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Brief Literary Notices.

285 forth to the world, professing to be the work of Solomon, and actually producing the impression that it is his upon successive generations of mankind, when, in point of fact, not an iota of it belongs to him: it is the work of a writer who lived centuries after his death. What name would an English jury give to a composition published after this fashion ? For ourselves we have great difficnlty in seeing any alternative between taking Ecclesiastes as the production of Solomon, and regarding it as a wonderful forgery. Mr. Ginsburg must be indulgent to our prejudices, if we say that the arguments he has advanced in favour of the late origin of the book have not shaken our belief that it is Solomon's. The fact that Solomon's name does not appear in the book, that it is wanting even in the superscripti in of it, is surely of no great weight. What is there either in the nature of the case, or in the circumstance that both Proverbs and Canticles are formally attributed to Solomon, to render it necessary that every inspired production of his pen should bear his name; or, on the other hand, to preclude the use of a term in the place of it, which would equally well designate the writer, and at the same time carry with it a special significance arising out of the connexion in which it was employed? It is said, that the enigmatical and impersonal name Coheleth, a female gatherer, by which Solomon is designated in this book, shows that lie is simply introduced in an ideal sense, 'as the representative of wisdom.' We wish we could assure ourselves that we really know what Coheleth means. Mr. Ginsburg writes well on this subject, and gives us the opinions of many other scholars and critics : but we fear the clouds are not all gone notwithstanding. We

e are very much disposed to think that our author is right in taking the word in an abstract sense. But supposing we assume this

-what then? Would it be at all more difficult for Solomon to speak in his own person 'as the representative of wisdom,' than for a writer living ages after to put him into this position ? The third argument employed by Mr. Ginsburg astonishes us ' more than anything we have met with in his whole book. It is this. sion used by the speaker in Coheleth, ‘I was king over Israel, in Jerusalem, was understood by the ancient Jews to intimate that Solomon's royal authority had ceased when he wrote this book ; and hence the Rabbinical legend of his dethronement. 'But history forbids us to adopt their legend to account for this fact.' Therefore we have most undeniable proof that the sacred writer describes Solomon as belonging to the past, and that he has assumed this great monarch to be the speaker. We should be sorry to see Mr. Ginsburg in the hands either of Gesenius or of Aristotle, with this passage in view. Will he stake his credit as a Hebraist on the affirmation, that Solomon writing at one period of his reign could not use the verb in question of a foregoing period of it, without implying that he had ceased to reign ? If not, there is nothing in his reasoning, so far as the tense of the verb is concerned. And how does the whole argument differ from the following? The fact that the sun appears to make a daily journey across the heavens

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led mankind for ages to suppose that he moved round the earth : But we who believe in Newton and Herschel know that this is not the case: Therefore we have undeniable proof that the sun does make a daily journey across the heavens. We have no disposition to caricature our author's position; but we really cannot distinguish between these two syllogisms. A further difficulty supposed to exist in the way of the received view of Solomon's having written Coheleth is what the writer says as to his possessing wisdom and wealth above all that were before him in Jerusalem. It is assumed that the comparison here is with kings who preceded Solomon on the throne of Israel, and that so there is a violation of history fatal to the early date of the book. But is not this mistake, if mistake it be, equally inconsistent with historic truth on Mr. Ginsburg's hypothesis ? So far as matter of fact is concerned, it makes no difference whether an earlier or later inspired writer is in the wrong. We believe there is no mistake; and that Solomon might just as truly have used the language in question as any of those who came after him. Surely, too, it is precarious criticism which lays it down, that because the author of Ecclesiastes is said to have been king 'in Jerusalem,' the book must have been written 'when there was another kingship, the seat of which was out of Jerusalem: and to affirm that it is 'incompatible with modest wisdom and true greatness' for Solomon himself to speak as he does of his unparalleled' knowledge and glory, is simply, as it appears to us, to lose sight of the very sufficient reply which has been given to a similar charge in the case of Moses ; namely, that while Divine inspiration is uniformly true to fact, it often sinks individual interests in those that are universal, and causes the prophet to speak as a fool,' that the world may be wise. With respect to several arguments which follow in Mr. Ginsburg's polemic, we can do little more than express our surprise that they should have any weight with a writer who supposes, that through the whole of Ecclesiastes Solomon is personated by another. If a Jew under the Persian dominion might speak in the name of Solomon, why may not Solomon, for religious and moral purposes, speak in the name of this or that class of mankind ? Even allowing the interpretations which our author puts upon the passages to which he refers, we think this an adequate answer to what he says as to Solomon's doubting whether his son would turn out well or ill, as to his satirizing himself in his description of a royal spendthrift, and as to much of the oppression, violence, and misery which the book is supposed to represent as characterizing the reign of Solomon. We have already expressed our entire disagreement with Mr. Ginsburg, as to the last-named doctrine. We believe it is a critical myth, and have neither time nor inclination to do it formal battle. In like manner, we may safely leave the objection raised upon a passaye referring to the relations between kings and subjects, in the hands of those who find the Book of Proverbs, which is confessedly Solomon's, altogether free from the like difficulty. And until we know much better than we do at present the

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entire history of Solomon, and are much clearer than we now are as to what Divine revelation was possible before the Babylonish captivity, and what after it, we must strongly demur to the affirmation, that experiments such as Coheleth describes himself as making, are inconsistent with the conduct of the historical Solomon, and are an idea of a much later period than the age of this great monarch. On the latter of the grounds just stated, we take equally strong exception to Mr. Ginsburg's assertion, that Ecclesiastes must be a post-exile production, because the grand problem of the book is solved by the doctrine that there is a future bar of judgment, where all the present irregularities in the moral government of God shall be rectified by the Judge of the quick and the dead.' We have no confidence in this argument. We believe as thoroughly as Mr. Ginsburg in the progressive discovery of truth by the Holy Spirit during the ages preceding the time of the apostles. But we believe also, that no man is at liberty to draw lines across the course of the development, and to say that on that side so much revelation is possible and no more, and

more, and that on this side it must reach to such a point and not fall beneath it. And in reference to this particular doctrine of a judgment to come, we are satisfied that Mr. Ginsburg and others greatly understate the teaching of the older Scriptures on this and kindred doctrines; and that, in point of fact, the Pentateuch, to say nothing of the Book of Job, or the Psalms of David, points again and again scarcely less unequivocally than Ecclesiastes itself to a future life, and its sanctions of good and evil. At any rate there are sufficiently clear intimations of a Final Assize in the Scriptures, as they were before the days of Solomon, to remove all difficulty which the presence of this doctrine in Coheleth may be alleged to throw in the way of its Solomonic authorship.

And now we reach our climax. After all, the strongest argument' against the popular notion on this subject is the 'ritiated language and style of the book. We do not refer so much,' Mr. Ginsburg says, ' to the numerous Aramaic expressions, wbich have no parallel in any other portion of Scripture of equal size, and which would of itself be sufficient to show that it is the last-written book in the canon of the Old Testament: but we refer to the whole complexion of it. We could as readily believe that Chaucer is the author of Rasselas, as that Solomon wrote Coheleth. We are rather surprised that our author has not marshalled the Aramaisms, of which he here speaks, and given them fair opportunity of clearing the field of the enemy. Let Hengstenberg do what he omits. “We quote from the article on Ecclesiastes in Kitto's Cyclopædia, an article which Mr. Ginsburg praises in high terms. The greatest obstacle in the way of considering Solomon to be the author, is the character of the language. Many opponents of the Solomonic authorship went much too far in their assertions. The Grecisms, which Zirkle thought that he had found, have now generally been given up. The Rabbinisms likewise could not stand the proof. The words, significations, and forms which seem to appertain to a later period of Hebrew literature, and the Chaldaisms, an abundance of which Knobel gathered require to be much-sifted. According to Herzfeld, there are in Koheleth not more than between eleven or fifteen young Hebrew expressions and constructions, and between eight and ten Chaldaisms. Nevertheless it is certain that the book does not belong to the productions of the first, but rather to the second period of the Hebrew language. He adds immediately. This alone would not quite disprove the authorship of Solomon, if we could produce any weighty argument in its favour. We are content with this issue. We have no wish to twist facts, or to ignore them. We allow an Aramaic colouring in Ecclesiastes which it is not easy to account for. But we think we have indicated very strong reasons for adhering to the traditional view of the origin of the Book : and these reasons ought in all fairness to reduce the linguistic doubt to a minimum, if not entirely to, quash it. The truth is, we know far too little of the history of the Hebrew tongue, of its various forms and dialects, and in particular of the relations in which it stood to the bordering Aramæan, to be able to draw any such conclusion as Mr. Ginsburg's hypothesis requires from the scanty remains of it contained in the Old Testament. And, while we agree with Hengstenberg that the linguistic phenomena of Ecclesiastes do not disprove the Solomonio authorship of the Book, we think, that the enormous preponderance of evidence is adverse to the theory which Mr. Ginsburg has maintained. Let us not part, however, from this most praiseworthy and excellent writer without repeating our high sense of the acumen, industry, research, and scholarship which his admirable volume displays. Henceforth no English student of Ecclesiastes will be able to dispense with the assistance of it. So far as we know, it is the best book on the subject in the language. The author has produced a noble successor to his former work on the Song of Songs; and we trust he will not fail to carry out, by God's blessing, his purpose of writing on the whole series of the Megiloth. We wish we had bundreds of Biblical scholars as large-hearted, painstaking, wise, and learned as our latest commentator on Coheleth. We will only add, that the style in which the work appears is creditable alike to editor, publisher, and printer. There are occasional slips ini the Greek quotations : but those from the Hebrew=and this is a rare virtue--are for the most part faultless. The book is attractive to the oye, and scrutiny will sustain the impression of worth which it conveys at first sight.

The Old and New Theology. By Henry James, New York:

London: Longman and Co. 1861. VERILY the Old is better, if the New is such as this book describes it. Crazed folk and incurable visionaries apart, we are confident this will be the verdict of all its readers. It is a piece of full-dressed, voluble, good-natured, and very conceited Socinianism. Swedenborg, Comts, and Carlyle, so far as we can understand, are the writer's


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masters; and he is a pupil of whom none of them need be ashamed. In absurdity, extravagance, and valour in decapitating men of straw, he rivals them all. The great enemy of truth is the Sectarianism which, under various names and guises, has from time immemorial swathed and crippled the human soul :--that miserable, shabby, mumbling thing, which 'plants itself upon the stupid and fallacious testimony of the natural conscience, which teaches that man is contrarious' to God, and can only be reconciled to Him through a Mediator, and which insists on worship and the like as means of spiritual life. Away with this monstrosity! It degrades our humanity. It flies in the face of all true science; for science demonstrates the perfect unity of God and man, by showing the whole realm of nature divinely accommodated to the development of man's power, and the aggrandizement of his passional and intellectual existence. It 'finites' God. It falsifies the mission of Christ, and turus His

grace into exquisite selfishness. It puts the creature into an insecure relation to the Creator by making its salvation dependent on His will. It is essentially hostile to the interests of man as man. Its heaven is at best a hospital;' even there man 'bears the scars of his original fall, and drags the chain of an eternal servitude or dependence. This is only part of the picture, which our author draws, of what is commonly known as Evangelical Christianity. The men who adhere to this system, and even those who preach it, are to be respected. They answer a purpose in the evolution of society. They unconsciously push forward the world's work. But this, Mr. James assures us, is their theory, stripped of its conventional wrappings and mystifications. And the author of this wonderful caricature presumes to commend to us the so-called ‘New Theology,' and goes off into ecstasies over the future which it is to originate-a future, of whose advent theroseate dawn is at length flushing the entire mental horizon of humanity. We have not space to draw out the Anti-Sectarian creed at full. Our faculties, indeed, might break down under the task, if we attempted it; for it is not so easy to define, because it appeals exclusively to the rational understanding, instead of the memory. But we may humbly offer a specimen of two of its articles. God is essential man.' Creation does not spring of God's will, but is necessary, so that the creature cannot but be His image. The most ineffaceable conviction of every human soul is that of its inward righteousness.' God's quarrel is never with the sin of man: God never hates man's sin. To postulate for Christ' a superior intrinsic worth to all other men' is the merest gossip.' All that Christ did was to remove the separation which the law of Moses made between Jew and Gentile, and so to restore to the chief of sinners a conscience of perfect repose toward God.' He had no mission apart from this. It is a 'popular misconception of Christianity, to consider it as a system of relief provided for man against the Divine displeasure.' And for justification—this is in the intensest degree a rational process ;' it comes of the progress of science;' the testimony of science a

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