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tion from those spheres of religious literature which revolve around the Church, whether considered in the aggregate or in its individual portions. Whatever may tend to the interpretation or illustration of the Holy Scriptures is what we wish to gather from every available source, and to place on record. Whatever can restore or confirm the integrity of the sacred text, reconcile its apparent discrepancies, or elucidate its statements, constitutes the proper material to be gathered up and preserved in a Journal like this ; and it must be confessed that the area thus proposed is sufficiently extensive to allow no room for regret that the restriction mentioned is deemed necessary. The field certainly is ample enough for all the labourers who may be disposed to till it, and the soil is confessedly so fruitful that we need entertain no doubt of being able to reap an abundant harvest. Nor can any complaint be made on the score of variety in the kinds of productions which may be gathered, as the past history of the JOURNAL abundantly testifies. The time must be very far distant indeed when all the fair produce of this spacious enclosure shall be gathered in, whether of flowers to adorn the shrine which it surrounds, or of more substantial fruits to feed its priests and worshippers.
If the boundary line we have indicated is ever left, it will not be from caprice, but from the necessary imperfection of all human arrangements, and the almost impossibility of rigidly cutting off all communication beyond it. All sciences and arts have mutual relations more or less intimate, and it is often difficult to say where one of them ends and another begins, as pure mathematics gradually become concrete in their alliances with those which are mixed, and as painting and poetry imperceptibly coalesce. But another reason exists, besides the nature of things, why the rigid limits we have given to the literature of this JOURNAL must sometimes be passed ; and that is, the taste of the public mind in this country, under whose patronage alone our labours can have any successful result, or even an existence. Unfortunately the taste for pure biblical literature is not sufficiently cultivated in England to secure for a journal exclusively devoted to it an amount of support adequate to its healthful and vigorous existence. Party spirit is too strong, religious prejudices are too inveterate, and, we may add, ignorance of the real value of biblical science is too widely spread, to allow of the extensive patronage which alone could keep in a state of vitality a Journal strictly confined to pure biblical subjects. Hence proceeds the startling phenomenon that, in a country where the Bible is regarded with feelings of reverence and affection little short of adoration, sectarian and one-sided expositions of its doctrines are more valued than laborious and learned inquiries directed to the discovery of truth alone. From this originates the fact, that, while religious miscellanies which bear on their front the shibboleth of a party often yield large profits, a work like ours has had, up to this time, to struggle for existence! It will be readily seen how this state of things must sometimes modify our theory, although notwithstanding we shall endeavour, as far as practicable, to maintain it intact and complete.
By avoiding, as far as is consistent with a manly regard for truth, all those peculiar topics which cluster around the idea of the Church, we hope to secure the co-operation of all who profess and call themselves Christians, and who desire to hold the faith in unity of spirit and in the bond of peace.' It is plain that the admission of controversy on points which Christians hold to be most valuable, and yet upon which they are not agreed, would be to incur the fate of a house divided against itself, which, according to the highest authority, cannot stand. No compromise is incurred, no suppression of what is conceived to be true is committed by this arrangement, because the acknowledged sphere of labour to which the JOURNAL is devoted would be infringed upon by the discussion of those disputed subjects. There are some minds probably which will never be satisfied in any literary efforts they put forth, unless prominence is given to the points on which they disagree with others. With such we cannot sympathise nor co-operate, for our practice will be the very reverse of this. We shall be quite content to hold our cherished peculiar opinions tightly to our hearts, without exposing them to be carped at and written down; and this freedom from offensive attack which we claim and value ourselves, we shall freely concede to others, whose attachment to their own distinctive views is without doubt equally warm and sincere.
But while the unsectarian character of the JOURNAL will thus be maintained, both on principle and from inclination, it must be remembered alike by ourselves and our contributors and readers, that there will still be room for charitable construction and kind forbearance. The faith of all bodies of Christians is confessedly
built on the Word of God, and hence the treatment of its various topics must more or less seem to come close, if not to touch and intrude upon, the precincts of personal opinions and party customs and practices. As this cannot be avoided, the fact gives occasion for a polite and even tender treatment of the motives and feelings of others; and for the suppression of what every good man should seek to avoid-an overbearing assumption of the general value of his own opinions. Infallibility is not the lot of man. be wrong in his peculiar construction of portions of the record to which all appeal, and hence the necessity and the propriety of forbearance. It is not a healthy state of mind which makes a man touchy and over sensitive respecting opinions opposed to his own. Such a temper is more indicative of self-will than of a sincere regard for truth, our search after which should sometimes dispose us to consider what may be said by those who differ from us.
But the most difficult part of our task still remains, even after we have agreed to place disputed matters in abeyance. The mode of treating the topics which legitimately belong to our prescribed province may be calculated to startle the timid, to unsettle still further the waverer, or even to shock the pious feelings of the conscientious biblical scholar who is anxiously and reverentially searching after the truth. Our task is not done when we have settled the bounds of mutual charity respecting such matters as the officers, the sacraments, and the government of the Church. There yet remain to be adjusted all the formidable questions associated with orthodoxy on the one hand and heterodoxy on the other. Thus, although the first chapter of Genesis, for example, may seem incapable of exciting any controversy on purely Christian grounds, the modes of its interpretation may be very various. They may be rationalistic or anti-supernatural ; moderate, or in accordance with the lights both of revelation and science; or blindly conformed to old and exploded ideas and notions, long since rejected by competent scholars, although still firmly held by multitudes of the ignorant and the bigoted. It behoves us then to put on record the principles on which we propose to receive or reject articles capable of favouring these various schools of exegesis.
Now we candidly confess that the term orthodoxy has no charms for us, unless, deprived of its conventional and various meanings, it comes before us as simply designating right-thinking ; and that the word heterodoxy inspires us with no terror, except as it is synonymous with wrong-thinking. To think rightly, as things really are, or as God thinks respecting them, is the aim of all true piety, and is the highest possible attainment of an intellectual being ; while, on the other hand, to think wrongly, as fallen spirits and depraved men do, must be an evil of all others to be most deprecated. But who will affirm that orthodoxy and heterodoxy, in common speech, have these contrasted meanings ? Generally a man is orthodox in the estimation of those with whom he
agrees, and heterodox in the eyes of those who differ from him. If the terms were always used in reference to what may be considered the catholic view of the essentials of Christianity in all ages, they would be precise and intelligible; but they have more often a reference to the peculiarities of isolated communities, and even of individuals. It is thus obvious that the Editor of a Journal like this must have some other principle to guide him than the common use of these undefined and variable watchwords. In short, he must dismiss these words altogether, and apply a rule of selection less Protean and capricious.
When the Editor affirms that from inclination, from experience, and from some extensive observation of the religious world in its literary aspects, he is strongly disposed to conservatism on all biblical subjects, he feels sure that his unceremonious rejection of the talismanic words, orthodoxy and heterodoxy, will be received, not as intimating a disposition to throw down ancient landmarks and stop up old paths, but rather as the result of a strong desire to use more effective guides to what is permanent, and therefore old, in biblical science. He confesses that the historical or traditionary aspect of divine revelation, with its marvellous harmony on all really substantial verities, presents to his own mind a most comforting assurance that Providence has always specially watched over the Church and the Word, and given them, in the general phases they have always and everywhere exhibited, an indelible character of truth and certainty.
What truly prayerful biblical scholar is there who does not feel that, when he lifts his eyes from some perplexing entanglement of the text of Holy Writ, or some quæstio vexata of theology, and surveys revelation in its venerable course of six thousand years, the whole presents a compactness and beauty most grateful to his mental vision and soothing to his spirit? The parts minutely inspected may appear out of course, but collectively they form a magnificent temple, on the majesty and loveliness of which the soul delights to rest. To change the figure, when we dwell exclusively on difficult texts, and endeavour to reconcile apparent discrepancies, we are like men toiling along some rough path amidst glorious scenery,
of which the very stones and briars which impede our way form a part. We begin to doubt the wisdom by which such a tortuous and tangled way has been provided for us, until we look upward and around us, and in the vision of the whole landscape discern a harmony and beauty we were almost tempted to forget !
Our axioms are, that our holy religion is divine, in the explicit and unreserved sense in which our forefathers believed it to be so, before rationalism had caused one eddy in the deep and pellucid waters of their faith ; that in old time God spake unto the fathers by the prophets in a sense far different from the way in which he may be said to instruct and adorn the mere philosopher and poet, and hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son ; that Holy Scripture is given by inspiration of God, in a sense which separates it by a great gulf from all other written compositions; and that the miraculousness of the revelation as a whole, renders it unphilosophical to start at and doubt the supernatural character of its minor details. With such deep convictions as these we shall feel it incumbent on us on no account to admit anything that would unsettle the faith of our readers in what is understood to be orthodox in this enlarged sense. Our literature will not be intended to undermine the foundations of the temple we have referred to, but rather to give them greater subjective firmness ; not to bring a cloud over the magnificent scenery to which we have likened divine revelation, but rather to remove any mists which may hang over it, and bring even its latent beauties into greater prominence.
Subject to these explanations, the JOURNAL will be conservative, not destructive, in its tendency; for it will neither bring forth novelties for their own sake, nor neglect the antiquities of Christian thought because they are old. It is only in this enlarged view of our operations that we hope to be understood; to a short-sighted and minute criticism we shall probably be a stumbling-block. Conscious that both ourselves and our fellow-labourers would rather lay down the pen for ever than write a line that could tarnish