Imagini ale paginilor
[ocr errors]

such re

The opinion, then, which attributes the book of Job to the Jewish Legislator, derives no confirmation from the labours of Mr. Faber. We do not intend to enter at length into the controversy; but we cannot forbear to observe two circumstances, in our minds, decidedly opposed to such a supposition. The first is, the total absence of any allusion to the sojourn in Egypt, to the Exode, or to the customs, the manners, and history of the Israelites. Whatever may be pretended to the contrary by some writers, not a single instance either has, or can be produced in which any ference can be clearly and distinctly proved ; but how this could have been the case, bad Moses been the author, it is utterly impossible to conceive. The other circumstance to which we refer is, the great diversity of style between the Pentateuch and the book of Job. We are not among

those critics who build upon minutiæ of this kind, who are willing to deduce important consequences from fancied varieties of style, and differences of phraseology; but there is, occasionally, such a marked and entire opposition, as may be securely made the basis of argument; and such an opposition, in our judgment, exists in the case before us. In all the characteristic features of composition there is such a general and distinguishable contrariety between the Pentateuch and the book of Job, that we should as soon believe the Fairy Queen and the pleasures of Hope, to bave proceeded from the same pen, as the two former works to be the production of one and the same author.

The most important question, however, is respecting the scope and design of the book. The age in which Job flourished, the author of the poem, may be uncertain ; neither is it of vital interest to ascertain these points ; but, if the work be, as we believe, a divinely inspired production, we are greatly concerned to learn the instruction it was intended to convey. Accordingly Mr. F. discusses this topic in the third section of his disquisition; first collecting and refuting most of the varioạs opinions which have been advanced as to the object of the book, and afterwards stating his own view of it, which is, that it is a parable or apologue after the manner of the East, founded upon a real character and real history, designed to establish the sinfulness of man, the impossibility of justifying himself before God, and the consequent necessity of an atoning Redeemer, in order to obtain, justification and pardon. This view of the poem is supported by a luminous analysis of its contents, in the conclusion of which he thus sums up the whole.


“ Here this argumentative poem ends: and, as it exhibits throughout the strictest unity of design, so it may well be pronounced the noblest monument of Patriarchal and Levitical theology which occurs in the whole volume of the Hebrew Scriptures. To fallen man the subject is the most important of all other subjects : for, it is nothing less than a full discussion of the vital doctrine of justification and reconciliation to God through the merits of the Angel-Redeemer ; a discussion raised upon the basis of human vileness and corruption, but carried up even to immortal life in the heaven of heavens itself. The subject, in short, is the very same as that of St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans: and the book of Job, in its closely argumentative form, may be said to bear the same relation to the Old Testament as that celebrated Epistle does to the New Testament. Chapter by chapter the work has been strictly analysed; and the general result of the whole is this : SINFUL MAN, EVEN WHEN MOST ATTENTIVE TO THE DUTIES OF MORALITY, CANNOT JUSTIFY HIMSELF IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD TO DELIVER HIM FROM WRATH, AND TO GIVE HIM A. RIGHT TO A JOYFUL RESURRECTION FROM THE DEAD, HE HAS NEED OF THAT ATONEMENT, WHICH CAN ONLY FECTED BY THE ANGEL-MEDIATOR.” Vol. II.


308. This theory rests upon very slight grounds. A Redeemer, an Atonement, and, according to Mr. Faber and some others, an Angel-Mediator, are mentioned in the book of Job. Their introduction is one of the most remarkable circumstances in the poem, and affords ample scope for the speculations of the ingenious. But we can find nothing to justify Mr. Faber's sanguine declarations respecting the discovery which he conceives himself to have made. It is impossible to believe that the circumstances he alludes to, would have been so cursorily noticed by Job and Elihu, and so entirely passed over by God, if the application of them had been the object of the whole poem. We prefer resting satisfied with the old interpretations.

The third and last book is appropriated to the examination of the leading object of the Christian dispensation, which being so well known, is treated of in a more concise, though equally able, manner. Christianity is in fact the completion of Patriarchism and the fulfilment of the Law. Under the patriarchal dispensation mankind were taught to look forward to a promised Deliverer, who should bruise the serpent's head, and who, by the sacrifice of himself, should purchase reconciliation and pardon for the sinful creature. The Levitical dispensation, while it guarded against prevailing errors, inculcated the same truths with increasing force and light; partly in express terms, and partly through new rites, and ceremonies, and ordinances. At the birth of Christ the day-spring from on high visited mankind, and expelled those shades of darkness and heathenism, which, notwithstanding the light of former revelations, still hovered over the world, and ushered in the last and most perfect dispensation, the object of which, as stated by Mr. F. is “to enforce the doctrine of redemption through a divine Mediator, and the consequent certainty of eternal life; but to enforce it with a degree of clearness and fulness, which can only spring from a now actually completed deliverance." Vol. II. p. 316,

Our author next adverts to the question whether the divine dispensations are to be considered as a real covenant between two parties, or only a dispensation or institution from God alone. Some writers have been unwilling to allow the existence of a true and proper covenant between Jehovah and his people, through a persuasion that sach a transaction is incompatible with the majesty of the Supreme Being ; while others, acknowledging the existence of a true and proper covenant, suppose it to have been made, not between God and man, but between the Persons of the ever blessed Trinity. Of this opinion was the venerable Parkhurst; but Mr. F. espouses the theory of a real covenant, and reasons in favour of it with great perspicuity and strength. He considers each dispensation in the light of a covenant, or rather as successive parts of one grand covenant between the sovereign Creator and his creatures. In principle the Patriarchal, Levitical, and Christian Dispensations are the same; the two former being ratified over the typical victims, the last over the antitypical victim ; and all conspiring to fulfil the gracious purposes and covenanted mercies of God for the redemption of fallen man. This is admirably enforced in the following passage:

« From the fall of man to the end of the world, the great covenant of grace, though subdivided by the Apostle into a typical covenant before the death of Christ, and an antitypical covenant after the death of Christ, is substantially and essentially ONE. And the terms of this one covenant between God and man, whether typically uncompleted or antitypically completed, are still the same. Jehovah engages, on his part, to accept the meritorious death of the Messiah, as a full acquittal and satisfaction for all the sins of his people ; stipulating to guide and preserve them here, and to receive them to glory hereafter. The people of Jehovah again, on their part, thankfully closing in with an offer thus mercifully made to them, engage to receive God as their God for ever and ever; submitting themselves to the Messiah, in his triple character of their king, and their priest, and their prophet : their king, whose laws they stand tound to obey ; their priest, through whose sacrifice of himself

once offered, their federal right to eternal happiness is established; and their prophet, whose divine instructions they profess themselves ready to receive with all humility. Such are the contracting parties in the covenant of grace : and the medium through which it is ratified, is, each typical victim anterior to the death of Christ, and the true antitypical victim Christ himself in the article of his death. Each typical victim, however, derived its whole efficacy from its antitype : and, in this sense, Christ is said to be the lam), which was slain from the foundation of the world; because he was meritoriously slain in the purpose of his father, whenever the covenant was of old ratified over a sacrifice.” Vol. II. pp. 323.

We shall not pursue our author's view of Christianity any further. To present even an abridgment of his reasonings would exceed our limits, to criticise where so little is open to censure is useless, and to praise with minute particularity where so much is to be admired would be endless and fatiguing

Upon the whole, we consider the volumes before us as a valuable addition to our theological stores. Full of learning and ability, and abounding in acuteness of remark, they exbibit many luminous views of the Divine economy, expressed in a style, with the exception of some instances of negligence, generally elegant, and accompanied with a pervading fervour of piety. They illustrate with great perspicuity and foree the nature and object of the three Dispensations, and confirm with irresistible argument the sublime doctrine of redemption. The atonement made for sin through the vicarious sufferings of Christ, is the basis of the covenant of grace. It is justly deemed by the humble and pious followers of a crucified Saviour to be the very corner-stone of the Evangelical Dispensation. It forms the characteristic of every revelation of God's will to man; it is set forth in the holy Scriptures, from beginning to end, either in numerous and explicit declarations, or in typical rites and ordinances ; yet, as it has been virulently attacked of late by writers of the Socinian school, Mr. Faber has done good service to the cause of true religion by sbewing, in so powerful a manner, the strong Scriptural attestation to this essential article of our faith. But while we thus express our cordial approbation of the design and general execution of the work, impartial justice requires us to declare, that it is not exempt from faults, and from those faults especially with which the same author's former productions are thought by many to be charge. able. In these, as in his former volumes, we perceive a bias to fanciful bypothesis, a disposition to defend it at all hazards, a tendency to rely on ingenious argument without weighing its solidity, in consequence of which he is not unfrequently led to the adoption of positions, novel and curious, but at the same time untenable. Upon some of these we have commented, not with a wish, the author may be assured, to detract from his merits, which are confessedly great, but with a view of submitting them to his re-consideration; and, if he will be induced by these hints to retrench or amend what we are persuaded will upon inquiry be deemed erroneous or unsound, we can have the pleasure of recommending the work with unreserved satisfaction to the attentive study of Christian readers.

Art. II. The Flood of Thessaly, the Girl of Provence,

and other Poems. By Barry Cornwall. 8vo. 254 pp.

Colburn. 1823. The subject of the first poem in the volume before us, is the Deluge, which according to Ovid, and others, inundated the plain of Thessaly. Some bave supposed that this took place rather more than two hundred years before the flood of Noab; but from the testimony of Lucian who mentions several minute circumstances recorded by Moses, there is little doubt, that the tradition being transmitted through many generations, became mutilated by chance or design ; and that the two events are in fact to be identified with each other. In the present work all allusion to the Mosaic account is wisely avoided, and the subject is treated only as one of the mythological tales which are at all times open to the fancy of the poet. It is certainly one which afforded ample room for vivid and powerful description. The terrible and appalling signs which foretold the approach of destruction, the hard struggle of fortitude with terror, of fervent affection with the love of life, and the wild and desolate scene, in which nearly the whole of animal existence was wrecked, afforded a field upon which imagination might freely expatiate.

The poem opens with the marriage of Deucalion King of Thessaly, and son of Prometheus, with Pyrrha the child of Pandora. The nuptial festivities of early and artless times are well described. At length the piety and tranquil pursuits of the golden age give place to violence and rapine : the anger of the divinity is excited, and resolving to destroy the guilty race, he drives the overwhelming tempest to the

« ÎnapoiContinuați »