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Now, must a speaker, in treating the same subject, necessarily restrict himself to the same set of words ? Must he, in illustrating one and the same truth, confine himself to one and the same figure? May he never, while he continues his original proposition, vary his tropes, or other particulars of his style? If so, our orators and our preachers would be found tedious indeed!
Among Dr. Wiseman's points of this phraseological difference are the two following :-"So long as Christ speaks of himself as the object of faith, under the image of a spiritual food, he represents this food as given by the Father, verses 32, 33, 39, 40, 44: but after verse 47 he speaks of the food, which he now describes, as to be given by himself. The bread which I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world,' verse 52. • How can this man give us his flesh to eat,' verse 53. This marked difference in the giver of the two communications proposed in the two divisions of the discourse points out that a different gift is likewise intended.” To this Dr. Turner very pertinently replies:
“ That whether the language of verse 51, “The bread which I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world,' be explained of the atonement made by our Lord, ' in his own body on the tree, or in reference to the Romanist doctrine of the real presence in the eucharist, the orthodox believer in the trinity would hardly deny, that in either case the Father might well be said to be the giver, while the blessing is equally the gift of the Son. The 'marked difference in the giver,' therefore, is rather apparent than real; and no inference can be drawn from it in favor of a different gift.' Both the sacred persons give the same thing, which may therefore be stated as the gift of each. The author's language, 'If faith is the gift in both communications,' need hardly be animadverted on, as its inaccuracy is doubtless attributable to haste or inconsideration. Faith is the instrument by which the blessed donation is received. No sound Protestant considers it as the gift itself.”—Essay, pp. 17, 18.
Again :-“The difference here discernible between the givers is no less marked regarding the effects of the gift. To both are attributed the having everlasting life, and being raised up at the last day. But beyond this there is a marked distinction. In the first part of the discourse our blessed Saviour always speaks of our coming to him through the attraction or drawing of the Father," &c. “But after the place where we suppose the transition made, he speaks no longer of our coming to him, but of our abiding in him and he in us. And this is a phrase which always intimates union by love. ... . Something, therefore, is here delivered or instituted which tends to nourish and perfect this virtue, (love,) and not faith. And what institution more suited to answer this end than the blessed eucharist? The topic, therefore, is changed, and a transition has taken place.” In answer to this pretty reasoning Dr. Turner says:
“A plain man would think that the difference in the effects' cannot be very 'marked,' if such blessed consequences as having everlasting life, and being raised up at the last day,' are equally the result of each. Does Dr. Wiseman mean that “beyond this there is a marked distinction?... He allows everlasting life to be the effect of faith, while, at the same time, he implies that a union with Christ by love, taught exclusively in the latter part of our Lord's discourse, is an effect quite different from and beyond it. Does he mean to teach us, that everlasting life, the legitimate effect' of faith, is attainable without a union with Christ, and that such union draws after it some other effect,' some higher benefit? Something,' says he, 'is here delivered or instituted which tends to nourish,' &c. Undoubtedly, there is something here delivered and taught which does more directly tend to nourish and perfect love, and that something is 'a true and lively faith,' such as Paul describes, Heb. xi, 1; which stirreth and worketh inwardly in the heart.'* Why then should we suppose that the topic is changed ? Why is not the same living principle acting in all its holy energy upon the object which, most of all
, is likely to call forth its efficiency, that is, the one sacrifice of Christ's body and blood, still to be regarded as the sole topic of our Lord's discourse throughout? There is evidently no reason for supposing a change of subject at all; but, if there were, the newly-introduced topic would be, by the author's own showing, 'a union with Christ by love.' Any special reference to the eucharist would be, I do not say inadmissible, but certainly unnecessary.”— Essay, pp. 18-21.
There are several other nice distinctions adduced by Dr. Wiseman, which are obliterated with equal ease by the pen of his examiner. Certain statements occur in his collation of passages in this chapter, altogether too loose and inaccurate for any one professing to be a Biblical critic.
This last remark is true also of statements about the versions. Take as a specimen what he says of the Syriac version of the New Testament. His aim is to show, that, in the languages of the East, “to eat the flesh of a person, invariably signifies, when spoken metaphorically, to attempt to do him some serious injury, principally by calumny or false accusation;" and, therefore, that “such was the only figurative meaning which the phrases could present to the audience at Capernaum.” He says, then, " that the name diáßołos (devil) is translated throughout the Syriac version of the New
* See Homily entitled " A Short Declaration,” &c.
Testament by 2310 31, ochel kartzo, the eater of flesh.” Dr.
“ The fact stands thus : The word diáßoros occurs in the New Testament thirty-eight times; in nineteen of which the Syriac version does not employ this expression, but four others. Once, Luke viii, 12, it uses a compound term, denoting enemy; once, Acts x, 38, the word for wicked or evil; three times, in Revelation, a word synonymous with
, impostor, deceiver; and in fourteen other places, [he gives the texts, the word Satan. The representation of Dr. Wiseman is true only of the nineteen other places in which the word diáßoros is found."-Essay, p. 25.
How far inaccuracies like this can consist with the character of a true scholar, the reader must judge for himself.
Dr. Wiseman adduces Tholuck in support of his imaginary “transition;" saying "that an acute modern Protestant commentator has observed, that it is manifest that our Saviour cannot have been understood to continue the same subject at verse 51.” Dr. Turner says:
“ It would be unjust to Tholuck, to allow him to be understood as expressing the view which this statement naturally implies. He is explaining the whole passage from verses 51 to 59 inclusive ; and on citing the latter half of verse 51, · And the bread which I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world,' he remarks, that the language kai—dè, denoting a more extended de
' velopment of the thought, shows that Christ does not here express
the same which he had declared before.' Tholuck's very next words are, -Having represented, in general, his appearance in humanity as a divine food, he now intends to show in what sense it is so particularly. If his intention had been to express by these words only the very same idea before conveyed, no reason can be given why he should change the quite clear expression, “I am the living bread,” for the somewhat obscure one, “I will give you my flesh.” The future, “I will give,” refers to something yet to take place. He means Christ's death, as he afterward explains it. The same judicious distinction between the general thought and a more particular development of it had been clearly stated on the preceding page, where the profoundly learned and pious author remarks, that an accurate examination of the whole connection, and of the particular phrases employed, shows that a more special meaning must be connected with these expressions, namely, that Christ having before only in a general way represented his incarnation as a divine living power, now makes prominent what was able, in a sense altogether peculiar, to convey that power of life—that is to say, his redeeming death as the crowning point of his redeeming life.' Had Dr. Wiseman read the work to which he refers, in confirmation of his own imagined transition to a new section of our Lord's discourse? And if so, does he call this representation of his author's views a fair one ?”—Ib., pp. 11, 12.*
Dr. Turton, his transatlantic opponent, had charged him with a similar misrepresentation of that prince of modern commentators, Tittmann. How does
Wiseman labors at this “transition" throughout from the beginning of his first to the end of his second lecture, and there he at last quits it.
The argument of his third and fourth lectures may be stated briefly as follows:
1. The multitude whom our Lord was addressing were all sincere and ardent seekers after truth.
2. He delivered something which they could not understand ; they took offense at it; and some of them even “went back and walked no more with him."
3. That something was the eating of his flesh and the drinking of his blood—“this is a hard saying; who can hear it?"
4. Our Lord's “constant practice was, whenever his expressions were erroneously taken in their literal sense, and he meant them to be figurative, instantly to explain himself, and let his hearers know that his words were to be taken figuratively."
5. He made no such explanation in this case, which, for the sake of saving the disaffected from apostasy, he certainly would have done, had any figurative elucidation been possible.
6. Ergo, he must have intended these words in the literal sense of them; and, ergo, the eating of his flesh and the drinking of his blood, is to eat and drink them in the sacrament of transubstantiation.
our friend Wiseman clear himself? Why, verily, thus :—"I quoted the Meletemata Sacra. I suppose the learned professor was unacquainted with the work; so, like a good controversialist-certainly not like a good scholar-he goes to another work of Tittmann's, and from that attempts to confute me. This is his Commentary on St. John. Now in this, Tittmann, being a Protestant, interprets our Lord's discourse Protestantly, and says, ' apud nostros,' that is, among German Protestants, there is no doubt that no reference is here intended to the blessed sacrament. .. The words from the Meletemata are as clear as those from the Commentary; nor will any quotation from the latter invalidate the former."
On this, Dr. Turner gravely remarks :-“The scholar will know what to think of this. The merely general reader will hardly believe me, when I assure him that the Meletemata Sacra is the same book as the Commentary ; that the very words, apud nostros,' (to which the learned author adds, nec apud verum doctum esse potest,' showing that he had no idea of limiting the doubt to German Protestants,') occur on p. 272; and, moreover, that the edition quoted by Wiseman is that of Leipsic, 1816, the title-page of which is as follows :
-Caroli Christiani Tittmanni, Theol. Doct., etc., etc., Meletemata Sacra sive Commentarius Exegetico-Critico Dogmaticus in Evangelium Joannis.?” Now what is this but a piece of tergiversation for which any school-boy would deserve to be soundly flogged!
What a fine-looking argument is here! What a pity to knock it in pieces ! He assumes that the audience at Capernaum was a school of “ardent and enthusiastic hearers.”—No such thing.
“He confounds two distinct facts, namely; the feeding mentioned in Matt. xv, and Mark viii, with the one which is narrated in John vi, and which gave rise to the discourse recorded in the same chapter. We are told, John vi, 22, 23, that 'the people came to Capernaum, seeking for Jesus, the day following the miraculous feeding; consequently they had enjoyed a good meal the day before. If they were the • ardent and enthusiastic hearers' which it is all-important to his argument to represent them, how comes Christ to open his discourse with such a charge as this :- Verily, verily, I say unto you, you seek me because ye did eat of the loaves and were filled ?! To these 'ardent and enthusiastic hearers' he solemnly says :—Ye have seen me and believe not,' verse 37. He intimates to them in terms not obscure, that they are not under the Father's influence; for they murmured at him because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven;' and they went on to ask among themselves, contemptuously, 'Is not this Jesus the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?' &c. Dr. Wiseman has totally misapprehended the character of these men; he has confounded them with others, who appear to have been of a different disposition, by identifying two distinct and independent facts ; and this in a • Theological Course of Lectures delivered at Rome, and, in order to do ample justice to the line of argument pursued,' not only repeatedly delivered, but published, and of course revised and prepared for the press.”—Essay, pp. 42, 43.
But it is written, that "many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him.” Well, must this necessarily have been because they could not comprehend the problem of transubstantiation, expressed in the words, “Eat my flesh," &c.? Was not our Lord at this time in the zenith of popular favor, occasioned by the splendid wonders he had lately wrought? Might there not have been some, following in his train and calling themselves his disciples, who did this from mercenary motives, arising from the wrong views which they had of his mission and kingdom, and whose discipulary attachment would then terminate on the discovery of their mistake ? May we not suppose that a crucified Messiah, a feeding on him by faith in the heart, and a life of continued self-denial, would be enough to offend such disciples? Or must we suppose that they rejoined the fickle multitude, only because they could not solve the mystery of the real presence! Of this we may rest assured, that if they had been Christ's disciples in reality, as they were in name, if they had been in truth God's children born from above, they would not have stumbled at anything which their Master might have propounded. But finding that he was to be a Saviour and a