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to nullify His testimony thus: “We must compare them (the quotations) with the original passages, interpreted according to what we hold to be the best canons of hermeneutical science. The comparison must be made with all caution, humility, and reverence, but the science of hermeneutics must be the final authority, even if it should seem to us to come in conflict with Him. As an individual man, He had of necessity a definite, restricted, intellectual outfit and outlook, and these could be only those of Ilis day and generation. . . . . As teacher of spiritual truth sent from God and full of God, He is universal; as logician and critic, He belongs to IIis times." *
In the same strain Rothe declares: “The Redeemer never claimed to be an infallible or even a generally precise interpreter of the Old Testament. Indeed, le could not have made this claim; for interpretation is essentially a scientific function, and one conditioned by the existence of scientific means, which, in relation to the Old Testament, were only imperfectly at the command of Jesus, as well as of His contemporaries.” + All of which would be ridiculous, if it were not so offensive in its self-conceit, viz.: that Jesus, Son of God, was not as competent to judge of the truthfulness of words which He quoted from the Old Testament as are Drs. Toy and Rothe, because, forsooth, He had not the “scientific means » which are in the hands of IIis critics in Harvard University and Gotha. How much le might bave learned from an adequate modern library! The bald accommodation theory would rob Jesus of His moral character. The critical theory would steal His credentials as credited teacher from God, eclipse His divinity, shackle
"Quotations in the New Testament," pp. 28, 29. + Quoted from Zur Dogmatik, Gotha, 1863, in Ladd's "Doc. of Sacred Scriptures,” p. 28.
and limit Him by the narrow critical knowledge of His time, and make Him so far but a poor human scribe, vastly more incapable of telling what was true or false in the book He so often quoted, than are these men so learned in hermeneutical science. While Athanasius, Balthazer Hubmeyer, Roger Williams, and hundreds of others could be in sharpest antithesis with the current of interpretation about them, standing like rocks against it, Jesus“ belongs to His own times "; the feeble creation of His age! May grace not fail where there is such sore need of patience. He who said, "Moses wrote of me"; Ile who said, “ Not one jot or tittle shall pass from the law till all be fulfilled”; He who said, “ IIad ye believed Moses ye would have believed me"; He who said, "If ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?” He is to be distrusted in all this, although Ile also solemnly declared : “Even as the Father said unto me, so I speak.” He averred : “ The word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.” And one cannot help asking, though the question may belong only to the realm of a prayer-meeting, What is that conception of the ineffable, adorable Son of the Father-of Him who said, “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father"? what is the conception of Him when men virtually say He quoted the Scriptures in as much ignorance as the scribe of His day? Hermeneutical science is invaluable in interpretation. But a little religion does not come amiss either, the reverence which, in heart-broken penitence for blinding, misleading sin, owns before Him that “the foolishness of God is wiser than men."
Dr. Ladd says: “A quasi ethical preparation is an indispensable requirement,” when men are about to ask, 6. What did Christ teach as to the nature of the Old Testament Scriptures?" Ah, it must be more than quasi ethical. It must have more than “caution, humility, and
reverence.” It must be deeply inter-shot and informed by the Spirit of God. Says Prof. C. A. Briggs : “Through the avenues of Scripture we go to find Christ -in their centre we find our Saviour. It is this personal relation of the Author of the entire Scripture to the interpreter that enables him truly to understand the divine things of the Scripture. Jesus Christ knew the Old Testament and interpreted it as one who knew the mind of God. He needed no helps to climb the pyramids of interpretation. He was born and ever lived at the summit.
.” * In the same strain he declares: “ The doctrine that the Holy Spirit is the supreme interpreter of Scripture is the highest attainment of interpretation.” It is unquestionably true that piety will not answer for a lack of the knowledge of Greek. Prayer cannot take the place of an acquaintance with Hebrew. But piety and prayer will give a vastly better knowledge of the Bible than any one can attain through hermeneutical science without these. “I thank Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes” (Mat. xi. 25).
The chief thing to be noticed in the quotations is that they are frequently transferred in words, sometimes even in a sense foreign to the original. They are not often made with verbal exactness.
The prophet represents the Lord as saying: “I will send my messenger before me.” This is quoted: "I send my messenger before thee." Now reduce all the Bible penmen to mere scribes, insist that these books must be interpreted just as other books are, and this feature of quotation cannot be explained. Professor Toy says emphatically: “ The Old Testament is to be made its own
* " Biblical Study” (1883), page 364.
interpreter.” He says the prophet writes with no vagueness. He has in mind a definite picture, and “ describes it in clear words.” * Of course the New Testament is to be interpreted in the same fashion. But, now, if quotations are not brought in their contextual sense and in their own words frem one Testament to the other, the science of hermeneutics must protest, and he who made the quotation must be regarded as the victim of his times, conditioned and linnited by rabbinic exegesis. Professor Toy's method defeats itself. He seems to protest against a mechanical fulfillment of particular predictions, but when he takes these up as quotations he seems to find fault because they are not mechanically transferred. Hermeneutics can never compass the movements of that living Spirit which breathes both in the Old Testament and in the New, who transfers His own words from one to another in a way that shows He is a vital power and not a dead something. The Spirit is the author of the Pentateuch. It is not Moses. Any Sunday-school teacher can show that Jesus used IIis own words, the
very same words Dow in this sense, now in that, and again in a third,+ and cannot any living spirit do the same? Has the Holy Spirit no ability to show what Ile does mean by His utterances? Can He use words but in one way and in one sense? Suppose that Ile of whom it is said in the Gospels, “ I send my messenger before thee," was the very one who said it in Malachi. Suppose that he who quoted had a distinct consciousness of this and wished to identify the two, would not that account for the change in the pronoun, an l make it st:ikingly significant? The very fact that the quotations in the Gospels are independent and free, following sometimes neither the letter nor the
* "Quotations," page xxvi. te. g., Matthew vii. 2; Mark iv. 24; Luke vi. 38.
sense of the original context, is a substantial proof that they who quote are independent-not bound to the letter as were the scribes, but men with living authority equal to them who wrote the Old Testament. The evangelists were not slavish copyists, but original writers, with minds moved and informed by God's Spirit.
“But,” says the Biblical critic, “this is the question at issue: were any of these men inspired? Criticism must settle that question.” It cannot. It might as well attempt to measure the heat of the sun with a tape-line. The thing is not adapted. The form and fashion of the tabernacle were inspired. But who would think either of proving or disproving it by the science of modern architecture ? Noah's ark was created in obedience to inspiration. Can nautical science prove or disprove it?
God's words do not whisper their secret to science. When He, the Spirit of truth, is come, IIe will guide you. God interprets His own Word. It does not interpret itself. God's words are spirit and life, and the critical scalpel has no function until life has ceased.
And now since Jesus “ taught as one having authority, and not as the scribes"; since, as Professor Briggs says, “ Jesus Christ knew the Old Testament and interpreted it as one who knew the mind of God," His quotations from it are worthy of the profoundest regard. To be sure, le never professed to be a textual critic. He accepted and taught the Pentatench as He found it. But His frequent quotations from and references to it, show His estimate of its value and trustworthiness. They come to Him with the question: "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” declaring, at the same time, that Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement and to put
“ And Jesus answered and said unto them: For the hardness of your heart He wrote you this precept, but from the beginning of the creation God made