Billeder på siden

views as these and the early rationalistic hypothesis. The difference between De Wette' and Hofmann appears to consist in the mode of expression alone. With both of them the Messianic idea is a patriotic hope, the natural product of certain circumstances connected with the nation. The prophecy is nothing more than a wish in disguise. It did not enter the minds of the people from above, but sprang from the soil of the nation itself, which looked forward to the future, for the perfect satisfaction that the present denied.

If this be the genesis of the Messianic hopes, then so far as the prophecies are concerned, in which Hofmann admits that these hopes are expressed, it is absolutely necessary to remove every feature, which cannot be explained from the stand-point of ordinary historical observation. Hofmann is particularly careful, therefore, to eliminate everything relating to the divinity and sufferings of Christ. In his opinion, it was "the declaration of Christ himself, and the confirmation it received from his life, which first gave rise to the doctrine, that there is an internal, divine connexion between God, the Father of Jesus Christ, and Jesus the Son of God."2 "In the Old Testament Scriptures, there is no mention made of any such distinction in the Godhead, as corresponds to the distinction between the Father and the Son." "In the Old Testament predictions there is no intimation, that the coming Saviour is already in existence, and is simply not yet manifested, or that he will even be in existence previous to his appearing" (p. 9).—To arrive at this result, not only are all the passages, which clearly attest the pre-existence of Christ and his divinity (such, for example, as Micah v. 1 and Is. ix. 5), robbed of their meaning, but every effort is made so to distort the Old Testament doctrine of the angel of the Lord, which forms the basis of the doctrine of the divinity of Christ, as to destroy the connexion between the angel of the Lord and Christ. It cannot be denied, that by such a procedure as this, if not intentionally, yet actually, the truth of the doctrine of the divinity of Christ is endangered. If there be any reality in this, it must be attested by the revelation of the Old Testament.Again the passages, which contain the clearest announcements

1 P. 129. 2 Schriftbeweis i. p. 154.

3 Schriftbeweis ii. 1, p. 1.

of the sufferings of Christ, are also put aside (e.g., Zech. ix. 9, xii. 10, xiii. 7). In his earlier work "Weissagung und Erfüllung," it is expressly denied that there is any allusion in the Old Testament to the sufferings of Christ. The "Schriftbeweis," however, makes some concessions. Isaiah is allowed to have foretold the sufferings of Christ, so far as the prophetic institution, with which he had primarily to do, culminated in Christ. "In these sufferings, incident to the vocation of prophet, he will also share, through whom it receives its ultimate fulfilment. In the opposition, to which he is subjected, he exhausts the whole mass of sufferings which a prophet can possibly endure on account of his vocation" (Schriftbeweis ii. 1, p. 126). This reminds us of Grolius, and does not go a step beyond him. Every sacrifice is made, for the purpose of robbing the prophecies of Isaiah, concerning the suffering servant of God, of their specific Messianic contents, so as to make them applicable to an ordinary prophet. According to Hofmann it is not the death of the servant of God, considered in itself, which is represented in Is. liii. as a blessing to Israel, but his fidelity to his vocation. Such sufferings ast hese the prophets might undoubtedly attribute to the Messiah, on the ground of merely human conjectures.

But Hofmann is not consistent with himself. Whilst, on the one hand, he agrees with the rationalists in seeking to eliminate the supernatural element, altogether, from that portion of prophecy, which has respect to the Messianic predictions; on the other hand, in direct opposition to the rationalists, he maintains that prophecies in the ordinary sense are to be found in other parts of the Scriptures. Thus, for example, he retains the prophecy in the book of Genesis respecting the 400 years, during which the posterity of the patriarch was to sojourn in a land that was not its own (Weissagung und Erfüllung), and also Jeremiah's prophecy, that Israel was to be restored to its own land, after enduring the tyranny of the Chaldeans for seventy years (Schriftbeweis ii. 2, p. 542). Again, he maintains the genuineness of the book of Daniel, and is therefore obliged to admit that actual predictions are to be found in all the details which are contained in chap. xi. And the question naturally arises here, if prophecy enters into such details as these in con

nection with lower objects, why should it not rise above the circumstances of the times, when the highest of all was concerned. Through this inconsistency on the part of Hofmann, he is placed at a scientific disadvantage in relation to rationalism, which denies that the supernatural element is to be found anywhere in prophecy, and as far as possible sets it aside. We may see very clearly from Dan. ix. how Hofmann connects discordant things together in a thoroughly inadmissible manner. The Messianic features are all removed, evidently to serve a purpose, and give place to predictions of events in the period of the Maccabees.

The present Christology is based upon the heartfelt conviction, that we have a sure word of prophecy, that holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and that in the Spirit they testified beforehand of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow. May this revised edition help to strengthen a conviction, of such importance to the Church!



A deeper insight into the prophecies of the Old Testament concerning Christ, is contingent in many respects upon our knowledge of the nature of prophecy, and the state in which the prophets were, at the time of their prophesying.

Ever since the controversy with the Montanists, the opinion has almost universally prevailed in the Church, that the essential difference between the prophets of the Old Testament and the heathen soothsayers, was that the latter were in an ecstatic condition when their oracles were delivered, whereas the former prophesied in a state of perfect consciousness, and with a distinct comprehension of what they were saying.

The views held by the Montanists are given most concisely by Tertullian (adv. Marcionem iv. c. 22), "Defendimus in causa novae prophetiae, gratiae ecstasin, id est amentiam convenire. In spiritu enim homo constitutus, praesertim cum gloriam dei conspicit, vel cum per ipsum deum loquitur, necesse est excidat sensu, obumbratus scilicet virtute divina, de quo inter nos et Psychicos ("i.e.catholicos, adversarios Montani," Semler) quaestio Interim facile est amentiam Petri probare. Quomodo enim

Moysen et Eliam cognovisset nisi in spiritu ?

The orthodox view, on the other hand, was represented by Miltiades, who is said by Eusebius (Church-history, v. 17), to have written a book “ περὶ τοῦ μή δεῖν προφήτην ἐν ἐκστάσει λαλεῖν.” Origen says (c. Celsum vii. c. 4), “ εἰ δὲ Πυθία ἐξίσταται καὶ οὐκ ἐν ἑαυτῇ ἐστιν ὅτε μαντεύεται, ποδαπὸν νομιστέον πνεῦμα, τὸ σκότος καταχέον τοῦ νοῦ καὶ τῶν λογισμῶν;”). How," says Basil (commentary on Isaiah, Prooem c. 5), "can the spirit of wisdom and knowledge deprive any one of his senses? The light cannot produce blindness, but, on the contrary, calls

[ocr errors]

out the natural power of vision." Epiphanius (adv. haeres. Montani c. 2), observes, “ ὅσα γὰρ οἱ προφῆται εἰρήκασι μετὰ συνέσεως παρακολουθοῦντες ἐφθέγγοντο,” and in c. 3, sqq., he argues that the prophets always spoke “ ἐν ἐῤῥωμένῃ διανοίᾳ καὶ ἐν σώφρονι λογισμῷ καὶ οὐκ ἐν παραπληξία.” Jerome also writes in many passages to the same effect. Thus, for example, in the preface to Isaiah he says "neque vero, ut Montanus cum insanis feminis somniat, prophetae in ectsasi locuti sunt, ut nescierint quid loquerentur et, cum alios erudirent, ipsi ignorarent quid dicerent. Legimus et in alio Apostoli loco: spiritus prophetarum prophetis subjecti sunt." Again, in the preface to Nahum, "Non loquitur propheta év ékoтáσe, ut Montanus et Prisca Maximillaque delirant, sed quod prophetat, liber est visionis intelligentis universa quae loquitur;" and in the Prolog. in Habak.: "Adversum Montani dogma perversum intelligit quod videt, nec ut amens loquitur, nec in morem insanientium feminarum dat sine mente sonum. Unde et Apostolus jubet, ut si prophetantibus aliis, alii fuerit revelatum, taceant qui prius loquebantur. Et statim: non est enim, inquit, deus dissensionis sed pacis. Ex quo intelligitur, quum quis voluntate reticet, et alteri locum dat ad loquendum, posse et loqui et tacere quum velit. Qui autem in ecstasi, id est invitus loquitur, nec tacere nec loqui in sua potestate habet." Chrysostom, in the 29th homily on the Epistles to the Corinthians, speaking of the difference between the heathen soothsayer and the true prophet, says: τοῦτο γὰρ μάντεως ἴδιον, τὸ ἐξεστηκέναι, τὸ ἀνάγκην ὑπομένειν, τὸ ὠθεῖσθαι, τὸ ἕλκεσθαι, τὸ σύρεσθαι, ὥσπερ μαινόμενον. Ὁ δὲ προφήτης οὐχ οὕτως, ἀλλὰ μετὰ διανοίας νηφούσης καὶ σωφρονούσης καταστάσεως καὶ εἰδὼς ἃ φθέγγεται, φησιν ἅπαντα· ὥστε καὶ πρὸ τῆς ἐκβάσεως καντεῦθεν γνῶριζε τὸν μάντιν καὶ τὸν προφήτην. Modern theologians have for the most part followed in the steps of the Fathers.

The truth in this controversy lies in the middle. The orthodox theologians have allowed themselves to be carried too far by their opposition to a serious error. They contended with perfect justice against the amentia or unconsciousness attributed to the prophets, but they also denied their ecstacy, and thus lost sight of the distinguishing characteristic of the prophetic state.

That we are not to regard the prophets as entirely deprived of intelligent consciousness, may be seen from the passage, on which

« ForrigeFortsæt »