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tion, which represents it as finding an echo, almost part of itself, in the better instincts and wants of our nature : in contradistinction to that harder outline as of a skeleton which professes itself by nature incredible, if miracle or terror did not enforce it as a mystery. It does not follow, that the Church, as a Society, is not justified in framing, as conditions of union, propositions embodying for scholastical convenience the logical side of what appears in Prophet or Apostle as a spiritual emotion. A recoil which we have to dread from unhallowed suppression, is that men, finding how coarsely they have been misled, may believe nothing; or that sentiment may evaporate in garrulity, for want of a dialectical framework. He, in whose image we are made, sees intellectual truth, and may ordain it for the confirmation of our minds, as really as He is the fountain of love, by which our hearts are comforted. Still, it is good to remember, that whatever may be reasonable for churches, God has made, in the last resort, the conditions of salvation simple. When men who do not feel true spiritual emotion, or feel it as an aid to ecclesiastical dominion, confound with it syllogisms of the schools and figures of rhetoric, as equally by immediate utterance Divine, the most tragical complications arise for societies and for the secret heart. The eternal power of the Prophets springs ever fresh, not from whatever gift of prediction they may extraordinarily have possessed, but from that which they have in common with ourselves, their sight of God, their hatred of tyranny and hypocrisy, their courage in denouncing wrong, their awe-stricken prayerfulness, their poetical fire, their manly generosity. Isaiah is the Evangelical Prophet, because he joins the Divine and the human which Christ pre-eminently joined; speaking by a measure of the Eternal Spirit, which God gave to Jesus not by measure. If he had lived under the new Covenant he would have accepted the mind of Christ as the expression of Deity, the impersonate Word of God.
The extent to which Isaiah interposed in the policy of his times, resembling in that respect Ambrose, and the more statesmanlike of the Fathers, renders it natural to ask, what would have been his judgment on some of the questions of our age. We can hardly imagine the developments of our commerce, our colonies on every sea, our boundless luxury, with abject poverty by its side, as entering into his conception. Yet the sentiments in which his large genius would have indulged, are too clear from the expressions which he uses of Tyre and her merchant princes; we may fear that much explanation from our economists would have been needed to reconcile him to some of our social inequalities. We may be too sure, no explanation would have induced him to tolerate such laws of entail, as transmit encumbered and unimproved estates, with an inheritance of debt, while by logical necessity they render the tiller of the soil little better in physical well-being than the serf, sometimes in moral aspiration than the cattle which he drives. This remark should not be understood, as if we were bound in the light of the Gospel and of reason to consider the arrangements of Providence exhausted by the economy of Palestine; only if arrangements change, moral principles are permanent; at least it would be well, amidst professions of devotion to the Bible, not to close the eyes of our mind altogether to what the sacred writers would have said, had they been writing of ourselves. Again, as regards provision for the external maintenance of religion, nothing is clearer than that whatever theory excludes religion from the commonwealth, leaving men to guess what should be right in their own eyes, would have seemed to the Prophet national atheism. By Divine Right he would have Parliaments or Presidents, no less than Princes, govern and be governed, and the Priest's lips keep knowledge. He would not have expected the living coal from the altar to touch the lips of crazy volubility in preference to those of a rightful officer. Yet no system which hardened itself in a tradition of forms, or suppressed fresh truths, and confessed itself a stranger to inspiration, and incapable of profiting by experience, could have satisfied him. He might, in an historically descended society, have borne Articles, but few, and not inconsistent with each other or with their adjuncts; prayers he would probably have had fixed, but not without elasticity of provision for circumstances and for creative devotion; whatever Creed he had beyond a promise to fear the living God, would have been neither a forgery, nor have contained malediction. Most alien of all from his mind, would have been an ecclesiastical system without faith in the unseen, or one which broadens religion by depriving it of all which breathes life. He would as little understand the claim of a majority, as that of a Priesthood, to decide what only God can make true.
If we spend a thought upon the opponents of Isaiah, we shall do well to remember, their case is not before us. As the fuller records of the new Covenant exhibit Apostles at strife, so analogy suggests, that great searchings of heart may have divided men worthy of a place in the Old Testament Canon. They knew in part, and prophesied in part. We see from the case of Shebna, whom the pious Hezekiah upheld in a place of trust, after he had been denounced by Isaiah, and with whom the Prophet himself seems to have been obliged to co-operate, that men not enjoying his approval may have retained the esteem of their contemporaries. He triumphed over such, as Demosthenes triumphed over Æschines, and in Anglican
estimation Hooker over Cartwright, or as the views of three several Apostles have found favour in several ages or provinces of Christendom; but his style and that of Prophets most opposed to him must have had expressions in common; principles differently applied, but having root in a common endeavour to divine the mysterious will of God. The only respect in which the evidences of religion seem to have failed, is the assumption that God condemns those whom we condemn for differing from us. All the analogies of Providence suggest, that we have light enough to walk by; not enough to warrant disparagement of our neighbours. Even the rivalry of a higher against a lower faith has in it something of idolatry. Who art thou that judgest another man's servant ? To his own master he stands or falls. By their fruits shall you know men.
Judge not, that you be not judged. Bless, and curse not; for this is our calling, to inherit a blessing in well-doing.
Passing from Amos or Hosea to Isaiah, is like turning from Howell Harries or George Fox to Jeremy Taylor or South. We leave the simple for the ornate, childlike trust in God for a richer form of religion, a style reflect. ing the common idioms of speech, for one of refined, even elaborate poetry. Those who doubt in art whether the exquisite finish of Raffaele has not lost something of the mystical tenderness which hallows the canvass of his less accomplished precursors, may feel amid the studied antithesis which points the imagery of Isaiah, an inclination to turn back to his simpler forerunners. He is their equal in genius, but hardly gains by being their superior in art. The bulk of the writings associated with his name (as Jerome remarks that he equals the Twelve Minor Prophets in amount), perhaps the superior poetry of some portions ascribed to him without discrimination, may as much as intrinsic excellence have given him the greatest place among the Prophets. He hardly surpasses Joel in flow, Amos in sublimity, Hosea in tenderness. The rank, however, ascribed to him by critics is indisputably the first. His prominence in the counsels of the realm, the triumphant issue to his denunciations of Sennacherib, may have contributed to this verdict. His own genius, his courageous patriotism, his finished style, did much to merit it. Hence, in Spanish manuscripts of the Canon, we are told by scholars conversant with abstruser Jewish antiquities, that his writings hold the first place, although in the correspondent MSS. of France and Germany he is' postponed to Jeremiah and Ezekiel.
Some tradition in that dim region of Talmudic lore, which hardly any general scholar can traverse without disproportionate absorption, but which native Hebraists, if they waive Rabbinical trifling, might lay open, may have suggested to whoever arranged the MSS. of Northern Europe, that some of the writings ascribed to Isaiah are later than the captivity, therefore later than Jeremiah and Ezekiel. However this may be, (and the point is one on which gladly await information,) the internal evidence of the Bible, ever our highest court of appeal, unmistakably shews, that not all is Isaiah's, which is called after Isaiah. Resembling so far Shakespeare and Homer, if there was an archetypal Homer, his renown absorbed into its vortex writings without a name, not inferior in sublimity to his own. Probably this was the case with our second chapter ; probably with the twelfth chapter, upon
1 “Nach dem Talmudischen (Tr. Baba Bathra, f. 14.) in der deutschen und französischen Handschriften beobachteten Kanon, Jesaia, nach Jeremiah und Ezekiel, deren Bücher früher abgeschlossen worden sind, steht, und unter den Propheten die dritte stelle einnimmt.” Knobel. E. H. p. xxiv. (quoting also Semler's edition of Elias Levita, and Buxtorff's 7'iberias).