asa aha







By Rev. PROFESSOR GEORGE H. ScHoppE, Pu. D., Capital University, Columbus, Ohio,

At first glance the superscription of the V. Article of the Augsburg Confession seems to be a misnomer. Apparently the heading and the contents do not harmonize or agree. The topic of the article is “Of the Ministry of the Church.” The article itself reads :

“For the obtaining of this faith the ministry of teaching the Gospel, and administering the Sacraments was instituted. For by the Word and Sacraments, as by instruments, the Holy Spirit is given; who worketh faith, where and when it pleaseth God, in those that hear the Gospel, to wit, that God, not for our merit’s sake, but for Christ’s sake, doth justify those who believe that they for Christ’s sake are received into favor. They con- demn the Anabaptists and others, who imagine that the Holy Spirit is given to men without the outward word, through their own preparations and works.” (Krauth’s translation in Jacobs edition of the Book of Concord.)

In these words we have no developed theory of the holy min-

*Holman Lecture on the Augsburg Confession (Second Series) Article V., delivered in the Theological Seminary, Gettysburg, Pa., June 10, 1891.

VoL. XXI. No. 4. 59

466 The Sacred Scriptures. [ Oct.

istry in the common and current acceptation of this idea. No mention is made of an Historical Episcopacy, of an hierarchy, of a graded ministry, of the universal priesthood of the believers, of the claims of the Pope or of papacy, or indeed of any of those vexing and perplexing problems which are in the forefront in the discussion of so important a theological and Biblical question as that of the holy ministry and some of which were at the time when the Augsburg Confession became the official expression of Evangelical truth over against Romish error the subject of heated controversy between the contending hosts. And yet the difficulty suggested is only seeming and not real. The article does treat of the ministry, but of the ministry 7 ad- stracto. It is not the mnister of the word so much as the mzin- istry of the word which constitutes the subject-matter of this article. With right and reason the preceding, IV. Article, treat- ing of Justification, is regarded as the centre and heart of the Confession, to which the preceding and following articles stand more or less in a subordinate relation, the former preparatory and introductory to it, the latter containing fuller and further developments and applications of this grand leading truth of the Biblical system of doctrines. The IV. Article contains the material principle of Evangelical truth; and in the Augsburg Confession the article occupies that prominence which the prin- ciple it enunciates did in the development of Luther's spiritual life and in the progress of the Lutheran Reformation. The close connection between the V. and the IV. articles is indica- ted by the opening words of the former. The object of the V. is to show how the faith necessary to grasp and to hold the glorious fact of justification is generated and maintained, namely through the Word. The ministry of the Word then as a means of grace is the sum and substance of the article under consideration.

This naturally does not say that important and valuable ideas as to the ministry as an office in the church are not contained in the V. Article. This is actually the case; but the article does not treat of this topic ex professo. In fact, no article in the Augsburg Confession does, which does not profess to pre- sent the body of Evangelical truths in its entirety as a system

1891.] The Sacred Scriptures. 467

and in its whole length, breadth and depth. The Augsburg Confession is no dogmatical treatise, although what it does con- tain is dogma. The subject of the ministry as an office in the church is not formally treated here or elsewhere. What the Re- formers who presented this confession to Emperor and Empire thought on this subject, can be gathered partly from the present article and partly from others, such as VII. treating “Of the Church,” the VIII. on «What the Church is,” the XIV. “Of Ec- clesiastical Orders.” To make any of these articles the basis for a discussion of the ministerial office is perfectly justifiable. It would be using them correctly as a text and not abusing them as a pretext. But the fact remains that the Word as a means of grace is ¢he subject-matter of the V. Article of the Augs- burg Confession. This is evident not only from the positive thetical propositions of the article, but also from the negative and antithetical.

In character and contents this article is typical and represen- tative both of the Confession as a creed and of the Reforma- tion of which the Confession is the first and leading doctrinal declaration. It is not primarily polemical but such only by im- plication. It is not a negative article at all, but positive and expressive of an important principle of divine truth. Krauth (Conservative Reformation, p. 255) counts it among the conser- vative or distinctively Biblical Articles of the Confession. Nothing could be more unhistorical or false than to conceive the Reformation of the sixteenth century as a negative move- ment, or the Augsburg Confession as a negative document. The Reformation was indeed negative and destructive, but only as a preparatory process for its positive and constructive work. Es- sentially and fundamentally it was a reconstruction of primitive Christianity. Both its material and its formal principles are positive. The Augsburg Confesssion is by no means entirely or predominently a protest against the errors of Rome, but rather a positive statement of the rediscovered truths of the Biblical teachings. Luther did not inaugurate. the religious movement with which he and his name are so closely identified, because he had by any process of reasoning or intellectual de- duction concluded that Rome was in error, but because the

468 The Sacred Scriptures. [ Oct.

needs and craving of his heart and soul had found satisfaction in the great gospel truths of the Bible which Rome denied. The Reformation was first positive in character and then only of ne- cessity became also negative in order to establish its positive teachings. And this general spirit and character of the Refor- mation are clearly reflected in both the Augsburg Confession as a whole and in the present article.

This character of the Lutheran Reformation and its chief sym- bol is indeed no new discovery. But its emphasis now is both timely and necessary. Our day and generation is witnessing a most remarkable attempt to recast the judgment of history on the work and character of the Reformation of the sixteenth century. Headed by the German scholar, Janssen, who was called to be one of the shining lights of the new Roman Cath- olic University at Washington, a pseudo-school of historians is strenuously at work to demonstrate the hypothesis that the Re- formation, far from being a blessing to mankind, was in reality the greatest calamity that ever befell Europe or the civilized world; and it was such, is the further claim, because it was merely destructive, revolutionary and negative, over against all the positive factors and forces for good in the life of the nations ; and therefore that movement was the source of all the ills that has befallen church, state and society ever since. Naturally the demonstration of this proposition, which by a skillful but en- tirely Jesuitical use, or rather abuse, of perfectly legitimate and correct sources of historical information is developed in a man- ner quite plausible and enticing to superficial minds, is not an end in itself but only a means to an end. If the Reformation has been such a source and fountain head of evil, then the prac- tical outcome must be, that a return to Rome and her tenets is the panacea for all these ills and woes. The practical applica- tion of this hypothesis has in fact been made in more than one direction. Under the leadership of such men as the late Arch- bishop Ketteler, the social problems of the day are shown to yield only to the teachings and examples of Rome. That the movement thus inaugurated is more than merely a curiosity in the literary world, is evident from the fact that of Janssen’s his- tories from sixty to seventy thousand copies have been sold.

1891.] The Sacred Scriptures. 469 ;

The same fact of the positive character of the Reformation must be emphasized too over against false friends as well as open enemies. Scarcely any radical school of thought or ac- tion has had its day which has not endeavored to decorate itself with the name and teachings of Luther. It is not the Roman Catholics alone who claim that the French revolution and kin- dred movements were the legitimate outcome of the Reforma- tion. When Bretschneider dedicated his rationalistic dogmatics to the “wanes” of Luther, he performed an act typical of his kind and school. The modern anti-metaphysical theological school of the late Professor Ritschl in Germany, which virtually empties the fundamental truths of Revelation of their objective contents and worth and reduces the Christian system of doctrine to one of morals, claims to represent the original Luther and the original Reformation, over against the “scholastic’’ Luther of a later generation.

The special subject then of which this article, so representa- tive in character both of the Reformation and of the whole Con- fession, treats is the Word of God, not indeed as the formal principle of the Reformation but as a means of grace. In the systems as developed by later Lutheran dogmaticians the Sacred Scriptures are treated from two different aspects and at two dif- ferent places. In the first place they are regarded as a Revela- tion of God and the history of a Revelation, and as such the sole source and norm of Christian teachings and dogmas. Again, the Word is the means through which the Spirit does his work in the hearts of men, and as such the Word is also a means of grace. The Scriptures, regarded from the first point of view are generally considered by our dogmaticians in the Prolego- mena; from the latter point of view in the body of the system after the great principles of Soteriology have been elucidated. For both historical and material reasons, the Confession at this point considers formally the Word only in the latter aspect. The locus De Scriptura Sacra as the source of knowledge and the norm of Christian teachings was introduced only at a later period into the Lutheran system. It is somewhat surprising that the Augsburg Confession does not contain any ex professo announcement of the formal principle of Evangelical truth, the

470 The Sacred Scriptures. { Oct.

sole authority of the Word of God. Practically and by im- plication this standpoint is indeed taken throughout the Confes- sion; for everywhere the method of argumentation is to estab- lish by the Word of God, and there can be no doubt as to the standpoint of the Confession on this subject. That the state- ment of the Confession took the shape it did, not stating ab- stractly a theological position and proposition as to what the Scriptures in origin and kind ave, but rather emphasizing what the Scriptures do in the work of the Church, is doubtless owing to the other fact that the whole Reformation sprang from the practical needs of the heart for the certainty of faith and salva- tion. Over against this, and at this time and occasion, the ab- sence of a formal declaration of why the Bible alone and not tradition could be accepted, why the Palestinian and not the Alexandrian Canon could be recognized, can readily be under- stood. At any rate, the omission is easily explained at this place, when the word as a means of grace was ¢/#e matter of im- portance. This naturally, would not imply that in the minds of the Reformers the doctrine of the Scriptures as the source of knowledge and the norm of teaching was a matter of indiffer- ence. There are direct evidences in abundance to show this, and indirect evidence here at this place. For if they can main- tain that the word can do such great things, as this article teaches, then too it must be more than human and man’s word. The cause must be commensurate with the effects. Not only what the Scriptures as the word of God do, but also what they are, is included within the scope of thought in the present arti- cle, although owing to historic causes and the immediate object of the article, the first only finds formal expression. With this the theme and leading parts are given, namely,


I. The Sacred Scriptures or the Word as a Revelation; II. The Sacred Scriptures or the Word of God as a Means of Grace.

1. Zhe Sacred Scriptures as a Revelation. The discussion of no topic could be more timely than that of the origin, character and contents of the Bible and the books of the Bible. This is decidedly ¢he problem of the hour in theological and Biblical in-


1891.] The Sacred Scriptures. 471

vestigation. In our day and date a rather remarkable tendency has become prominent, to inaugurate new departures and de- velop new theories on the fundamental subjects of Scriptures, Inspiration, and allied lines. Nor is this a danger which is far off and of which we know only by hearsay and of which we as an American church need entertain no fears. On the contrary, it is right with us, and the American church too must acquaint herself with the ideas and ideals, the trend and tendency, the aim and object of the new methods, the new results, the new spirit and the new theories that are seeking to supplant the traditional views of Evangelical Christianity, claiming that the new ways are better than the old and that the latter have outlived their usefulness. The lecture delivered by Dr. Briggs at his inaugur- ation as Professor of Biblical Theology in the Union Seminary in New York City, is not the spasmodic shriek of an eccentric genius, but is a significant sign of the times. What he preaches from the housetops, scores and scores of Bible students are en- tertaining in their heart of hearts, if not already as fixed theory and views, yet in the shape of doubts and uncertainties as to the accepted views of Protestant theology. When a man of the national prominence of Dr. Briggs adopts the Romish cry of “Bibliolatry” against Protestant principles, and sees in inspira- tion, inerrancy and absolute accuracy of the Scriptures, as pro- claimed and maintained with one voice and accord by positive evangelical teachings, not supports and protectors of truth, but “barriers” to the truth, and the cry is raised that in the interests of the Church these so-called “barriers” must be removed, then it is evident that the radical and advanced views on the origin and character of Scriptures are not confined to the speculative circles of German or Dutch scholarship, but are burning ques- tions of the hour for us too. There can be no doubt that in this respect a new leaven has become a factor and force in recent years in American Christianity. This leaven itself is active throughout the Protestant Church. Theological thought is con- stantly becoming more and more cosmopolitan, and the day is passed when the religious ups and downs of one branch of the Church can leave uninfluenced those of another. Particularly has the theological thought of America in recent years been in

472 The Sacred Scriptures. [ Oct.

touch and tone with that of Germany, the undeniable leader in these new departures. So much has this been the case, that not a few warnings have been uttered against the dangers of “Teu- tolatry” in American theology and church developments. How much England too has yielded to the new spirit is apparent from that significant series of essays published lately under the title of Lux Mundi. Indeed the Germans themselves say that in America and England more persistent and successful attempts have been made to popularize radical views and innovations on biblical subjects than in the Fatherland itself. Such an attempt as that of Professor Toy in his “Judaism and Christianity,” in which original Christianity is made out to have been only a Jewish sect, is a determined attempt to apply in detail and at a central point the principles and practices of the modern school.

A closer analysis of the views and visions of this aggressive advanced school develops a radical and ambitious scheme. The object is nothing less than a reconstruction of the views of evan- gelical Christianity in regard to the origin, character and devel- opment of the biblical religion and the biblical books. Such detail though all important questions as the Pentateuch problem, the division of Isaiah and Zechariah, the Maccabean origin of the bulk of the Psalms and of the book of Daniel, the Synoptic Sphinx, are not ends in themselves, but only means to an end. The line along which this new scheme of biblical religious de- velopment is being unfolded, is that of naturalism. To use a happy expression of the late lamented Delitzsch, the ideal is to develop a “religion of the era of Darwin,” in which the factors and forces which were active in the unfolding of the religion of the Bible and in the composition and transmission of its official records were not a su generis, but practically the same as those employed in the case of other ancient nations. Kuenen may be a somewhat extreme representative of the new school, but in principle his views are those now demanding recognition, only he has formulated them more boldly and honestly than is gen- erally done, In one of his leading works on the Old Testament, his De Godsdienst,” he lays down the proposition as one prin- ciple of his standpoint, which he does not attempt to prove, but which he regards as not requiring demonstrating, name “that


1891.] The Sacred Scriptures. 473

the religion of the Old Testament is one of the leading religions of the world; nothing less, but also nothing more.” No at- tempt is made to deny that the religious development in Israel far surpassed that of any other nation, and that ideally and eth- ically the religion of the Bible excells that of all others. But the view is maintained that the natural genius and endowment of Israel as a nation was such as to make this superior unfold- ing of religious thought and life a natural product, just as the Greeks were beyond all others by nature endowed for philo- sophical and zsthetical thought, the Romans for legal and ad- ministrative. Israel is thus made not the medium but the source of this religious development. Stade, for instance, in his Geschichte Israel's explains the origin of the worship of Jeho- vah by claiming that Israel had adopted this worship from a tribe near Mt. Sinai. That the Old Testament records in their present shape will not bear out this hypothesis, is also acknowl- edged ; but the further theory is put forth, that these books have been revised and recast in favor of later ideas, those of theo- cratic legalism, and that it is the work of literary criticism to glean out the original truths and facts.

In other words, the tendencies of modern advanced views in the Biblical department are decidedly naturalistic and natural- izing. They stand in close connection with this idea of devel- opment, which has been the source of the greatest results, both good and bad, in modern learned research. The object is to make the Biblical religion, not one of its own kind, but the most prominent one of many religions, a primus inter pares merely. It is Darwinism and natural development transferred to the region of Bible study and research.

Nor can it be said that this spirit has been introduced entirely from departments foreign to the Bible. It, indeed, is in touch and harmony with the general scientific spirit and aims of the age, but it is also an extreme application of an idea that has all along of late been active and powerful in Bible research. Prob- ably the most marked feature of modern Bible study, also the conservative and legitimate prosecution of this discipline, is the fact that now as never before this human element in Revela-

Vor. XXI. No. 4. 60

474 The Sacred Scriptures. { Oct.

tion is being emphasized. The older generations saw only the divine factor in both the Bible religion and in its records, ignor- ing, as a rule, the human forms and moulds which the inspiring Spirit chose to give shape and development to the eternal veri- ties, and ignoring also the gradual unfolding of God’s plans for the redemption of man. It is not at all an accidental matter that at the present time the history, the chronology, the archz- ology, the antiquities, contemporary oriental records, and the like, are brought into requisition for the elucidation of the di- vine truths of the Scriptures. It has been noticed as never be- fore that the development of the Bible religion stands in close connection with the mind and heart and history of Israel ; that in a certain sense and from the human side, the Bible is deci- dedly an Oriental and a Semitic book. The employment and utilization of these new sources of Bible helps is one of the characteristic acquisitions of this generation of Bible workers ; and from this standpoint it is readily understood why the dis- coveries in the ruins of Bible lands, especially Egypt and As- syria, arouse such enthusiasm in the circles of wide-awake in- vestigators. In earlier days such discoveries would have been looked upon chiefly in the light of curiosities and not as serious helps for the interpretation of God's word.

There can be no doubt that the historical principle, rightly applied, and not abused for the purpose of making the Scripture records harmonize with some preconceived scheme of philoso- phy or comparative religious science, is an advance in Bible study. The Bible is not only a revelation, but also the history of revelation. It is primarily the record of an historical pro- cess, namely of the preparation of salvation for man and the preparation of man for salvation. Internally there has been a growth from germ to full fruits; there has been a gradual un- folding of the great and fundamental principles of salvation. This fact is recognized by no one more than by Christ and his disciples. According to the united and clear teachings of the New Testament, Christ and the New Dispensation were the ful- fillment and completion of the religious development of the Old, which latter itself was conscious of its incompleteness by its constant prophetic outlook toward the consummation of its


1891.] The Sacred Scriptures. 475

hopes and ideals in the Messiah and his person and work. There is but one religion in the Bible; but between the two Testaments or historic phases of that one religion there is a dif- ference, not of kind, but certainly of degree. Augustine's dic- tum pronounces this truth in a nutshell when he says: “ovum Testamentum in Vetere latet; vetus in novo patet.’ The great and cardinal principles of the plan of salvation are already re- vealed in the Protevangelium ; but the details of the particular manner in which this plan of God was to be realized and con- summated did not become in every particular clear until they became objective realities in the life and death of Christ. Paul in his arguments is particularly solicitous to demonstrate that Abraham, David, and other typical representatives of the Old Covenant were also saved by faith ; yet it requires no proof to show that the Old Testament heroes had not that full knowledge of the methods and ways of God in carrying out his great plan which St. Paul had. They had that knowledge of the plans of God which had been revealed at the stage in the development of God’s kingdom on earth which had been reached in their day and generation. Internally then there has been a growth and development in Biblical revelation. And from this standpoint Biblical theology is a legitimate theological science, separate and apart from dogmatical ; not because it brings new truths or other truths than dogmatics do; for this it does not; but because it pre- sents new aspects of the same truths: and gives them in their proper unfolding. There is a certain sense in which it is per- fectly correct to speak of a Pauline, a Petrine, a Johannine the- ology ; not in the sense asserted by the Tiibingen school, that these represented contradictory and antagonizing schools of Christian thought, but because each of these apostles represents the one Christianity under a different kaleidoscopic point of view. How much the individuality of the writers were allowed by the Spirit of revelation free scope here in the manner of pre- sentation and formulation of the one truth common to all, is ap- parent at a glance from a comparison of the Synoptic Gospels with that of John; or of Paul’s Epistles with that of James’. A full recognition of this historical process as to how the Scrip- tures became what they are, cannot but aid materially in under-

476 The Sacred Scriptures. [ Oct.

standing the religion they teach in its origin, character and con- tents, in the extracting from the Scriptures the exact meaning which the sacred writers put into them, which alone is the one object and aim of all genuine Bible study.

The point here emphasized can readily be illustrated. Even on such fundamental doctrines as those of the Trinity and the Divin- ity of the Saviour the Old Testament contains indeed instruc- tion, and in reference to the latter point, comparatively explicit instruction ; yet compared with the full light of New Testament history and revelation, the data of the Old Testament are ex- ceedingly meagre and give little more than zz xuce. From this point of view too, it is manifestly incorrect to measure the con- duct of a David or a Solomon by specifically New Testament ethical canons.

The presence of historic forces can be recognized even more plainly in the external features of Scriptures; in the manner and method in which the plans of God were unfolded and the truths of revelation found expression. No book in all the liter- ature of the world has as honest a face in this regard as the Scriptures have. On every page, and almost in every line, they show the influences of time, author, occasion, and other histor- ical surroundings amid which they were developed. In this re- spect neither the Vedas nor the Avesta, nor the poems of Ho- mer, nor the Eddas, nor the Niebelungenlied, can compare with the Scriptures. The land, the people, the writers, chosen by God for the unfolding of his plans, are reflected in a thousand different ways. The views of earlier days, which ever, at times, probably out of false and groundless fear for the divinity of the Scriptures, went so far as to make the sacred writers mere ma- chines recording the work of the inspiring Spirit, as the type- writer does those of an author, and not personal vehicles, me- diums and instruments, and which even made it a sine gua non of orthodoxy to accept the inspiration of the Hebrew vowels, as was done by one of the later Reformed Confessions, and taught the full classical style for all the New Testament writers, —these views were based upon a false conception, or rather ex- treme emphasis of a correct conception, of the divine origin and character of Scriptures. The truth of Scriptures can be fully

1891. ] The Sacred Scriptures. 477

defended without resorting to means that are clearly in conflict with demonstrated facts. But the actual fact is that a full knowledge of the historical surroundings of the biblical books contribute a great deal toward their correct understanding. So much is this the case that Renan shrewdly and correctly calls the Holy Land «The Fifth Gospel.” How much the Syria of the present day is still a living commentary on thousands of scriptural details is especially clear from that classical work of the veteran missionary Thomson, “The Land and the Book.’’* There are special problems in abundance which show how much the historical background aids in understanding scriptural thought. Paul’s polemics against the doctrine of justification by works are directed against the false teachers of the Old Testa- ment religion in the New Testament era. The shape and form in which not only the great apostle of the Gentiles but Christ himself put their positive and didactic teachings, was influenced largely by the errors of their day. More positively, too, it is certain, that the study of the methods and manners of Jewish rabbinical scholars will do more to unravel the intricacies of Pauline argumentation than the study of the syllogisms of Aris- totle or the philosophy of Plato. Not indeed in this sense, that Paul violated any of the laws of thought; but his mind and his method of thought were distinctly Semitic and Hebraic, and these were formative factors too in shaping his enunciation of the truth given by inspiration. The gospel of John is another illustration of the value of the historical principle in interpreta- tion. The “Logos” idea is almost inexplicable from a purely Old Testament basis. Had his readers been in possession only of the canonical books of the Old Covenant, it is difficult to

*Hodge (Theol., Vol. I., p. 157) says: ‘He uses men as his organs, each according to his peculiar gifts and endowments. When he ordains praise out of the mouth of babes, they must speak as babes or the whole power and beauty of the tribute will be lost. * * As the believer seems to himself to act out, in fact DOES act out of his own nature; so the inspired penmen wrote out of the fulness of their own thought and feel- ings, and employed the language and modes of expression which to them were the most natural and appropriate. Nevertheless, and none the less, they spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and their words were his words,”

478 The Sacred Scriptures. [ Oct.

conceive how the grand introitus of the fourth gospel could have conveyed an intelligent and intelligible idea to their mind. But a study chiefly of the inter-Testament literature, of the re- ligious thought in Israel from the days of Malachi to John the Baptist, shows that the germs of the Old Testament on this point had been fully developed, and formed a sufficient basis for the apostle of love to connect his grand conception of the Logos that became flesh.

It is at this point that the much misunderstood discipline of Higher Criticism has its work to do. Against this important, necessary and useful branch of Bible study, a good deal of cheap and ignorant abuse has in recent times been hurled. And yet modern Bible study owes many of its best results to higher crit- icism. The idea that this criticism claims superior knowledge, as an esoteric wisdom by virtue of which the initiated critic can destroy biblical views entertained by the Church and the com- mon Christian, is totally false. Higher Criticism is merely a literary discipline, which, because logically it follows the first critical process, that of restoring the zfs/sszma verda of the orig- inal writers, commonly called Lower or Textual Criticism, has unfortunately received the name of Higher Criticism. Its object is nothing more or less than to bring the circumstances of time, occasion, author, object, aim, contemporary history, and the like, which represent the spiritual and intellectual atmosphere in which the original writers lived and moved and had their being —to bring all these factors that influenced the inspired writer in formulating the thought given him by the Spirit, upon the in- terpretation of his words and the reproduction of his thoughts. In other words, Higher Criticism is a literary discipline such as is employed and must be employed by the thorough interpreter of any literary work. It is simply an indispensable tool in the workshop of the exegete, and is employed too by those who ig- norantly condemn it the most. It is true that in the name of Higher Criticism, radical and rationalistic views have been pro- mulgated ; but this is an abuse of the science, not its use. The proper way to correct such erroneous tendencies is to show how proper historical criticism has been violated by neological inves- tigators. An honest, fair and full criticism the Bible not only


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can be subjected to, but this test it invites and urges, even de- mands of all believers. The abuse of this science does not do away with its use; as little as the promulgation of destructive theological systems by pretended students of the Bible, does away with theology as a science. The Bible need not fear hon- est investigators. J/agna est veritas et praevalebit is true here in a pre-eminent sense. Besides, it must not be forgotten that not all the views distasteful in modern biblical science are the outcome of Higher Criticism. The excision of the doxology from the Lord's Prayer, of the Trinity passage from John’s Epistle, of the last verses in Mark, of the pericope concerning the woman taken in adultery, is the work of Lower or Textual Criticism, not of Higher. There is no reason for the hay and stubble which Higher Criticism has erected upon the bases of God’s word, but there is also no reason for rejecting the gold and silver which it offers.

But all this deals only with the form and mould in which the thoughts of Scripture have been given. The heart and kernel of the problem lies deeper, and is contained in the question whence these thoughts developed under human and historical surroundings are derived. Are they human, or are they divine ? Was the human factor in revelation so powerful as not only to account for the form of thought, but also for the thought itself; or can this latter be explained only on the basis of a supernat- ural and divine origin? Here is the great debatable ground of modern Biblical schools ; here is the deep “chasm,” as Delitzsch says, between the modern and the conservative or confessional thought.

The Lutheran Church has never given an uncertain sound on this all-important matter. It is true that there is no article in the Augsburg Confession treating formally and ex /professo of the divine character of the Scriptures and of the extent to which the divine agent has been a factor in the composition of the books of the Bible; or, in other words, on the extent of Biblical inspiration ; but the position of this and the other sym- bols of the Church, which are also silent on the subject as far as formal definition and elucidation is concerned, is not equivocal or undecided. The fact of this absence of distinct thetical ut-

AP i, lal hea eee

480 The Sacred Scriptures. [ Oct.

terances of the symbols on this subject has been used and abused by the representatives of modern Lutheranism in Ger- many, especially by Frank, of Erlangen, to advance the claim that such an omission is an eloquent and instructive silence, pur- posing not to commit the Church to views which then already were recognized as extreme and which were developed with scholastic subtleties by the later dogmaticians. The answer to all this is given in the simple fact that the use made of the Scriptures by the Confession is evidence enough that for the au- thors they were the word of infallible inspiration ; and while not formally defining verbal or real inspiration, practically the confessors are committed to this doctrine. The position of modern German Lutherans is a fro domo subterfuge. For in common with current Protestant theology, the representatives of Lutheranism there too teach, not that the Scriptures are the word of God, but that they contain the word of God. This means, that they are the official record of a divinely revealed plan of salvation, in the official documents of which, however, there can be no claims to absolute inerrancy and correctness of detail, and actual errors in chronology, history, mistakes of memory, in “circumstantials,” as Dr. Briggs calls them, etc., are accepted on the part of biblical scribes. A chrestomathy from recent works of Lutheran authors on the Continent on this mat- ter is exceedingly interesting. Luthardt says that the old evan- gelical doctrine of inspiration “has been thrown to the ground by facts.” Kahnis declares that “it would be a hardening against truth to take it up again.”’ Kiibel declares that “it is no longer accepted by any theologians of our day.”” Grau says that “no retrogression to Quenstedt and Calovius is now any longer pos- sible.” Von Hofmann says that the Sacred Scriptures are “a collection of writings from the early literature of Christianity.” Frank says, “the absolute and entire correctness of what is sta- ted in Scripture must be separated from the erroneous, the es- sential from the unessential.”’ While it certainly would be un- historical and unjust to make the Confessions and heroes of the Reformation period responsible for the extreme mechanical con- ception of inspiration and of the manner in which the Bible books were written, as this was developed by some of the later

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dogmaticians, and while it must be acknowledged, also, that the former took a freer standpoint over against a number of Biblical books than the theory and ideas of the latter could accept, there certainly can be no doubt that for the Reformers and Re- formation the Scriptures were, in the fullest and most complete sense, the divinely inspired Word of God, a revelation from on high to fallen mankind. It is no secret that Luther especially made utterances on the Epistle of James, the Revelation of St. John and several other books of the Bible that would indicate an extremely critical and free standpoint, and the advocates of modern neological criticism have been loud and long in their claims of the great Reformer as their spiritual father and fore- runner. Yet, if ever there was a case of si duo faciunt idem non est idem, it is just here. The Confession is silent in so far as it gives no formal definition of inspiration, because there was no need of this at the time. The day of critical and scientific study of the Scriptures as a literature had not yet begun nor was this matter under controversy with the opponents. Luther's attitude toward the Scriptures was more of a practical than of a theoretical nature. His dissatisfaction with James and some other books was on the ground that they did “not urge Christ.” In spirit, trend and tendency the modern: neological critics and Luther differ soto coelo. With a thousand times better reason would he reject their hands of friendship than he did that of Zwingli at Marburg. They certainly have a different spirit than he. So much, however, is certain that the Reformers were not blind tra- ditionalists on this subject. Indeed, they might be called radical higher critics, as is evidenced by the fact that they rejected the Old Testament Apocrypha, thus casting aside the current Alex- andrian or Greek Canon and accepting in its place the Palestin- ian or Hebrew Canon of the Old Testament. This matter had all the greater importance for them because they had again set up the important fundamental fact, that the Scriptures and the Scriptures only are the sole source of divine truth and the sole norm of the Church’s teachings and faith. For them the Scrip- tures were the one all-important thing, after their rejection of tradition as an equal or subsidiary source of knowledge or Voi. XXI. No. 4. 61

482 The Sacred Scriptures. [ Oct.

faith. To determine exactly what books were included in the Scriptures was for them a question of much greater import than it was for the Roman Catholics. And while the Confession does not contain a thetical enunciation of the formal principle of the Reformation, as it does of the material, there can be no doubt that the Reformers were clear on this subject, although it may be surprising that the negative proposition of a rejection of the Apocrypha and ecclesiastical tradition is not even inciden- tally made.

But is it true that the theory of verbal and plenary inspiration cannot stand the test of facts, as is frequently claimed? The demand that a theory of inspiration must not contradict evident and demonstrated facts is certainly just and right. It would be poor comfort to construe a theory of inspiration @ priori and then force the facts of Scripture upon this Precrustrian bed. This would be the method adopted by the ostrich, who hides his head in the sand when the enemy approaches. The only proper method for the construction of a theory of inspiration is the inductive, based upon the full and fair consideration of all that honest and truthful exegesis and other Scriptural study can deduce. The mere morbid fear that the divine element in Scrip- ture might suffer does not justify a mechanical idea of inspira- tion which makes the composition of the Biblical books practi- cally a divine dictation in which the human agents are as abso- lutely and purely passive and receptive as a machine and do not personally feel what they say and write. It cannot be denied that some later Lutheran dogmaticians developed hypotheses iv this regard, which, while no doubt correct in their fundamental features, can certainly in their details not be harmonized with undeniable data and facts in the Biblical records. But of this extremism, the Confessions, notwithstanding their fixed and firm adherence to the Bible as the inspired Word of God, know nothing. While the contents and matters of the Scriptures are of God and from God alone, these were given to men through men and in harmony with the historical circumstances and the mental characteristics and individuality of the writer. That the Bible, notwithstanding this truly historical origin and character is truly and fully divine is clear. But the question whether the

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human factor which was also active in the production of the sa- cred records was of sufficient potency to find an entrance for errors, inaccuracies, mistakes of memory, etc., can be answered only fully by a detail investigation of those passages where such human weaknesses are claimed to occur. Even if it can be de- monstrated (as it certainly can, and which demonstration is too a powerful argument in favor of verbal inspiration) that the antecedent probabilities favor a thoroughly reliable and trust- worthy character of the Bible ; that man’s needs were such that only a fully certified manifesto of God’s plans for his deliverance could give him the satisfaction and comfort