Page images

“ The second visit of Christ is spiritual, in which He visits us by His grace; for He saith, 'If any man loves Me, He keeps My word, and My Father will love him, and We will come to him.' This is the meaning of Christ, that He and the Father will come to that man who loves Christ, and keeps His word. And of this visit He speaks in the Revelation of St. John, in the third chapter : ' Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.' At the door doth Christ stand, so that He is ready with gracious will to visit each man; and He knocks, when He warns him by inspiration, by pain, by threatening, or by sickness, or by the giving of various gifts. And whosoever listens to the voice of His command, forsaking sin, and fully turning His will to good, to this man doth Christ enter in, visiting him by His grace; and if the man ends his life in that grace without returning to sin, then Christ will sup with him and he with Christ; that is, he will enjoy everlasting happiness. And in this way, too, doth Christ visit a man spiritually, when he forsakes deadly sins, and He forgives him them, and when He grants him His special grace, and when at the hour of death He comes to him by His grace. Likewise, too, He visits evil men by threatening, by vengeance, and by everlasting destruction, and that especially at the hour of death. Therefore He saith, in the twenty-fourth chapter of St. Matthew : Watch; for ye know not at what hour your Lord cometh.' And in the third chapter of the Revelation of St. John He saith : 'If there. fore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee.'

“ The third visit of Christ is future, at the day of judgment; con. cerning which He speaks Himself in the twenty-fifth chapter of St. Matthew : 'When the Son of Man shall come in His glory, and all His angels with Him, then will He sit on the throne of His kingdom, and all people will be gathered before Him.' Concerning this coming also we say in the Creed, that He will come to judge the quick and the dead.

"Hence, then, thou hast furthermore, that His first visit took place once for all, when once for all He became incarnate; that the second is taking place every day, as every day He visits the faithful by His grace, and the evil by vengeance or by warning; and that the third is yet to come. For His first visit we ought to be very grateful, and thus to commemorate it lovingly; with regard to His second visit, we ought to be diligent, that it may please Him to abide with us, and to conduct ourselves devoutly, that He may visit us with especial grace on the day of His nativity; with regard to the third, we ought to be in very diligent expectation, for He commands us to watch very diligently, that is, to keep from sin, and advance in the grace of God. And on account of these three visits the holy church has ordained, that from this day forth we should improve ourselves in the practice of virtue more diligently than before, remembering that by His incarnation He came for our salvation, and that by His grace He especially visits us on the day of His nativity, and that for the third time He will come in the judgment-day, and will give us an everlasting kingdom.

" And for this visit the preparation is threefold: firstly, that the faithful, expecting their Lord, should conduct themselves reverently, and that especially when He is approaching. And this rests upon that saying of the holy Isaiah in the first chapter, ' Cease to do evil, learn to do good.' And as David saith, 'Refrain from evil, and do good.' The second preparation is, that when we hear that so great a Lord is nigb, we should prepare ourselves, and that in three ways: firstly, by preparing for Him a house, that is, by cleansing the soul from sins; for He saith through Isaiah in the first chapter: Wash you, and make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before Mine eyes.' Secondly, we ought to prepare ourselves in a beautiful garment, as Isaiah says in the fifty-second chapter : 'Put on thy beautiful garment, O Jerusalem, holy city!' Jerusalem,' in this place, signifies the congrega. tion of the faithful, which is the holy city, in which Christ is to abide as King for ever; and this city ought to dress itself in a garment of gloriousness, that is, in virtue, which makes a man glorious. And this garment is immeasurably better to every soul than all the garments of this world with which the body adorns itself; nay, virtue alone adorns a man better than any bodily garment: and this garment ought to be white, that is, unspotted by sin. Thirdly, we ought to make prepara. tions to provide meat suitable for so great a Lord. The suitable meat, which Christ eats, is the fulfilment of His will, as He saith Himself in the fourth chapter of St. John: 'My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.' And again He saith : ‘Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of Man shall give unto you. Those provide themselves with the meat that perisheth not, who fulfil the will of God, and abide therein; for they will live in everlasting happiness for ever. And thus it is that faithful Christians nourish Christ every day, when they fulfil His commandments. And this He will Himself acknowledge on the judgment-day, when He says to the righteous, 'I was hungry, and ye gave Me meat; thirsty, and ye gave Me drink.' Yes, thus ought we to prepare ourselves to commemorate properly His first boly visit, to make ourselves ready for His second and third visits, and thus worthily receive His holy body on the day of His Divine nativity. For Saint Augustine says in a sermon: 'Dearly beloved

On receiving Christ's “holy body” Huss quotes Augustine, but it is well known that he did not interpret the words,“ Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man,” as Augustine did. At the Council of Constance, the charge against him of "heresy" as to the Real Presence fell to the ground. "Augustine considered the consecrated outward elemrents as symbols merely, and clearly separated and held apart the sacramentum and the res sacramenti, so that the Anglican Reformers could appeal to him in the Twenty-ninth Article for that very important doctrine, that 'the wicked, and such as be void of a lively faith, although they do carnally and visibly press with their teet hi the sacrament of the body and blood of Christ, yet in no wise are they partakers of Christ;'> whereas Huss, in a treatise which he wrote when in prison in Constance, declares he "had never preached that the substance of the material bread remains in the sacrament of the altar." (Larroque, Histoire de l'Eucharistie, II. Partie, cap. tir.) In truth, the Bohemian reformer was in this respect very far behind Wycliffe, whose doetrine generally he had embraced. -Evit, WES. METH, Mag.


brethren! by the grace of God days have come to us, in which we desire to celebrate the Divine nativity: therefore I entreat and exhort that we labour in the best way we are able, in order that on that day we may be able to approach the altar of God with a clean conscience, with great diligence, and with a clean heart and body, and may

be worthy to receive His bo and blood, not to judgment, but to the healing of the soul and to our salvation. For our life lies in Christ's body, as He Himself saith : “ Unless ye eat the body of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you.” Therefore let him change his life who wishes to receive life; for, if he change not his life, he receives life unto judgment, and is more injured thereby than quickened. O, how happy is that soul that, by God's help, bas so framed its life that it is worthy to receive the consecrated symbol* of Christ! Again, how unhappy and miserable is that conscience which by evil deeds has so defiled itself, that Christ will not abide in it, but the devil begins to rule it!' All this says St. Augustine.

“From all these words, as St. Paul also commands us in the Epistle for to-day, let us obtain instruction: ‘Let us cast off the works of darkness,' that is, let us free ourselves from sins, which lead to everlasting darkness, and let us 'put on the armour of light,' that is, let us take up virtues which will lead us to everlasting light. For if we thus live, we shall commemorate properly the threefold visit of Christ; we shall be suitable objects for Him to visit with His especial grace now, afterwards at the hour of death, and finally at the judgment-day. Already has He visited us by His incarnation; we commemorate that visit as having already taken place. He has also visited us by His grace in baptism, in that He freed us from our sins; and, though we have sinned after baptism, still He has visited us by His grace in repentance. If, then, any have not sinned mortally after baptism, He has visited them by especial grace, and doth visit them. And of His third visit at the judgment-day we are in expectation ; expecting which, we ought to be always in readiness; for He Himself saith, ' Be ye ready; for the Son of Man cometh at an hour when ye think not.' And we ought to be so in readiness, as to suffer lovingly whatever happens to us for the sake of our beloved Christ, even as He for us sinners, for His adversaries, without being bound thereto, suffered lovingly a cruel death; for which death He came voluntarily to Jeru. salem, and rode in upon a young ass with great weeping, exhibiting His gracious visit to the people of Jerusalem.

“Therefore this Gospel is read to-day concerning the spiritual visit wherewith He has visited the faithful by His holy passion; not in order to take from them their property, nor to make them proud, but to redeem them from death, and give them an everlasting kingdom. Therefore the holy Zechariah prophesies, saying to the Holy Church, • Behold, thy King cometh to thee, righteous and a Saviour: He is poor, and riding upon an ass and a colt, the foal of an ass.' In this saying, the prophet comforts the holy church, saying, 'Behold thy King,' a King gracious as regards vengeance, mighty as regards protection,

* Literally, "host" (hosti).

wise to govern, rich to recompense. He says, 'thy King,' in that He created thee; thine, in that He quickens thee; thine, in that He defends thee from the devil; thine, in that He has redeemed thee from death; thine, in that He has loved thee unto death; thine, in that He will give thee an everlasting kingdom, if, finally, thou wilt but be thankful. Therefore He saith, Behold, thy King cometh, or rideth up, to thee, ' righteous,' in that He will give to each according to his desert; 'a Saviour,' for He came to save, as He said Himself: 'So God lored the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life; for God sent not His son into the world to judge the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.'

"Lo! now thou hast His testimony, that He was sent by the Father into this world, not to judge the world, but to save the world, that is, the people chosen for salvation out of the world; for these He will not sentence to everlasting destraction. Therefore saith the prophet to the Holy Church, ‘Behold, thy King cometh to thee, righteous and a Saviour;' and 'He is poor,' that He may enrich thee with that poverty, as St. Paul saith: Christ was made poor for our sakes, that we, through His poverty, might become rich,' (2 Cor. viii. 9,) that is to sey, now in virtues and hereafter in heavenly bliss; for this was the Teason why He came poor, riding on a young ass, as the Gospel testifies; a thing which I do not intend to explain now; for it seems to me better to keep it for Palm Sunday, for at that time it happened, and Dot to prolong my discourse now.

“Therefore, dearly beloved, let this suffice, and prepare yourselves for His second and third visits, by lamenting your sins, making progress in virtues, fulfilling penitence, and heartily longing for His visits."

We trust that the above will contribute in some measure towards drawing the attention of the countrymen of Wycliffe, the “Master of deep thoughts,” (Mistr hlubokych smyslów,) to the poor and struggling nation that formerly produced his disciple Huss, and successfully defended scriptural truth and Christ's ordinance against the whole power of the Germano-Roman empire, wielded by the wearer of the triple crown in the city upon seven hills.

HURSTS “HISTORY OF RATIONALISM.” CORRUPTIONS of religious thought, like diseases of the body, assume new forms and complications in the course of time. In con. sequence, it becomes necessary to subject them to careful analysis; to inquire into their origin, trace their history, and carefully mark their effects. The methods which scientific men adopt in dealing with disease , have been employed by orthodox Christians in relation to

Dr. Hurst has recently published a “History of

modern unbelief.

[ocr errors]

Rationalism,” of which we give the full title at the foot of this page. * His qualifications for the work he has accomplished, seem to be of no common order. A scholar, a sound Protestant, and for years a resident in Germany, he appears to have been well prepared for his task. It has not been his chief aim to discuss what may be called the philosophy of Rationalism, -as that had been done by other writers,-but to give a clear and comprehensive statement of the rise, progress, and present state of the Rationalistic movement, and of the effect it has produced on Protestant theology; and in this he has been very successful. Our readers will thank us for calling attention to a work of such sterling worth from the pen of a Methodist writer.

The following paper, adapted to the neat English edition of Dr. Hurst's History, published by Trübner and Co., was written by the Rev. Dr. M'Clintock for the New York “Methodist Quarterly Review."

The aim of this work is indicated by its twofold title. It is not simply a history of Rationalism, but also a survey of the state of Protestant theology.

Rationalism, properly and historically, is the name of a movement in German theology in the eighteenth century. The essential principle in this movement was, that the human mind is the standard and measure of truth in religion, as in other things. It did not, in the beginning, deny Revelation, but held that Revelation must not only address itself to reason, but must submit to be judged by reason. Its pro. fessed aim, in fact, was to reconcile Revelation and science. Starting with the apparently harmless maxim that the Bible must be studied and interpreted on " rational ” principles, it began its career by what seemed to be only a peculiar method of interpretation, namely, that of proceeding historically and not dogmatically in the exegesis of Scripture.

The movement of which we have spoken lay, it will be observed, entirely within the domain of theology, or rather of theologians. Men who absolutely rejected Christianity were not called Rationalists, but infidels, deists, or atheists. The name soon came to be a term of reproach; and that the more rapidly, as the progress of the new school of “theologians” toward downright infidelity became more and more obvious.

It is clear that the principle of Rationalism tends naturally to the rejection of Christianity as an authoritative system of faith and morals. Yet to class all infidels as Rationalists, without discrimination, leads not only to historical confusion, but also to confusion of thought and argument. Mansel defines Rationalism as

" that system whose final test of truth is placed in the direct assent of the human consciousness, whether in the form of logical deduction, or moral judgment, or religious intuition, by whatever previous process those faculties may have been raised to their assumed dignity as arbitrators.”+

* "History of Rationalism : embracing a Survey of the present State of Protestant Theology. With an Appendix of Literature. By John F. Hurst, D.D.” London: Trübner and Co. 1867.

† " Limits of Religious Thought," Lecture i,

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »