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Marked as the difference is between Dr. Schenkel and his translator, as to the amount of definiteness in the aims of Jesus, there is another question, not less interesting, on which they divide even more sharply. It is the question of the socalled miracles ascribed to Jesus in the Gospels. Of course Dr. Furness would insist, as earnestly as Dr. Schenkel, that the theological miracle is impossible; that there can be no such thing as a violation of natural law. Of course they are united in believing that the miracles of Jesus are not credentials, and do not make the truth of his teaching any truer or any more authoritative than it would otherwise be. They are also agreed that the miraculous accounts pertaining to the birth and infancy of Jesus have no historical validity. But there is still much room for difference. Schenkel allows that Jesus was possessed of healing power. With his estimate of the Gospels, he can do no less. But he does this only because he is compelled. He does not rejoice in doing it. He would certainly be better pleased if he could eliminate every atom of this wonder-working from the text. This he cannot do; but he does not go an inch further than he is compelled to go. And, when he comes to any thing of this sort that he feels must be historic, he still makes every possible allowance for exaggeration, and ascribes the largest possible proportion of the effect produced to "faith." The words of Jesus to the woman that had touched his garment, "Thy faith hath made thee whole," are the key with which he unlocks the majority of these accounts. He further imagines, that he can trace in Jesus a growing dislike of these wonders, and a limiting of them almost entirely to those afflicted with insanity. Very different is Dr. Furness's treatment of these same accounts. He fondles them most lovingly. He makes the most of them. It is scarcely necessary for him to suppose "faith" on the part of the diseased. The power of Jesus of itself is quite sufficient. What Dr. Schenkel trips over as lightly as he can, Dr. Furness dwells upon with constantly increasing admiration.

But, outside of these reports of sudden cures, Dr. Schenkel accepts nothing. The blasting of the fig-tree is a distorted

parable. The miracle of Cana was no miracle: Jesus had provided wine in case the first supply should be exhausted. The Transfiguration points to a private conversation, in which Jesus told a few of his disciples of his relation to Moses and the prophets. Jairus's daughter was not dead; Jesus himself said so. The raising of Lazarus is in the fourth Gospel; and the fourth Gospel is not authentic. The stilling of the sea,— it was the stilling of men's fears. The feeding of the multitude was a spiritual feast. The resurrection of Jesus, - it was a purely internal experience, not an external fact: that his fleshly body ever rose again we have no reason to believe.

But Dr. Schenkel does not strengthen his position when he says that these accounts of miracle involve the idea of omnipotence, and gives this as a reason for rejecting them. Even Mr. Mansel has allowed that no bystander can testify to a miracle. He can only testify to certain exceptional appearances. He can know nothing of their essential character. It were well to keep the question on this plane, — to speak of the miracles of the New Testament as so many phenomena, and weigh the evidence accordingly. But the more remarkable the phenomenon reported, the more faithfully should we sift the evidence. We are by no means bound to believe the story of a resurrection on the same amount of evidence as would convince us that a certain man died on a certain day. But let us rest our incredulity upon the isolated character of the event, not on its impossibility. For, until we know all the laws of nature, scarcely can we say of any thing reported that for it to happen is impossible. But its unwontedness may furnish, on the one hand, a presumption against the truth of it; and if, on the other hand, we find that the report can be accounted for without supposing any, or scarcely any, basis in fact, we are certainly at liberty to disbelieve.

Dr. Schenkel's position will be attacked from two directions. It will be denied that miracles are violations of natural law, and hence impossible. And it is to be regretted that he has put the term impossibility where the term improbability, based on unwontedness, would have done as well.

But, again, it will be argued against him that he has not shown how these accounts arose, supposing that they do not point to actual occurrences. Nor can it be denied that many of his explanations of the genesis of these accounts are more curious than satisfactory. But the general principle, that it was natural that this parasitic growth of miracle should fasten itself to the living personality of Jesus, considering the time in which he lived and his relation to it, does not depend upon these explanations; it does not stand or fall with our ability to state exactly in what manner the blasting of a fig-tree, or the resurrection of a dead person, came to be regarded as a fact. It is enough to make it evident that such reports would naturally arise. If it is impossible to say in any case how they arose, it surely is not less impossible to state how Jairus's daughter arose from her bed, or Lazarus from his tomb; while the general probability is less a thousand times in the second case than in the first. Not but that Dr. Furness, while denying somewhat less confidently than Dr. Schenkel that Jesus had control over the powers of nature, thinks that nothing could have been more "natural" than that Lazarus should come forth at the command of Jesus. But when in this case, or in any other, we come down to particulars, it is invariably the verbal and circumstantial setting of the event, not the event itself, which is so full of naturalAnd this is only what we should expect.


We have spoken at some length of Dr. Schenkel's treatment of the miracles, because we feel that, on the whole, it is a great success. He has not been at the mercy of any particular hypothesis. Never did critic shun more carefully "the falsehood of extremes." Others may succeed better in showing us how these reports of miracle arose. As belonging to the history of opinions, it is a matter of no small importance. But of the Life of Jesus they can no longer be considered an essential part. Even such of them as survive the ordeal of criticism do not affect our estimate of his character. For to argue from his character to his miracles, as both Drs. Schenkel and Furness do, and then to argue back again from his miracles to his character, is manifestly absurd.

But these volumes are as significant in their omissions as in any thing that they assert. Where the Church affects to see a great mountain of dogma, Schenkel sees nothing of the sort. The idea of a Church, of a communion, does indeed pervade his book; but it is a Church without dogmas, without a ritual. Its only creeds are righteousness and love. So simple is its structure, that there seems to be no reason to suppose that Jesus ever took the pains to form it that Dr. Schenkel indicates. Such as it is, it might have grown-it must have grown-out of a heart like that which Jesus carried in his breast. But Dr. Schenkel's negative result is full of hope. It reconciles us to a great deal of passionate attachment to the person of Jesus, to consider, that, just in proportion as the Church discovers him in his real character, it must, if it is honest, cease to believe the pernicious doctrines it has cherished in his name. So much has been achieved already, that it seems not too much to hope, that, when his form shall be revealed in all its beauty, he will be seen, not sitting on a throne demanding homage, but looking up as Beatrice looked into the everlasting glory of another greater than himself. Then God grant that the great Church that he has led so long, following his gaze, as Dante followed Beatrice's in the wondrous tale, may see at length that vision of the Father ever present with his children, which flooded him with so much strength and peace!


THAT the highest interest of man is to know the truth, and the highest prerogative of intellect to discover it, are propositions which, though questioned by none, are reduced to practice by few. Numerous causes such as preconceived ideas, deference to popular belief, dread of inconsistency, party feeling, and bias of temperament - act powerfully to warp the judgment and mislead the intellect in the work of

inquiry. So potent are these disturbing influences, that it becomes the highest discipline of the highest natures to guard against them. Even the most gifted minds are liable to be perverted in their action by circumstances commonly regarded as trivial. The great Newton, whose majestic intellect we are wont to think moved in unequalled serenity above the clouds of passion, was so disturbed by the collisions incident to discussion in the meetings of the Royal Society, that he desired the interchange of opinion to take the form of private conference, declaring that "what's done before many witnesses is seldom without some further concern than that for truth." But, while the attainment of truth is hindered by many causes, and we are hence bound to extend a large charity to opponents, there are certain excesses into which writers are prone to fall that we are not for a moment at liberty to tolerate. In these times, when no interests are too vital and no opinions too sacred to escape the assaults of destructive criticism, and when all grades and classes of thinkers are drawn into the vortex of controversy, the danger from over-zeal and over-timidity, as well as from less worthy motives, is greatly heightened; and we are required to insist, with redoubled emphasis, upon a rigorous circumspection in the treatment of adverse views. With the increasing seriousness of conviction and boldness of inquiry which mark our age, a higher standard of justice and honor, and a more thorough conscientiousness in the management of discussion, are to be imperatively demanded. Carelessness of statement, gratuitous imputation of evil motives, misrepresentations of meaning, and all the petty tricks by which a writer seeks to bring an author into reproach, should be sternly reprobated.

Among other ways in which a hostile critic may easily injure an author whose views he dislikes is that of picking out some real or apparent error or incompleteness of knowledge, and so presenting it as to carry an implication damaging to his works at large. An example of this has been furnished by the "North-American Review," in a reference to the pamphlet on the Classification of the Sciences:

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