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They may deceive the unlearned and the superficial, but there is really nothing in the Essay itself which adds a new argu- ment to the old conditions of the great problem, or would give the smallest uneasiness to those who really know the history of Scripture criticism in Germany and England. These accusations may ap- pear to be expressed in strong language, but if they can be substantiated they will shew that, however AND DR. Williams may be, however capable of writing a trustworthy treatise on Scripture, the Essay he has ventured to publish in this volume is worthless as a guide to truth, and altogether unworthy of his reputation and his position.
It is a very legitimate subject of enquiry to ascertain generally, whether the representations of this Essay, or Eeview, are trust- worthy or not, and to that enquiry I now propose to devote my attention. It deals with vast questions and it abounds in very strong assertions free custom research papers concerning them, and in the most peremptory decisions about matters of vital import- ance as to Scripture truth and Scripture interpreta- tion.
The question before us is — "What is the value of these assertions and decisions? Before we enter on the great point, — the truth of Scripture and the true method of interpreting it, — as Baron Bunsen was the peg on which this Essay was suspended, it would be uncourteous not to make a few remarks on his life and labours. Entirely opposed, as I have always been, to the opinions of Baron Bunsen, I have no wish to detract from his merit or to diminish best custom essay writing services his legitimate reputa- tion.
I believe that few persons will be disposed to deny his abilities and acquirements, although during the time he was in great favour with the sovereigns of Prussia and of England it is probable that the adulation of his followers may have given exaggerated notions of both. Such leisure as was afforded by a life of high diplomatic employments was eagerly devoted to literature, and I believe that he had a very earnest spirit with regard to religion. But, unhap- pily, these high qualifications were combined with other habits of mind, which neutralized their value, 6 4 BUNSEN, THE CRITICAL SCHOOL, and rendered his Biblical researches unsound and mischievous. He appears to have been self-confident in the extreme, and rash in speculation, almost be- yond the example of his countrymen.
The adulation of his friends and followers increased his self-confi- dence, gave license to his spirit of speculation, and thus he announced his decisions with a degree of dogmatism which contrasted very strongly with the argumentative support on which they rested. He was born and educated in Germany at a season when the religious faith of the country had been almost overwhelmed by the torrent of unbridled rationalism, and even the lamp of religious feeling burnt very feebly. Williams appears to consider it a time of glorious light and knowledge. Even the conservatism of Jahn amongst Komanists, and of Hengstenberg amongst Protestants, is free and ra- tional compared to what is often in this country required with denunciation, but seldom defended by argument.
That Baron Bunsen did not give up his devotional feelings and his earnestness in religion is not to be ascribed to the teaching of the period in which he was educated, but to the more religious frame of mind with which it had free custom research papers pleased God to endow him. And in considering this portion of his free custom research papers character we must never forget the difference between the German and the English mind.
The paradise of the German appears to consist in unlimited license of speculation, while the practical element is the prevailing characteristic of the English : and thus it often happens that a German will not cast off a cer- tain phase of faith when he has demolished every ground which an Englishman would deem a rational and logical foundation for holding it.
L The state of opinion as to the Scriptures among the learned men of Germany.
And Baron Bunsen, accepting this state of the ques- tion e , is highly free custom research papers praised by Dr. Williams for endea- vouring on this hypothesis to shew that the doctrine of the Bible contains divine truths. In fact, he agrees in details with no writer of eminence whatever, but simply considers himself at liberty to assign any date to any book of the Bible, to explain any part of it as legendary or para- bolical, and to correct its authors on all questions in the most arbitrary manner.
It would be easy to multiply these instances to any extent, but it is needless — as needless as to refute such gratuitous assertions and suppositions in detail. Were every one help me write essay of them proved impossible, their author would have been ready the next day with another list, just as gratuitous, just as unfounded, and just as absurd.
Williams relates to the interpretation of prophecy in our country. I propose, in the second place, to examine this statement.
I then propose to examine in detail the mis- representations of Dr. Williams in regard to particular passages of Scripture. The first and greatest misrepresentation on which I would remark occurs in a passage which has just been quoted, but it pervades also the whole Essay. It is the attempt to insinuate, rather than to assert, that the opinion of the genuineness of the Old Testament and a very large part of the New has been universally given up by the scholars of Germany, and that they have proved that it cannot be maintained. The con- temptuous language with which an opposite view is treated may be judged of by the following specimen.
After an enumeration of all the triumphs of phi- lology over prophecy, by which only a few doubtful passages are left to testify of the Messiah and one of the final fall of Jerusalem, and a declaration that even these few cases are likely to melt, "if not already melted, in the crucible of searching enquiry," the author proceeds thus :— " If our German had ignored all that the masters of phi- lology have proved on these subjects, his countrymen would have raised a storm of ridicule, at which he must have drowned himself in the Neckar.