in the endeavour to secure the integrity of their sacred books. Mr. Porter, however, is not quite satisfied with what has, as yet, been done in this department of biblical learning. He remarks that“ a critical edition of the Hebrew text is still a desideratum,"—and that “no one has attempted to do for the Old Testament what Bengel, Matthæi, Griesbach, Scholz and Lachman have endeavoured to accomplish for the New." (P. 66.) We can hardly assent to the opinion that such an edition is now a necessary thing. The works of Kennicott and others sufficiently assure us, that the various readings of the Hebrew text are, generally speaking, so unimportant, as to render it needless for any one to go to the expense either of preparing, or of purchasing when prepared, a critical text such as Mr. Porter desiderates. In the more recent commentaries on separate books, any variation of reading affecting the sense is generally noticed, and this seems to be quite sufficient for all practical purposes. Our common text is therefore, at any rate, correct enough. This, indeed, Mr. Porter himself acknowledges, when he says on the same page from which we have just quoted, “ If every alteration that has ever been suggested, since the invention of printing, were implicitly adopted-and many of them are such as no modern critic would ever think of introducing-still the main substance of the sacred books would remain untouched. The innovations would not affect the essential facts, nor even the important circumstances of the history, much less the essential doctrines of religion; but such matters as the turn of a phrase, the force of a figure, or the parallelism of a sentence, or, at most, the circumstances of a historical fact." And comparatively rarely, we must add, are the various readings even of so much importance as this statement implies. On a previous page, Mr. Porter, speaking of the collections of various readings published by Kennicott and De Rossi, observes that the two works of these critics, “ taken together, exhibit many hundred thousand, probably upwards of a million, of various readings; but, of these, multitudes are perfectly insignificant, consisting only of different modes of spelling or writing the same word—the presence or absence of the quiescent letters jod and vau, and similar minutiæ, none of which affect the sense, and very few