« ZurückWeiter »
unless on the watch, is not unlikely to incur it, wheu engaged and absorbed in these startling revelations.
The great question of the day—viz., the dis-establishnient and disendowment of the Established Church in Ireland—has no place in the volume. It is one of that magnitude, of that serious responsibility towards God, and, as we think, of that disastrous character, which must silence the lips and restrain the pen, except it could be treated in its own place and according to its full claims. May God give fresh life and energy to our prayers, and answer them "exceeding abundantly beyond all we can ask or think," in connexion with that land, "that peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, may be established among us for all generations!"
DEAN HOWSOX'S METAPHORS OF ST. PAUL.
The Metaphors of St. Paul. By John S. Howson, D.D., Dean of Chester. Strahan fy Go.
Those who have derived pleasure and profit from " The Life and Epistles of St. Paul," (and what biblical student is there who is not, more or less, indebted to that work?) will hail with satisfaction any publication, whether great or small, of a similar character, proceeding from the pen of the Author of its most valuable and most interesting portion.
In commending Dean Howson's "Metaphors of St. Paul" to the attention of our readers, we gladly resign our more peculiar functions as Critics, and proceed first to give a short account of the object which the Author has in view, and then to quote a few specimens of a book of which the only fault we have to complain consists in its brevity.
"The Metaphors of St. Paul" begin with the enunciation of a very simple, but, we fear, too much neglected truth, viz., that "every part of Holy Scripture has its own distinctive imagery; and, through the medium of this imagery, its instruction is often conveyed."
Having briefly illustrated this proposition by a reference to the prophecies of the herdman of Tekoa, and shown the necessity of some familiarity with oriental life in order to a due appreciation of Old Testament phraseology, Dean Howson proceeds to point out the necessity of a similar attention to the peculiarities of Greek and Roman civilization, in order to a right understanding of the New Testament generally, and mora especially of the Epistles of St. Paul.
His subject is obviously one which admits of almost indefinite expansion, and we sincerely trust that the present little volume, in which the Dean has illustrated, in four sections, "certain groups of images which are common in one part of the New Testament," is but the first instalment of other volumes of a similar character.
The first subject selected for elucidation is the military metaphors of St. Paul. .
St. Paul's close proximity to soldiers during a considerable portion of that period of his life embraced in the records of the Acts of the Apostles; his missionary journeys, not only throughout Syria, but also to other places both in Europe and Asia, where the warlike symbols of Rome were prominent; and more particularly his prolonged captivity both at Csesarea and at Home, render frequent allusions of this nature not only natural, but almost inevitable, if the Epistles attributed to the great Apostle were really composed under the circumstances expressed or implied in their contents, and addressed to those Churches which are designated in their titles. One quotation, under this head must suffice.
The passage proposed for illustration is Ephesians vi. 10—17.
"One part of the armour remains—The Sword—' the sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God,'—i. e., the sword which the Spirit gives, and which is none other than God's revealed truth. This is the one offensive weapon. We are not sanctioned in the nse of any other; all the rest of our armour is defensive; and this is very instructive. Our conflict is not with man, but with sin. We have no angry passions of our own to gratify. Our duty is steadfastly to resist: and when we strike, we must strike only with the weapon which God puts into our hands. All this is made more emphatic, if we observe the one weapon—the most characteristic weapon of the Roman soldier—the great pilnm or pike, which Lord Macaulay has introduced with strict truth into one of his 'Lays of Rome,'—this weapon is entirely omitted. Here the parallel is less incomplete. Can we doubt that this was done purposely? The silence of Scripture has its meaning, as well as its actual words." (pp. 29—31.)
Dean Howson's second section is devoted to the elucidation of the architectural metaphors which occur in St. Paul's Epistles. He directs particular attention to the Apostle's frequent and almost exclusive use of the word "edify," and shows, incidentally, the direct bearing of investigations, such as those which he is here instituting, upon the great and momentous subjects of Christian Evidence, of Christian Doctrine, and of Christian Practice! Here again one illustration must suffice. We select it no less for its value than for its brevity.
Referring to Ephesians ii. 19, (one of those Epistles in which, as the Dean reminds his hearers, architectural allusions might a priori be expected,) Dean Howson writes thus :—
"Now all I will observe on this quotation is this :—that I do not believe that the apostles and prophets are the foundations of which St. Paul speaks; but that Jesus Christ is foundation-stone and corner-stone in one. I would render it thus: 'Built on the apostolic and prophetic foundation-stone,'—the stone which apostles and prophets laid, and on which they themselves rest—for 'other foundation can no man lay, than that is laid,'—viz. Christ." (p. 62.)
The third topic selected for elucidation, is that of St. Paul's agricultural metaphors. We entirely concur in Dean Howson's explanation of the allegory drawn in the 11th chapter of the Epistle to the Romans from the grafting of the olive-tree. The lesson is drawn, as the Dean observes, from the grafting of branches of a wild olive-tree on the stock of a good olive tree —the grafting of branches of a wild fruit-tree on the stock of a good fruit-tree—a process unheard of among gardeners. The explanation suggested by Dean Howson is, as he observes, very simple, and though not new, as he supposes, has been for the most part overlooked by Commentators. "I believe," the Dean writes, "that there partly is the very point of the parable, that the grafting was contrary to the law of nature. ... It was the very contrary to the grafting which took place in the olive grounds, to which all readers of the Epistle were accustomed." (pp. 110, 111.)
We must not dwell longer on this third topic than to direct the attention of our readers to a very suggestive observation in p. 93, that the " references to nature in St. Paul's writings are almost entirely to nature in connexion with human labour"—but must content ourselves with one more illustration of the characteristic imagery of St. Paul as contained in the last of Dean Howson's four essays on this most interesting subject. The title of the last chapter is " Greek Games," and our quotation is taken from the elucidation of one of the many allusions to the foot-race, pre-eminently, as Dean Howson observes, "the struggle which caused the most eager interest in that age and in those countries."
"In the Epistle to the Philippians, St. Paul writes thus :— ' Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after. This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.' (Phil. iii. 12—14.) Was there ever a more vigorous picture of a runner in earnest? Here is the eager pressing toward a definite end in view, the feeling that nothing else is to be thought of for the present—the determination that nothing shall interfere with the matter in hand;—and at the same time, with the strong effort of will, there is the utmost alacrity and activity of movement, there is no looking back, no thought of giving up the struggle. The whole energy of mind and body is bent upon success; and till success is achieved, nothing is done. It would be easy to dwell on these points at greater length; but really the best commentary on the passage is supplied by the familiar facts of a well contested foot-race." (pp. 147—140.)
The reflexion which suggests itself most forcibly in the perusal of this book is that which Dean Howson has expressed so admirably in the following words,—" God's Word is like God's World, very varied, very rich, very beautiful." There is a reverence in the mode of dealing with his subject, a thoughtfulness in the reflexions, and a charm in the style of this book which is worthy of Dean Howson's justly acquired reputation. We commend it to the attention of our readers in the words of its concluding paragraph. "It is something to have obtained a deeper conviction than before of the inexhaustible charms and advantages of even the by-ways of Scripture."
PROTESTANT SISTERHOODS AND ROMISH CONVENTS.
Five Years in a Protestant Sisterhood, and Ten Years in a Catholic Convent: an Autobiography. London: Longmans. 1869.
This book differs essentially from the class of writings to which it might be supposed to belong. It is not, for instance, published under the auspices of the Protestant Reformation Society, and does not bear the "imprimatur" of Dr. Gumming. It claims to be the work of a Roman Catholic lady, who has exchanged her old lamp for a new one; "who has bartered the Bible, which in her early years had been her rule of faith," so far as she had been taught religion at all, "for the apostolical and ecclesiastical traditions, and all other observances and constitutions of the Church" of Rome. We have a distinct assurance given, that " the work is bond fide the narrative of a nun, and not a sensational make up;" and the high position held by Messrs. Longmans, the publishers of the volume, is put forward as a sufficient guarantee to the public that it is what it professes to be. Without such an assurance, we must confess that, like Sir Hugh, we thought "we had spied a great peard under her muffler," but we suppose we must have been mistaken. Until we came upon the averment at the end of the volume, our impression had been, that it was the joint-stock production of some lady and her spiritual adviser, (the lady contributing the spite and the anecdotes, the gentleman the controversial theo%.V,) with a definite ulterior object; but we do not profess infallibility, and accept the guarantee of Messrs. Longmans that the book is neither more nor less than what it distinctly professes to be.
Some account of the lady, so far as she thinks proper to make known the circumstances of her career, may form a suitable introduction to the revelations of her book. She professes to have been educated in the doctrines of the Church of England, and that, until her twentieth year, her opinions were such as are usually denominated as Evangelical. Our readers will learn, we think, with some surprise, that "she had been taught to believe that a great deal of Popery remained in the Book of Common Prayer, and a great deal more (the italics are ours) in the Homilies and Articles! Moreover, that she was not allowed to learn the Church Catechism, and finished her education at a fashionable school, where the girls learned texts every Sunday, and flung the Bible from end to end of the school-room, after making jokes and puns over the sacred words. In this last exercise she professes not to have joined, but not to have reflected upon its being wrong. At seventeen she left school with the usual amount of accomplishments, but without one particle of solid instruction, and thenceforward seems to have taken her education into her own hands, devoting many hours of the day to solid reading. She usually attended an Independent Chapel, but occasionally a Free Church, and also a Chapel of Ease. Her progress in solid reading, considering the previous disadvantages of her education, must have been rapid and profound. She entered with great interest into the Gorham Case, which had just been decided, with a resume of which she favours her readers. It seemed to her one of very great importance, and the question at issue to be a very simple one. She also engaged in very warm controversies with a Socinian, and professes to have suffered great agony of mind from the influence obtained over her by a friend with strong Calvinistic views. As she had satisfied herself, in her researches into the Gorham controversy, that the doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration was taught in Holy Scripture, this did not seem quite reconcilable; but our sagacity may be at fault. About this time, in consequence of the habit of the clergy whose ministry she attended, marrying heiresses, and retiring from their clerical duties, there was a good deal of flue tuationin the doctrine of her religious teachers; but at last she took to attending her Parish Church, where the new Rector had daily prayers, and had instituted, "to the extreme annoyance of mothers and nurses, a custom of pouring water on