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time that Jesus is said by Matthew to have been carried away into Egypt, he is said by Luke, notwithstanding the terrors of the tyrant, to have remained and to have been at Jerusalem, and there to have been “presented” in the most public manner in the temple. Now at some time or other, it is uncertain when, Jesus was invested with the title of Son of God. Also, in the prophetic books the collective Israel is constantly spoken of by God, as represented by the Prophet, as His Son. Hence it happened that, not merely in the instance we are speaking of but in others also, what was originally said of Israel was taken in a Messianic sense and applied to Jesus as the Messiah. So in the case before us it happens that in Hosea, xi. 1, we find the following words : “ When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt,” referring, beyond all question, to the Exodus. But Matthew or the compiler of the legends recorded under the name of Matthew, found in the tradition which he followed, a journey into Egypt placed in connection with the socalled prophecy, and in the Judaising spirit which characterises him throughout, adopted it into his narrative. Thus we see the alternatives which are open to one who pins his faith upon the letter of the inspired text. Either he must admit that the tradition in the First Gospel arose from the (erroneous) identification of the “Son of God” with Jesus as the “Son of God," and consequently that the journey to Egypt never took place, being simply a “myth,” originating in the words understood as a prediction, or if it did take place, then the narrative of Luke is mythical, and the events therein recorded are excluded by the exigences of time and place. That both should have taken place is simply impossible. There is nothing on which immediately to rest the narrative of Luke con
sidered as a myth, and the probability therefore is that the events as told in Luke took place while those in Matthew are mythical. This probability becomes greater when we find the massacre also connected with a prophecy, and the tone of the whole narrative is more legendary, dark, and obscure.* We recommend the whole of the question, more especially as expounded in the note by extracts from a once celebrated work by a German writer, translated by one of our most distinguished scholars and
* On these narratives, that of the shepherds at Bethlehem and the presentation in the temple, and their incompatibility with the adoration of the Magi and the massacre at Bethlehem, and consequently the flight into Egypt, see Schleiermacher, p. 46, &c., English translation by Thirlwall, now Bishop of St. David's. Schleiermacher also observes, “The flight into Egypt (Matthew) is very naturally connected with the visit of the Magi * * * * but the journey to Jerusalem (for presentation in the temple, Luke) is inconsistent with it.” Further on the writer observes : “The two traditions rest on a totally different tradition one from the other, as must strike every person who impartially considers each by itself. Luke supposes everywhere that before the birth of Jesus, which took place only accidentally at Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary lived at Nazareth; Matthew, on the contrary, knows nothing of any accidental cause” (the registration or taxing)“ of the birth happening at Bethlehem, and clearly supposes that Joseph, but for the intervention of some particular circumstances, would have returned to Judæa after his flight, and therefore manifestly takes that, and not Galilee, to have been his usual place of abode. All attempts to reconcile these two contradictory statements seem only elaborate efforts of art, to which one should not needlessly resort, or, indeed, should rather give no explanation of them at all. How then ? Are we in general to pronounce the one series true and the other false, or how are we to extricate ourselves from the difficulty ?" p. 48. “The corresponding members of the two successions (of narratives in Matthew and Luke) almost entirely exclude each other. Hence, then, if in any one point the narrative of one evangelist is correct, that of the other, so far as it relates to the same epoch, cannot be so." p. 44.
divines, now a bishop, to the attention and consideration of the advocates of plenary inspiration.
We will now conclude these “ introductory remarks " with one or two additional observations, and one or two quotations. We feel sure that the advocates just spoken of, the champions of advanced orthodoxy, can have no conception of the damage they are doing to their cause and to the church which they profess and intend to support. Complaints are now made of the want of candidates for ordination, and more especially of candidates of a high order of intellectual power. Can any one doubt for a moment what the cause of this deficiency is? Is it to be expected that such candidates as those last named can shut their eyes to what is going on around them ? Surely when they see the sort of theology they are expected to preach or be put under a ban by no inconsiderable number of their fellow countrymen ; when they see the forced attempts at harmonising, the puerile interpretations, the trivial explanations of palpable inconsistencies which they are expected to adopt, they are more likely to be repelled from than attracted to the ranks of the Church. We give an instance of the second of these, by way of a specimen of that to which an intellect of no mean order can condescend when engaged upon these subjects. In a work called “The New Testament of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, in the original Greek: with Introductions and Notes,” by Dr. Wordsworth, Canon of Westminster, the following occurs; speaking of the wedding garment, in Matthew xxii, 11, the annotator says: “Particularly it means baptism as the germ of all the means of spiritual grace.” The question addressed to the guest who was without it he considers as specially applied to those who reject the holy sacraments, and for the “Quakers in particular” he says "it has a solemn and awful sense * FRIEND (italics in the original) How camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment ?"" After this, surely the force of folly could no further go!
We close at length with a quotation which all may apply to themselves who handle these subjects in a fair and fearless spirit. “My (our) great concern has been (is), to show to those who have inherited the culture of this age, that religion—that the Christian religion-is not responsible for the false interpretations of past” (the author might have said “or the present")“ generations—that it is possible to believe in God and yet hold fast by one's scientific knowledge and convictions. You all know the sort of attacks my (our) attempt has brought down upon me (us). For myself (ourselves) I (we) heed them not any more than I (we) should heed the cobwebs that spread over the garden path on an autumn morning. When people use vituperative language, I am (we are) sorry for their poor morality. When they use illogical arguments and make irrelative quotations from Scripture, I am (we are) sorry their reasoning powers are not better developed. That is all. Why should I (we) be angry? If they could help it they would do differently.” These are noble and courageous words, especially when we remember that they were spoken and are now published* in the metropolis of Puritanism and Sabbatarianism.
* “ Divine Providence in its relation to Prayer and Plagues.” By the Rev. James Cranbrook. Edinburgh. Second Edition.