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Much of the same description is that of the talents, in which the moral and interpretation are equally obvious. Besides these more direct parables, the author cites instances, from which he infers, that St. Luke especially was acquainted with that, which Aristotle called “the parable of rhetoric—the reductio ad absur“ dum-by virtue of a parallel case; the refutation or exposure of
an error .... by the comparison of something which resembles “ it, and would be just as absurd, if it were real; the elenchus, or “ conviction of an adversary on principles, which he cannot deny “ himself.” Such he deems Luke v. 36; vi. 39; iv. 23. Mark iii. 23.
But the Swo had greater latitude of meaning than the Greeks attributed to παραβολή : it included the λόγος Or αίνος, the παράδειγμα, the παροιμία, the γνώμη and every sense of the Arabic Jio. Hence, the gospels contain many parts omitted in this list, which an oriental would account parables, in their sense of similitude. Such is that of " the vine.” In illustration of the internal history of this discourse, G. H. Rosenmüller has published an interesting paper, which well deserves our attention. He argues, that Jesus could not have long continued in undisturbed security with his disciples in the apartment in which he had eaten the passover-that it is consequently probable, that after the words εγείρεσθε, άγωμεν εντεύθεν, (John xiv. 31,) he departed with them. That he did not immediately go to Gethsemane, and that in the intermediate time between the end of the passover and his capture, he spoke the words recorded in ch. xv. xvi. xvii., is apparent from the beginning of ch. xviii: but the passover could not have been concluded until midnight was past; nor would the Jews, who captured him, have executed their commission, until then. Moreover, as Jesus had but shortly arrived at Gethsemane, when this occurred, he must have left Jerusalem about midnight. Did he then spend the intermediate time on the Mount of Olives,-in the streets or environs of the city ?— Would he not rather have selected the TEMPLE, which then blazed in its fullest splendour, to which it was customary to resort at this period ?
Here, then, we may suppose him to have uttered the discourses in ch. xv. xvi. xvii. of St. John, and we may as naturally conclude the parable to have referred to some visible object at hand. As he always uses à nouvòs in opposition to something false or counterfeit, (ch. vi. 32; iv. 23,) we may without violence presume a natural or real vine to have given occasion to his observations. Now, Josephus (Antt. xv. 11; Bell. Jud. v. 5, has informed us, that above and round that gate of the temple, which led from the porch to the holy place, there was a richly carved vine, which served as its border and ornament. Its leaves, tendrils and branches were of the finest gold; the stalks of its branches were as large as a man, and its branches consisted of costly jewels. From the time that Herod placed it there, rich and patriotic Jews had added to its value and embellishments, one contributing a new grape, another a leaf, and a third even a bunch of the same precious materials. How majestic must it have appeared, illuminated by tapers, on the night of the passover !-how naturally must it have given rise to the parable!
The vine itself was associated with the metaphors of the Jewish scriptures, and this individual vine was accounted a symbol of the peculiar and proximate relation in which God stood to Israel: to go out and enter under the vine, became even a phrase denoting a peaceful and contented life. With this help, and with a reference to the books of the Old Testament, every part of the parable thus becomes plain and significant. The allusions were before their eyes: the materials, from which our Lord wove his doctrine, stood fraught with national prepossessions and figurative senses long conceded to them, as the foundation of the sublime and beautiful bun, which he uttered in evidence of his office, before the conclusion of his earthly career.
In examining Mr. Greswell's work, we have scarcely noticed his morals and interpretations : the reason is, that the light, which they shed on the parables, has for the most part been shed on them before. In these, peculiar opinions occasionally may be found, which, for a reason before explained, we have not detained our readers to discuss. These volumes are a mixture of great learning with irrelevant matter of an inferior stamp-extended to too great a length, and not always properly directed to the point; they continually miss illustrations, which the east could plentifully supply, and introduce others, the connexion of which with Jewish opinions remains to be proved. They would be useful assistants to pulpit composition, but fall short of a high rank in biblical criticism. Nor have we any hesitation in averring, that the most valuable part is contained in the notes, which a lexicographer of the Greek Testament might employ with advantage: in them, we often discover novelty of ideas and great critical acumen. We also object to the style of the translations; for by literally rendering the Greek, they not unfrequently violate the idiom of the English; but, as we before observed, the Greek of the New Testament must be translated with reference to the Hebrew words, which that Greek was designed to express, and, we may add, with equal reference to the phraseology of our own tongue. If Mr. Gres
* Biblisch-exegetisches Repertorium, Von D. Ernst Friedrich Karl Rosenmüller, und M. Georg Hieronymus Rosenmüller.-1. Band S. 166.
well would weed out some of his notions, we know no one more capable of conferring greater obligations on the biblical student, To this observation, we are particularly led by the article in his appendix "on the existence and locality of Hades," in which he has contrived, by a singular misunderstanding of the Hebrew idiom, and an undue and too literal acceptation of the Greek, to prop up his theories on this subject, far beyond the real revelation of the word of God, and far beyond that, which it would appear, if it were properly interpreted. In the greater proportion of this appendix, indeed, his fancy has rioted in an extraordinary manner, and induced in us the regret, that so much erudition should have been thus neutralized. We are by no means advocates of a latitudinarian interpretation of the scriptures; but, on the other hand, we would not force tropical language to a literal demonstration of things, which it does not imply, nor would we bury things literally detailed under the gorgeous trappings of figurative decoration. The Hebrew scholar can scarcely fail in discriminating from the style and from the context, whether a passage be figurative or literal; a process which he will naturally extend to every language, in which a Hebrew might express himself; and when he discovers this system of hermeneutics to be inverted, of course he will attach no credit to conclusions drawn from such premises. To the design of forcing tropical language to a literal interpretation, we ascribe the errors into which Mr. Greswell has decidedly fallen on this and some other points ; and we may add, that some of the passages, which he has cited, have no relation to his argument. We cannot therefore but confess, that, whilst certain portions of his work have instructed and delighted us, the whole has disappointed the expectations with which we commenced its perusal.
ART. II.-- The Difficulties of Romanism in respect to Evidence;
or the Peculiarities of the Latin Church evinced to be untenable, on the principles of legitimate Historical Testimony. By GEORGE STANLEY FABER, B. D., Rector of Long Newton, and Prebendary of Salisbury. Second Edition. 1830.
THE church of Rome claims and monopolizes the title of Catholic. Probably she would at length, if pressed upon the point, although rather reluctantly, admit that her catholicity is but another name for Christianity; for if it be not Christianity it is nothing—her whole cause is gone. But she will plead, that her creed is not merely general Christianity, but qualified by the circumstance of its being true Christianity in distinction from that which is false. Be it so: it is still Christianity, properly understood. Where then are we to find Christianity, in order to try the accuracy of her claim? She will perhaps answer, (for in effect she generally does so,) in her own existing church; although in the nature of the case, and according to her own showing in any way, this is a palpable absurdity. She cannot do otherwise than place Christianity—its essence and its first foundation-in an age much anterior to the present; in short, where every one agrees it is to be found, and found recorded, namely, in the scriptures of what is denominated the New Testament, or New Covenant. · What is called in the Roman church tradition can do no more than add to, or explain, what is found in these documents: she will not, in words, pretend, that tradition can contradict them. Now, with every allowance for the difference between a religion, or religious society, in its infancy, contracted in extent and number, and discountenanced and impugned by the civil power on the one hand, and the same religion, or society, arrived at maturity, multiplied and diffused over a large surface of the earth, adopted, moreover, and favoured by the civil power, on the other with the full quantity and force of this admission, let any impartial observer of the church of Rome, as she now exhibits herself in any country where she is unrestrained either by compulsion or the inward feeling of shame, and can freely display her person and habiliments,-let any such observer honestly say, whether he can discern even the remotest likeness between her and the religion which she claims, not only as her original, but as identical, in substance at least, certainly not in the accidents, with her present self. Let him
upon this picture, and on this ;" and if he will profess to be reminded of the one by the other, (it scarcely matters which way,) we will further believe him, if he should declare the great doll in the Santa Casa di Loreto wedged to the shoulders into the narrow end of a truncated cone, presenting the appearance of the front window of a jeweller's shop, to be a correct likeness of the virgin mother of Jesus, as she used to appear in her humble residence at Nazareth. The same might be said of a good many other miraculous representations of the same personage.* But to this argument, though sufficient in itself, and highly available as an article in cumulative evidence, we are not reduced. Fortunately, our charge of corrupt additions to Christianity, against the Roman church, and our own justification in having independently cast them off, are
See a curious work, where the figures, statues, and images, are given to the number of fifty-all miraculous.- Atlas Marianus, fic. à G. GUMPPENBERG. Ingolstad : 1657. We all remember the miraculous images of 1796, and their miracles.
founded upon the natural and direct evidence of the case-that is, plain, straightforward, historic evidence. We appeal to fact. Into this court, however reluctantly, Rome must come and be tried; and, what is more alarming for her, abide by the verdict of a jury not packed by herself, and which she cannot, in England at least, have the assurance to challenge. A well-informed and honest public will be personified by the judge.
This is the kind of evidence with which the important work before us is occupied.
It is in distant lands alone, and not in some of them, that a herald is needed to proclaim the powers and achievements of Mr. Faber,-to whose titles is now to be added, the well-earned one of Master of Sherburn Hospital, -as a theologian, long eminent in the capacity of a very successful expositor of prophecy, an elaborate and generally convincing investigator of remote antiquity and mythology, a powerful advocate of practical Christianity, and a no less triumphant defender of its sacred substance against the Infidel and the Romanist.
In the last capacity it is that we have this talented and tried individual now before us. We must confess, that we were never quite reconciled to the title of the book undertaken for reviewal. The most luminous and incontrovertible truths have their difficulties, and, in the present evidently imperfect state of human knowledge, considerable difficulties. We know, however, well enough how to distinguish between what we do, and what we do not, know; and are not to be caught in the trap which some are disposed to set, to reject the one for the sake of the other. Those who feel an interest in darkness may do as they please. Mr. Faber evidently meant, that the difficulties cleaving to the Roman system are of such a character, magnitude and number, as, in respect to evidence, to condemn it absolutely to rejection. And that this is the fact, he has made as clear as the sun. Unfortunately, he has met with an opponent who has the talent of not seeing when the sun shines. That gentleman knows well enough how to raise a cloud; and he seems to have made a vow, to shrink from nothing, and never to feel or acknowledge himself beaten. If we wanted a good sturdy disputant for the purpose, we know not any one whom we could more satisfactorily set to the task of confuting the Rule of Three than Mr. Husenbeth.
But not to be drawn aside from our duty in the outset, we observe that the Difficulties of Romanism were originally elicited by the plausible and unctuous defence of the Roman doctrine, and defiance of all others, by Dr. Trevern, Bishop then of Aire: he afterwards became, and is now, we suppose, Bishop of Strasbourg: Mr. Faber was persuaded by a friend to take up the gauntlet, and defend Protestantism, and the principal branch of it-his own and our church. He made a point of not being outdone in courtesy by the courteous assailant, and we must say,