Графични страници
PDF файл

rime temporibus nostris,(very recently in our times,) that the work to which the fragment belonged was written toward the close of the second century of the Christian era. The mention of the “Asian Kataphrygians,” and the circumstance that the years are counted from Pius as Bishop of the “city of Rome." and Rome is simply designated as “the city,” indicate, according to Hilgenfeld, that the book originated in the western part of the Roman Empire. The language of the Fragment is Latin ; but Hilgenfeld, after the precedence of Hug and Bunsen, holds that the book was originally composed in Greek, and that we only have a Latin translation. He has previously undertaken to prove this view in his work on the Canon of the New Testament, (Kanon und Kritik des Neuen Testamentes,) published in 1863, in which he also published the Latin text and retranslated it into Greek. A number of learned essays have since been published on the subject. The Dane, C. E. Scharling, (Muratori's Kanon. Den oudste fortegnelse over den Christe. ligen kirkes neutestam. Skrifter. Copenhagen, 1865,) and the Germans, J. C. Laurent (Neutestamentliche Studien. Gotha, 1866) and E. Schrader, (in his new (eighth) edition of De Wette's “Manual of Introduction into the Old Testament.” Berlin, 1869,) defend against Hilgenfeld the originality of the Latin text; while Professor G.Volkmar, of Zurich, (Der Ursprung unserer Evangelien nach den Urkunden, laut den neueren Entdeckungen und Verhandlungen. Zurich, 1866,) and the Dutch theologian, A. D. Loman, both of whom formerly were in favor of the Latin text, now admit with Hilgenfeld the Greek origin. A special work on the subject was published in 1867 by Tregelles, ("Canon Muratorianus; the Earliest Catalogue of the New Testament, edited, with Notes and a Fac-simile of the Manuscript in the Ambrosian Library at Milan.” Oxford,) and another new edition, by Loman, in one of the theological periodicals of Holland, (Theologisk Tijdschrift, 1868, II.) Comparing the results of this new literature, Hilgenfeld has published again, in the above number of the Journal for Scientific Theology, the whole of the Latin text, as well as a revision of his Greek translation, with notes, and, in conclusion, gives a brief summary of the contents. As is the case with most of the ancient documents, the true meaning of some sentences may be disputed, and other writers may put a different con

struction upon some of the most important passages, or draw
from them entirely different inferences. In the opinion of Hil-
genfeld, the Muratorian Fragment mentions as biblical books
recognized by the Church the four Gospels, the Acts, thirteen
Epistles of Paul-namely, two to the Corinthians, the Thessalo-
nians, and Timotheus, and one each to the Ephesians, the Phi-
lippians, the Colossians, the Galatians, the Romans, Philemon,
and Titus—the First Epistle of John, the Epistle of Jude, and
the Second Epistle of John, (the two latter, however, as epistles
written by friends of Jude and John,) and the Apocalypse of
John. It also mentions an “Apocalypse of Peter,” with the
remark that some do not wish it to be publicly read in church.
With regard to the “pastor of Hermas,” it expressly states that
this book did not originate in the apostolical times, that it was
written by a brother of Bishop Pius of Rome, and that, there-
fore, it should be read, but excluded from a liturgical use, and
not be received among the prophetical or apostolical writings.
Of our canonical books, the Epistle of James, the two Epistles
of Peter, and the Third Epistle of John are not mentioned at
all. Expressly excluded from the Canon of the Catholic
Church are two epistles which the Muratorian Fragment says
were spuriously ascribed to Paul by the adherents of Marcion,
namely, an Epistle to the Laodiceans and an epistle to the
Alexandrines. The former, it is thought, was a Marcionite
corruption of the canonical epistle to the Ephesians; the lat-
ter is regarded by Hilgenfeld (after the precedence of Semler
and other rationalistic theologians) as being identical with the
canonical epistle to the Hebrews.

Fourth number, 1872.-1. HERZOG, Blaise Pascal; A Sketch of his Life and his
Writings. 2. KOHLER, M. Sebastian Fröschel; a Contribution to the History of
the Reformation. 3. Two hitherto unknown Letters of Melanchthon, published
by KOLDEWEY. 4. WALTE, Contributions to the Church History of Bremen in

the Time of the Reformation, Among the greatest men in the modern history of the Roman Catholic Church undoubtedly belongs Blaise Pascal. By the nearly unanimous consent of all who have read his works he is still esteemed as a talented thinker and inventor, as the creator of the French classic prose, as one of the first promoters of the study of natural sciences in France, as one of the keenest and most eloquent apologists of the Christian religion. Inflexibly attached to the Roman Catholic Church, he was an

[ocr errors]

uncompromising opponent of Protestantism, but at the same time an untiring foe of the Jesuits, whom he denounced as the authors of false, immoral, and most dangerous doctrines. His life is of special interest at a time when again those elements in the Roman Catholic Church which are more Christian than Papal are revolting against the most monstrous of all Jesuitic innovations, the doctrine of Papal Infallibility. The article in the present number of the Journal for Historical Theology, by Professor Herzog, the learned editor of the great Theolog. ical Encyclopedia of Germany, is as interesting as timely.


FRANCE. THE PROTESTANT CHURCHES OF FRANCE.—The year 1872 will long be memorable in the history of French Protestantism. The two State Churches of France—the Reformed and the Lutheran-after having been for more than two centuries deprived of the right of meeting in national conventions, have at length recovered a right, for the restoration of which the different Governments of the country have long been petitioned in vain. The General Synod of the Reformed Church met in Paris on June 6. It was the first General Synod of the Church since 1659, when a General Synod was held in Loudun; for the synods which are known in Church history under the name of Synods of the Desert were by no means a full representation of the Reformed Church. At the General Synod of Loudun, the royal commissary, M. de la Magdelaine, invited the Synod to transfer its powers to provincial synods, considering, be said, that in future the king would not authorize these kinds of assemblies. In reply to the commissary, the moderator of the General Synod, Daillé, bravely stood up for the right of the Church. “We admit,” he said, “ that we cannot convoke our general assemblies without a great deal of trouble and great expense, but as the holding of these synods is for us an absolute necessity, we gladly incur the expense and the trouble which, on its account, we have to endure. If the different subjects which are brought before these synods could be disposed of in any other way, we should gladly forego the trouble of traveling from one corner of the country to another for the purpose of holding a conference of several weeks. But as it is entirely impossible that our religion can be preserved without holding assemblies of this kind, we bope that our sovereign will permit that our deputy. general ask his Majesty to allow such assemblies to be convoked.” The per. mission so ardently implored was not given. The Church remained without a national synod and without self-government, and, chiefly in consequence of its serviie condition, it became torn by internal divisions, and reduced

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

to a crippled condition. The Synod was opened with a sermon of Pastor Babut, of Nimes. As the Synod contains an Orthodox and a Rationalistic party, his task was one of great difficulty; but, taking as the subject of his sermon Jesus Christ, the foundation of every Christian belief, he knew how to give satisfaction to both parties. But the proceedings of the Synod at once revealed the irreconcilable difference of the doctrinal systems of the two parties. The first important question which presented itself to the Synod was that of its own competency. Could this General Synod be regarded as the supreme representative of the Reformed Church of France, and would its decisions be valid laws for the Reformed Church ? or has the Synod, on the other hand, only an advisory character, and must it be regarded as an assembly of Protestant notables convoked by the State Government for the purpose of giving information on the situation of the Church, and on the best way of introducing reforms ? The Liberal party, knowing that their Orthodox opponents had a decided majority in the Synod, at once declared unanimously against the supreme authority of the Synod, which was energetically defended by the evangelical party. The Liberals took the ground that the present General Synod could not be a legal authority in the Reformed Church, because the organic articles of the law of the 18th germinal of Year X, which regulates the Constitution of the Church, do not mention the General Synod. This law only speaks of the provincial synods. Moreover, the present Synod has been elected by the provincial synods, which, in their turn, were only a delegation of the consistories. The consistories represent a highly unequal number of electors, (some not more than one thousand, others morc than thirty thousand,) but, nevertheless, send the same number of delegates to the provincial synod. The General Synod, therefore, is not a fair representation of the Protestant population of France. The Orthodox party, on the other hand, urged that the law of the 18th germinal, as well as the law of 1852, expressly recognized the discipline of the Reformed Church, which, in its turn, is altogether based on the synodal presbyterian system. Portalis, in his speeches before the Council of State, alluded to the General Synod, the legality of which he implicitly recognized. This legality was also recognized by the Government of the Second Empire, which several times promised the convocation of the Synod, and by the present Government, which expressly recognized it in the decree of convocation. The boundaries of the consistories, it is admitted, greatly vary; but, in reply, it is urged that every consistory represents a kind of individuality, and that the small consistories should not be crushed by the larger ones. Moreover, what could the State Government do? Introduce, of its own accord, a new electoral system? There would have been a general outcry against such a usurpation of power. The State Government could not have acted more impartially than by restoring to the Reformed Church the right of self-government, and to leave to the highest board known to the Church, the General Synod, the final settlement of all questions of reform. The vote on the question revealed the numerical strength of tl:e two parties. A motion by the


Evangelical majority, to lay the motion denying the competency of the General Synod on the table, was adopted by sixty-one against forty-one votes. The question of the authority of the General Synod having been settled, a doctrinal question at once presented itself, on which the opinions of the two parties differed still more radically. In the name of the Evangelical party, Professor Blois proposed a profession of faith, declaring that the Reformed Church “proclaims, with her fathers and her martyrs, in the confession of La Rochelle, with all the Churches of the Reformation in her symbols, the sovereign authority of the Holy Scriptures in matters of faith, and salvation by faith in Jesus Christ, only Son of God, who died for our offenses, and rose again for our justification; and that she, therefore, preserves and maintains, as the basis of her teaching, her public worship, and her discipline, the great Christian facts represented in her sacraments, celebrated in her religious solemnities, and expressed in her liturgies, more especially in the confession of sins, in the Apostles' Creed, and the liturgy of the Holy Supper.” An animated debate of ten days' duration ensued upon this motion, the Liberals opposing it with all their might. It was finally adopted, (June 20th,) by a vote of sixty-one to fortyfive, as the basis of the doctrine of the Church. Motions by the Liberals that the Confession of Faith should be simply communicated to the Churches under the form of a synodical letter; that it should be simply recommended to the Churches, and not obligatory upon them; and that no disciplinary consequences should follow its promulgation, were voted down by the same majority as that by which the Confession was adopted.

The following rule regarding the qualifications of electors was adopted : “An elector in the Church must declare himself attached heartily (de cueur) to the Protestant Reformed Church of France, and to the revealed truth as it is contained in the sacred books of the Old and New Testameut," This rule received seventy-seven votes. No votes were recorded against it, but twenty-four members abstained from voting, and seven members were absent. Proposals were made by the Left for the representation of minorities in Churches in the various bodies, but they were not acceded to.

On Saturday, July 6th, the following rule was adopted, in reference to the admission of candidates for the ministry: “Every candidate for the ministry in the Reformed Church of France must adhere to the faith of the Church as defined by the General Synod at the beginning of the session.” This received sixty-two votes to thirty-nine cast against it; seven members were absent.

The general effect of the action of the Synod is to permit the Unitarian members and ministers to remain in the Church, and to vote upon

declaring attachment to the Church and the revealed truth of the Old and New Testaments, but to prevent the ordination, in the future, of ministers who will not subscribe to the Confession of Faith.

The following resolution, on the separation of Church and State, was agreed to: "The Synod, considering that the principle of the reciprocal independence of the Churches and of the State ought to be introduced into modern public law; considering that the Reformed Church of France is

« ПредишнаНапред »