It is therefore to -be presumed, from this and other reasons, that Dr. An opinion somewhat similar to this is expressed in a very learned periodical, of which the first number has just appeared, in a German review of the " Essays and Beviews ," where we find in p. Williams, derive their dogmatic views — gave up on paper the original interpretation of the 53rd chapter of Isaiah. It is clear that the writer views, as I do, the Essay of Dr. Williams believes that it is for the interest of man, and likely to pro- mote the advancement of religious truth, that the everlasting contests which have been carried on in Germany about the genuineness of the Scriptures and the truth of their main facts should be imported into our English literature, and occupy a large share of our attention, he has a right to introduce help thesis them to any extent he may desire, by writings addressed to those who are capable of investigating the questions thus brought forward : the fair discussion of Scripture difficulties will not endanger the cause of truth, and we, who believe that the truth is with those who are opposed to Dr. This is a critical journal and review printed at Leipzig, and published at Grotha, by Perthes, hut conducted by Germans living in England. We have no fear that the truth of Scripture, which has borne for more than a thousand years the battle and the strife of man, will succumb under a puny attack like this. It has survived the assaults of Celsus and Porphyry, of Bayle and Voltaire, of Gibbon and Hume, and it is not very likely that it will fall by the hands of Bunsen and Dr.
It is the unfair repre- sentations, the partial and the one-sided views of this Essay, announced ex cathedra, help thesis and coupled with con- temptuous insinuations against those who hold the ancient opinions, which render it worth while to spend a moment in answering it. 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 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.
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 help thesis 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 pleased God to endow him. And in considering this portion of his 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.
We ought not, therefore, to be surprised at finding that, after deny- ing the genuineness of half the books in the Bible, and treating a very large portion of its history as mere idle tales or legendary myths, Baron Bunsen, to the very end of his life, had a great love for devotional hymns, framed upon a very different hypothesis, and addressed to a very different state of mind.