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ciple; and secondly, that if condemned, it is neither the same feeling nor the same relation. Allusion is there made to the lower affection of loving others simply for something they have personaly done to us. This is lower than the love of children, friends, and neighbors, from the pure social affection irrespective of any personal advantage to be derived from them. It is, in other words, simply gratitude-a feeling growing out of selfishness, yet rising above it. It is the youngest of the virtues,—the first outgrowth of the heavenly Eros from the dark womb of the earthly parent, Christ does not condemn it. He only directs the mind to a higher principle, -the doing good to those who, instead of doing good to us, are hostile and seek our hurt.
But even when we are commanded to love our enemies, it must mean those with whom we are in immediate conflict, and in this way have reference to immediate practical duty. The command too, is predicated on no abstract philanthropy, but seems to keep in view our more immediate relations to each other and to God. We are, in fact, addressed as those who have no right to have enemies, because we are all sharers of the common depravity. We are all, by nature, enemies to God, and are, therefore, called upon to love and become reconciled to our human foes it we would become reconciled to the common ruler and judge of all ;—"That we may thus become the children of our Father in heaven, who causeth his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sendeth rain on the just and the unjust.”
There is in the Old Testament a spiritual sense. We mean by this nothing cabalistical or fanciful, or mystical, but that deep and holy wisdom, which, although not obtruded upon by the profane, or superficial reader, is yet presented without any forced interpretation to the spiritually-minded Christian, whether learned or unlearned. The Sadducee may have read it with all honesty; and yet he found no proof of a soul, or of a separate spiritual state. Christ
, however, discovered it at once, in one of the most common and oft repeated texts, which, doubtless, the blind Sadducee had read hundreds of times without seeing anything remarkable in the language or the thought. The Savior, perhaps, merely gave the interpretation that prevailed among all the pious Israelites of his day, and which was well known to Simeon, to Anna, to Eleazar, and to many others who were looking for the kingdom of heaven. To such a spiritually-minded one, the declaration, “ I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob,” ever presented that blessed state, or place, into which “the fathers” had entered as into their resting place in the Divine pavilion,“ the secret place” beneath the shadow of his wings,” in which they abode in peace, when he was yet “their God”—“the God, not of the dead but of the living," and where they, although long since dead to earth and earthly things, did yet most truly and personally live unto HIM.” The
Sadducee saw in this familiar, yet, in itself, strange language of the promise, only a “form of words,” a mere usus loquendi, to use the favorite hermeneutical phrase with which critics of the Whately school explain all difficulties. It was an ancient form of words, à mere metaphor, with little or no meaning. Their striking peculiarity long familiar usage had served to veil from his earthly mind. So also, the solemn declaration—"Lord, Thou art our dwelling-place in all generations,"—to the Sadducee, as to the modern rationalist, sounded only of temporal deliverance, and temporal salvation. To one who was “a Jew inwardly," it was the clear revelation of the far higher truth-that the belief in the eternity of a spiritual God is inseparably connected with the thought of the eternal safety and blessedness of all those whose God he styles himself, and respecting whom he repeats the declaration ages after they had departed from the earth. Thus each derived his own meaning from the passage, and each may be said to have derived a true meaning perhaps, in some sense of the term; for the Scriptures may be regarded as containing a higher and a lower significance, or a greater or less amount of significance, according to the capacities of each soul for its reception. But the satisfied Sadducee felt perfectly content with earth. He confessed not “ that he was a pilgrim and sojourner" upon it. He was not “seeking a better country, a city which had foundations ;” and, therefore, to him the door of the inner sanctuary of the word was never opened. He read the ancient book of his fathers, and found therein neither angel nor spirit, nor spiritual life, nor world to come, nor, in short, anything to explain the mysterious care and providence exercised towards beings of so little value when regarded as having no connection with the invisible and eternal state.
A peculiar feature of the Old Testament is the prominence it everywhere gives to the doctrine of a particular providence. It maintains upon the mind a continual sense of the Divine
presence. God is everywhere, and in every event; and although we must suppose him also concerned in overruling the affairs of every other nation, yet in respect to Israel the curtain seems to have been raised. In one narrow direction the supernatural machinery is disclosed; and God is presented as taking part in all the events of this remarkable history. It is this which gives to the pages of the Old Testament, even in the simplest narrative parts, a holy and supernatural aspect. It is this which impresses on the mind, even of the spiritual reader, an awe which is not so strikingly felt in the reading of the New Testament; and which renders this old book so intolerable to the mere naturalist, or the trifling wit, or the profane worldling. God is somehow felt to be very near in these Scriptures; and it is this which makes them so very proper in the earliest instructions of children, if we would wish to form in them a truly religious character, grounded not on a childish rationalising, but on that “fear of the Lord which is the only true beginning of all wisdom.” Along with this, too, there is a simplicity, an indiscribable truthfulness, which commands assent, even in its most marvellous narrations. It never seems to manifest any distrust of its own claims upon our belief;—it dreads no objection ;avoids no statement out of deference to any system of philosophy. The extreme personality of its representations of the Deity seems to have been intended to meet, face to face, that other extreme of a pantheistic or naturalistic, and sometimes mystic impersonality, to which the depraved human soul is ever inclined, and the more so, because it assumes so philosophical an aspect. The very bold. ness of its style therefore, allows no part of the charge of inconsistency in portraying every part of the Divine character. It shrinks not from the most terrific imagery in setting forth the sterner attributes of the Deity, whilst it employs (and sometimes almost in immediate connection) the most melting figures in the description of “ His loving-kindness and tender mercy.'
No mistake can be greater, than to suppose that the Old Testament indulges in harsher views of the character of God than the New. In truth, the latter being mainly didactic or preceptive, falls even behind it in the melting language of mercy; and if the penitent wishes for the most moving terms to soothe his fears, and inspire his hopes, he must resort to the pages of David and the Prophets. To refer to all the passages we have in view, would be to quote whole chapters. “The Lord knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are but dust.”. "As a'father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth those that fear him.” “ For a very little while have I forsaken--thee, but with great compassions will I gather thee. In a mere moment of wrath hid I my face from thee, but with the loving kindness of an eternity will I have mercy on thee, saith the Lord thy Redeemer.” Isaiah 54: 7,8. Gesenius here would render inundatio, as though allied to or The translation, however, which we have given is that of the Jewish traditional lexicography, and is clearly demanded by the designed antithesis which appears from a comparison of the two verses, and which the conjectural rendering of Gesenius utterly destroys. The Hebrew word occurs but once, and yet the sense seems clear. The contrast is between the comparative momentariness of the wrath,' and the eternity of God's loving-kindness towards his chosen. We are aware how much, and how plausibly, some may object to the full rendering: "eternity,” which we have given to the Hebrew dzis, and the corresponding Greek words; but it makes but little difference, in passages of this kind, even if we concede all the limitations they would put upon the language. It is the swelling, the hyperbole, the impassible mounting up of the thought which manifests itself under any version. Be it rendered "ages," or ages of ages," if any will have it so—the moment of wrath, the loving-kindness of the ages,-still is the soul, in these and similar expressions, carried away out of and beyond, and above the present world, to those conceptions of the boundless, æonian state, which all language must fail to represent. Again-How do these old Scriptures abound in the most moving declarations, not only of the permanence, but also of the intensity of the Divine love— love-“Can a mother forget her sucking child ? Yea, she may forget; yet will not I forget thee saith the Lord."
| The traditional rendering of the Jewish lexicographers is also favored by the Septuagent version –εν θυμώ μικρώ.
“ I have graven thee on the palms of my hands. Thy name is in continual remembrance before me.” · Fear not thou worm Jacob, I will help thee, saith the Lord. Thy Maker is thy husband, (thy covenant God), the Holy One of Israel,—thy Redeemer.”
Sometimes, too, we find the awful equilibrium of the Divine character maintained, and apparently opposing attributes boldly set forth in the same passage. As in Nahum 1: 1, &c. “The Lord is jealous and taketh vengeance. The Lord is slow to anger yet will he not acquit the wicked. The Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and the storm ; the clouds are the dust of his feet. The mountains tremble; the hills melt; the earth is burned at his presence. Who can stand before his indignation ? And who can abide in the fierceness of his anger ? His fury is poured forth like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by it.' How sudden, and yet how consistent with the never-to-be-imitated style of inspiration is the transition. “The Lord is good-He is a strong hold in the day of trouble,--He knoweth those that put their trust in Him.
EXTREMES IN THEOLOGY.
By Rev. Asa D. SMITH, D. D., New York.
It is important, now as ever, that against every form of false theology, the church of Christ should be faithfully warned and wisely guarded. Yet the danger most imminent at the present day, is not we apprehend, that of gross heresy. Nay, it may be doubted if at any period in the history of the church ihat has been the chief danger. It is not to be expected, that men professedly orthodox should deny outright any leading article of the faith, or set forth as such any dogma wholly false. Nor is it thus commonly, in point of fact, that corruptness takes its rise in evangelical
communities. It is in the re-fashioning of old elements, rather than the foisting in of new ones. It is in forcing some acknowledged truth out of place or out of shape. It is, especially, in straining points--in pressing things beyond their just limits—in passing from the safe middle path of a well balanced' and symmetrical theology into various extremes.
Ultraism, indeed, is not peculiar to matters of religion. In relation to all subjects the human mind has ever been falling into it, and ever oscillating between opposites. But nowhere, perhaps, have tendencies of this sort been more apparent than within the pale of the church. How prone have been the leading polemics especially, to one-sided views. And what a swinging of the common mind has there often been from pole to pole-in what cycles has
Some are of the opinion, that as with the mechanism of a clock, so in the world's history, it is only by means of a pendulous movement progress is achieved. We rather think, however, this perpetual vibration a hindrance to true progress ; that it comes of the jarring and friction of disordered machinery, rather than of a harmony like that of the spheres. It is no part of heaven; and it can scarce be known on earth, when the watchmen see eye to eye." Duly to expose it, and to suggest the proper preventive and remedial treatment, can be no unworthy aim-especially at the present day, when if Christianity suffers at all, it is not so much at the hand of open enemies as of its professed friends. It
may be well, at the outset, to explain still more fully what we mean by the phrase, EXTREMES IN THEOLOGY. Nor can this be better done, than by entering to some extent into particulars. A delicate task this, yet not difficult for lack of materials. There is scarcely a department or a topic in divinity but affords something in point. In selecting here and there, we shall avail ourselves of certain just and convenient generalizations.
First, then, we may consider theology as consisting mainly of two great elements, the Divine and the human. The sum of it is, God dealing with man; what God is and what God does, what man is and what man does. In a perfect system, these two departments are presented not only in their proper distinctness, but in due correlation. They are made to harmonize-neither being allowed to trench upon the other, but each assuming its due importance. Yet no error is more common than the overlooking or disparaging the one or the other—the undue exaltation of the human, or the pressing out of its proper place or proportions some aspect of the Divine.
On the one hand, for example, in the effort to divest the character of God of all imperfection, he is diligently set forth as “without passions.” And this is very well, if nothing more is meant than to exclude the grossness of human passion, and to include