Story type: Essay
PROTESTANTISM. [Footnote: A Vindication of Protestant Principles. By Phileleutheros Anglicanus. London: Parker. 1847.]
The work whose substance and theme are thus briefly abstracted is, at this moment, making a noise in the world. It is ascribed by report to two bishops–not jointly, but alternatively–in the sense that, if one did not write the book, the other did. The Bishops of Oxford and St. David’s, Wilberforce and Thirlwall, are the two pointed at by the popular finger; and, in some quarters, a third is suggested, viz., Stanley, Bishop of Norwich. The betting, however, is altogether in favor of Oxford. So runs the current of public gossip. But the public is a bad guesser, ‘stiff in opinion’ it is, and almost ‘always in the wrong.’ Now let me guess. When I had read for ten minutes, I offered a bet of seven to one (no takers) that the author’s name began with H. Not out of any love for that amphibious letter; on the contrary, being myself what Professor Wilson calls a hedonist, or philosophical voluptuary, and murmuring, with good reason, if a rose leaf lies doubled below me, naturally I murmur at a letter that puts one to the expense of an aspiration, forcing into the lungs an extra charge of raw air on frosty mornings. But truth is truth, in spite of frosty air. And yet, upon further reading, doubts gathered upon my mind. The H. that I mean is an Englishman; now it happens that here and there a word, or some peculiarity in using a word, indicates, in this author, a Scotchman; for instance, the expletive ‘just,’ which so much infests Scotch phraseology, written or spoken, at page 1; elsewhere the word ‘short-comings,’ which, being horridly tabernacular, and such that no gentleman could allow himself to touch it without gloves, it is to be wished that our Scottish brethren would resign, together with ‘backslidings,’ to the use of field preachers. But worse, by a great deal, and not even intelligible in England, is the word thereafter, used as an adverb of time, i.e., as the correlative of hereafter. Thereafter, in pure vernacular English, bears a totally different sense. In ‘Paradise Lost,’ for instance, having heard the character of a particular angel, you are told that he spoke thereafter, i.e., spoke agreeably to that character. ‘How a score of sheep, Master Shallow?’ The answer is, ‘Thereafter as they be.’ Again, ‘Thereafter as a man sows shall he reap.’ The objections are overwhelming to the Scottish use of the word; first, because already in Scotland it is a barbarism transplanted from the filthy vocabulary of attorneys, locally called writers; secondly, because in England it is not even intelligible, and, what is worse still, sure to be mis-intelligible. And yet, after all, these exotic forms may be a mere blind. The writer is, perhaps, purposely leading us astray with his ‘thereafters,’ and his horrid ‘short-comings.’ Or, because London newspapers, and Acts of Parliament, are beginning to be more and more polluted with these barbarisms, he may even have caught them unconsciously.
And, on looking again at one case of ‘thereafter,’ viz. at page 79, it seems impossible to determine whether he uses it in the classical English sense, or in the sense of leguleian barbarism. This question of authorship, meantime, may seem to the reader of little moment. Far from it! The weightier part of the interest depends upon that very point. If the author really is a bishop, or supposing the public rumor so far correct as that he is a man of distinction in the English church, then, and by that simple fact, this book, or this pamphlet, interesting at any rate for itself, becomes separately interesting through its authorship, so as to be the most remarkable phenomenon of the day; and why? Because the most remarkable expression of a movement, accomplished and proceeding in a quarter that, if any on this earth, might be thought sacred from change. Oh, fearful are the motions of time, when suddenly lighted up to a retrospect of thirty years! Pathetic are the ruins of time in its slowest advance! Solemn are the prospects, so new and so incredible, which time unfolds at every turn of its wheeling flight! Is it come to this? Could any man, one generation back, have anticipated that an English dignitary, and speaking on a very delicate religious question, should deliberately appeal to a writer confessedly infidel, and proud of being an infidel, as a ‘triumphant’ settler of Christian scruples? But if the infidel is right, a point which I do not here discuss–but if the infidel is a man of genius, a point which I do not deny–was it not open to cite him, even though the citer were a bishop? Why, yes–uneasily one answers, yes; but still the case records a strange alteration, and still one could have wished to hear such a doctrine, which ascribes human infirmity (nay, human criminality) to every book of the Bible, uttered by anybody rather than by a father of the Church, and guaranteed by anybody rather than by an infidel, in triumph. A boy may fire his pistol unnoticed; but a sentinel, mounting guard in the dark, must remember the trepidation that will follow any shot from him, and the certainty that it will cause all the stations within hearing to get under arms immediately. Yet why, if this bold opinion does come from a prelate, he being but one man, should it carry so alarming a sound? Is the whole bench of bishops bound and compromised by the audacity of any one amongst its members? Certainly not. But yet such an act, though it should be that of a rash precursor, marks the universal change of position; there is ever some sympathy between the van and the rear of the same body at the same time; and the boldest could not have dared to go ahead so rashly, if the rearmost was not known to be pressing forward to his support, far more closely than thirty years ago he could have done. There have been, it is true, heterodox professors of divinity and free-thinking bishops before now. England can show a considerable list of such people–even Rome has a smaller list. Rome, that weeds all libraries, and is continually burning books, in effigy, by means of her vast Index Expurgatorius,[Footnote: A question of some interest arises upon the casuistical construction of this Index. We, that are not by name included, may we consider ourselves indirectly licensed? Silence, I should think, gives consent. And if it wasn’t that the present Pope, being a horrid Radical, would be sure to blackball me as an honest Tory, I would send him a copy of my Opera Omnia, requesting his Holiness to say, by return of post, whether I ranked amongst the chaff winnowed by St. Peter’s flail, or had his gracious permission to hold myself amongst the pure wheat gathered into the Vatican garner.] which index, continually, she is enlarging by successive supplements, needs also an Index Expurgatorius for the catalogue of her prelates. Weeds there are in the very flower-garden and conservatory of the church. Fathers of the church are no more to be relied on, as safe authorities, than we rascally lay authors, that notoriously will say anything. And it is a striking proof of this amongst our English bishops, that the very man who, in the last generation, most of all won the public esteem as the champion of the Bible against Tom Paine, was privately known amongst us connoisseurs in heresy (that are always prying into ugly secrets) to be the least orthodox thinker, one or other, amongst the whole brigade of fifteen thousand contemporary clerks who had subscribed the Thirty-nine Articles. Saving your presence, reader, his lordship was no better than a bigoted Socinian, which, in a petty diocese that he never visited, and amongst South Welshmen, that are all incorrigible Methodists, mattered little, but would have been awkward had he come to be Archbishop of York; and that he did not,
turned upon the accident of a few weeks too soon, by which the Fates cut short the thread of the Whig ministry in 1807. Certainly, for a Romish or an English bishop to be a Socinian is un peu fort. But I contend that it is quite possible to be far less heretical, and yet dangerously bold; yes, upon the free and spacious latitudes, purposely left open by the English Thirty-nine Articles (ay, or by any Protestant Confession), to plant novelties not less startling to religious ears than Socinianism itself. Besides (which adds to the shock), the dignitary now before us, whether bishop or no bishop, does not write in the tone of a conscious heretic; or, like Archdeacon Blackburne[Footnote: He was the author of The Confessional, which at one time made a memorable ferment amongst all those who loved as sons, or who hated as nonconformists, the English Establishment. This was his most popular work, but he wrote many others in the same temper, that fill six or seven octavos.] of old, in a spirit of hostility to his own fellow-churchmen; but, on the contrary, in the tone of one relying upon support from his clerical brethren, he stands forward as expositor and champion of views now prevailing amongst the elite of the English Church. So construed, the book is, indeed, a most extraordinary one, and exposes a history that almost shocks one of the strides made in religious speculation. Opinions change slowly and stealthily. The steps of the changes are generally continuous; but sometimes it happens that the notice of such steps, the publication of such changes, is not continuous, that it comes upon us per saltum, and, consequently, with the stunning effect of an apparent treachery. Every thoughtful man raises his hands with an involuntary gesture of awe at the revolutions of so revolutionary an age, when thus summoned to the spectacle of an English prelate serving a piece of artillery against what once were fancied to be main outworks of religion, and at a station sometimes considerably in advance of any occupied by Voltaire.[Footnote: Let not the reader misunderstand me; I do not mean that the clerical writer now before us (bishop or not bishop) is more hostile to religion than Voltaire, or is hostile at all. On the contrary, he is, perhaps, profoundly religious, and he writes with neither levity nor insincerity. But this conscientious spirit, and this piety, do but the more call into relief the audacity of his free-thinking–do but the more forcibly illustrate the prodigious changes wrought by time, and by the contagion from secular revolutions, in the spirit of religious philosophy.]
It is this audacity of speculation, I apprehend, this etalage of bold results, rather than any success in their development, which has fixed the public attention. Development, indeed, applied to philosophic problems, or research applied to questions of erudition, was hardly possible within so small a compass as one hundred and seventeen pages, for that is the extent of the work, except as regards the notes, which amount to seventy-four pages more. Such brevity, on such a subject, is unseasonable, and almost culpable. On such a subject as the Philosophy of Protestantism–‘satius erat silere, quam parcius, dicere.’ Better were absolute silence, more respectful as regards the theme, less tantalizing as regards the reader, than a style of discussion so fragmentary and so rapid.
But, before we go farther, what are we to call this bold man? One must have some name for a man that one is reviewing; and, as he comes abroad incognito, it is difficult to see what name could have any propriety. Let me consider: there are three bishops in the field, Mr. H., and the Scotchman–that makes five. But every one of these, you say, is represented equally by the name in the title–Phileleutheros Anglicanus. True, but that’s as long as a team of horses. If it had but Esquire at the end, it would measure against a Latin Hendecasyllable verse. I’m afraid that we must come at last to Phil. I’ve been seeking to avoid it, for it’s painful to say ‘Jack’ or ‘Dick’ either to or of an ecclesiastical great gun. But if such big wigs will come abroad in disguise, and with names as long as Fielding’s Hononchrononthononthologus, they must submit to be hustled by pickpockets and critics, and to have their names docked as well as profane authors.
Phil, then, be it–that’s settled. Now, let us inquire what it is that Phil. has been saying, to cause such a sensation amongst the Gnostics. And, to begin at the beginning, what is Phil.’s capital object? Phil. shall state it himself–these are his opening words:–
‘In the following pages we propose to vindicate the fundamental and inherent principles of Protestantism.’
Good; but what are the fundamental principles of Protestantism? ‘They are,’ says Phil., ‘the sole sufficiency of Scripture,'[Footnote: This is much too elliptical a way of expressing the Protestant meaning. Sufficiency for what? ‘Sufficiency for salvation’ is the phrase of many, and I think elsewhere of Phil. But that is objectionable on more grounds than one; it is redundant, and it is aberrant from the true point contemplated. Sufficiency for itself, without alien helps, is the thing contemplated. The Greek autarkeia, self-sufficiency, or, because that phrase, in English, has received a deflexion towards a bad meaning, the word self- ufficingness might answer; sufficiency for the exposition of its own most secret meaning, out of fountains within itself; needing, therefore, neither the supplementary aids of tradition, on the one hand, nor the complementary aids on the other, (in the event of unprovided cases, or of dilemmas arising,) from the infallibility of a living expounder.] the right of private judgment in its interpretation, and the authority of individual conscience in matters of religion.’ Errors of logic show themselves more often in a man’s terminology, and his antithesis, and his subdivisions, than anywhere else. Phil. goes on to make this distinction, which brings out his imperfect conception. ‘We,’ says he (and, by the way, if Phil. is we, then it must he my duty to call him they), ‘we do not propose to defend the varieties of doctrine held by the different communities of Protestants.’ Why, no; that would be a sad task for the most skilful of funambulists or theological tumblers, seeing that many of these varieties stand related to each other as categorical affirmative and categorical negative: it’s heavy work to make yes and no pull together in the same proposition. But this, fortunately for himself, Phil. declines. You are to understand that he will not undertake the defence of Protestantism in its doctrines, but only in its principles. That won’t do; that antithesis is as hollow as a drum; and, if the objection were verbal only, I would not make it. But the contradistinction fails to convey the real meaning. It is not that he has falsely expressed his meaning, but that he has falsely developed that meaning to his own consciousness. Not the word only is wrong; but the wrong word is put forward for the sake of hiding the imperfect idea. What he calls principles might almost as well be called doctrines; and what he calls doctrines as well be called principles. Out of these terms, apart from the rectifications suggested by the context, no man could collect his drift, which is simply this. Protestantism, we must recollect, is not an absolute and self-dependent idea; it stands in relation to something antecedent, against which it protests, viz., Papal Rome. And under what phasis does it protest against Rome? Not against the Christianity of Rome, because every Protestant Church, though disapproving a great deal of that, disaproves also a great deal in its own sister churches of the protesting household; and because every Protestant Church holds a great deal of Christian truth, in common with Rome. But what furnishes the matter of protest is–the deduction of the title upon which Rome plants the right to be church at all. This deduction is so managed by Rome as to make herself, not merely a true church (which many Protestants grant), but the exclusive church. Now, what Phil. in effect undertakes to defend is not principles by preference to doctrines (for they are pretty nearly the same thing), but the question of title to teach at all, in preference to the question of what is the thing taught. There is the distinction, as I apprehend it. All these terms–‘principle,’ ‘doctrine,’ ‘system,’ ‘theory,’ ‘hypothesis’–are used nearly always most licentiously, and as arbitrarily as a Newmarket jockey selects the colors for his riding-dress. It is true that one shadow of justification offers itself for Phil.’s distinction. All principles are doctrines, but all doctrines are not principles; which, then, in particular? Why, those properly are principles which contain the principia, the beginnings, or starting-points of evolution, out of which any system of truth is evolved. Now, it may seem that the very starting-point of our Protestant pretensions is, first of all, to argue our title or right to be a church sui juris; apparently we must begin by making good our locus standi, before we can be heard upon our doctrines. And upon this mode of approach, the pleadings about the title, or right to teach at all, taking precedency of the pleadings about the particular things taught, would be the principia, or beginning of the whole process, and so far would be entitled by preference to the name of principles. But such a mode of approach is merely an accident, and contingent upon our being engaged in a polemical discussion of Protestantism in relation to Popery. That, however, is a pure matter of choice; Protestantism may be discussed, ‘as though Rome were not, in relation to its own absolute merits; and this treatment is the logical treatment, applying itself to what is permanent in the nature of the object; whereas the other treatment applies itself to what is casual and vanishing in the history (or the origin) of Protestantism. For, after all, it would be no great triumph to Protestantism that she should prove her birthright to revolve as a primary planet in the solar system; that she had the same original right as Rome to wheel
about the great central orb, undegraded to the rank of satellite or secondary projection–if, in the meantime, telescopes should reveal the fact that she was pretty nearly a sandy desert. What a church teaches is true or not true, without reference to her independent right of teaching; and eventually, when the irritations of earthly feuds and political schisms shall be soothed by time, the philosophy of this whole question will take an inverse order. The credentials of a church will not be put in first, and the quality of her doctrine discussed as a secondary question. On the contrary, her credentials will be sought in her doctrine. The Protesting Church will say, I have the right to stand separate, because I stand; and from my holy teaching I deduce my title to teach. Jus est ibi summum docendi, ubi est fons purissimus doctrinae. That inversion of the Protestant plea with Rome is even now valid with many; and, when it becomes universally current, then the principles, or great beginnings of the controversy, will be transplanted from the locus, or centre, where Phil. places them, to the very locus which he neglects.
There is another expression of Phil.’s (I am afraid Phil. is getting angry by this time) to which I object. He describes the doctrines held by all the separate Protestant churches as doctrines of Protestantism. I would not delay either Phil. or myself for the sake of a trifle; but an impossibility is not a trifle. If from orthodox Turkey you pass to heretic Persia, if from the rigor of the Sonnees to the laxity of the Sheeahs, you could not, in explaining those schisms, go on to say, ‘And these are the doctrines of Islamism;’ for they destroy each other. Both are supported by earthly powers; but one only could be supported by central Islamism. So of Calvinism and Arminianism; you cannot call them doctrines of Protestantism, as if growing out of some reconciling Protestant principles; one of the two, though not manifested to human eyes in its falsehood, must secretly be false; and a falsehood cannot be a doctrine of Protestantism. It is more accurate to say that the separate creeds of Turkey and Persia are within Mahommedanism; such, viz., as that neither excludes a man from the name of Mussulman; and, again, that Calvinism and Arminianism are doctrines within the Protestant Church–as a church of general toleration for all religious doctrines not de-monstrably hostile to any cardinal truth of Christianity.
Phil., then, we all understand, is not going to traverse the vast field of Protestant opinions as they are distributed through our many sects; that would be endless; and he illustrates the mazy character of the wilderness over which these sects are wandering,
Palantes error recto de tramite pellit,’
by the four cases of–1, the Calvinist; 2, the Newmanite; 3, the Romanist;[Footnote: What, amongst Protestant sects? Ay, even so. It’s Phil.’s mistake, not mine. He will endeavor to doctor the case, by pleading that he was speaking universally of Christian error; but the position of the clause forbids this plea. Not only in relation to what immediately precedes, the passage must be supposed to contemplate Protestant error; but the immediate inference from it, viz., that ‘the world may well be excused for doubting whether there is, after all, so much to be gained by that liberty of private judgment, which is the essential characteristic of Protestantism; whether it be not, after all, merely a liberty to fall into error,’ nails Phil. to that construction–argues too strongly that it is an oversight of indolence. Phil. was sleeping for the moment, which is excusable enough towards the end of a book, but hardly in section I. P.S.–I have since observed (which not to have observed is excused, perhaps, by the too complex machinery of hooks and eyes between the text and the notes involving a double reference–first, to the section; second, to the particular clause of the section) that Phil. has not here committed an inadvertency; or, if he has, is determined to fight himself through his inadvertency, rather than break up his quaternion of cases. ‘In speaking of Romanism as arising from a misapplication of Protestant principles; we refer, not to those who were born, but to those who have become members of the Church of Rome.’ What is the name of those people? And where do they live? I have heard of many who think (and there are cases in which most of us, that meddle with philosophy, are apt to think) occasional principles of Protestantism available for the defence of certain Roman Catholic mysteries too indiscriminately assaulted by the Protestant zealot; but, with this exception, I am not aware of any parties professing to derive their Popish learnings from Protestantism; it is in spite of Protestantism, as seeming to them not strong enough, or through principles omitted by Protestantism, which therefore seems to them not careful enough or not impartial enough, that Protestants have lapsed to Popery. Protestants have certainly been known to become Papists, not through Popish arguments, but simply through their own Protestant books; yet never, that I heard of, through an affirmative process, as though any Protestant argument involved the rudiments of Popery, but by a negative process, as fancying the Protestant reasons, though lying in the right direction, not going far enough; or, again, though right partially, yet defective as a whole. Phil. therefore, seems to me absolutely caught in a sort of Furcae Caudinae, unless he has a dodge in reserve to puzzle us all. In a different point, I, that hold myself a doctor seraphicus, and also inexpugnabilis upon quillets of logic, justify Phil., whilst also I blame him. He defends himself rightly for distinguishing between the Romanist and Newmanite on the one hand, between the Calvinist and the Evangelican man on the other, though perhaps a young gentleman, commencing his studies on the Organon, will fancy that here he has Phil. in a trap, for these distinctions, he will say, do not entirely exclude to each other as they ought to do. The class calling itself Evangelical, for instance, may also be Calvinistic; the Newmanite is not, therefore, anti-Romanish. True, says Phil.; I am quite aware of it. But to be aware of an objection is not to answer it. The fact seems to be, that the actual combinations of life, not conforming to the truth of abstractions, compel us to seeming breaches of logic. It would be right practically to distinguish the Radical from the Whig; and yet it might shock Duns or Lombardus, the magister sententiarum, when he came to understand that partially the principles of Radicals and Whigs coincide. But, for all that, the logic which distinguishes them is right; and the apparent error must be sought in the fact, that all cases (political or religious) being cases of life, are concretes, which never conform to the exquisite truth of abstractions. Practically, the Radical is opposed to the Whig, though casually the two are in conjunction continually; for, as acting partisans, they work from different centres, and finally, for different results.] 4, the Evangelical enthusiast–as holding systems of doctrine, ‘no one of which is capable of recommending itself to the favorable opinion of an impartial judge.’ Impartial! but what Christian can be impartial? To be free from all bias, and to begin his review of sects in that temper, he must begin by being an infidel. Vainly a man endeavors to reserve in a state of neutrality any preconceptions that he may have formed for himself, or prepossessions that he may have inherited from ‘mamma;’ he cannot do it any more than he can dismiss his own shadow. And it is strange to contemplate the weakness of strong minds in fancying that they can. Calvin, whilst amiably engaged in hunting Servetus to death, and writing daily letters to his friends, in which he expresses his hope that the executive power would not think of burning the poor man, since really justice would be quite satisfied by cutting his head off, meets with some correspondents who conceive (idiots that they were!) even that little amputation not indispensable. But Calvin soon settles their scruples. You don’t perceive, he tells them, what this man has been about. When a writer attacks Popery, it’s very wrong in the Papists to cut his head off; and why? Because he has only been attacking error. But here lies the difference in this case; Servetus had been attacking the TRUTH. Do you see the distinction, my friends? Consider it, and I am sure you will be sensible that this quite alters the case. It is shocking, it is perfectly ridiculous, that the Bishop of Rome should touch a hair of any man’s head for contradicting him; and why? Because, do you see? he is wrong. On the other hand, it is evidently agreeable to philosophy, that I, John Ca
lvin, should shave off the hair, and, indeed, the head itself (as I heartily hope[Footnote: The reader may imagine that, in thus abstracting Calvin’s epistolary sentiments, I am a little improving them. Certainly they would bear improvement, but that is not my business. What the reader sees here is but the result of bringing scattered passages into closer juxtaposition; whilst, as to the strongest (viz., the most sanguinary) sentiments here ascribed to him, it will be a sufficient evidence of my fidelity to the literal truth, if I cite three separate sentences. Writing to Farrel, he says, ‘Spero capitale saltern fore judicium.’ Sentence of the court, he hopes, will, at any rate, reach the life of Servetus. Die he must, and die he shall. But why should he die a cruel death? “Paenoe vero atrocitatem remitti cupio.” To the same purpose, when writing to Sultzer, he expresses his satisfaction in being able to assure him that a principal civic officer of Geneva was, in this case, entirely upright, and animated by the most virtuous sentiments. Indeed! what an interesting character! and in what way now might this good man show thia beautiful tenderness of conscience? Why; by a fixed resolve that Servetus should not in any case escape the catastrophe which I, John Calvin, am longing for, (‘ut saltem exitum, quem optamus, noa fugiat.’) Finally, writing to the same Sultzer, he remarks that–when we see the Papists such avenging champions of their own superstitious fables as not to falter in shedding innocent blood, ‘pudeat Christianos magistratus [as if the Roman Catholic magistrates were not Christians] in tuenda certa veritate nihil prorsus habere animi’–‘Christian magistrates ought to be ashamed of themselves for manifesting no energy at all in the vindication of truth undeniable;’ yet really since these magistrates had at that time the full design, which design not many days after they executed, of maintaining truth by fire and faggot, one does not see the call upon them for blushes so very deep as Calvin requires. Hands so crimson with blood might compensate the absence of crimson cheeks.] will be done in this present case) of any man presumptuous enough to contradict me; but then, why? For a reason that makes all the difference in the world, and which, one would think, idiocy itself could not overlook, viz., that I, John Calvin, am right–right, through three degrees of comparison–right, righter, or more right, rightest, or most right. Calvin fancied that he could demonstrate his own impartiality.
The self-sufficingness of the Bible, and the right of private judgment–here, then, are the two great charters in which Protestantism commences; these are the bulwarks behind which it intrenches itself against Rome. And it is remarkable that these two great preliminary laws, which soon diverge into fields so different, at the first are virtually one and the same law. The refusal of an oracle alien to the Bible, extrinsic to the Bible, and claiming the sole interpretation of the Bible; the refusal of an oracle that reduced the Bible to a hollow masque, underneath which fraudulently introducing itself any earthly voice could mimic a heavenly voice, was in effect to refuse the coercion of this false oracle over each man’s conscientious judgment; to make the Bible independent of the Pope, was to make man independent of all religious controllers. The self-sufficingness of Scripture, its independency of any external interpreter, passed in one moment into the other great Protestant doctrine of Toleration. It was but the same triumphal monument under a new angle of sight, the golden and silver faces of the same heraldic shield. The very same act which denies the right of interpretation to a mysterious Papal phoenix, renewed from generation to generation, having the antiquity and the incomprehensible omniscience of the Simorg in Southey, transferred this right of mere necessity to the individuals of the whole human race. For where else could it have been lodged? Any attempt in any other direction was but to restore the Papal power in a new impersonation. Every man, therefore, suddenly obtained the right of interpreting the Bible for himself. But the word ‘right‘ obtained a new sense. Every man has the right, under the Queen’s Bench, of publishing an unlimited number of metaphysical systems; and, under favor of the same indulgent Bench, we all enjoy the unlimited right of laughing at him. But not the whole race of man has a right to coerce, in the exercise of his intellectual rights, the humblest of individuals. The rights of men are thus unspeakably elevated; for, being now freed from all anxiety, being sacred as merely legal rights, they suddenly rise into a new mode of responsibility as intellectual rights. As a Protestant, every mature man has the same dignified right over his own opinions and profession of faith that he has over his own hearth. But his hearth can rarely be abused; whereas his religious system, being a vast kingdom, opening by immeasurable gates upon worlds of light and worlds of darkness, now brings him within a new amenability–called upon to answer new impeachments, and to seek for new assistances. Formerly another was answerable for his belief; if that were wrong, it was no fault of his. Now he has new rights, but these have burthened him with new obligations. Now he is crowned with the glory and the palms of an intellectual creature, but he is alarmed by the certainty of corresponding struggles. Protestantism it is that has created him into this child and heir of liberty; Protestantism it is that has invested him with these unbounded privileges of private judgment, giving him in one moment the sublime powers of a Pope within his own conscience; but Protestantism it is that has introduced him to the most dreadful of responsibilities.
I repeat that the twin maxims, the columns of Hercules through which Protestantism entered the great sea of human activities, were originally but two aspects of one law: to deny the Papal control over men’s conscience being to affirm man’s self-control, was, therefore, to affirm man’s universal right to toleration, which again implied a corresponding duty of toleration. Under this bi-fronted law, generated by Protestantism, but in its turn regulating Protestantism, Phil. undertakes to develope all the principles that belong to a Protestant church. The seasonableness of such an investigation–its critical application to an evil now spreading like a fever through Europe–he perceives fully, and in the following terms he expresses this perception:–
‘That we stand on the brink of a great theological crisis, that the problem must soon be solved, how far orthodox Christianity is possible for those who are not behind their age in scholarship and science; this is a solemn fact, which may be ignored by the partisans of short-sighted bigotry, but which is felt by all, and confessed by most of those who are capable of appreciating its reality and importance. The deep Sibylline vaticinations of Coleridge’s philosophical mind, the practical working of Arnold’s religious sentimentalism, and the open acknowledgment of many divines who are living examples of the spirit of the age, have all, in different ways, foretold the advent of a Church of the Future.’
This is from the preface, p. ix., where the phrase, Church of the Future, points to the Prussian minister’s (Bunsen’s) Kirche der Zukunft; but in the body of the work, and not far from its close, (p. 114,) he recurs to this crisis, and more circumstantially.
Phil. embarrasses himself and his readers in this development of Protestant principles. His own view of the task before him requires that he should separate himself from the consideration of any particular church, and lay aside all partisanship–plausible or not plausible. It is his own overture that warrants us in expecting this. And yet, before we have travelled three measured inches, he is found entangling himself with Church of Englandism. Let me not be misunderstood, as though, borrowing a Bentham word, I were therefore a Jerry Benthamite: I, that may describe myself generally as Philo-Phil., am not less a son of the ‘Reformed Anglican Church’ than Phil. Consequently, it is not likely that, in any vindication of that church, simply as such, and separately for itself, I should be the man to find grounds of exception. Loving most of what Phil. loves, loving Phil. himself, and hating (I grieve to say), with a theological hatred, whatever Phil. hates, why should I demur at this particular point to a course of argument that travels in the line of my own partialities? And yet I do demur. Having been promised a philosophic defence of the principles concerned in the great European schism of the sixteenth century, suddenly we find ourselves collapsing from that altitude of speculation into a defence of one individual church. Nobody would complain of Phil. if, after having deduced philosophically the principles upon which all Protestant separation from Rome should revolve, he had gone forward to show, that in some one of the Protestant churches, more than in others, these principles had been asserted with peculiar strength, or carried through with special consistency, or associated pre-eminently with the other graces of a Christian church, such as a ritual more impressive to the heart of man, or a polity more symmetrical with the structure of English society. Once having unfolded from philosophic grounds the primary conditions of a pure scriptural church, Phil. might then, without blame, have turned sharp round upon us, saying, such being the conditions under which the great idea of a true Christian church must be constructed, I now go on to show that the Church of England has conformed to those conditions more faithfully than any other. But to entangle the pure outlines of the idealizing mind with the practical forms of any militant church, embarrassed (as we know all churches to have been) by preoccupations of judgment, derived from feuds too local and interests too political, moving too (as we know all churches to have moved) in a spirit of compromise, occasionally from mere necessities of position; this is in the result to injure the object of the writer doubly: first, as leaving an impression of partisanship the reader is mistrustful from the first, as against a judge that, in reality, is an advocate; second, without reference to the effect upon the reader, directly to Phil. it is injurious, by fettering the freedom of his speculations, or, if leaving their freedom undisturbed, by narrowing their compass.
And, if Phil., as to the general movement of his Protestant pleadings, modulates too little in the transcendental key, sometimes he does so too much. For instance, at p. 69, sec. 35, we find him half calling upon Protestantism to account for her belief in God; how then? Is this belief special to Protestants? Are Roman Catholics, are those of the Greek, the Armenian, and other Christian churches, atheistically given? We used to be told that there is no royal road to geometry. I don’t know whether there is or not; but I am sure there is no Protestant by-road, no Reformation short-cut, to the demonstration of Deity. It is true that Phil. exonerates his philosophic scholar, when throwing himself in Protestant freedom upon pure intellectual aids, from the vain labor of such an effort. He consigns him, however philosophic, to the evidence of ‘inevitable assumptions, upon axiomatic postulates, which the reflecting mind is compelled to accept, and which no more admit of doubt and cavil than of establishment by formal proof.’ I am not sure whether I understand Phil. in this section. Apparently he is glancing at Kant. Kant was the first person, and perhaps the last, that ever undertook formally to demonstrate the indemonstrability of God. He showed that the three great arguments for the existence of the Deity were virtually one, inasmuch as the two weaker borrowed their value and vis apodeictica from the more rigorous metaphysical argument. The physico-theological argument he forced to back, as it were, into the cosmological, and that into the ontological. After this reluctant regressus of the three into one, shutting up like a spying-glass, which (with the iron hand of Hercules forcing Cerberus up to daylight) the stern man of Koenigsberg resolutely dragged to the front of the arena, nothing remained, now that he had this pet scholastic argument driven up into a corner, than to break its neck–which he did. Kant took the conceit out of all the three arguments; but, if this is what Phil. alludes to, he should have added, that these three, after all, were only the arguments of speculating or theoretic reason. To this faculty Kant peremptorily denied the power of demonstrating the Deity; but then that same apodeixis, which he had thus inexorably torn from reason under one manifestation, Kant himself restored to the reason in another (the praktische vernunft.) God he asserts to be a postulate of the human reason, as speaking through the conscience and will, not proved ostensively, but indirectly proved as being wanted indispensably, and presupposed in other necessities of our human nature. This, probably, is what Phil. means by his short-hand expression of ‘axiomatic postulates.’ But then it should not have been said that the case does not ‘admit of formal proof,’ since the proof is as ‘formal’ and rigorous by this new method of Kant as by the old obsolete methods of Sam. Clarke and the schoolmen.[Footnote: The method of Des Cartes was altogether separate and peculiar to himself; it is a mere conjuror’s juggle; and yet, what is strange, like some other audacious sophisms, it is capable of being so stated as most of all to baffle the subtle dialectician; and Kant himself, though not cheated, was never so much perplexed in his life as in the effort to make its hollowness apparent.]
But it is not the too high or the too low–the two much or the too little–of what one might call by analogy the transcendental course, which I charge upon Phil. It is, that he is too desultory–too eclectic. And the secret purpose, which seems to me predominant throughout his work, is, not so much the defence of Protestantism, or even of the Anglican Church, as a report of the latest novelties that have found a roosting-place in the English Church, amongst the most temperate of those churchmen who keep pace with modern philosophy; in short, it is a selection from the classical doctrines of religion, exhibited under their newest revision; or, generally, it is an attempt to show, from what is going on amongst the most moving orders in the English Church, how far it is possible that strict orthodoxy should bend, on the one side, to new impulses, derived from an advancing philosophy, and yet, on the other side, should reconcile itself, both verbally and in spirit, with ancient standards. But if Phil. is eclectic, then I will be eclectic; if Phil. has a right to be desultory, then I have a right. Phil. is my leader. I can’t, in reason, be expected to be better than he is. If I’m wrong, Phil. ought to set me a better example. And here, before this honorable audience of the public, I charge all my errors (whatever they may be, past or coming) upon Phil.’s misconduct.
Having thus established my patent of vagrancy, and my license for picking and choosing, I choose out these three articles to toy with:–first, Bibliolatry; second, Development applied to the Bible and Christianity; third, Philology, as the particular resource against false philosophy, relied on by Phil.
Bibliolatry.–We Protestants charge upon the Ponteficii, as the more learned of our fathers always called the Roman Catholics, Mariolatry; they pay undue honors, say we, to the Virgin. They in return charge upon us, Bibliolatry, or a superstitious allegiance–an idolatrous homage–to the words, syllables, and punctuation of the Bible. They, according to us, deify a woman; and we, according to them, deify an arrangement of printer’s types. As to their error, we need not mind that: let us attend to our own. And to this extent it is evident at a glance that Bibliolatrists must be wrong, viz., because, as a pun vanishes on being translated into another language, even so would, and must melt away, like ice in a hot-house, a large majority of those conceits which every Christian nation is apt to ground upon the verbal text of the Scriptures in its own separate vernacular version. But once aware that much of their Bibliolatry depends upon ignorance of Hebrew and Greek, and often upon peculiarity of idiom or structures in their mother dialect, cautious people begin to suspect the whole. Here arises a very interesting, startling, and perplexing situation for all who venerate the Bible; one which must always have existed for prying, inquisitive people, but which has been incalculably sharpened for the apprehension of these days by the extraordinary advances made and making in Oriental and Greek philology. It is a situation of public scandal even to the deep reverencers of the Bible; but a situation of much more than scandal, of real grief, to the profound and sincere amongst religious people. On the one hand, viewing the Bible as the word of God, and not merely so in the sense of its containing most salutary counsels, but, in the highest sense, of its containing a revelation of the most awful secrets, they cannot for a moment listen to the pretence that the Bible has benefited by God’s inspiration only as other good books may be said to have done. They are confident that, in a much higher sense, and in a sense incommunicable to other books, it is inspired. Yet, on the other hand, as they will not tell lies, or countenance lies, even in what seems the service of religion, they cannot hide from themselves that the materials of this imperishable book are perishable, frail, liable to crumble, and actually have crumbled to some extent, in various instances. There is, therefore, lying broadly before us, something like what Kant called an antinomy–a case where two laws equally binding on the mind are, or seem to be, in collision. Such cases occur in morals–cases which are carried out of the general rule, and the jurisdiction of that rule, by peculiar deflexions; and from the word case we derive the word casuistry, as a general science dealing with such anomalous cases. There is a casuistry, also, for the speculative understanding, as well as for the moral (which is the practical) understanding. And this question, as to the inspiration of the Bible, with its apparent conflict of forces, repelling it and yet affirming it, is one of its most perplexing and most momentous problems.
My own solution of the problem would reconcile all that is urged against an inspiration with all that the internal necessity of the case would plead in behalf of an inspiration. So would Phil.’s. His distinction, like mine, would substantially come down to this–that the grandeur and extent of religious truth is not of a nature to be affected by verbal changes such as can be made by time, or accident, or without treacherous design. It is like lightning, which could not be mutilated, or truncated, or polluted. But it may be well to rehearse a little more in detail, both Phil.’s view and my own. Let my principal go first; make way, I desire, for my leader: let Phil. have precedency, as, in all reason, it is my duty to see that he has.
Whilst rejecting altogether any inspiration as attaching to the separate words and phrases of the Scriptures, Phil. insists (sect. 25, p. 49) upon such an inspiration as attaching to the spiritual truths and doctrines delivered in these Scriptures. And he places this theory in a striking light, equally for what it affirms and for what it denies, by these two arguments–first (in affirmation of the real spiritual inspiration), that a series of more than thirty writers, speaking in succession along a vast line of time, and absolutely without means of concert, yet all combine unconsciously to one end–lock like parts of a great machine into one system–conspire to the unity of a very elaborate scheme, without being at all aware of what was to come after. Here, for instance, is one, living nearly one thousand six hundred years before the last in the series, who lays a foundation (in reference to man’s ruin, to God’s promises and plan for human restoration), which is built upon and carried forward by all, without exception, that follow. Here come a multitude that prepare each for his successor–that unconsciously integrate each other–that, finally, when reviewed, make up a total drama, of which each writer’s separate share would have been utterly imperfect without corresponding parts that he could not have foreseen. At length all is finished. A profound piece of music, a vast oratorio, perfect and of elaborate unity, has resulted from a long succession of strains, each for itself fragmentary. On such a final creation resulting from such a distraction of parts, it is indispensable to suppose an overruling inspiration, in order at all to account for the final result of a most elaborate harmony. Besides, which would argue some inconceivable magic, if we did not assume a providential inspiration watching over the coherencies, tendencies, and intertessellations (to use a learned word) of the whole,–it happens that, in many instances, typical things are recorded–things ceremonial, that could have no meaning to the person recording–prospective words, that were reported and transmitted in a spirit of confiding faith, but that could have little meaning to the reporting parties for many hundreds of years. Briefly, a great mysterious word is spelt as it were by the whole sum of the scriptural books–every separate book forming a letter or syllable in that secret and that unfinished word, as it was for so many ages. This cooperation of ages, not able to communicate or concert arrangements with each other, is neither more nor less an argument of an overruling inspiration, than if the separation of the contributing parties were by space, and not by time. As if, for example, every island at the same moment were to send its contribution, without previous concert, to a sentence or chapter of a book; in which case the result, if full of meaning, much more if full of awful and profound meaning, could not be explained rationally without the assumption of a supernatural overruling of these unconscious co-operators to a common result. So far on behalf of inspiration. Yet, on the other hand, as an argument in denial of any blind mechanic inspiration cleaving to words and syllables, Phil. notices this consequence as resulting from such an assumption, viz., that if you adopt any one gospel, St. John’s suppose, or any one narrative of a particular transaction, as inspired in this minute and pedantic sense, then for every other report, which, adhering to the spiritual value of the circumstances, and virtually the same, should differ in the least of the details, there would instantly arise a solemn degradation. All parts of Scripture, in fact, would thus be made active and operative in degrading each other.
Such is Phil.‘s way of explaining Î�Î�Î�πÎ�Î��…στÎ�Î�[Footnote: I must point out to Phil. an oversight of his as to this word at p. 45; he there describes the doctrine of theopneustia as being that of ‘plenary and verbal inspiration,’ But this he cannot mean, for obviously this word theopneustia comprehends equally the verbal inspiration which he is denouncing, and the inspiration of power or spiritual virtue which he is substituting. Neither Phil., nor any one of his school, is to be understood as rejecting theopneustia, but as rejecting that particular mode of theopneustia which appeals to the eye by mouldering symbols, in favor of that other mode which appeals to the heart by incorruptible radiations of inner truth.] (theopneustia), or divine prompting, so as to reconcile the doctrine affirming a virtual inspiration, an inspiration as to the truths revealed, with a peremptory denial of any inspiration at all, as to the mere verbal vehicle of those revelations. He is evidently as sincere in regard to the inspiration which he upholds as in regard to that which he denies. Phil. is honest, and Phil. is able. Now comes my turn. I rise to support my leader, and shall attempt to wrench this notion of a verbal inspiration from the hands of its champions by a reductio ad absurdum, viz., by showing the monstrous consequences to which it leads–which form of logic Phil. also has employed briefly in the last paragraph of last month’s paper; but mine is different and more elaborate. Yet, first of all, let me frankly confess to the reader, that some people allege a point-blank assertion by Scripture itself of its own verbal inspiration; which assertion, if it really had any existence, would summarily put down all cavils of human dialectics. That makes it necessary to review this assertion. This famous passage of Scripture, this locus classicus, or prerogative text, pleaded for the verbatim et literatim inspiration of the Bible, is the following; and I will so exhibit its very words as that the reader, even if no Grecian, may understand the point in litigation. The passage is this: Î Î�σÎ� Î�ρÎ�φÎ� Î�Î�Î�πÎ�Î�Î�στÎ�ς χÎ�Î� ώφÎ�Î�Î�Î�Î�ς, etc., taken from St. Paul, (2 Tim. iii. 16.) Let us construe it literally, expressing the Greek by Latin characters: Pasa graphe, all written lore (or every writing)–theopneustos, God-breathed, or, God-prompted–kai, and (or, also)–ophelimos, serviceable–pros, towards, didaskalian, doctrinal truth. Now this sentence, when thus rendered into English according to the rigor of the Grecian letter, wants something to complete its sense–it wants an is. There is a subject, as the logicians say, and there is a predicate (or, something affirmed of that subject), but there is no copula to connect them–we miss the is. This omission is common in Greek, but cannot be allowed in English. The is must be supplied; but where must it be supplied? That’s the very question, for there is a choice between two places; and, according to the choice, will the word theopneustos become part of the subject, or part of the predicate; which will make a world of difference. Let us try it both ways:–
1. All writing inspired by God (i.e. being inspired by God, supposing it inspired, which makes theopneustos part of the subject) is also profitable for teaching, etc.
2. All writing is inspired by God, and profitable, etc. (which makes theopneustos part of the predicate.)
Now, in this last way of construing the text, which is the way adopted by our authorized version, one objection strikes everybody at a glance, viz., that St. Paul could not possibly mean to say of all writing, indiscriminately, that it was divinely inspired, this being so revoltingly opposed to the truth. It follows, therefore, that, on this way of interpolating the is, we must understand the Apostle to use the word graphe, writing, in a restricted sense, not for writing generally, but for sacred writing, or (as our English phrase runs) ‘Holy Writ;‘ upon which will arise three separate demurs–first, one already stated by Phil., viz., that, when graphe is used in this sense, it is accompanied by the article; the phrase is either Î�Î�ρÎ�φÎ�, ‘the writing,’ or else (as in St. Luke) Î�Î� Î�ρÎ�φÎ�Î�, ‘the writings,’ just as in English it is said, ‘the Scripture,’ or ‘the Scriptures.’ Secondly, that, according to the Greek usage, this would not be the natural place for introducing the is. Thirdly–which disarms the whole objection from this text, howsoever construed–that, after all, it leaves the dispute with the bibliolaters wholly untouched. We also, the anti-bibliolaters, say that all Scripture is inspired, though we may not therefore suppose the Apostle to be here insisting on that doctrine. But no matter whether he is or not, in relation to this dispute. Both parties are contending for the inspiration–so far they are agreed; the question between them arises upon quite another point, viz., as to the mode of that inspiration, whether incarnating its golden light in the corruptibilities of perishing syllables, or in the sanctities of indefeasible, word-transcending ideas. Now, upon that question, the apostolic words, torture them how you please, say nothing at all.
There is, then, no such dogma (or, to speak Germanice, no such macht-spruch) in behalf of verbal inspiration as has been ascribed to St. Paul, and I pass to my own argument against it. This argument turns upon the self-confounding tendency of the common form ascribed to Î�Î�Î�πÎ�Î��…στÎ�Î�, or divine inspiration. When translated from its true and lofty sense of an inspiration–brooding, with outstretched wings, over the mighty abyss of secret truth–to the vulgar sense of an inspiration, burrowing, like a rabbit or a worm, in grammatical quillets and syllables, mark how it comes down to nothing at all; mark how a stream, pretending to derive itself from a heavenly fountain, is finally lost and confounded in a morass of human perplexities.
First of all, at starting, we have the inspiration (No. 1) to the original composers of the sacred books. That I grant, though distinguishing as to its nature.
Next, we want another inspiration (No. 2) for the countless translators of the Bible. Of what use is it to a German, to a Swiss, or to a Scotsman, that, three thousand years before the Reformation, the author of the Pentateuch was kept from erring by a divine restraint over his words, if the authors of this Reformation–Luther, suppose, Zwingle, John Knox–either making translations themselves, or relying upon translations made by others under no such verbal restraint, have been left free to bias his mind, pretty nearly as much as if the original Hebrew writer had been resigned to his own human discretion?
Thirdly, even if we adopt the inspiration No. 2, that will not avail us; because many different translators exist. Does the very earliest translation of the Law and the Prophets, viz., the Greek translation of the Septuagint, always agree verbally with the Hebrew? Or the Samaritan Pentateuch always with the Hebrew? Or do the earliest Latin versions of the entire Bible agree verbally with modern Latin versions? Jerome’s Latin version, for instance, memorable as being that adopted by the Romish Church, and known under the name of the Vulgate, does it agree verbally with the Latin versions of the Bible or parts of the Bible made since the Reformation? In the English, again, if we begin with the translation still sleeping in MS., made five centuries ago, and passing from that to the first printed translation (which was, I think, Coverdale’s, in 1535), if we thence travel down to our own day, so as to include all that have confined themselves to separate versions of some one book, or even of some one cardinal text, the versions that differ–and to the idolater of words all differences are important–may be described as countless. Here, then, on that doctrine of inspiration which ascribes so much to the power of verbal accuracy, we shall want a fourth inspiration, No. 4, for the guidance of each separate Christian applying himself to the Scriptures in his mother tongue; he will have to select not one (where is the one that has been uniformly correct?) but a multitude; else the same error will again rush in by torrents through the license of interpretation assumed by these many adverse translators.
Fourthly, as these differences of version arise often tinder the same reading of the original text; but as, in the meantime, there are many different readings, here a fifth source of possible error calls for a fifth inspiration overruling us to the proper choice amongst various readings. What may be called a ‘textual’ inspiration for selecting the right reading is requisite for the very same reason, neither more nor less, which supposes any verbal inspiration originally requisite for constituting a right reading. It matters not in which stage of the Bible’s progress the error commences; first stage and last stage are all alike in the sight of God. There was, reader, as perhaps you know, about six score years ago, another Phil., not the same as this Phil. now before us (who would be quite vexed if you fancied him as old as all that comes to–oh dear, no! he’s not near as old)–well, that earlier Phil. was Bentley, who wrote (under the name of Phileleutheros Lipsiansis) a pamphlet connected with this very subject, partly against an English infidel of that day. In that pamphlet, Phil. the first pauses to consider and value this very objection from textual variation to the validity of Scripture: for the infidel (as is usual with infidels) being no great scholar, had argued as though it were impossible to urge anything whatever for the word of God, since so vast a variety in the readings rendered it impossible to know what was the word of God. Bentley, though rather rough, from having too often to deal with shallow coxcombs, was really and unaffectedly a pious man. He was shocked at this argument, and set himself seriously to consider it. Now, as all the various readings were Greek, and as Bentley happened to be the first of Grecians, his deliberate review of this argument is entitled to great attention. There were, at that moment when Bentley spoke, something more (as I recollect) than ten thousand varieties of reading in the text of the New Testament; so many had been collected in the early part of Queen Anne’s reign by Wetstein, the Dutchman, who was then at the head of the collators. Mill, the Englishman, was at that very time making further collations. How many he added, I cannot tell without consulting books–a thing which I very seldom do. But since that day, and long after Bentley and Mill were in their graves, Griesbach, the German, has risen to the top of the tree, by towering above them all in the accuracy of his collations. Yet, as the harvest comes before the gleanings, we may be sure that Wetstein’s barn housed the very wealth of all this variety. Of this it was, then, that Bentley spoke. And what was it that he spoke? Why, he, the great scholar, pronounced, as with the authority of a Chancery decree, that the vast majority of various readings made no difference at all in the sense. In the sense, observe; but many things might make a difference in the sense which would still leave the doctrine undisturbed. For instance, in the passage about a camel going through the eye of a needle, it will make a difference in the sense, whether you read in the Greek word for camel the oriental animal of that name, or a ship’s cable; but no difference at all arises in the spiritual doctrine. Or, illustrating the case out of Shakspeare, it makes no difference as to the result, whether you read in Hamlet ‘to take arms against a sea of troubles,’ or (as has been suggested), ‘against a siege of troubles;’ but it makes a difference as to the integrity of the image.[Footnote: ‘Integrity of the metaphor.’–One of the best notes ever written by Warburton was in justification of the old reading, sea. It was true, that against a sea it would be idle to take arms. We, that have lived since Warburton’s day, have learned by the solemn example of Mrs. Partington, (which, it is to be hoped, none of us will ever forget,) how useless, how vain it is to take up a mop against the Atlantic Ocean. Great is the mop, great is Mrs. Partington, but greater is the Atlantic. Yet, though all arms must be idle against the sea considered literally, and χÎ�τÎ� τÎ�Î� φÎ�Î�τÎ�σÎ�Î�Î� under that image, Warburton contended justly that all images, much employed, evanesce into the ideas which they represent. A sea of troubles comes to mean only a multitude of troubles. No image of the sea is suggested; and arms, incongruous in relation to the literal sea, is not so in relation to a multitude; besides, that the image arms itself, evanesces for the same reason into resistance. For this one note, which I cite from boyish remembrance, I have always admired the subtlety of Warburton.] What has a sea to do with arms? What has a camel,[Footnote: Meantime, though using this case as an illustration, I believe that camel is, after all, the true translation; first, on account of the undoubted proverb in the East about the elephant going through the needle’s eye; the relation is that of contrast as to magnitude; and the same relation holds as to the camel and the needle’s eye; secondly, because the proper word for a cable, it has been alleged, is not ‘camelus,’ but ‘camilus.’] the quadruped, to do with a needle? A prodigious minority, therefore, there is of such various readings as slightly affect the sense; but this minority becomes next to nothing, when we inquire for such as affect any doctrine. This was Bentley’s opinion upon the possible disturbance offered to the Christian by various readings in the New Testament. You thought that the carelessness, or, at times, even the treachery of men, through so many centuries, must have ended in corrupting the original truth; yet, after all, you see the light burns as brightly and steadily as ever. We, now, that are not bibliolatrists, no more believe that, from the disturbance of a few words here or there, any evangelical truth can have suffered a wound or mutilation, than we believe that the burning of a wood, or even of a forest, which happens in our vast American possessions, sometimes from natural causes (lightning, or spontaneous combustion), sometimes from an Indian’s carelessness, can seriously have injured botany. But for him, who conceives an inviolable sanctity to have settled upon each word and particle of the original record, there should have been strictly required an inspiration (No. 5) to prevent the possibility of various readings arising. It is too late, however, to pray for that; the various readings have arisen; here they are; and what’s to be done now? The only resource for the bibliolatrist is–to invoke a new inspiration (No.4) for helping him out of his difficulty, by guiding his choice. We, anti-bibliolaters, are not so foolish as to believe that God having once sent a deep message of truth to man, would suffer it to lie at the mercy of a careless or a wicked copyist. Treasures so vast would not be left at the mercy of accidents so vile. Very little more than two hundred years ago, a London compositor, not wicked at all, but simply drunk, in printing Deuteronomy, left out the most critical of words; the seventh commandment he exhibited thus-‘Thou shalt commit adultery;’ in which form the sheet was struck off. And though in those days no practical mischief could arise from this singular erratum, which English Griesbachs will hardly enter upon the roll of various readings, yet, harmless as it was, it met with punishment. ‘Scandalous!’ said Laud, ‘shocking! to tell men in the seventeenth century, as a biblical rule, that they positively must commit adultery!’ The brother compositors of this drunken biblical reviser, being too honorable to betray the individual delinquent, the Star Chamber fined the whole ‘chapel.’ Now, the copyists of MSS. were as certain to be sometimes drunk as this compos
itor–famous by his act–utterly forgotten in his person–whose crime is remembered–the record of whose name has perished. We therefore hold, that it never was in the power, or placed within the discretion, of any copyist, whether writer or printer, to injure the sacred oracles. But the bibliolatrist cannot say that; because, if he does, then he is formally unsaying the very principle which is meant by bibliolatry. He therefore must require another supplementary inspiration, viz., No. 4, to direct him in his choice of the true reading amongst so many as continually offer themselves.[Footnote: [Footnote: I recollect no variation in the test of Scripture which makes any startling change, even to the amount of an eddy in its own circumjacent waters, except that famous passage about the three witnesses–‘There are three that bare record in heaven,’ etc. This has been denounced with perfect fury as an interpolation; and it is impossible to sum up the quart bottles of ink, black and blue, that have been shed in the dreadful skirmish. Person even, the all-accomplished Grecian, in his letters to Archdeacon Travis, took a conspicuous part in the controversy; his wish was, that men should think of him as a second Bentley tilting against Phalaris; and he stung like a hornet. To be a Cambridge man in those days was to be a hater of all Establishments in England; things and persons were hated alike. I hope the same thing may not be true at present. It may chance that on this subject Master Porson will get stung through his coffin, before he is many years deader. However, if this particular variation troubles the waters just around itself (for it would desolate a Popish village to withdraw its local saint), yet carrying one’s eye from this Epistle to the whole domains of the New Testament–yet, looking away from that defrauded village to universal Christendom, we must exclaim–What does one miss? Surely Christendom is not disturbed because a village suffers wrong; the sea is not roused because an eddy in a corner is boiling; the doctrine of the Trinity is not in danger because Mr. Porson is in a passion.]
Fifthly, as all words cover ideas, and many a word covers a choice of ideas, and very many ideas split into a variety of modifications, we shall, even after a fourth inspiration has qualified us for selecting the true reading, still be at a loss how, upon this right reading, to fix the right acceptation. So there, at that fifth stage, in rushes the total deluge of human theological controversies. One church, or one sect, insists upon one sense; another, and another, ‘to the end of time,’ insists upon a different sense. Babel is upon us; and, to get rid of Babel, we shall need a fifth inspiration. No. 5 is clamorously called for.[Footnote: One does not wish to be tedious; or, if one has a gift in that way, naturally one does not wish to bestow it all upon a perfect stranger, as ‘the reader’ usually is, but to reserve a part for the fireside, and the use of one’s most beloved friends; else I could torment the reader by a longer succession of numbers, and perhaps drive him to despair. But one more of the series, viz., No. 6, as a parting gage d’ amitie, he must positively permit me to drop into his pocket. Supposing, then, that No. 5 were surmounted, and that, supernaturally, you knew the value to a hair’s breadth, of every separate word (or, perhaps, composite phrase made up from a constellation of words)–ah, poor traveller in trackless forests, still you are lost again–for, oftentimes, and especially in St. Paul, the words may be known, their sense may be known, but their logical relation is still doubtful. The word X and the word Y are separately clear; but has Y the dependency of a consequence upon X, or no dependency at all? Is the clause which stands eleventh in the series a direct prolongation of that which stands tenth? or is the tenth wholly independent and insulated? or does it occupy the place of a parenthesis, so as to modify the ninth clause? People that have pracised composition as much, and with as vigilant an eye as myself, know also, by thousands of cases, how infinite is the disturbance caused in the logic of a thought by the mere position of a word as despicable as the word even. A mote, that is itself invisible, shall darken the august faculty of sight in a human eye–the heavens shall be hidden by a wretched atom that dares not show itself–and the station of a syllable shall cloud the judgment of a council. Nay, even an ambiguous emphasis falling to the right-hand word, or the left-hand word, shall confound a system.] But we all know, each knows by his own experience, that No. 5 is not forthcoming; and, in the absence of that, what avail for us the others? ‘Man overboard!’ is the cry upon deck; but what avails it for the poor drowning creature that a rope being thrown to him is thoroughly secured at one end to the ship, if the other end floats wide of his grasp? We are in prison: we descend from our prison-roof, that seems high as the clouds, by knotting together all the prison bed-clothes, and all the aids from friends outside. But all is too short: after swarming down the line, in middle air, we find ourselves hanging: sixty feet of line are still wanting. To reascend–that is impossible: to drop boldly–alas! that is to die.
Meantime, what need of this eternal machinery, that eternally is breaking like ropes of sand? Or of this earth resting on an elephant, that rests on a tortoise, that, when all is done, must still consent to rest on the common atmosphere of God? These chains of inspiration are needless. The great ideas of the Bible protect themselves. The heavenly truths, by their own imperishableness, defeat the mortality of languages with which for a moment they are associated. Is the lightning enfeebled or dimmed, because for thousands of years it has blended with the tarnish of earth and the steams of earthly graves? Or light, which so long has travelled in the chambers of our sickly air, and searched the haunts of impurity–is that less pure than it was in the first chapter of Genesis? Or that more holy light of truth–the truth, suppose, written from his creation upon the tablets of man’s heart–which truth never was imprisoned in any Hebrew or Greek, but has ranged for ever through courts and camps, deserts and cities, the original lesson of justice to man and piety to God–has that become tainted by intercourse with flesh? or has it become hard to decipher, because the very heart, that human heart where it is inscribed, is so often blotted with falsehoods? You are aware, perhaps, reader, that in the Mediterranean Sea, off the coast of Asia Minor (and, indeed, elsewhere), through the very middle of the salt-sea billows, rise up, in shining columns, fountains of fresh water.[Footnote: See Mr. Yates’s ‘Annotations upon Fellowes’s Researches in Anatolia,’ as one authority for this singular phenomenon.] In the desert of the sea are found Arabian fountains of Ishmael and Isaac! Are these fountains poisoned for the poor victim of fever, because they have to travel through a contagion of waters not potable? Oh, no! They bound upwards like arrows, cleaving the seas above with as much projectile force as the glittering water-works of Versailles cleave the air, and rising as sweet to the lip as ever mountain torrent that comforted the hunted deer.
It is impossible to suppose that any truth, launched by God upon the agitations of things so unsettled as languages, can perish. The very frailty of languages is the strongest proof of this; because it is impossible to suppose that anything so great can have been committed to the fidelity of anything so treacherous. There is laughter in heaven when it is told of man, that he fancies his earthly jargons, which, to heavenly ears, must sound like the chucklings of poultry, equal to the task of hiding or distorting any light of revelation. Had words possessed any authority or restraint over scriptural truth, a much worse danger would have threatened it than any malice in the human will, suborning false copyists, or surreptitiously favoring depraved copies. Even a general conspiracy of the human race for such a purpose would avail against the Bible only as a general conspiracy to commit suicide might avail against the drama of God’s providence. Either conspiracy would first become dangerous when first either became possible. But a real danger seems to lie in the insensible corruption going on for ever within all languages, by means of which they are eternally dying away from their own vital powers; and that is a danger which is travelling fast after all the wisdom and the wit, the eloquence and the poetry of this earth, like a mountainous wave, and will finally overtake them–their very vehicles being lost and confounded to human sensibilities. But such a wave will break harmlessly against scriptural truth; and not merely because that truth will for ever evade such a shock by its eternal transfer from language to language–from languages dying out to languages in vernal bloom–but also because, if it could not evade the shock, supreme truth would surmount it for a profounder reason. A danger analogous to this once existed in a different form. The languages into which the New Testament was first translated offered an apparent obstacle to the translation that seemed insurmountable. The Latin, for instance, did not present the spiritual words which such a translation demanded; and how should it, when the corresponding ideas had no existence amongst the Romans? Yet, if not spiritual, the language of Rome was intellectual; it was the language of a cultivated and noble race. But what shall be done if the New Testament wishes to drive a tunnel through a rude forest race, having an undeveloped language, and understanding nothing but war? Four centuries after Christ, the Gothic Bishop Ulphilas set about translating the Gospels for his countrymen. He had no words for expressing spiritual relations or spiritual operations. The new nomenclature of moral graces, humility, resignation, the spirit of forgiveness, etc., hitherto unrecognised for such amongst men, having first of all been shown in blossom, and distinguished from weeds, by Christian gardening, had to be reproduced in the Gothic language, with apparently no means whatever of effecting it. In this earliest of what we may call ancestral translations, (for the Goths were of our own blood,) and, therefore, by many degrees, this most interesting of translations, may be seen to this day, after fourteen centuries and upwards have passed, how the good bishop succeeded, to what extent he succeeded, and by what means. I shall take a separate opportunity for investigating that problem; but at present I will content myself with noticing a remarkable principle which applies to the case, and illustrating it by a remarkable anecdote. The principle is this–that in the grander parts of knowledge, which do not deal much with petty details, nearly all the building or constructive ideas (those ideas which build up the system of that particular knowledge) lie involved within each other; so that any one of the series, being awakened in the mind, is sufficient (given a multitude of minds) to lead backwards or forwards, analytically or synthetically, into many of the rest. That is the principle;[Footnote: I am afraid, on reviewing this passage, that the reader may still say, ‘What is the principle?’ I will add, therefore, the shortest explanation of my meaning. If into any Pagan language you had occasion to translate the word love, or purity, or penitence, etc., you could not do it. The Greek language itself, perhaps the finest (all things weighed and valued) that man has employed, could not do it. The scale was not so pitched as to make the transfer possible. It was to execute organ music on a guitar. And, hereafter, I will endeavor to show how scandalous an error has been committed on this subject, not by scholars only, but by religious philosophers. The relation of Christian ethics (which word ethics, however, is itself most insufficient) to natural or universal ethics is a field yet uncultured by a rational thought. The first word of sense has yet to be spoken. There lies the difficulty; and the principle which meets it is this, that what any one idea could never effect for itself (insulated, it must remain an unknown quality for ever), the total system of the ideas developed from its centre would effect for each separately. To know the part, you must first know the whole, or know it, at least, by some outline. The idea of purity, for instance, in its Christian altitude, would be utterly incomprehensible, and, besides, could not sustain itself for a moment if by any glimpse it were approached. But when a ruin was unfolded that had affected the human race, and many things heretofore unobserved, because uncombined, were gathered into a unity of evidence to that ruin, spread through innumerable channels, the great altitude would begin dimly to reveal itself by means of the mighty depth in correspondence. One deep calleth to another. One after one the powers lodged in the awful succession of uncoverings would react upon each other; and thus the feeblest language would be as capable of receiving and reflecting the system of truths (because the system is an arch that supports itself) as the richest and noblest; and for the same reason that makes geometry careless of language. The vilest jargon that ever was used by a shivering savage of Terra del Fuego is as capable of dealing with the sublime and eternal affections of space and quantity, with up and down, with more and less, with circle and radius, angle and tangent, as is the golden language of Athens.] and the story which illustrates it is this:–A great work of Apollonius, the sublime geometer, was supposed in part to have perished: seven of the eight books remained in the original Greek; but the eighth was missing. The Greek, after much search, was not recovered; but at length there was found (in the Bodleian, I think,) an Arabic translation of it. An English mathematician, Halley, knowing not one word of Arabic, determined (without waiting for that Arabic key) to pick the lock of this MS. And he did so. Through strength of preconception, derived equally from his knowledge of the general subject, and from his knowledge of this particular work in its earlier sections, using also to some extent the subtle art of the decipherer, [Footnote: An art which, in the preceding century, had been greatly improved by Wallis, Savilian professor of geometry at Oxford, the improver of analytic mathematics, and the great historian of algebra. Algebra it was that suggested to him his exquisite deciphering skill, and the parliamentary war it was that furnished him with a sufficient field of practice. The King’s private cabinet of papers, all written in cipher, and captured in the royal coach on the decisive day of Naseby (June, 1645), was (I believe) deciphered by Wallis, proprio marte.] now become so powerful an instrument of analysis, he translated the whole Arabic MS. He printed it–he published it. He tore–he extorted the truth from the darkness of an unknown language–he would not suffer the Arabic to benefit by its own obscurity to the injury of mathematics. And the book remains a monument to this day, that a system of ideas, having
internal coherency and interdependency, is vainly hidden under an unknown tongue; that it may be illuminated and restored chiefly through their own reciprocal involutions. The same principle applies, and a fortiori applies, to religious truth, as one which lies far deeper than geometry in the spirit of man, one to which the inner attestation is profounder, and to which the key-notes of Scripture (once awakened on the great organ of the heart) are sure to call up corresponding echoes. It is not in the power of language to arrest or to defeat this mode of truth; because, when once the fundamental base is furnished by revelation, the human heart itself is able to co-operate in developing the great harmonies of the system, without aid from language, and in defiance of language–without aid from human learning, and in defiance of human learning.
Finally, there is another security against the suppression or distortion of any great biblical truth by false readings, which I will state in the briefest terms. The reader is aware of the boyish sport sometimes called ‘drake-stone;’ a flattish stone is thrown by a little dexterity so as to graze the surface of a river, but so, also, as in grazing it to dip below the surface, to rise again from this dip, again to dip, again to ascend, and so on alternately, a plusieurs reprises. In the same way, with the same effect of alternate resurrections, all scriptural truths reverberate and diffuse themselves along the pages of the Bible; none is confined to one text, or to one mode of enunciation; all parts of the scheme are eternally chasing each other, like the parts of a fugue; they hide themselves in one chapter, only to restore themselves in another; they diverge, only to recombine; and under such a vast variety of expressions, that even in that way, supposing language to have powers over religious truth–which it never had, or can have–any abuse of such a power would be thoroughly neutralized. The case resembles the diffusion of vegetable seeds through the air and through the waters; draw a cordon sanitaire against dandelion or thistledown, and see if the armies of earth would suffice to interrupt this process of radiation, which yet is but the distribution of weeds. Suppose, for instance, the text about the three heavenly witnesses to have been eliminated finally as an interpolation. The first thought is–there goes to wreck a great doctrine! Not at all. That text occupied but a corner of the garden. The truth, and the secret implications of the truth, have escaped at a thousand points in vast arches above our heads, rising high above the garden wall, and have sown the earth with memorials of the mystery which they envelope.
The final inference is this–that scriptural truth is endowed with a self-conservative and a self-restorative virtue; it needs no long successions of verbal protection by inspiration; it is self-protected; first, internally, by the complex power which belongs to the Christian system of involving its own integrations, in the same way as a musical chord involves its own successions of sound, and its own resolutions; secondly, in an external and obvious way, it is protected by its prodigious iteration, and secret presupposed in all varieties of form. Consequently, as the peril connected with language is thus effectually barred, the call for any verbal inspiration (which, on separate grounds, is shown to be self-confounding) shows itself now, in a second form, to be a gratuitous delusion, since, in effect, it is a call for protection against a danger which cannot have any existence.
There is another variety of bibliolatry arising in a different way–not upon errors of language incident to human infirmity, but upon deliberate errors indispensable to divine purposes. The case is one which has been considered with far too little attention, else it could never have been thought strange that Christ should comply in things indifferent with popular errors. A few Words will put the reader in possession of my view. Speaking of the Bible, Phil. says, ‘We admit that its separate parts are the work of frail and fallible human beings. We do not seek to build upon it systems of cosmogony, chronology, astronomy, and natural history. We know no reason of internal or external probability which should induce us to believe that such matters could ever have been the subjects of direct revelation.’ Is that all? There is no reason, certainly, for expectations so foolish; but is there no adamantine reason against them? It is no business of the Bible, we are told, to teach science. Certainly not; but that is far too little. It is an obligation resting upon the Bible, if it is to be consistent with itself, that it should refuse to teach science; and, if the Bible ever had taught any one art, science, or process of life, capital doubts would have clouded our confidence in the authority of the book. By what caprice, it would have been asked, is a divine mission abandoned suddenly for a human mission? By what caprice is this one science taught, and others not? Or these two, suppose, and not all? But an objection, even deadlier, would have followed. It is clear as is the purpose of daylight, that the whole body of the arts and sciences composes one vast machinery for the irritation and development of the human intellect. For this end they exist. To see God, therefore, descending into the arena of science, and contending, as it were, for his own prizes, by teaching science in the Bible, would be to see him intercepting from their self-evident destination, (viz., man’s intellectual benefit,) his own problems by solving them himself. No spectacle could more dishonor the divine idea. The Bible must not teach anything that man can teach himself. Does the doctrine require a revelation?–then nobody but God can teach it. Does it require none?–then in whatever case God has qualified man to do a thing for himself, he has in that very qualification silently laid an injunction upon man to do it, by giving the power. But it is fancied that a divine teacher, without descending to the unworthy office of teaching science, might yet have kept his own language free from all collusion with human error. Hence, for instance, it was argued at one time, that any language in the Bible implying the earth to be stationary, and central to our system, could not not have been a compliance with the popular errors of the time, but must be taken to express the absolute truth. And so grew the anti-Galilean fanatics. Out of similar notions have risen the absurdities of a polemic Bible chronology, etc. [Footnote: The Bible cosmology stands upon another footing. That is not gathered from a casual expression, shaped to meet popular comprehension, but is delivered directly, formally, and elaborately, as a natural preface to the history of man and his habitation. Here, accordingly, there is no instance of accommodation to vulgar ignorance; and the persuasion gains ground continually that the order of succession in the phenomena of creation will be eventually confirmed by scientific geology, so far as this science may ever succeed in unlinking the steps of the process. Nothing, in fact, disturbs the grandeur and solemnity of the Mosaical cosmogony, except (as usual) the ruggedness of the bibliolater. He, finding the English word day employed in the measurement of the intervals, takes it for granted that this must mean a nychthemeron of twenty-four hours; imports, therefore, into the biblical text this conceit; fights for his own opinion, as for a revelation from heaven; and thus disfigures the great inaugural chapter of human history with this single feature of a fairy-tale, where everything else is told with the most majestic simplicity. But this word, which so ignorantly he presumes to be an ordinary human day, bears that meaning only in common historical transactions between man and man; but never once in the great prophetic writings, where God comes forward as himself the principal agent. It then means always a vast and mysterious duration–undetermined, even to this hour, in Daniel. The heptameron is not a week, but a shadowy adumbration of a week.] Meantime, if a man sets himself steadily to contemplate the consequences which must inevitably have followed any deviation from the usual erroneous phraseology, he will see the utter impossibility that a teacher (pleading a heavenly mission) could allow himself to deviate by one hair’s breadth (and why should he wish to deviate?) from the ordinary language of the times. To have uttered one syllable for instance, that implied motion in the earth, would have issued into the following ruins:–First, it would have tainted the teacher with the suspicion of lunacy; and, secondly, would have placed him in this inextricable dilemma. On the one hand, to a
nswer the questions prompted by his own perplexing language, would have opened upon him, as a necessity, one stage after another of scientific cross-examination, until his spiritual mission would have been forcibly swallowed up in the mission of natural philosopher; but, on the other hand, to pause resolutely at any one stage of this public examination, and to refuse all further advance, would be, in the popular opinion, to retreat as a baffled disputant from insane paradoxes which he had not been able to support. One step taken in that direction was fatal, whether the great envoy retreated from his own words to leave behind the impression that he was defeated as a rash speculator, or stood to these words, and thus fatally entangled himself in the inexhaustible succession of explanations and justifications. In either event the spiritual mission was at an end: it would have perished in shouts of derision, from which there could have been no retreat, and no retrieval of character. The greatest of astronomers, rather than seem ostentatious or unseasonably learned, will stoop to the popular phrase of the sun’s rising, or the sun’s motion in the ecliptic. But God, for a purpose commensurate with man’s eternal welfare, is by these critics supposed incapable of the same petty abstinence.
The same line of argument applies to all the compliances of Christ with the Jewish prejudices (partly imported from the Euphrates) as to demonology, witchcraft, etc. By the way, in this last word, ‘witchcraft,’ and the too memorable histories connected with it, lies a perfect mine of bibliolatrous madness. As it illustrates the folly and the wickedness of the biliolaters, let us pause upon it.
The word witch, these bibliolaters take it for granted, must mean exactly what the original Hebrew means, or the Greek word chosen by the LXX.; so much, and neither more nor less. That is, from total ignorance of the machinery by which language moves, they fancy that every idea and word which exists, or has existed, for any nation, ancient or modern, must have a direct interchangeable equivalent in all other languages; and that, if the dictionaries do not show it, that must be because the dictionaries are bad. Will these worthy people have the goodness, then, to translate coquette into Hebrew, and post-office into Greek? The fact is, that all languages, and in the ratio of their development, offer ideas absolutely separate and exclusive to themselves. In the highly cultured languages of England, France, and Germany, are words, by thousands, which are strictly untranslatable. They may be approached, but cannot be reflected as from a mirror. To take an image from the language of eclipses, the correspondence between the disk of the original word and its translated representative is, in thousands of instances, not annular; the centres do not coincide; the words overlap; and this arises from the varying modes in which different nations combine ideas. The French word shall combine the elements, l, m, n, o–the nearest English word, perhaps, m, n, o, p. For instance, in all words applied to the nuances of manners, and generally to social differences, how prodigious is the wealth of the French language! How merely untranslatable for all Europe! I suppose, my bibliolater, you have not yet finished your Hebrew or Samaritan translation of coquette. Well, you shall be excused from that, if you will only translate it into English. You cannot: you are obliged to keep the French word; and yet you take for granted, without inquiry, that in the word ‘witchcraft,’ and in the word ‘witch,’ applied to the sorceress of Endor, our authorized English Bible of King James’s day must be correct. And your wicked bibliolatrous ancestors proceeded on that idea throughout Christendom to murder harmless, friendless, and oftentimes crazy old women. Meantime the witch of Endor in no respect resembled our modern domestic witch.[Footnote: ‘The domestic witch.’–It is the common notion that the superstition of the evil eye, so widely diffused in the Southern lands, and in some, not a slumbering, but a fiercely operative superstition, is unknown in England and other Northern latitudes. On the contrary, to my thinking, the regular old vulgar witch of England and Scotland was but an impersonatrix of the very same superstition. Virgil expresses this mode of sorcery to the letter, when his shepherd says–
‘Nescio quis teneros oculus mihi fascinat agnos?’
Precisely in that way it was that the British witch operated. She, by her eye, blighted the natural powers of growth and fertility. By the way, I ought to mention, as a case parallel to that of the Bible’s recognising witchcraft, and of enlightened nations continuing to punish it, that St. Paul himself, in an equal degree, recognises the evil eye; that is, he uses the idea, (though certainly not meaning to accredit such an idea,) as one that briefly and energetically conveyed his meaning to those whom he was addressing. ‘Oh, foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you?’ That is, literally, who has fascinated your senses by the evil eye? For the Greek is, tis umas ebaskanen? Now the word ebaskanen is a past tense of the verb baskaino, which was the technical term for the action of the evil eye. Without having written a treatise on the Æolic digamma, probably the reader is aware that F is V, and that, in many languages, B and V are interchangeable letters through thousands of words, as the Italian tavola, from the Latin tabula. Under that little process it was that the Greek baskaino transmigrated into the Latin fascino; so that St. Paul’s word, in speaking to the Galatians, is the very game word as Virgil’s, in speaking of the shepherd’s flock as charmed by the evil eye.] There was as much difference as between a Roman Proconsul, surrounded with eagle-bearers, and a commercial Consul’s clerk with a pen behind his ear. Apparently she was not so much a Medea as an Erichtho. (See the Pharsalia.) She was an Evocatrix, or female necromancer, evoking phantoms that stood in some unknown relation to dead men; and then by some artifice (it has been supposed) of ventriloquism,[Footnote: I am not referring to German infidels. Very pious commentators have connected her with the engastrimuthoi (Î�Î�Î�Î�στρÎ�Î��…Î�Î�Î�) or ventriloquists.] causing these phantoms to deliver oracular answers upon great political questions. Oh, that one had lived in the times of those New-England wretches that desolated whole districts and terrified vast provinces by their judicial murders of witches, under plea of a bibliolatrous warrant; until at last the fiery furnace, which they had heated for women and children, shot forth flames that, like those of Nebuchadnezzar’s furnace, seizing upon his very agents, began to reach some of the murderous judges and denouncers!
Yet, after all, are there not express directions in Scripture to exterminate witches from the land? Certainly; but that does not argue any scriptural recognition of witchcraft as a possible offence. An imaginary crime may imply a criminal intention that is not imaginary; but also, which much more directly concerns the interests of a state, a criminal purpose, that rests upon a pure delusion, may work by means that are felonious for ends that are fatal. At this moment, we English and the Spaniards have laws, and severe ones, against witchcraft, viz., in the West Indies, and indispensable it is that we should. The Obeah man from Africa can do no mischief to one of us. The proud and enlightened white man despises his arts; and for him, therefore, these arts have no existence, for they work only through strong preconceptions of their reality, and through trembling faith in their efficacy. But by that very agency they are all-sufficient for the ruin of the poor credulous negro; he is mastered by original faith, and has perished thousands of times under the knowledge that Obi had been set for him. Justly, therefore, do our colonial courts punish the Obeah sorcerer, who (though an impostor) is not the less a murderer. Now the Hebrew witchcraft was probably even worse; equally resting on delusions, nevertheless, equally it worked for unlawful ends, and (which chiefly made it an object of divine wrath) it worked through idolatrous agencies. It must, therefore, have kept up that connection with idolatry which it was the unceasing effort of the Hebrew polity to exterminate from the land. Consequently, the Hebrew commonwealth might, as consistently as our own, denounce and punish witchcraft without liability to the inference that it therefore recognised the pretensions of witches as real, in the sense of working their bad ends by the means which they alleged. Their magic was causatively of no virtue at all, but, being believed in, through this belief it became the occasional means of exciting the imagination of its victims; after which the consequences were the same as if the magic had acted physically according to its pretences. [Footnote: Does that argument not cover ‘the New England wretches’ so unreservedly denounced in a preceding paragraph?–ED.]
II. Development, as applicable to Christianity, is a doctrine of the very days that are passing over our heads, and due to Mr. Newman, originally the ablest son of Puseyism, but now a powerful architect of religious philosophy on his own account. I should have described him more briefly as a ‘master-builder,’ had my ear been able to endure a sentence ending with two consecutive trochees, and each of those trochees ending with the same syllable er. Ah, reader! I would the gods had made thee rhythmical, that thou mightest comprehend the thousandth part of my labors in the evasion of cacophon. Phil. has a general dislike to the Puseyites, though he is too learned to be ignorant, (as are often the Low-Church, or Evangelical, party in England,) that, in many of their supposed innovations, the Puseyites were really only restoring what the torpor of the eighteenth century had suffered to go into disuse. They were reforming the Church in the sense sometimes belonging to the particle re, viz., retroforming it, moulding it back into compliance with its original form and model. It is true that this effort for quickening the Church, and for adorning her exterior service, moved under the impulse of too undisguised a sympathy with Papal Rome. But there is no great reason to mind that in our age and our country. Protestant zealotry may be safely relied on in this island as a match for Popish bigotry. There will be no love lost between them–be assured of that–and justice will be done to both, though neither should do it to her rival; for philosophy, which has so long sought only amusement in either, is in these latter days of growing profundity applying herself steadily to the profound truths which dimly are descried lurking in both. It is these which Mr. Newman is likely to illuminate, and not the faded forms of an obsolete ceremonial that cannot now be restored effectually, were it even important that they should. Strange it is, however, that he should open his career by offering to Rome, as a mode of homage, this doctrine of development, which is the direct inversion of her own. Rome founds herself upon the idea, that to her, by tradition and exclusive privilege, was communicated, once for all, the whole truth from the beginning. Mr. Newman lays his corner-stone in the very opposite idea of a gradual development given to Christianity by the motion of time, by experience, by expanding occasions, and by the progress of civilization. Is Newmanism likely to prosper? Let me tell a little anecdote. Twenty years ago, roaming one day (as I had so often the honor to do) with our immortal Wordsworth, 1 took the liberty of telling him, at a point of our walk, where nobody could possibly overhear me, unless it were old Father Helvellyn, that I feared his theological principles were not quite so sound as his friends would wish. They wanted repairing a little. But, what was worse, I did not see how they could be repaired in the particular case which prompted my remark, for in that place, to repair, or in any respect to alter, was to destroy. It was a passage in the ‘Excursion,’ where the Solitary had described the baptismal rite as washing away the taint of original sin, and, in fact, working the effect which is called technically regeneration. In the ‘Excursion’ this view was advanced, not as the poet’s separate opinion, but as the avowed doctrine of the English Church, to which Church Wordsworth and myself yielded gladly a filial reverence. But was this the doctrine of the English Church? That I doubted–not that I pretended to any sufficient means of valuing the preponderant opinion between two opinions in the Church; a process far more difficult than is imagined by historians, always so ready to tell us fluently what ‘the nation’ or ‘the people’ thought upon a particular question, (whilst, in fact, a whole life might be often spent vainly in collecting the popular opinion); but, judging by my own casual experience, I fancied that a considerable majority in the Church gave an interpretation to this Sacrament differing by much from that in the ‘Excursion.’ Wordsworth was startled and disturbed at hearing it whispered even before Helvellyn, who is old enough to keep a secret, that his divinity might possibly limp a little. I, on my part, was not sure that it did, but I feared so; and, as there was no chance that I should be murdered for speaking freely, (though the place was lonely, and the evening getting dusky,) I stood to my disagreeable communication with the courage of a martyr. The question between us being one of mere fact, (not what ought to be the doctrine, but what was the doctrine of our Church at that time,) there was no opening for any discussion; and, on Wordsworth’s suggestion, it was agreed to refer the point to his learned brother, Dr. Christopher Wordsworth, just then meditating a visit to his native lakes. That visit in a short time ‘came off,’ and then, without delay, our dispute ‘came on’ for judgment. I had no bets upon the issue–one can’t bet with Wordsworth–and I don’t know that I should have ventured to back myself in a case of that nature. However, I felt a slight anxiety on the subject, which was very soon and kindly removed by Dr. Wordsworth’s deciding, ‘sans phrase,’ that I, the original mover of the strife, was wrong, wrong as wrong could be. To this decision I bowed at once, on a principle of courtesy. One ought always to presume a man right within his own profession even if privately one should think him wrong. But I could not think that of Dr. Wordsworth. He was a D.D.; he was head of Trinity College, which has my entire permission to hold its head up
amongst twenty and more colleges, as the leading one in Cambridge, (provided it can obtain St. John’s permission), ‘and which,’ says Phil., ‘has done more than any other foundation in Europe for the enlightenment of the world, and for the overthrow of literary, philosophical, and religious superstitions,’ I quarrel not with this bold assertion, remembering reverentially that Isaac Barrow, that Isaac Newton, that Richard Bentley belonged to Trinity, but I wish to understand it. The total pretensions of the College can be known only to its members; and therefore, Phil. should have explained himself more fully. He can do so, for Phil. is certainly a Trinity man. If the police are in search of him, they’ll certainly hear of him at Trinity. Suddenly it strikes me as a dream, that Lord Bacon belonged to this College. Don’t laugh at me, Phil., if I’m wrong, and still less (because then you’ll laugh even more ferociously) if I happen to be right. Can one remember everything? Ah! the worlds of distracted facts that one ought to remember. Would to heaven that I remembered nothing at all, and had nothing to remember! This thing, however, I certainly do remember, that Milton was not of Trinity, nor Jeremy Taylor; so don’t think to hoax me there, my parent! Dr. Wordsworth was, or had been, an examining chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury. If Lambeth could be at fault on such a question, then it’s of no use going to Newcastle for coals. Delphi, we all know, and Jupiter Ammon had vanished. What other court of appeal was known to man? So I submitted as cheerfully as if the learned Doctor, instead of kicking me out of court, had been handing me in. Yet, for all that, as I returned musing past Rydal Water, I could not help muttering to myself–Ay, now, what rebellious thought was it that I muttered? You fancy, reader, that perhaps I said, ‘But yet, Doctor, in spite of your wig, I am in the right.’ No; you’re quite wrong; I said nothing of the sort. What I did mutter was this–‘The prevailing doctrine of the Church must be what Dr. Wordsworth says, viz., that baptism is regeneration–he cannot be mistaken as to that–and I have been misled by the unfair proportion of Evangelical people, bishops, and others, whom accident has thrown in my way at Barley Wood (Hannah More’s). These, doubtless, form a minority in the Church; and yet, from the strength of their opinions, from their being a moving party, as also from their being a growing party, I prophesy this issue, that many years will not pass before this very question, now slumbering, will rouse a feud within the English Church. There is a quarrel brewing. Such feuds, long after they are ripe for explosion, sometimes slumber on, until accident kindles them into flame.’ That accident was furnished by the tracts of the Puseyites, and since then, according to the word which I spoke on Rydal Water, there has been open war raging upon this very point.
At present, with even more certainty, I prophesy that mere necessity, a necessity arising out of continual collisions with sceptical philosophy, will, in a few years, carry all churches enjoying a learned priesthood into the disputes connected with this doctrine of development. Phil., meantime, is no friend to that Newmanian doctrine; and in sect.31, p.66, he thus describes it:–‘According to these writers’ (viz., the writers ‘who advocate the theory of development’), ‘the progressive and gradual development of religious truth, which appears to us‘ (us, meaning, I suppose, the Old-mannians,) ‘to have been terminated by the final revelation of the Gospel, has been going on ever since the foundation of the Church, is going on still, and must continue to advance. This theory presumes that the Bible does not contain a full and final exposition of a complete system of religion; that the Church has developed from the Scriptures true doctrines not explicitly contained therein,’ etc. etc.
But, without meaning to undertake a defence of Mr. Newman (whose book I am as yet too slenderly acquainted with), may I be allowed, at this point, to intercept a fallacious view of that doctrine, as though essentially it proclaimed some imperfection in Christianity. The imperfection is in us, the Christians, not in Christianity. The impression given by Phil. to the hasty reader is, that, according to Newmanism, the Scriptures make a good beginning to which we ourselves are continually adding–a solid foundation, on which we ourselves build the superstructure. Not so. In the course of a day or a year, the sun passes through a vast variety of positions, aspects, and corresponding powers, in relation to ourselves. Daily and annually he is developed to us–he runs a cycle of development. Yet, after all, this practical result does not argue any change or imperfection, growth or decay, in the sun. This great orb is stationary as regards his place, and unchanging as regards his power. It is the subjective change in ourselves that projects itself into this endless succession of phantom changes in the object. Not otherwise on the scheme of development; the Christian theory and system are perfect from the beginning. In itself, Christianity changes not, neither waxing nor waning; but the motions of time and the evolutions of experience continually uncover new parts of its stationary disk. The orb grows, so far as practically we are speaking of our own benefit; but absolutely, as regards itself, the orb, eternally the same, has simply more or fewer of its digits exposed. Christianity, perfect from the beginning, had a curtain over much of its disk, which Time and Social Progress are continually withdrawing. This I say not as any deliberate judgment on development, but merely as a suspending, or ad interim idea, by way of barring too summary an interdict against the doctrine at this premature stage. Phil., however, hardens his face against Newman and all his works. Him and them he defies; and would consign, perhaps secretly, to the care of a well-known (not new, but) old gentleman, if only he had any faith in that old gentleman’s existence. On that point, he is a fixed infidel, and quotes with applause the answer of Robinson, the once celebrated Baptist clergyman, who being asked if he believed in the devil, replied, ‘Oh, no; I, for my part, believe in God–don’t you?‘
Phil., therefore, as we have seen, in effect, condemns development. But, at p. 33, when as yet he is not thinking of Mr. Newman, he says,’ If knowledge is progressive, the development of Christian doctrine must be progressive likewise.’ I do not see the must; but I see the Newmanian cloven foot. As to the must, knowledge is certainly progressive; but the development of the multiplication table is not therefore progressive, nor of anything else that is finished from the beginning. My reason, however, for quoting the sentence is, because here we suddenly detect Phil. in laying down the doctrine which in Mr. Newman he had regarded as heterodox. Phil. is taken red-hand, as the English law expresses it, crimson with, the blood of his offence; assuming, in fact, an original imperfection quoad the scire, though not quoad the esse; as to the ‘exposition of the system,’ though not as to the ‘system‘ of Christianity. Mr. Newman, after all, asserts (I believe) only one mode of development as applicable to Christianity. Phil. having broke the ice, may now be willing to allow of two developments; whilst I, that am always for going to extremes, should be disposed to assert three, viz:–
First. The Philological development. And this is a point on which I, Philo-Phil. (or, as for brevity you may call me, Phil-Phil.) shall, without wishing to do so, vex Phil. It’s shocking that one should vex the author of one’s existence, which Phil. certainly is in relation to me, when considered as Phil-Phil. Still it is past all denial, that, to a certain extent, the Scriptures must benefit, like any other book, by an increasing accuracy and compass of learning in the exegesis applied to them. But if all the world denied this, Phil., my parent, is the man that cannot; since he it is that relies upon philological knowledge as the one resource of Christian philosophy in all circumstances of difficulty for any of its interests, positive or negative. Philology, according to Phil, is the sheet-anchor of Christianity. Already it is the author of a Christianity more in harmony with philosophy; and, as regards the future, Phil., it is that charges Philology with the whole service of divinity. Wherever anything, being right, needs to be defended–wherever anything, being amiss, needs to be improved–oh! what a life he will lead this poor Philology! Philology, with Phil., is the great benefactress for the past, and the sole trustee for the future. Here, therefore, Phil., is caught in a fix, habemus confitentem. He denounces development when dealing with the Newmanites; he relies on it when vaunting the functions of Philology; and the only evasion for him would be to distinguish about the modes of development, were it not that, by insinuation, he has apparently denied all modes.
Secondly. There is the Philosophic development, from the reaction upon the Bible of advancing knowledge. This is a mode of development continually going on, and reversing the steps of past human follies. In every age, man has imported his own crazes into the Bible, fancied that he saw them there, and then drawn sanctions to his wickedness or absurdity from what were nothing else than fictions of his own. Thus did the Papists draw a plenary justification of intolerance, or even of atrocious persecution, from the evangelical ‘Compel them to come in!‘ The right of unlimited coercion was read in those words. People, again, that were democratically given, or had a fancy for treason, heard a trumpet of insurrection in the words ‘To your tents, oh Israel!‘ But far beyond these in multitude were those that drew from the Bible the most extravagant claims for kings and rulers. ‘Rebellion was as the sin of witchcraft.’ This was a jewel of a text; it killed two birds with one stone. Broomsticks were proved out of it most clearly, and also the atrocity of representative government. What a little text to contain so much! Look into Algernon Sidney, or into Locke’s controversy with Sir Eobert Filmer’s ‘Patriarcha,'[Footnote: I mention the book as the antagonist, and not the man, because (according to my impression) Sir Robert was dead when Locke was answering him.] or into any books of those days on political principles, and it will be found that Scripture was so used as to form an absolute bar against human progress. All public benefits were, in the strictest sense of the word, precarious, as depending upon prayers and entreaties to those who had an interest in refusing them. All improvements were elcemosynary; for the initial step in all cases belonged to the Crown. ‘The right divine of kings to govern wrong’ was in those days what many a man would have died for–what many a man did die for; and all in pure simplicity of heart–faithful to the Bible, but to the Bible of misinterpretation. They obeyed (often to their own ruin) an order which they had misread. Their sincerity, the disinterestedness of their folly, is evident; and in that degree is evident the opening for Scripture development. Nobody could better obey Scripture as they had understood it. Change in the obedience, there could be none for the better; it demanded only that there should be a change in the interpretation, and that change would be what is meant by a development of Scripture. Two centuries of enormous progress in the relations between subjects and rulers have altered the whole reading. ‘How readest thou?‘ was the question of Christ himself; that is, in what meaning dost thou read the particular Scripture that applies to this case? All the texts and all the cases remain at this hour just as they were for our ancestors; and our reverence for these texts is as absolute as theirs; but we, applying lights of experience which they had not, construe these texts by a different logic. There now is development applied to the Bible in one of its many strata–that stratum which connects itself most with civil polity. Again, what a development have we made of Christian truth; how differently do we now read our Bibles in relation to the poor tenants of dungeons that once were thought, even by Christian nations, to have no rights at all!–in relation to ‘all prisoners and captives;’ and in relation to slaves! The New Testament had said nothing directly upon the question of slavery; nay, by the misreader it was rather supposed indirectly to countenance that institution. But mark–it is Mohammedanism, having little faith in its own laws, that dares not confide in its children for developing anything, but must tie them up for every contingency by the letter of a rule. Christianity–how differently does she proceed! She throws herself broadly upon the pervading spirit which burns within her morals. ‘Let them alone,’ she says of nations; ‘leave them to themselves. I have put a new law into their hearts; and if it is really there, and really cherished, that law will tell them–will develop for them–what it is that they ought to do in every case as it arises, when once its consequences are comprehended.’ No need, therefore, for the New Testament explicitly to forbid slavery; silently and implicitly it is forbidden in many passages of the New Testament, and it is at war with the spirit of all. Besides, the religion which trusts to formal and literal rules breaks down the very moment that a new case arises not described in the rules. Such a case is virtually unprovided for, if it does not answer to a circumstantial textual description; whereas every case is provided for, as soon as its tendencies and its moral relations are made known, by a religion that speaks through a spiritual organ to a spiritual apprehension in man. Accordingly, we find that, whenever a new mode of intoxication is introduced, not depending upon grapes, the most devout Mussulmans hold themselves absolved from the restraints of the Koran. And so it would have been with Christians, if the New Testament had laid down literal prohibitions of slavery, or of the slave traffic. Thousands of variations would have been developed by time which no letter of Scripture could have been comprehensive enough to reach. Were the domestic servants of Greece, the Î�Î�τÎ�ς (thetes), within the description? Were the serfs and the ascripti glebae of feudal Europe to be accounted slaves? Or those amongst our own brothers and sisters, that within so short a period were born subterraneously,[Footnote: See, for some very interesting sketches of this Pariah population, the work (title I forget) of Mr. Bald, a Scottish engineer, well known and esteemed in Edinburgh and Glasgow. He may be relied on. What he tells against Scotland is violently against his own will, for he is intensely national, of which I will give the reader one instance that may make him smile. Much of the rich, unctuous coal, from Northumberland and Durham, gives a deep ruddy light, verging to a blood-red, and certainly is rather sullen, on a winter evening, to the eye. On the other hand, the Scottish coal or most of it, being f
ar poorer as to heat, throws out a very beautiful and animated scarlet blaze; upon which hint, Mr. Bald, when patriotically distressed at not being able to deny the double power of the eastern English coal, suddenly revivifies his Scottish heart that had been chilled, perhaps, by the Scottish coals in his fire-grate, upon recurring to this picturesque difference in the two blazes–‘Ah!’ he says gratefully, ‘that Newcastle blaze is well enough for a “gloomy” Englishman, but it wouldn’t do at all for cheerful Scotland.’] in Scottish mines, or in the English collieries of Cumberland, and were supposed to be ascripti metallo, sold by nature to the mine, and indorsed upon its machinery for the whole term of their lives; in whom, therefore, it was a treason to see the light of upper day–would they, would these poor Scotch and English Pariahs, have stood within any scriptural privilege if the New Testament had legislated by name and letter for this class of douloi (slaves)? No attorney would have found them entitled to plead the benefit of the Bible statute. Endless are the variations of the conditions that new combinations of society would bring forward; endless would be the virtual restorations of slavery that would take place under a Mahometan literality; endless would be the defeats that such restorations must sustain under a Christianity relying on no letter, but on the spirit of God’s commandments, and that will understand no equivocations with the secret admonitions of the heart. Meantime, this sort of development, it may be objected, is not a light that Scripture throws out upon human life so much as a light that human life and its development throw back upon Scripture. True; but then how was it possible that life and the human intellect should be carried forward to such developments? Solely through the training which both had received under the discipline of Christian truth. Christianity utters some truth widely applicable to society. This truth is caught up by some influential organ of social life–is expanded prodigiously by human experience, and, when travelling back as an illustrated or improved text to the Bible, is found to be made up, in all its details, of many human developments. Does that argue anything disparaging to Christianity, as though she contributed little and man contributed much? On the contrary, man would have contributed nothing at all but for that nucleus by which Christianity started and moulded the principle. To give one instance–Public charity, when did it commence?–who first thought of it? Who first noticed hunger and cold as awful realities afflicting poor women and innocent children? Who first made a public provision to meet these evils?–Constantine it was, the first Christian that sat upon a throne. Had, then, rich Pagans before his time no charity–no pity?–no money available for hopeless poverty? Not much–very little, I conceive; about so much as Shakspeare insinuates that there is of milk in a male tiger. Think, for instance, of that black-hearted reprobate, Cicero, the moralist. This moral knave, who wrote such beautiful Ethics, and was so wicked–who spoke so charmingly and acted so horribly–mentions, with a petrifying coolness, that he knew of desolate old women in Rome who passed three days in succession without tasting food. Did not the wretch, when thinking of this, leap up, and tumble down stairs in his anxiety to rush abroad and call a public meeting for considering so dreadful a case? Not he; the man continued to strut about his library, in a huge toga as big as the Times newspaper, singing out, ‘Oh! fortunatam natam me Consule Romam!‘ and he mentioned the fact at all only for the sake of Natural Philosophers or of the curious in old women. Charity, even in that sense, had little existence–nay, as a duty, it had no place or rubric in human conceptions before Christianity, Thence came the first rudiments of all public relief to starving men and women; but the idea, the principle, was all that the Bible furnished, needed to furnish, or could furnish. The practical arrangements, the endless details for carrying out this Christian idea–these were furnished by man; and why not? This case illustrates only one amongst innumerable modes of development applicable to the Bible; and this power of development, in general, proves also one other thing of the last importance to prove, viz. the power of Christianity to work in co-operation with time and social progress; to work variably according to the endless variations of time and place; and that is the exact shibboleth of a true and spiritual religion–for, on reviewing the history of false religions, and inquiring what it was that ruined them, rarely is it found that any of them perished by external violence. Even the dreadful fury of the early Mahometan Sultans in India, before the house of Timour, failed to crush the monstrous idolatries of the Hindoos. All false religions have perished by their own hollowness, under that searching trial applied by social life and its changes, which awaits every mode of religion. One after another they have sunk away, as by palsy, from new aspects of society and new necessities of man which they were not able to face. Commencing in one condition of society, in one set of feelings, and in one system of ideas, they sank uniformly under any great change in these elements, to which they had no natural power of accommodation. A false religion furnished a key to one subordinate lock; but a religion that is true will prove a master-key for all locks alike. This transcendental principle, by which Christianity transfers herself so readily from climate to climate,[Footnote: Sagacious Mahometans have been often scandalized and troubled by the secret misgiving that, after all, their Prophet must have been an ignorant fellow. It is clear that the case of a cold climate had never occurred to him; and even a hot one had been conceived most narrowly. Many of the Bedouin Arabs complain of ablutions not adapted to their waterless condition. These evidences of oversight would have been fatal to Islamism, had Islamism produced a high civilization.] from century to century, from the simplicity of shepherds to the utmost refinement of philosophers, carries with it a necessity, corresponding to such infinite flexibility of endless development.