Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

to inspire rather than in an alleged expe- mean nothing more than a kind of Biblical rience of the writers in the unknown past. grammar and philology. Seminary chairs To the credit of criticism, comprehen- have been endowed under titles which sively conceived as the most fundamental, implied that the occupants were expected vital prerequisite of interpretation, we to engage chiefly in teaching the sacred must place a revival of interest in the languages; as if exegesis meant no more Biblical books for what they are and can than hermeneutics, and the student's highdo as literature—a revival truly unprece- est ideal were to be the making of one dented. Side by side with an indiffer more translation or serving on some new ence born of growing doubt as to the tra revision committee. ditional grounds of Scripture authority— I have before expressed my appreciaan indifference which our fathers would tion for the splendid, laborious services have met by stern compulsion, enforced of the philological exegetes and textual hours of secretly hated “ Bible study,” critics of the past generation. Would and verses memorized by the score and that twenty years ago I had appreciated hundred, but which to-day meets us, even at their true worth the minute and painsin unexpected quarters, in a really appall- taking studies in grammatical and lexical ing ignorance of the whole contents—we exegesis to which I listened here, with have the testimony of other thousands of their conscientious system schooling the whom I have spoken already, that the mind to a stern discipline, almost as if our study of Scripture origins has transformed teacher, with Puritanic asceticism, feared the Bible for them from a fetich into a to relax into mere delightful reading and channel of the water of life.

historical discussion, such as made for us I have dwelt thus at length upon the the real charm of his instruction! May higher criticism, historical and literary, the laborious work of that generation partly because it is by far the most obtain the meed of praise it deserved but important phenomenon in the Scripture did not seek! Yet it is now clear that study of the last half-century, as the spirit the time has come when methods of exeof the age itself has been rightly charac- gesis must change, or the science itself be terized by Professor Paine as pre-emi- choked in the dust of its ponderous tomes. nently a spirit of historical investigation; For what else has the study of grammar, but also because, whether for this reason vocabulary, construction, use of language, or some other, the science of exegesis and history of textual variation been carseems now to have reached a transition ried almost to the last degree of perfecpoint, the most momentous since the lead. tion, and all the results indexed, shelved, ership passed over from the Alexandrian filed away and labeled within easy reach, school of Clement and Origen, with its whensoever decisions taken may be called insane vagaries of allegory, typology, and in question ? For what else have meansymbolism, to the Cappadocian of Chrys- time the archæologist, historian, and ostom and Theodore of Mopsuestia. higher critic been feverishly at work, Then, once for all, the Church laid down theorizing, disputing, destroying, reconthe grammatico-historical as the only structing, till out of the chaos, often legitimate method of Scripture interpreta- sneered at as hopeless, begins to rise an tion. Then, once for all, a bridle of edifice of accepted results ? For what restraint was thrown upon the subjective else has the Scripture study of the closing dogmatism which imposed upon Scripture century been thus characterized, but that whatever meaning the fancy of the mo- the exegesis of to-morrow and the new ment might dictate. Since that time we century might be historico-grammatical, have been engaged in perfecting this sole that we might begin our study of the sense legitimate method, which honors the Scrip with a study of the times, the thought, the ture writers by permitting them to set circumstances, the mind out of which the forth their eternal truths in forms which phrase took form, and, understanding our to us may be obsolete.

subject genetically, understand it as never But hitherto the emphasis has all been before? This I take to be the vital laid upon the first term of the compound change which is on the eve of taking We have been grammatico-historical in place in the science of Scripture interpreour exegesis, until exegesis has seemed to tation. The change from the exegesis of to-day to the exegesis of to-morrow will must first occur: Either men, to their be a change from grammatico-historical everlasting shame, decadence, and ruin, to historico-grammatical, with all that the must cease to care for that ideal of a dichange of emphasis implies.

vine humanity regnant over a universe of But some one will say: “ The change, order, peace, and love, the revelation of even if desirable and practicable, comes which forms the essential organic unity of too late ; this age has outlived the time the Book of books, and which culminates when the Bible could claim its unique in the portrait of Jesus of Nazareth, Son rank. Literature in even the humblest of Man and Son of God; or else some home is abundant, cheap, and sometimes other, better way must be found for bringgood. The churches are empty, the ing men into closer, more vital and spiritpreacher has lost his influence, or strug- ual, more practical and effective contact gles to maintain it by competing with the and sympathy with it. Some better means Sunday newspaper in the extreme recent- of implanting that ideal and that life must ness of all his themes. If the great ques- be discovered than the appreciative, intion is how to be absolutely up-to-date,' telligent reading of the writings which how can Biblical interpretation obtain a come to us touched with its fire, breathing hearing? Who wants to hear the Bible its aroma, conscious of its presence, imexpounded?” In my opinion, some of passioned and inspired with the knowlthose very men whose absence we most edge that in Him they have seen the deplore from our churches are they who Father. Until some other literature has want it-men who, when they go to appeared which can bring the life of the church, want the minister to talk his busi- careworn toiler, the household drudge, the ness and not theirs, who want the mean- high and the lowly, the poor in spirit, and ing of the Bible and not of current events, the intellectually and morally great into politics, and social science, who want the touch and sympathy with a “human life bread of life and not another bucketful of divine” and a “ victory that has overcome Sunday newspaper froth. Whether I am the world,” the place of the Bible will be right or not in the notion that there still unique and unquestioned. None of us is such a thing as a hunger and thirst here have any lack of faith in humanity after righteousness, not oversupplied with as craving, however blindly, this water of sermons on the mount--whether I am life; nor in the Bible as the one perpetual right or not in my notion that the very channel to it. Only its “inspiration" most “ drawing” and “ up-to-date” sub- must be of the kind that inspires, and you, ject that a minister could discover would who are here to make it subservient to the be such exposition of the Bible as the parched spiritual thirst of the world, must thoroughly equipped historical critic and be inspired by it, or your exegesis will exegete could give if he would and dared, never bring its inspiration to bear upon I will do you young men the honor to others. assume that you scorn the idea that the How shall you do it? In one word, Bible is tending to become obsolete. The learn to sympathize with its characters classics of Greek drama, philosophy, his- and writers. Study yourself into the cirtory, oratory, of Latin prose and poetry, cumstances and thought of the period. may. The education of the daily news- Fearlessly discriminate between what is paper and novel may produce authors who local and temporary in the author's conwill cast into the shade not only Shake- ception, and so belongs but to the garspeare and Milton, Goethe and Dante, ment, and what is eternal principle, and but consign to oblivion the misnamed im- therefore constitutes the essence. You mortals of Parnassus. It may be that we must be able to say, With all my heart shall witness this, though just at present amen and amen to what is of the latter, the tendency of increasing culture would whether in Isaiah, in Amos, in Paul, or in appear to be rather to add a greater luster John. Above all, if the life of Jesus himto classic fame and a larger influence and self-the heart of it all-is to be a true greater popularity to the literature of ideal to you, not factitious, not good be. Greece and Rome. But when may we cause others have declared it so, but good look for the decadence of the Bible? I and absolutely good in your own soul's will tell you when. One of two things eyes, you must follow, step by step, His course, and in each circumstance put This is my hero of heroes, the hero of thi yourself in His place. Even of His in- whole." comparable words and deeds you must Such, then, is the result, for yourselve be able to say-as you will say when you first, and thereafter for others, which : have a historical appreciation of the whole pray may come through historico-gram context of thought, belief, and circum- matical interpretation, the exegesis o stance—“ That is the very thing that I to-morrow. If we realize but a portioi would have wished to say and do. He of the ideal, our reward shall be great roes of a part of life I have had before. immediate, and enduring.

[blocks in formation]

2 as

[ocr errors]

re

To weigh the material in the scales of the personal, and 1 measure life by the standard of love ; to prize health as

contagious happiness, wealth as potential service, reputation as latent influence, learning for the light it can shed, power for the help it can give, station for the good it can do; to choose in each case what is best on the whole, and accept cheerfully incidental evils involved ; to put my whole self into all that I do, and indulge no single desire at the expense of my self as a whole; to crowd out fear by devotion to duty, and see present and future as one; to treat others as I would be treated, and myself as I would my best friend; to lend no oil to the foolish, but let my light shine freely for all; to make no gain by another's loss, and buy no pleasure with another's pain; to harbor no thought of another which I would be unwilling that other should know; to say nothing unkind to amuse myself, and nothing false to please others; to take no pride in weaker men's failings, and bear no malice toward those who do wrong; to pity the selfish no less than the poor, the proud as much as the outcast, and the cruel even more than the oppressed; to worship God in all that is good and true and beautiful; to serve Christ wherever a sad heart can be made happy or a wrong will set right; and to recognize God's coming kingdom in every institution and person that helps men to love one another.

WILLIAM DE WITT HYDE. Bowdoin College, Brunswick, Me.

Copyright, room, the Outlook Company, New York.

By Edward A. Steiner STT THAT can one see to-night?” hand when lifted against the adulterous W I asked, after an interesting Herod and his brother's faithless wife,

conversation with Mr. Her- and held back the stone which would have mann Sudermann, one of the best known been the signal for open rebellion. There of the modern school of German writers. is nothing in the play which might be

6 If you care to see something of mine," called realistic, save perhaps the scene he replied, “ you might go and see my where Salome offers John his freedom and • John the Baptist' fall through for the her heart, both of which he refuses, not one hundred and ninety-fourth time in tempted by the lustful pleasures held out succession."

to him. The closing scene where Salome I went, and, in company with about one grows hysterical at the sight of his head thousand citizens of Berlin, I sat and is seen only from the stage, not upon it, listened through

as is also the trifive acts of a

umphant entry of drama which

the Christ, which stirred no one to

closes the drama. even a ripple of

“ Mr. Suderapplause, yet had

mann," I said at held the attention

the close of the of critical audi

play, which moved ences for nearly

me by its indetwo hundred nights

scribable power, in one playhouse,

“I don't see has since traveled

any realism about over the German

that.” “Neither stage in the small

do 1,” was his er cities, and de

terse reply;“goodserves to be seen

night;" and my by every lover of

visit with the masthe stage in Amer

ter was over. ica.

I had learned The strangest

very little from him thing about the

about himself and evening was that

his art, but it was the usual rush to

much for me to see the buffet between

him who with Gerthe acts dwindled

hard Hauptmann to a very few,

holds the attention who leisurely drank HERMANN SUDERMANN

of the German peotheir beer or

ple in a larger demunched their sausages. The rest of gree than any other living author, and with the audience remained in their seats and Hauptmann has stirred them as they have thought. It must have been to these Ber- not been aroused since the times of Leslinese something like going to church, and sing, Schiller, and Goethe. But although now they were making up for a sadly Mr. Sudermann would not talk about himneglected duty. Sudermann's “ John the self, I knew one man who next to himself Baptist " was a surprise and a disappoint- was best qualified to do so, and that man ment to the theater-going public of Ger- was Herman Barr, now of Vienna, his many. They expected a sensation; they friend and contemporary—a stalwart defound a sermon—a sermon about love, that fender of the realistic school, and the editor love which was whispered into the ear of of the literary journal “ Die Zeit.” In John by one of Christ's disciples, lamed his Vienna, on a hot July day, I went to his cffice, which was

[graphic]

between the front small and hot and

of the house, where was filled with

the rich manufaccigar-smoke, while

turer lives, and the shining through

rear of the house, was his genial face,

where the poor and he “was as

upholsterer lives. ready as a phono

It is a dreadful graph,” he said, to

picture, full of talk to me.

loathsome talk; in " You want to

the rear of the know about Suder

house absence of mann? Hm! Well,

shame and of honSudermann was, to

or; in the front begin with, a news

of the house a paper man, who for

wrong conception five long years was

of honor and a supposed to edit

wrong kind of Richter's liberal

shame. It is dreadpaper, but did noth

ful, but it is true, ing in fact except

and every officer nose around the

and clerk who saw Berlin stage, where

the girl of the he learned all the

rear of the house, tricks that we fel.

flippant, careless, lows have to know.

stupid, sensuous, When he entered

said to himself, •ī upon his news

know that girl mypaper work, he was

self.' a · Hungerleider'

“More shocking GERHART HAUPTMANN [a poor devil] just

to sensitive peolike myself, as you have discovered if you ple,” continued Mr. Barr, “ was his next have read his book, · Frau Sorge' [Dame drama, 'Sodom's Ende,' which is naturalCare). He had written two novels which istic to the core, and portrays the social nobody read, until with Die Ehre' conditions of the west end of Berlin, its [Honor), his first play, he sprang into fashionable quarter; and here also is a fame, and I believe into fortune also. woman—the woman who has nothing to With this play he opened a way for all of do but lie on her couch all day and dream us, for in it he holds partly to the old about some Don Juan, not because she ideas of the drama and partly to the doesn't care for her husband, but simply new, and our enemies didn't discover, because she has nothing else to do. And until it was too late, that they had ap- again, as men saw the play, though they plauded a heretic. In rapid succession were shocked, and even blushed, they said, followed • Sodom's Ende'and. Die Heimat' •We know her also. The whole thing [Magda], the latter his most successful was declared hideous, a nightmare; but if play, and every year has brought one or nightmare it is, it rests upon an indigest. two more."

ible fact in Berlin's West End society. - Did he learn anything of Ibsen ?”

“In his third drama, • Die Heimat' “Yes, indeed; of Tolstoï also, and Zola.” [Magda], Sudermann leaves Berlin and

“ To what particular thing do you places his scene in a provincial city, the ascribe his phenomenal success and the city of Koenigsberg, no doubt, in the great opposition to him ?”

house of a pensioned army officer, who “I should say to his new setting of has transferred his tyrannical treatment of the German social life," was the reply, soldiers to his wife and daughters. There “particularly that of the modern German is a skeleton in the closet, for one of his woman. Take, for instance, Honor.' daughters has been driven from home and What a picture he gives of the relation disowned because she has gone upon the

[graphic]
« AnteriorContinuar »