« PreviousContinue »
eodem spiritu intelligere, et si necesse sit, interpretari potest. — iii. 4, p. 44. ......Nullus adeo illitteratus, surdus aut tam remoto loco positus est, quem non attingat et recte instruat; cujus etiam spiritus evidentia et revelatio ea sola est, qua difficultatibus illis, quæ de scripturis occurrunt, liberamur.
• Though the sacred Scriptures contain truth, they are not themselves the truth, but God and Jesus Christ are that truth. Properly speaking, the Bible itself does not give eternal life, but God, who is life, works it in us.
We are to believe the mouth, i, e., the Holy Spirit, who still speaks to us, rather than the pen of the writers whom he employed. Divine truth is infinite, nor can it be restricted to any letter; therefore there may be many truths which are divine truths, without being strictly contained in Scripture, and which to reject merely because they are not found in Scripture, would be sinful. We are not to believe a doctrine because it is writ. ten, but because it comes from God. (In contrast with a degenerate adherence to the letter in later times, such views are worthy of notice.) See Arnold, Kirchen-und Ketzerhistorie, vol. ii. p. 687. (Frankf. edit., 1700.)
• In common with the Roman Catholic Church, and in opposition to the principle adopted by the Quakers, Protestants assert the necessity of having something positive, which is objectively given, but find it in Scripture alone and not in the authority of the church. In common with the Quakers, and in opposition to Roman Catholics, they are anti-catholic, rejecting the authority of the church. Thus the Quakers will regard the historico-positive tendency of Protestantism as a catholic element, while Roman Catholics will charge that principle with fomenting divisions, because of its internal and subjective character.
B. THE RATIONALISTIC PRINCIPLE. (SOCINIANS.)
Protestants not only rejected these mystical notions, but also the rationalistic principle, according to which the authority of Scripture is subordinate to that of reason, and its interpretation made to depend on the so-called truths of reason. Such a doctrine was propounded by the Socinians, who acknowledged the necessity of an external revelation,' and the authority of the Bible, though in the first instance, only of the New Testament,' but, proceeding upon the fundamental principle, that Scripture can not contain anything that is either incomprehensible or contrary to reason (i. e. to the reason of Socinians),' were, in many cases, induced to adopt the most arbitrary interpretations."
· Luther in several passages expressed himself against reason, considering it to be blind in spiritual things.
• Faustus Socinus went so far as to assert the the impossibility of a mere religion of reason without a higher revelation. Opp. ii. p. 454, a. : Homo ipse per se vec se ipsum nec Deum ejusque voluntatem cognoscere potest, sed necesse est, ut hæc illi Deus aliqua ratione patefaciat. Comp. Prælectt. Theol. c. 2. Ostorodt, Unterr. p. 10: “ Men, however, do not derive their knowledge of God, or of divine things, either from nature, or from the contemplation of the works of creation, but from tradition, since God has from the beginning revealed himself to them. Those who have not at all heard of him, are not likely to have any opinion about any one Deity.” The later Socinians departed more or less from these strict supernatural views.*
• Respecting the views of Socinus and his followers about the sacred Scriptures, see the subsequent 88, and Fock's Socianismus. The Socinians, however, received only the New Test. as canonical; see Catech. Racov. p. 1, and Socinus, De Auctor. S. S. c. 1, p. 271, quoted by Winer, pp. 32, 33. In his opinion the Old Test, has only a historical value, but its dogmatic and religious importance is not greater than that which other Protestants ascribe to the Apocrypha. It is useful, but not necessary to be read.
Schlichting, Diss. de. Trin. p. 70: Mysteria divina non idcirco mysteria dicuntur, quod etiam revelata omnem nostrum intellectum captumve transcendunt, sed quod nonnisi ex revelatione div. cognosci possunt. Comp. C. Zerrenner, neuer Versuch zur Bestimmung der dogmatischen Grundlehren von Offenbarung und heil. Schrift nach den socin. Unitariern, Jena, 1820, 8. Winer, p. 39.
Compare below the 88 on Christology. As the Protestant doctrine of the Scriptures occupies an intermediate position between the Roman Catholic principle and that of the Quakers (241, note 5), so it holds the medium between Quakerism and Socinianism, in eo between a purely internal supernaturalism of feeling, and a purely external supernaturalism of the understanding, which tends to rationalism. The principle of the Protestants is such as to induce them to combine depth with clearness, fervor with sobriety. It must, however, be admitted that this principle has not been always carried out in its purity.
FURTHER DEVELOPMENT OF THE DOCTRINE CONCERNING THE
Inspiration and Interpretation.
Though the Reformers submitted in faith to the authority of Scripture as a divine revelation, they also had an unprejudiced regard to its human side, taking a comprehensive view of inspiration, especially in its practical bearing. But the Protestant theologians
* “The idea of revelation is not at all defined in the symbolical books, and the earlier theologians were either wholly silent on the subject, or gave very indistinct definitions." D Wette, Dogmatik, p. 32. It was discussed anew in the controversy with the Deists.
of later times frequently manifested such a narrow adherence to the letter of Scripture, that in opposition to the less rigid views of Arminians' and Socinians, they were induced to hazard the most bold assertions. The orthodox divines also developed the formal aspect of the locus de Scriptura, while the mystics reminded men that “ the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.” Spener, in particular, endeavoured to revive the Protestant principle of Scripture in its practical bearings, and thus to reconcile the spirit with the letter, in the sense of true Protestantism.” The Catholic church in general, held firmly to inspiration, though the views of the Jansenists on this point were stricter than those of the Jesuits. -As regards the interpretation of Scripture, theologians of all denominations employed (consciously or unconsciously) the allegorical system, together with the grammatico-historical; but the latter was frequently domineered over by the dogmatism of the church doctrines.'—While Coccejus taught that every passage of Scripture was pregnant with sense, the example of the Arminians and Socinians, who were most earnest for a moderate intepretation, was followed by others." Even the Socinian principle that revelation can not contradict reason, was approved of by some, especially toward the close of the present period."
· Luther had experienced in his own case the practical blessings of the Scripture, and everywhere shows the profoundest reverence for the Bible and the most lively sense of its divine blessedness, and of its peculiar worth as distinguished from other writings. So that he does not scruple to say, that we must look upon the Scripture, “ as if God himself had spoken therein” (against Latonius, in Walch, xviii., p. 1456); and he calls the Holy Spirit " the most clear and simple writer there is in heaven and on earth" (Walch, xviii., 1602). Once he terms the holy word of Scripture "God himself" (Walch, ix., 688)......" To sum up all, the Holy Bible is the most excellent and best book of God, full of comfort in all temptations; concerning faith, hope, and love, it teaches very different things from those which reason can see and feel, comprehend and experience; and in adversities it teaches how Christian virtues are to shine forth, and that there is another and eternal life beyond this poor and miserable one." Tischreden (Francf., 1576), fol. 1. Along with this profound reverence for Scripture, he also expressed himself very freely about individual writers ; thus, in the Preface to his New Test. about the Epistles of James (epistola straminea) and Jude, about the Apocalypse, etc.* Comp. the Preface to W. Linkens, Annotat. über die fünf
* Of special importance for the history of criticism at that time is the work of Carlstadt, De Canonicis Scripturis, written in 1520, edited by Credner in bis zur Geschichte des Kanons, Halle, 1847. Carlstadt found Luther's opinion about James reprehensible. On the other hand he earnestly defended the exclusion of the Old Testament Apochrypa from the canon ; see Jäger's Carlstadt, p. 92 sq. Brenz agreed with Luther about the Catholic Epistles and the Apocalypse; but like Carlstadt, decidedly rejected the Apocrypha of the
Bücher Moses: “And doubtless the prophets studied Moses, and the later prophets studied the earlier ones, and wrote down in a book their good thoughts, inspired by the Holy Ghost. And though these good and true teachers and searchers sometimes fell upon hay, straw, and wood, and did not build of pure silver, gold, and precious stones alone, yet the foundation remains; the rest will be burnt up by the fire of the great day, as St. Paul
; says (1 Cor. ii. 13).” In another place he says (Walch, vii. 2044): “ Moses and the prophets preached, but in them we do not hear God himself ; for Moses received the law from the angels, and so had a less high order. When now I hear Moses, enjoining good works, I hear him as I do one, who executes the orders of an emperor or prince. But this is not to hear God himself. For when God himself talks with men, they cannot hear anything but pure grace, pity, and all that is good.” That Luther concedes the existence of historical contradictions (e. g. between the Pentateuch and Stephen's address), is shown by Schenkel, ubi supra, i. 56.f Compare the passages in which ho distinctly declares that Christ is above the Scripture ; and that when the opponents insist upon Scripture against Christ, he “insists upon Christ against the Scriptures” (Walch, viii. 2140, and xix. 1749, in Schenkel, 226, 89.).—Melancthon, too, only claims freedom from error in the apostles as to doctrine, but not in the application of doctrine (as in the difference between Paul and Barnabas, and the relation of Peter to Paul in Antioch); see his Postil. Part II., p. 985. Heppe (p. 222), says " that there is no trace in Melancthon of a proper theory of inspiration !" Zuingle also judged of Scripture without preconceived notions, and considered the principal proof of its Divine origin to consist in the practical effects which it produces......“ Take some good and strong wine; he who is in good health enjoys it, for it renders him merry, strengthens him, and warms his blood; but he who is suffering from pestilence or from fever may not even taste it, and still less drink it, and he wonders how people in health can drink it. But that is not on account of the wine, but on account of his disease. In the same manner the Word of God is perfect in itself, and revealed for the welfare of man; but he who neither loves it, nor understands it, nor will receive it, is sick. Thus much in reply to those who daringly assert, that God does not mean bis Word to be understood, as if he desired to exclude us from its light.” (Deutsche Schriften, i. p. 68.)—In Calvin, on the other hand, we find very strict ideas on inspiration ; Instit. I. c. 7,4 : Tenendum, non ante stabiliri doctrinæ fidem, quam nobis indubie persuasum sit, auctorem ejus esse Deum. He appeals to the-testimonium Spiritus Sancti. Idem ergo Spiritus, qui per os prophetarum loquutus est, in corda nostra penetret necesse est, ut persuadeat fideliter protulisse, quod divinitus erat mandatum...... Illius (Spiritus Sancti) virtute illuminati, jam
Old Testament; see Heppe, p. 224. Among the Lutheran theologians, Haffenreffer, is the last who walks in this track, he calls the evtihéyoueva of the New Testament, outright, the Libri Nov. Test. Apocryphi; see Heppe, p. 244. On the views of the Reformed divines, see Heppe, p. 254. [Musculus, Zanchius and Hyperius mention these books as having less external corroboration than the others ; though enough to make them canonical.]
† Bretschneider collected the freer statements of Luther about inspiration, in his work, Luther und seine Zeit, 1817, pp. 97-99.
non aut nostro, aut aliorum judicio credimus, a Deo esse Scripturam ; sed supra humanum judicium, certo certius constituimus (non secus ac si ipsius Dei numen illic intueremur), hominum ministerio ab ipsissimo Dei ore ad nos fluxisse. Other passages in Schenkel, i. 62, 89. But with all this, Calvin grants a difference in Scripture, in respect to form. Instit. I. 8, 1: Lege Demosthenem aut Ciceronem, lege Platonem, Aristotelem, aut alios quosvis ex illa cohorte ; mirum in modum, fateor, te allicient, oblectabunt, movebunt, rapient : verum inde si ad sacram istam lectionem te conferas, velis polis ita vivide te afliciet, ita cor tuum penetrabit, ita medullis insidebit, ut præ istius sensus efficacia vis illa rhetorum ac philosophorum prope evanescat, ut promtum sit perspicere, divinum quiddam spirare sacras scripturas, quæ omnes humanæ industriæ dotes ac gratias tanto intervallo superent. 2 : Fateor quidem Prophetis nonnullis elegans et nitidum, imo etiam splendidum esse dicendi genus, ut profanis scriptoribus non cedat facundia, ac talibus exemplis voluit ostendere Spir. S. non sibi defuisse eloquentiam, dum rudi et crasso stilo alibi usus est. As instances he adduces David and Isaiah on the one hand, Amos, Jeremiah, and Zechariah (quorum asperior sermo rusticitatem sapit) on the other.
Limborch. Theol. Christ. i. 4, 10: De inspiratione Script. S. concludimus hinc, libros hosce a viris divinis scriptos, qui non tantum non errarunt, sed et, quia spiritu Dei regebantur, in tradenda voluntate divina errare non potuerunt; qui, sicut non propria voluntate, sed instinctu Spiritus S. ad scribendum se accinxerunt (2 Petr. i. 21), ita etiam in scribendo a Spir. S. directi fuerunt (2 Tim. iii. 6), adeo ut errorem nullum committere potuerint, nec in sensu ipso exprimendo, nec in verbis sensum continentibus divinum conscribendis aut dictandis. Si quædam non eracte definiverint, fuere ea non res fidei aut præcepta morum, sed rerum majorum parvæ circumstantiæ, ad fidem fulciendam nullum habentes momentum, circa quas tamen non errarunt aut memoria lapsi sunt, solummodo eas, quia necesse non erat, accurate et præcise non determinarunt.-Grotius, indeed, made much bolder assertions in his Votum pro Pace ecclesiastica (De canonicis scripturis.—Opp. Theol. Amst., 1679, T. iii. p. 672) Non omnes libros, qui sunt in hebræo Canone, dictatos a Spir. S.... scriptos esse cum pio animi motu non nego.... sed a Spiritu Sancto dictari historias nihil fuit opus.... Vox quoque Spiritus Sancti ambigua est; nam aut significat.... afflatum divinum, qualem habuere tum Prophetæ ordinarii, tum interdum David et Daniel, aut significat pium motum, sive facultatem impellentem ad loquendum salutaria vivendi præcepta, vel res politicas et civiles, etc. (compare the subsequent chapters on different readings, etc.) Episcopius also passed judgment with much freedom on the canon (Institutt. iv. 1, 4): In hoc volumine continentur varii libelli, non qui singuli singulas religionis christianæ particulas in se habent, et conjuncti totam religionem christianam complectuntur ac constituunt; seu veluti partes essentiales totum, adeo ut si unus tantum deficeret aut deesset, religio Christi tota destruenda et plane desitura aut defutura esset ; seu veluti partes inte grales, ita ut librorum istorum uno aut pluribus deficientibus religio Christi mutila et trunca esset futura. Nihil minus : plures enim sunt libelli, qui nihil continent, quod non in aliis et sæpius et luculentius reperitur; et sunt, qui nihil ad religionem christianam magnopere faciens continent. Denique