Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/94

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

form to St. Mark, and declares that there is no ground whatever for that supposition of an Ur-Marcus—that is an original groundwork—from which Prof, Huxley alleges that "at the present time there is no visible escape." If I were such an authority on morality as Prof. Huxley, I might perhaps use some unpleasant language respecting this vague assumption of criticism being all on his side, when it, in fact, directly contradicts him; and his case is not the only one to which such strictures might be applied. In "Robert Elsmere," for example, there is some vaporing about the "great critical operation of the present century" having destroyed the historical basis of the Gospel narrative. As a matter of fact, as we have seen, the great critical operation has resulted, according to the testimony of the critics whom Prof. Huxley himself selects, in establishing the fact that we possess contemporary records of our Lord's life from persons who were either eye-witnesses, or who were in direct communication with eye-witnesses, on the very scene in which it was passed. Either Prof. Huxley's own witnesses are not to be trusted, or Prof. Huxley's allegations are rash and unfounded. Conclusions which are denied by Volkmar, denied by Penan, denied by Reuss, are not to be thrown at our heads with a superior air, as if they could not be reasonably doubted. The great result of the critical operation of this century has, in fact, been to prove that the contention with which it started in the persons of Strauss and Baur, that we have no contemporary records of Christ's life, is wholly untenable. It has not convinced any of the living critics to whom Prof. Huxley appeals; and if he, or any similar writer, still maintains such an assertion, let it be understood that he stands alone against the leading critics of Europe in the present day.

Perhaps I need say no more for the present in reply to Prof. Huxley. I have, I think, shown that he has evaded my point; he has evaded his own points; he has misquoted my words; he has misrepresented the results of the very criticism to which he appeals; and he rests his case on assumptions which his own authorities repudiate. The questions he touches are very grave ones, not to be adequately treated in a review article. But I should have supposed it a point of scientific morality to treat them, if they are to be treated, with accuracy of reference and strictness of argument.

bishop of peterborough.

I should be wanting in the respect which I sincerely entertain for Prof. Huxley if I were not to answer his "appeal" to me in the last number of this review for my opinion on a point in controversy between him and Dr. Wace. Prof. Huxley asks me.