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as filling up the outline of the forms which the personages and events of this history have assumed in large periods, and to large masses, of mankind.
2. These are the materials from which the following Lectures are drawn. It will be seen that what they profess to give is not a commentary on the sacred text, but a delineation of the essential features of the history of the Jewish Church, during the second period' of its existence. In so doing, it has been impossible to suppress the horrors consequent on the hardness of heart' which characterised the Israelite nation, nor the shortcomings which disfigured some of its greatest heroes.
'Let me freely speak unto you of the * Patriarch David :' euch is the spirit in which we should endeavour to handle the story of the founder of the monarchy. “Elijah was a man of like passions with our
selves :'4 such is the view with which we ought to approach even the grandest of the ancient Prophets. * These all, having obtained a good report through faith, received • not the promise: such is the distinction which we ought always to bear in mind between the rough virtues and imperfect knowledge of the Old Dispensation, and the higber hopes and graces of the New.
But our faith in the transcendent interest of the story, the general nobleness of its characters, and the splendour of the truths proclaimed by it, ought not to allow of any fear lest they should suffer either from the occasional uncertainty of the form in which they have been handed down to us, or from a nearer view of the crust of human passion and error which encloses without obscuring the luminous centre of spiritual truth. The beauty of the narrative, and the charm of its incidents, if not belonging to the highest form of Inspiration, is yet a gift of no ordinary value, which perhaps no previous generation has been so well able to appreciate as our own. The lessons of perennial wisdom which the history imparts, even irrespectively of traditional usage, justify, I humbly trust, the practical applications that I have ventured to draw from it, and form the real grounds of distinction between it and other histories, as also between the essential and the subordinate parts of its own contents. In the sublime elevation of the moral and spiritual teaching of the Psalmists and Prophets, in the eagerness with which they look out of themselves, and out of their own time and nation, for the ultimate hope of the human racefar more than in their minute predictions of future events -is to be found the best proof of their Prophetic spirit. In the loftiness of the leading characters of this epoch, who hand on the truth, each succeeding as the other fails, with a mingled grace and strength which penetrate even into the outward form of the poetry or prose of the narrative-rather than in the marvellous displays of power which are found equally in the records of saints in other times and in other religions—is the true sign of the Supernatural, which no criticism or fear of criticism can ever eliminate. They rise above the nature' not only of their own times, but of their own peculiar circumstances. They are not so much representative characters as exceptional. Their life and teaching is a struggle and protest against some of the deepest prejudices and passions of their countrymen, such as we find, if at all, only in two or three of the most exalted philosophers and heroes of other ages. The rude ceremonial, the idolatrous tendencies, even some of the worst vices, against which they contended, were almost inseparably intertwined with the popular devotions not only of the surrounding nations, but of their own people. The religious world of the Jewish Church is to them, as to a Greater than they, an unfailing cause of grief, of surprise, of indignation. In the name of God they attack that which to all around them seems to be religion. Their clinging trust to the One Supreme source of spiritual goodness and truth, with its boundless consequences, is the chief as it is the sufficient cause of their preeminence. Other parts of their history may be preternatural. This is in the highest degree supernatural, because this alone brings them into direct communion with that which is Divine and Eternal.
1 For the three divisions of the History, see Introduction to Vol. I. p. xxxi.
2 The use of this word has been severely condemned. It is sufficient to refer to 2 Sam. xii. 7, 13, 31;
1 Kings xiii. 26 ; 2 Kings i. 10 (comp. Luke ix. 54-56); Jer. xviii. 23 (comp. Luke xxiii. 34), xx. 7, 14, xxxviii. 27.
; Acts ii, 29. 4 James y. 17. 5 Heb. xi. 39.
* I have a peculiar pleasure in re- Sermon of the Dean of St. Paul's on fering for a corroboration of the views Hebrew Prophecy -- impressive alike which I had ventured to express in from its contents and from the cirmy first rolume, in the impressive cumstances of its delivery.
3. Closely connected with this thought is the relation of the literature and history of the Jewish Commonwealth to the events of the Christian Dispensation. I may be allowed to express by an illustration the true mode of regarding this question. In the gardens of the Carthusian Convent, which the Dukes of Burgundy built near Dijon for the burial-place of their race, is a beautiful monument, which alone of that splendid edifice escaped the ravages of the French Revolution. It consists of a group of Prophets and Kings from the Old Testament, each bolding in his hand a scroll of mourning from his writings—each with his own individual costume, and gesture, and look —each distinguished from each by the most marked peculiarities of age and character, absorbed in the thoughts of his own time and country. But above these figures is a circle of angels, as like each to each as the human figures are unlike. They too, as each overhangs and overlooks the Prophet below him, are saddened with grief. But their expression of sorrow is far deeper and more intense than that of the Prophets whose words they read. They see something in the Prophetic sorrow which the Prophets themselves see not : they are lost in the contemplation of the Divine Passion, of which the ancient saints below them are but the unconscious and indirect exponents.
This exquisite mediæval monument, expressing as it does
the instinctive feeling at once of the truthful artist and of the devout Christian, represents better than any words the sense of what we call in theological language the Types of the Old Testament. The heroes and saints of old times, not in Judea only,—though there more frequently than in any other country,--are indeed 'types, that is, “likenesses,' in their sorrows of the Greatest of all sorrows, in their joys of the Greatest of all joys, in their goodness of the Greatest of all goodness, in their truth of the Greatest of all truths. This deep inward connexion between the events of their own time and the crowning close of the history of their whole nationthis gradual convergence towards the event which, by general acknowledgment, ranks chief in the annals of mankind-is clear not only to the all-searching Eye of Providence, but also to the eye of any who look above the stir and movement of earth. It is part not only of the foreknowledge of God, but of the universal workings of human nature and human history. The angels see though man sees not. The mind flies silently upwards from the earthly career of David, or Isaiah, or Ezekiel, to those vaster and wider thoughts which they imperfectly represented. The rustic murmur' of Jerusalem was, although they knew it not, part of the great wave that echoes (round the world. It is a continuity recognised by the Philosophy of History no less than by Theology—by Hegel even more closely than by Augustine. But the sorrow, the joy, the goodness, the truth of those ancient heroes is notwithstanding entirely their own. They are not mere machines or pictures. When they speak of their trials and difficulties they speak of them as from their own experience. By studying them with all the peculiarities of their time, we arrive at a profounder view of the truths and events to which their expressions and the story of their deeds may be applied in after ages, than if we regard them as the organs of sounds unintelligible to themselves and with no bearing on their own period. Where there is a sentiment common to them and to Christian times, a word or act which breaks forth into the distant future, it will be reverently caught up by those who are on the watch for it, to whom it will speak words beyond their words, and thoughts beyond their thoughts. Did not our heart burn within us while • He walked with us by the way, and while He opened to us 'the Scriptures?' But, even in the act of uttering these sentiments, they still remained encompassed with human, Jewish, Oriental peculiarities, which must not be explained away or softened down, for the sake of producing an appearance of uniformity which may be found in the Koran, but which it is hopeless to seek in the Bible, and which, if it were found there, would completely destroy the historical character of its contents. To refuse to see the first and direct application of their expressions to themselves, is like an unwillingness—such as some simple and religious minds have felt—to acknowledge the existence, or to dwell on the topography, of the city of Jerusalem and the wilderness of Arabia, because those localities have been so long associated with the higher truths of spiritual religion.
There will further result from this mode of approaching the subject the advantage of a juster appreciation of the Divine mission to which the Prophets and righteous men of former times bore witness. Resemblance of mere outward circumstances, however exact, throws no light on the essential character of Him whose life they are brought to illustrate; nor is it any such kind of resemblance which justifies the relation of that Life to the personal needs of mankind. But a real resemblance of moral and mental qualities or situations, which can be universally felt and understood, is a direct help to feel and understand in what consists the Character and Person of Him whom we are called upon to love and adore, and in what consists the possibility of our approach to Him. It is a fruitful illustration of the argument which pervades the Analogy' of Bishop Butler, and which