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The best interpre- tation of a law is the practice of those who lived at the time when the law was delivered.
And when we find not only a contemporaneous and uniform practice immediately after the delivery of the law, but also a continuous and uninterrupted usage for many cen- turies after the law was given, we ma accept that usage as affording the clearest exposition of the mean- ing of the law.
From the time of the Apostles for fifteen hundred years there was no Church in Chris- tendom without a Bishop y. The Essayist says that in the Interpretation of Scrip- ture he has nothing to do with " subsequent history. The Essayist seems to have felt that his readers would naturally ask, — What have been the fruits of his method of inter- pretation? He answers these questions with the following as- sertion : — The science of Biblical Criticism, he informs us, has made some progress in our own day. In Eng- land, it is true, in his opinion, we have not done much.
Among ourselves " the Interpretation of Scripture has assumed an apologetic character, as though making an effort to defend itself against some supposed inroad of science and criticism V But our continental friends, it seems, are more ad- venturous, and therefore more prosperous. The Essay- ist tells us that " among German commentators there is, for the first time in the history of the world, an ap- proach to agreement and certainty ,a. They make no such professions of "agreement and certainty," as th. Most Biblical critics are aware, that at the close of the last century, and in the earlier part of the present, Eationalism was dominant in top custom essay services the theological schools of Germany. But no one now ever reads their writings, or cares one jot for their theories. The books which contain them are waste paper, and are wrapping top custom essay services up ". Paulus and Wegscheider, and Gabler, have shared the fate which, as Burke says, b See above, p.
But to say that German exegesis has found a safe mooring and anchorage in the calm and quiet harbour of "agree- ment and certainty," is to venture upon an assertion which any one who has dipped into the first pages of any German Einlcitung, is able to refute. Let us read on: — "The diversity among German wri- ters on prophecy is far less than among English ones. With regard to the prophecies of the New Testa- ment, the claim set up on behalf of German inter- preters is not much more tenable. If the reader will have the goodness to look at the Introduction to that volume, he will see that not only is there great diversity among German wri- ters with regard to the plan of that prophetical book, — the only prophetical book of the New Testament, — but also with respect to its date, and even the person of its author, and he will be satisfied that "the new phenomenon," of which the Essayist speaks, is in fact, in the proper sense of the word, no phenomenon at all, for it is not yet visible, nor seems likely to appear on the horizon for some time to come.
How can we account for the celebrity of the volume entitled " Essays and Ee top custom essay services views? The stations which they occupy in the Church, and in one of our Universities, have given to this volume an importance which it would not otherwise have ac- quired. If it had been produced by authors who had no such adscititious advantages, it would long since have slept in oblivion. They wear the uniform of the Church, and are mingled in her ranks, and fight against her, and therefore they may well say — " Vadimus immixti Danais Jiaud numine nostro, Multaque per caecam congressi prcelia noctem Conserimus, multos Danaum demittimus Oreo" Among many evidences of this, we may refer to one which now meets us.
The Essayist is charging the Biblical critics of his own age with disingenuous- ness. They will not allow, he says, that there "is any error in the Word of God j. The failure of pro- phecy is never admitted" by them, "in spite of Scripture and of history, (Jer. But to return to the specific charge concerning the supposed failure of prophecy. On this, and similar allegations in this Essay, let us offer one general remark. A few copies of a single edition of them have been sold. Then the intelligence contained in them is devoured with eager appetite by many thousand readers, like the most interesting news in the columns of the daily press. The allegation just quoted may serve as a specimen. It is only a repetition of an objection which appeared ten years ago in a sceptical book called " The Creed of Christendom 13 ," which is certainly not inferior in 1 Essay, p.
Let us place the passages from the two volumes side by side : — Creed of Christendom, p. Essays and Reviews, " It is now clearly ascertained, PP- 342-3. The Essayist says that "a failure of prophecy is never admitted" i. The Sceptic cites two instances of alleged failure : both these instances are also cited by the Essayist.
And the Essayist must not be surprised to hear that on the score of ingenuousness the balance is in favour of the Sceptic.
Because the Sceptic tells us honestly in tvhat the alleged failure consists : he cites chapter top custom essay services and verse of the passage of history which he asserts to be at variance with the prophecy. The failure of a prophecy "is never admitted, in spite of Scripture and his- toryP What! Is this a specimen of the new school of Biblical criticism which the Essayist would establish? Nb : surely this insidious language of insinuation and inuendo can never become current in an English Uni- versity. It is utterly un-English, and, we must needs add, utterly un-Christian. Fortunately the Sceptic enables us to fill up the gap left by the Essayist. There the sacred historian relates that " Je- hoiakim slept with his fathers, and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.