An Educational Warning

There has never been a time when the path of our children was beset with greater and more subtle dangers than at the present moment. In this statement we do not allude so much to the perils which ever surround them in the world, but rather to those connected with professing Christianity. The very air is infected with doubt, rationalism, and infidelity - all too surely portending the coming apostasy of which Paul speaks in his second epistle to the Thessalonians. Popular religious periodicals and books are fast becoming - unwittingly in many cases - the channels of constant insinuations against, if not attacks upon, the inspiration and authenticity of the books of Holy Scripture; and preachers of all degrees do not hesitate, in their desire to be in the van of public opinion, to express the most "advanced" views concerning the foundations of our faith. In justification of these remarks we may refer to The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, a volume of which lies before us as we write.

This volume deals with the prophet Hosea, and is written by Canon Cheyne, an Oxford "Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture"; and hence the book has the impress, if not the recommendation, of both Universities. It is, therefore, much used in education, and consequently numbers of our youths are being imbued with its teaching. And yet we are bold to say that it not only undermines, but also distinctly sets aside, the plenary inspiration of this portion of the Bible. The matter is so serious that we are constrained to give a few quotations in proof of our contention. In discussing and questioning the chronology of verse 1, the writer says:

"We need not, however, accuse the author of the heading of an error in calculation; the heading is probably a thoughtless combination of two distinct traditions or views which do not refer to the same amount of prophetic writing."

And again:

"Now it may be assumed as practically certain that the former heading (or, at any rate, the chronological part of it) was the work of a scribe during the Exile, so that this late editor probably only knew in a vague way that Isaiah and Hosea were more or less contemporary."

Further on he draws the conclusion: "The reigns of Ahaz and Hezekiah seem therefore to be out of the question as periods for any part of Hosea."

Speaking, moreover, of the moral state of things in the midst of which Hosea laboured, our author says:

"If Hosea did not at once depict it in its true colours, we may conjecturally ascribe this either to the hopefulness of youth, or to the circumstance that the people of the district from which he sprang were comparatively pure in their morals," etc.

Once more:

"No doubt some of Hosea's particular predictions have been fulfilled, but we have no right to assume that the prophet himself attached more importance to these predictions than to others. The truth is that he has no fixed view respecting the future of Judah, much less about the reunion of the two kingdoms," etc.

These extracts have been taken from the Introduction. There are many similar opinions scattered throughout the notes on the text, together with free suggestions for emendations and alterations of words, if but a more reasonable meaning, according to the judgment of our author, might be discovered. We add one comment upon chapter 10:12:

"If only a moral miracle could take place, Israel's calamities might yet be averted. Nor is it entirely inconceivable, for miracles, so Hosea thinks, can be wrought by an earnest resolution." (!)

Surely it is high time for Christian parents to awake to the character of the dangers which are invading their families and households. While they sleep the enemy is active, and numbers of young people have already accepted principles which are really in direct antagonism to revealed truth. Priding themselves upon mind and intellect, they yet fall a prey to sophisms and reasonings which will not bear a moment's calm examination. In the very extracts we have given, who can fail to notice the recurrence of the words "probably," "seem," "conjecturally"? That is to say, Canon Cheyne can tell us what Hosea said, or ought to have said, in his judgment; and he would have us take his conjectural reasonings in the place of the sure Word of God. Well has it been written: "The haughtiness which excludes God, because it is incompetent to discover Him, and then talks of His work and meddles with His weapons, according to the measure of its own strength, can prove nothing but its own contemptible folly." Jeremiah has described the whole class of rationalists in words which should never be forgotten: "The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?" (Chap. 8:9.) Happy are those who amidst the din and conflict of opinions have found their rest in God, as revealed in Christ Jesus, and in His infallible Word