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because the elements of any form whatsoever, free from essential impurity, are already contained in the Gospels. The Incarnation is our "anthropomorphism," since Jesus of Nazareth is "the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature."'1o This all-encompassing definition of One who was absolutely real and personal cannot be superseded. And we might boldly say that the Old Testament moves on from a less anthropomorphic conception of the Supreme to a greater, because more human, and so it leads up to Christ. For when the lines of the picture have been completely drawn the Messiah appears, and what is His name but the "Son of Man"? I do not call this allegory; it is the thing that happened. To show in detail how it came to pass, by considering the words of Scripture and the events which throw light on them, can anything be better adapted in our day than literary criticism applied to the original records?
All this, I may be told, lies within the bounds of exegesis, and over exegesis the Church has jurisdiction; nay, more, she has a way of her own in handling Scripture testimonies, viz., the mystical, which differs much from the literary. We must not hold out our hands to the Jewish ferule, making unchristian Rabbis our masters. Have we not a sufficient, because authentic, version of the Hebrew in St. Jerome? What more do we want? Let us be satisfied with our Douay Bible, which no one has ever thought unfaithful to the Vulgate. Why exalt a translation that took its rise in heresy and has proved a most effective instrument in keeping Britons isolated from the Catholic world?
That there is a certain force in arguments like these I should be the last to deny; but they require some distinctions and a more precise consideration, 10 Colossians, 1, 15.
if we would learn what they really involve. The Church has jurisdiction, by virtue of her duty towards the Depositum fidei, over exegesis. Who that is orthodox will question it? Again, her appeal to the ancient Scriptures goes upon a sense of her own, call it mystical or prophetic, as it is, in fact, traditional. Of course, and that sense is justified by the New Testament writers who exemplify it, for "Christ is the end of the law." But when we have said thus much a wide territory is left where critics may expatiate. The general application of Old Testament language and meaning to our Lord as its consummate flower, leaves all but a few passages, comparatively speaking, without particular reference until or unless literary methods come to our aid. No school of exegesis prevails in the Fathers, or in any subsequent time, to the exclusion of another. Names equally great can be arrayed on either side. If the pure mystics boast of Origen and St. Augustine, the literal commentators glory in St. Chrysostom, St. Jerome, and a growing multitude of Catholic divines since the Reformation. Authority leaves us free to pass on with a smile when the African saint draws theological truths out of numbers and figures curiously manipulated; we may feel that his gematria resembles the Jewish Kabbala in being at once intricate and unsubstantial, but the Church will not censure us. St. Gregory the Great has quaint "accommodated" moralizings of a similar valuethe lesson is always sound, the argument belongs to an obsolete school. Literary methods claim, at all events, one advantage, if employed as they ought to be their principles are those of reason exercised upon the actual facts. To this extent criticism partakes of the nature of science and occupies a ground common to all the 11 Romans, X, 4.
Western world. It is forbidden to reject any article of the creed; but it does not make the creed a startingpoint, for otherwise it would no longer be criticism but theology.
language not of the schools, but of the people.
The people-but what people? Here I come round to the point from which I set out. Every nation requires to be taught Christianity, as on the first Whitsuntide of the New Covenant, in "their own tongue wherein they were born." Shall Holy Scripture be given to them or withheld? To-morrow the elements of education will be universal; literature in our schools is even now winning the upper hand over catechism; and I ask whether the inspired volume is to be a dead letter, sacrificed to Wordsworth and Tennyson at the best, or to current verses on a level with magazine-writing? Literature, says Carlyle, should be a Bible. Excellent, but have we not in the Bible our grandest literature? Shakespeare cannot teach us religion; the secularist therefore gives prizes to all who have learned As You Like It, and exiles Holy Writ to the topmost shelf of the school library. That sacred word, on which society, in spite of itself, is yet established, now surrenders the guidance of life to poets favored by the local authorities who choose reading-books, to scraps of so-called philosophy culled from everywhere, to little apologues and parables illustrated by oleographs or picture postcards. It is a mad world that deems itself Christian while such things are done. Brought up myself on the Bible as our daily lesson, not at second hand, to me it appears that education has travelled downhill, and is going ever more rapidly towards the deep. I would not put the whole Bible into children's hands; but assuredly neither would I take the whole of it from them.
And if pure literary treatment of the Bible is legitimate then to get elucidations from Jewish Rabbis can be as little blamed in the scholar of to-day as in St. Jerome. The Hebrew text, edited by their ancestors, has its own merits and defects, but to overlook it is impossible. How the Catholic Church regards it in the main we know from the happy circumstance that Leo X accepted the dedication of the Rabbinic Bible published by Felix Pratensis in 1517 at Venice. The Complutensian Polyglot of 1514 bears witness to the same consideration for the Massoretes. Rome has condemned extravagances and superstitions too often associated with Talmudic studies, but she is not jealous of attention paid to Hebrew, and by the chairs erected in her local universities she encourages the clergy to learn it thoroughly. As the Scriptures recover their place in seminary teaching-which the stress of modern disputes will certainly bring about-an acquaintance with the actual words of Revelation will no longer be the privilege of a few, and those looked upon as somewhat eccentric. Bible-learning demands a knowledge of the Biblical languages. If it were fairly at home among us it would prove a check by its very seriousness upon the unbalanced popular movements, wanting as much in depth as in perspective, that have weakened such an ancient Church as that of France and are working disastrously in other lands. Scripture does not lend itself to vagaries of devotion; it steadies worship, recalls the divine to the sources of his dogma, and adds to preaching an authority not otherwise attainable. Theology was written for experts; the Bible is composed in the
When I say the Bible I mean its very words, not an account of it by the teacher, not any summaries or arrangements of its incomparable prose, but the stories, prophesies, psalms in their own phrasing, to be known here
after as Ruskin knew them, matter and form together. The present neglect of form in Catholic pages is to me perplexing. Distinction and literary grace were of old cultivated by Churchmen at a period when the classic elegance had been forgotten. Bossuet thought it due to the Gospel that he should utter its truths in a style worthy of them. We, however, stand midway between the classics, which we have ceased to make our own, and the high modern authors whom we do not profess to know. A supreme English standard was given us in Newman, but how few are the traces of his influence on the religious publications that find a welcome among our people! Meanwhile the question I have raised, though urgent upon us during a good half-century, remains without an answer. What is to be the Catholic way of dealing with England's great literary achievement, the Authorized Version of the Bible?
Strong precedents favorable to a policy of assimilation or reconcilement are by no means far to seek. All through the Church's missionary campaigns, from St. Paul's speech on the Hill of Mars, it has been her maxim to build up rather than pull down. Her eclectic spirit is even a charge against her. Languages, philosophies, rites, festivals, antique places of pilgrimage, customs beyond number, she has absorbed them all. She vindicates her right to them by use and profit, as the man of science becomes lord of the elements which he controls. Latin
was once the language of her persecutors, now it serves to express, with magnificent pathos, the liturgy, in
The Dublin Review.
which all day long she praises God. There is no reason why another tongue, spoken throughout an Empire to which the Roman was a province, should not yield her as great a homage in the Scriptures translated to do her harm, but now made to acknowledge her protection. For the Church is at last seen to be the true keeper of the Bible, having an indefeasible right to watch over it, wherever found.
Catholics, on the other hand, by recognizing the English Scriptures in their permanent literary form, would have taken a long stride towards the unity in all things lawful which is a necessary condition of their acting on the English world. To an extent which many do not realize we still speak a foreign language, not understood of the people whom we address. A common Bible, itself rich with the spoils of the mother tongue-not so much a creation of its own century as incorporating all that was precious from ages far past -would be a Catholic trophy, the well of English pure and undefiled to our successors, who must put off the speech of aliens that they may the better explain the universal creed. It is not, then, a thesis in literature that I have dwelt upon for its own sake, but an interest of deepest moment to religion. That Bible of the Imperial race, which we regard, and justly, as hitherto the most formidable hindrance in the way of conversion, might surely be turned to a means of Catholic triumph, were we courageous enough to deal with it as the Fathers dealt with Greek wisdom and the Popes with Northern customs and usages. der correction.
But I speak un
BY M. E. FRANCIS
(Mrs. Francis Blundell.)
The summer had waxed and waned, and now it was autumn again; not such a golden autumn as had witnessed the installation of the Leslies in the previous year, but wild and wet. Some of the corn was even yet unharvested and stood brown and sodden in the marshy fields; the roads and lanes were strewn with wet branches which the never-ceasing wind wrenched from the wayside trees. The dank grass of the pastures was half hidden in places by the fallen leaves, some still green, others a sickly yellow-none of the vigorous reds, and browns, and oranges, which as a rule enliven the autumn landscape, were to be seen this year. The floods were out in the neighborhood of the river-seldom, indeed, had the springs been known to "break" so early in the season.
On one particular afternoon Richard Baverstock, seated opposite his daughter by the cottage-hearth, was in a mood that would have seemed to harmonize with the stormy condition of the world without, had it not been for a single item. He complained most bitterly of being dry.
"There, Father, do give over!" exas Sheba impatiently, claimed she tossed a darned sock on to the pile "It which she had been mending. bain't half an hour since we've a-had tea."
"Tea?" said Mr. Baverstock, with the greatest disdain. "I tell ye, Sheba, it bain't tea as 'ull quench the drith o' my mouth!"
The girl made no reply, and after a while he went on with a kind of
"It bain't in rayson-'tis what I do tell 'ee! Here be I, so hale an' hearty as ever I've a-been in my life, I mid say. Gie I my crutch an' I'll get along the road as fast as any one. A moderate glass an' a chat wi' a friend 'ud do I all the good i' the world. Yet ye do let I sit here day in an' day out, month arter month, all alone by mysel' an' feelin' that lonesome-"
"Father, ye know I do have to go out to earn money for us both to live on."
"Psha!" exclaimed her father, with withering scorn. "You what mid be Mrs. Hardy o' the Hill, any day ye liked. Stephen Hardy told me so hisself t'other day."
"What!" exclaimed Sheba. "Ye never got talkin' to en o' sich a thing?" Old Richard wagged his head portentously.
"I did get a-talkin' wi' en though. I did think it my dooty. I did ax en straight out when he were a-goin' to keep his promise an' marry ye, an' he answered me back in them very words: 'It do depend on Sheba,' says he. 'She do know,' he says, 'she can be my wife any day she'd like to name.'"
""Tis too bad!" exclaimed the girl, indignantly. "Ye didn't ought to ha' meddled at all, Father. 'Tis for him an' me to settle. Nobody else has any right to interfere."
"Well, I be treated terr'ble bad," resumed Baverstock, returning to his original grievance. "Tuppence, that's all I do ax of 'ee. Stephen Hardy 'ud give 'ee so much money as ever ye want-ye know he would—” "I've told ye a hundred times, Father, an' I tell ye again, I'll not
take no money fro' Stephen Hardy except what I can earn. 'Tis by his wish I bain't earnin' money i' the wold way, wi' field work an' trantin'; but if he has too much pride to wish me, what's to be his wife some day, to take wage from other folks, I've too much pride to take money fro' he wi'out it's as wage-an' I'll not take a penny more fro' he nor what I'd do from anybody else."
"Tis all a girt piece o' nonsense," growled Baverstock. "What be puttin' off weddin' for?-that's what I do want to know. Theer's no sense in it. An' it's crool hard on me. If you was once married 'tisn't here in this lonesome place I'd be bidin', but up-along at the Hill Farm. An' 'tisn't beggin' for tuppence I'd be my sonin-law 'ud not see I go shart-"
Sheba's temper, never of the meekest, flared up.
""Tis hard on others so well as you," she cried hotly. "If you could content yourself wi' a quiet life an' every comfort, an' wasn't for ever cravin' for drink, there'd be nothin' to prevent my marryin' Stephen now. But you know I never could trust ye."
"Well," said Baverstock with deep indignation, "this is a pretty thing! So it's just to prevent your poor wold father havin' a happy home for his last days that you be a-holdin' out this road! Well, you be a reg'lar onnat'ral-" he paused for an epithet"Jezzybel! I be sorry now I done so much for ye. Let me tell you 'tis me what made Stephen Hardy think o’ marryin' ye-there now! So ye needn't be that sot up! Your wold father musn't meddle, mustn't he? Well ye mid so well know as if it hadn't ha' been for your wold father the match 'ud ha' never been made up."
Sheba, who had sprung from her chair, dropped back again, pale and trembling.
"What do you mean?" she cried.
"What do I mean?" repeated her father triumphantly. "I mean, 'twas me as axed Stephen Hardy to have ye -there now!"
There was a long silence-a silence so long that Richard had time to exchange triumph for alarm; never had he seen his daughter look so strange.
At length, however, she seemed to collect her energies and forced herself to smile.
"That's nonsense-talk, Father," she cried. "Stephen's not the man to do sich a thing. He bain't sich a fool as to marry a girl he don't care about, jist because her father axed him."
"Bain't he?" queried Richard, with returning courage; Sheba spoke quietly enough, though she looked so queer.
"Come, let us hear about it," she cried, still affecting incredulity. "Tis one of your notions, Father. When do ye think ye axed him?"
"When? The night arter my accident, my maid-when I did think I weren't above an hour or two for this world. I axed en solemn, as a dyin' man 'ud be like to do."
"Was that it?" murmured Sheba, her great eyes seeming to grow larger with anxiety. "Did ye ax en to make ye a promise because ye were dyin'?"
"Nay, he wouldn't make no promise, my maid," returned Baverstock, now assuming a narrative tone, and being evidently pleased with his own importance. "He wouldn't make no promise an' he did tell I to my face as he'd never thought o' such a thing."
Sheba's lips parted, but she did not speak. Richard continued, chuckling— "An' what's more, he did tell I as you'd never thought o' sich a thing. But as I told en straight out, I knowed better. 'Why,' I says, 'the maid have been fond on ye ever since you an' her were children. She've never thought o' no one else, an 'she've allus hankered arter you!"