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tions of churches and general consistories. It shall determine the provinces of the different sectional synods.
"Art. 53. Before the close of each session, the synod shall appoint a commission of five members to superintend the execution of its decrees; this charge fulfilled, the commission shall, de facto, be dissolved.
"Art. 54. The sectional consistory of the place designated for the meeting of the future synod shall undertake all that relates to the convocation and holding of the said synod.
"Art. 55. It shall convoke an extraordinary general synod on the demand, or with the assent, of at least one-third of the general consistories.
66 TRANSITORY DISPOSITIONS.
"Art. 56. The pastors actually officiating shall be maintained in office. "Art. 57. The actual consistories shall remain in office until they have been replaced conformably to the present law; they shall be held bound to assure the execution of it, each in whatever concerns itself.
"Art. 58. The general consistories shall succeed to the existing consistories in the possession and administration of the property collectively belonging to the consistorial churches.
Art. 59. The entire territory of France shall be portioned out into consistorial circumscriptions, according to the table annexed to the present law."
Such is the 'Project' which has been submitted to the French Government, and will probably soon undergo its consideration:-such is the result of the "Evangelical Alliance" in France-so far as it has gone; and such is the basis, that is proposed to be laid for bringing all the members of the Reformed or Calvinistic Church of France under one ecclesiastical polity. Verily, it is worthy, as one of the products of modern liberalism, to take its place by the side of the Political Constitutions that are now springing up over all the Continent, and would do credit to the Abbé Sieyes himself. We are not entitled to say that pure and undefiled religion" may not flourish under such a Book of Policie; we are not disposed very much to quarrel with it, as betraying a very showy aspect of Erastianism; and we are far from complaining, that the antagonism between Civil and Ecclesiastical, should be still farther extinguished; but until the lines of demarcation between Truth and Error in religion, is more precisely marked by a clear and distinct "Confession of Faith," we can augur no good effects to a Calvinistic Church in France, from this attempt at bringing its Pastors, Elders, and Members into one general fold.
Presentation.-The Queen has presented the Rev. George Gibb to the Church and Parish of Glenisla, in the Presbytery of Meigle, and County of Forfar, vacant by the translation of the Rev. James Watt to the Church and united parish of Cortachy and Clova.
Induction at Poolewe.-On the 11th ult., the Presbytery of Lochcarron, met at Poolewe, and inducted Mr. Mackay, lately minister of the Duke Street Church, Glasgow, to
be minister of the Parliamentary Church, Poolewe.
St. Madoes.-The Rev. Mr. Macduff of Kettins, has been presented by Sir John Richardson, Bart., of Pilfour, to the Church and Parish of St. Madoes. We understand the Rev. Gentleman has intimated his willingness to accept the presentation, on condition of his proving acceptable to the parishioners.
An Introduction to the New Testament; containing an examination of the more important questions relating to the authority, interpretation, and integrity of the Canonical Books, with reference to the latest inquiries. By SAMUEL DAVIDSON, LL.D., (now Doctor of Theology of the University of Halle.) Vol. I. The Four Gospels. London.
The importance of Biblical study is generally admitted even by those who have but a limited acquaintance with the subject. It is necessary that minds should be rightly and intelligently directed to the word of God, in order that there may be a freshness and vigour in all the teaching which is given forth for the instruction of others. The object of such study is not that of discovering new truths, but that of really obtaining an accurate and fundamental acquaintance with that Book which God has been pleased to give forth, by the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that precious volume which" can make wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus."
These considerations would cause us deeply to sympathize with the object of Dr. Davidson, in the volume now before us: a scholar deserves respect, at least, who devotes his time, labour, and attention, to the elucidation of those subjects which are mentioned in the title; such a work, if executed with a becoming reverence for God's holy Word, and with a competent measure of scholarship, can hardly fail of being a valuable contribution to Biblical Literature.
Happily Dr. Davidson does not come before the public as an untried author; he has been proved in both respects, as to his competency for undertaking such a work; his "Lectures on Biblical Criticism," published ten years ago, manifested his competency for dealing with such subjects, as also did his more recent work on " Sacred Hermeneutics." That his mind has advanced since the publication of these volumes, (especially the former,) cannot be doubted; but they are a guarantee as to his reverence for Scripture, and for his competent scholarship.
This Introduction is intended to supply what has hitherto been a deficiency in our language; the author has proposed to present, in an intelligent form, those topics which ought to be known by all Biblical students. There are subjects which have an equal interest to all readers of the Bible-such as, by whom and when each book was written; there are others which are of equal value, but which interest a different order of minds-such as the demonstration of the authenticity of the books, their integrity, &c.; and, besides these, there are topics of importance to those who wish to obtain a complete knowledge of all investigations relative to Scripture; such as the objections which have been raised, and the manner in which their futility can be demonstrated. All these classes of topics are considered by Dr. Davidson.
It is evident from his Preface, and many parts of his work, that Dr. Davidson has felt it to be solemnly important that the Biblical student should be guarded against the attacks on divine revelation which so frequently appear in Germany. It is impossible that we should be wholly ignorant of these assaults on Scripture; let such assaults be fully known, let their fallacy be exposed, and thus let them not entrap the feet of the unwary, who may not have been apprized of their real character. Dr. Davidson says, (Preface, p. vi.) " It is the writer's belief, that the books of the New Testament are destined ere long to pass through a severe ordeal. The translations of various Continental works, which have recently ap
peared in England, and the tendency of certain speculations in philosophy, indicate a refined scepticism, or a pantheistic spirit, which confounds the objective and the subjective, or unduly subordinates the former to the latThese observations will shew why the author has gone with considerable fulness into objections that have been urged in modern times against the New Testament books, and especially against the Gospels." On this account a very considerable portion of the volume is devoted to the investigation of objections, a statement of the strongest manner in which such objections can he presented, and a searching investigation into their want of real validity. The author thus expresses his desire as to the results of his work: “If it tend to place the foundation of our holy religion in a strong and impregnable aspect, he will be sufficiently rewarded."
There are some whose fears will be excited by such a work as the present; the very mention of sceptical or Neologian arguments fills them with dismay; they would wish the subject to be kept wholly out of sight. Is this judicious? Is this a proof of real love to the word of God, and, (we may add,) of real charity for the souls of men? The Neologian arguments are circulated; they come recommended by a wonderful parade of learning; inquiring minds are in danger of being misled; what would be said of a shepherd who deprecated any alarm being raised as to the presence of the wolf, when the sheep were in danger of being devoured?
For the last century biblical investigation has been especially carried on by German scholars; the whole field of biblical inquiry has been dug over in every direction. Those who have so laboured have left abundant proof of their diligence in their vast accumulations; in which, however, they have brought together both precious ore and mere glittering dross. It is easy to point to the incongruous mixture, and to deprecate all the results of such labour; but is it not the place of one who really understands what he has before him, to select with judgment, making full use of the precious ore which has been dug forth, while he not only rejects the rubbish, but also uses the power of discrimination which he himself possesses, for the guidance of others; so that they may not prize what is really only worthy of rejection?
Whoever neglects the results of the labours of German erities, must possess a very incompetent knowledge of the external things which relate to the Bible; and thus a work written in a proper spirit, in which the result, of such labour are presented apart from the dross, would in itself possess considerable utility; how much more must this be the case, when a demonstration is also given of the pernicious character of those Neologian accretions, with which so many would debase the pure gold of God's Word. The space which Dr. Davidson has devoted to the different topics, has depended, to a considerable degree, on the mode in which they have been treated by recent writers. On this account the authenticity of the Gospel of St. John occupies a very large space. If it be thought that too much pains have been taken to refute modern objections to this Gospel, we reply, that this may be true, if the objections be considered by themselves ; but when it is remembered the effect which even a foolish objection may have on other minds, we can only feel thankful that Dr. Davidson has not shrunk from this task, however irksome.
In biblical investigations, many Germans, (as Dr. Davidson has rightly remarked,) have treated the Word of God too subjectively; they have taken their own minds as a kind of standard, by which they have presumed to judge what God ought to have written. We have to do with what is presented to us on absolute objective testimony. We have to listen to what God has presented to us in his Word.
There may be a subjective tendency of mind amongst us, which is adverse to every thing, except a kind of traditional apprehension of facts. We can well understand how many subjects of biblical enquiry, in which no point is involved as to the absolute inspiration of Scripture, or as to the Gospel of Christ, or any doctrine which is dear to all evangelical Protestants, may yet be so opposed to some traditional feeling, that danger is suspected where none really exists. As an instance of this, we may mention the Hebrew original of St. Matthew's Gospel. This is a fact attested by all ancient evidence; every ancient writer who tells us that St. Matthew wrote a Gospel, informs us that he wrote it for the Hebrews, in the Hebrew tongue. Now, for about the last three hundred and thirty years, an idea has prevailed that the original language of this Gospel must have been Greek; this has been so fully assumed, that some regard a contrary opinion as a kind of attack on our Greek Gospel. And yet is not this forming a judgment not only irrespective of evidence, but in opposition to it? Dr. Davidson states the ancient authorities which prove, as an historic fact, that St. Matthew wrote in Hebrew; if any one regards this as dangerous, he can possess but little competence for biblical study; such an idea is not reverence for the Word of God, but reverence for one's own subjective ideas of that Word. The relation of our Greek Gospel to the Hebrew is a subject which admits of much variety of opinion; we consider that ancient testimony so identifies the two documents, that the one must be the authentic representative of the other. We advisedly use the word authentic, because it must (from the facts of its reception and use.) have been delivered as such to Churches while still enjoying Apostolic training. The early Christians received the Greek copy as authoritative, while avowing their ignorance as to who might have been the translator; none of the ancients seem to have thought of its having been interpreted into Greek by Matthew himself; the idea in modern times appears to have originated in an attempt to reconcile subjective feeling in favour of a Greek original, with absolute evidence as to the Apostle having written in Hebrew. We should possess more definite certainty as to the bounds of our biblical knowledge, if we began with the objective ground of absolute evidence.
An analysis of the contents of such a volume, if at all satisfactory, would have occupied many pages; we have therefore preferred to indicate the general character of the work, and to give some particulars of its great utility.
We are well aware how easy it is to attack such a book. A casual reader lights on part of an argument, he sees sentiments which are very objectionable; and forthwith the book is condemned. But if it had been
read attentively, then it would be found that the objectionable points and passages are really the very things which are discussed and refuted. We recommend the preface to the serious attention of all who use the book; they may thus appreciate the reverential spirit with which the author has approached the subject.
Some may think that German writers of but shallow pretensions are elevated to the rank of grave authorities, from the fact of their argument having been considered and confuted: but this would be a wholly mistaken view of the case; the arguments of critics and pretenders to criticism are examined-not because of their intrinsic value-not because of the authority which may attach to the names of those who have brought them forward, but because they are points which are actually under discussion: foolish and dangerous arguments have commonly originated with men whose personal acquirements and mental standing, when looked at alone, are below contempt. Many, no doubt, who read these remarks will be able to recal to mind the time when the arguments of the " Age of Reason" had
to be gravely refuted in this country-not because of the importance of the author-not because of the learning of the arguments, but simply, because the sophistries were in actual circulation.
Some may expect a history of Biblical Inquiry. It may be well to remind such, that this was not Dr. Davidson's object; he treats specially of the present state of questions; and this accounts for the comparatively few references to English authors. We had Biblical critics of the highest eminence but for a long period Biblical study has been a field mostly explored by others. In the present state of questions, the Germans have taken the lead.
Many of the topics, of course, are such as admit of considerable variety of opinion. Amongst these we may specify the disputed passages in the Gospel-also the relative value of the testimony of different ancient writers: but, in these cases, although Dr. Davidson gives his own conclusions, he does not do it without stating the evidence; and thus, those who would draw different inferences have the data furnished them to form their own. conclusions.
The more we have studied Dr. Davidson's Introduction to the Gospels, the more fully have we been impressed with the importance of the object which he proposed to himself, with the obstacles to be overcome, and with the conscientious diligence and marked ability with which this volume has been executed.
Let Dr. Davidson complete this work with the same research, and the same desire to vindicate the Scriptures of the New Testament which he has here manifested; and then, we believe, that his Introduction will be one of the most important contributions to the study of the Holy Scriptures, which have appeared in English in modern days.
WILLIAM MACPHAIL, PRINTER, GREENSIDE PLACE, EDINBURGH.