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The Angels. One of them, an inferior one, who knew nothing of the highest God, was the Creator of the world and men. Demiuigus. He is also the Jewish God, who once inspired Moses and the Prophets.
Jesus, a man. Upon him descended at his baptism one of the mightiest Eons, Christ. He leaves him, when he is seized, and Jesus dies upon the cross. After his resurrection from the dead, the Eon, Christ is again united with Jesus, and the kingdom of the Messiah established in earthly, sensual joy.
Wretched system! We see that John's Gospel was not written solely against this.*
SYSTEM OF SATURNINUS, A SYRIAN.
The Most High, Unknown God.
Seven Spirits, begotten by him, the Creator of the world and of man. One of them is the God of the Jews, who, next to Satan has wrought much evil.
Christ, the Son of God, comes to destroy his dominion, in a spectre body, which he will put off again. There is no resurrection of the body; but the souls of good men, like Christ, go back into the being of the Godhead.
We see that this speculation is not at all Jewish; for Saturninus was a Syrian.
SYSTEM OF BASILIDES, AN ALEXANDRIAN.
God, the most high, unnamed Being: matter co-eternal with God.
Seven perfect Eons, proceeding immediately from God: he himself the eighth.
The old church traditions about John's hatred to Cerinthus, are mere fictions, mostly woven out of passages from John's own writings. The little kernel of truth which may be in them, who can find it at our time? And of what use would it be to us! Let them not narrow down to the two names, Cerinthus and Ebion, the wide, free purpose of the writings of John. It embraced the whole collective wants of the church within John's circle of vision, not this or that particular sect. The apostle himself tells us this. (i. John 18-27, iv: 1-3. ii. John ix: 10.) The church had only one dogma: "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God;" John recognized only one adversary, Anti-Christ, who stood in the way of this creed. Under whatever forms, he was the Anti-Christ, i. e., opposed to the Christian faith. That this appeared in many forms, John tells us, (i. John 2: 18.;) but surely it is not necessary for us to know which of these sectaries he was best acquainted with. He maintains the rule of faith against all sects.
The Angels, in 365 orders and heavens, of whom only the first are produced from the perfect ons; the others have regularly created themselves. Their principal is a good, but imperfect spirit.
In company with this good but imperfect spirit the angels built the world out of eternal matter, after the model which the Eon wisdom set before them. They formed man after the image of the heavenly man which an Eon brought there.
The Creators of the world, who shared among themselves the government of the world, according to nations, fell away and suffered themselves to be worshipped instead of the most high God. The God of the Jews especially caused great evil.
To relieve men in their misery, the only begotten Son of God came upon earth, the Eon of pure understanding. He sought to overturn the empire of the rebellious governors of the world, particularly of the God of the Jews, and to make men happy through the knowledge of the true God and the subjection of their passions. The Jewish God stirred up the nation against him; and he was put to death.
Pure souls, like Christ, go back to the place whence they came: the imperfect wander about in other bodies until they are made perfectly pure.
It is hardly worth the while to present the system of Valentinian, who besides lived long after John: it is the most perfect of them all. In his divine space dwell thirty Eons in three orders, both male and female, wedded to each other.
God the uncreated, the First, the Original Father, the Deep; his spouse the thinking Silence.
From him are produced the Understanding and Truth. Farther; the Word and the Life. Their children are Man and the Church.
And so it passes on through the succeeding orders, among which the only begotten [monogenes] belongs at the end of the first order and the Comforter [paracletos] in the third; on the contrary, Christ and the Spirit of God sprang from the Deep and the Only-Begotten, and Jesus is endowed with gifts from all the ons. The Creator of the world, an inferior Spirit, who allowed himself to be worshipped as a false God, was the occasion of the crucifixion of Christ, the Saviour of man. &c. This is enough to shew what ideas, fancies, speculations and words had become current before and after John's time,
and consequently that our Evangelist did not invent any of these words as a new dogma. He wished to remove these idols; and, although he could not destroy that immeasurable space, personified word-forms in the heads of speculative Egyptians, Syrians, Jews and Persians; at least he felt that it was not to be admitted into Christianity.*
In what way could John prevent this? Only by adhering strictly to the rule of his holy Scriptures, and consequently to the pure idea of God, which they gave him. According to them,
1. God is One, Jehovah, Unspeakable, indivisible in his being. Emanations (Eons) have no place with him; the unapproachable light could not divide itself into lesser streams of light, the flame into lesser flames; still less could it mingle itself with darkness, and beget with it monsters.
2. Of generations of Gods, the pure Jewish religion knew nothing: they were fundamentally opposed to it. Often as the word Son was used in the Jewish phrase, so as to express all the operations and effects of applied powers and instruments, the idea contained in the expression, "Son of God," always referred to something very different from the Heathen Theogonies. Israel was chosen as the "first-born Son," "the child of God;" angels, planets, officers and men of power, were called sons of God, not in the unworthy sense, as if He, whom no image can represent, whom no language has dared to name, except by the words "I am that I am," could have mingled himself with mortal natures; but they were used to denote customary ideas. They were intended to signify a resemblance to God here below, in point of power and respect, as well as of goodness and wisdom. Israel was called the child of God, because God received it into his own care and teaching. The mighty king of Israel was called the Son of God, because he was to be the representative of God on earth, in justice and truth.
*We do not mean to say that John knew all these Gnostic sects, or wrote against them all. The most of whom we know, lived later than he, and some of them have referred to his Gospel. But he knew the ground from which, long before his time, these idols and phantoms were gradually coming forth to view. He knew the language in which they were clothed and spread themselves over the world, like a bright mist of unsubstantial shapes. It was not for our gospel either to introduce or to do away this language; it was then the technical metaphysical language of the whole Grecian world.
3. The works of God, from the creation down, were represented in the Hebrew Scriptures as words of command, as the creating word. This expression, which removes from God all that is natural or sensual, runs through the whole Old Testament; also the organ of the divine communication to man was called the word of Jehovah, Speech. It is the only way in which that which is without form can be represented; he became light in the souls of men; he became life and happiness when they obeyed his commands. Speakers of God was also a title for the instruments of his revelations to men; even the Angel of his countenance, in whom the Godhead was present, appeared as a commissioned and working messenger.
4. If all the Divinity was revealed to him through Christ, both in counsel and deed, the Hebrews could speak of him only in these authenticated, holy symbols. The Invisible One was in him present; he was the Speaking God. As such he unveiled the idea of God to the human race, and embodied it in action. He began the work, for which the Deity had been preparing the way in all preceding times-namely, of developing by precept and action, the Divine principle in man, as the ultimate destiny of the whole race, and their endless pathway to happiness. Thus he was not only the most intimate interpreter of the Deity, but also his all-sufficient organ for the quickening of the human race to a sense of their implanted, God-like dignity. Let us listen to the Evangelist on this point: every word, every repetition in him, is but the holding forth of the given law of his Holy Scripture, in opposition to strange idols and fantasies.
THE COLLEGE OF TEACHERS.
For ten years past this body has met annually in our city. Its purposes were to arouse more interest in education, and to raise the profession of teaching to a higher rank. It has been successful, we think, in both purposes. Many of its meetings have been highly interesting, and very fully attended. Indeed, it has been to us matter of surprise that the business sessions of the College even have been frequented by numbers, more especially of women.
The last session of the College, in October of this year, was less interesting than some former meetings, in conse VOL. VIII.-40.
quence of fewer strangers having come. Dr. Wylie, of Bloomington, (Indiana,) President Davidson, of Lexington, (Ky.,) Professor Forshay, of Mississippi, and Professor Merrick, of Athens, (O.,) with some others from a distance, were here, but not a fifth part of those who should attend. This was owing, probably, to the political excitement, and the hard times. At this session there was also a paucity of addresses; indeed, if we except the introductory and closing addresses, both rather hastily prepared, there was but one address delivered, that by Dr. Wylie. We regret that such should bave been the case, as a thoroughly digested and systematic discourse upon any topic of interest, is the best mode of presenting the matter for discussion. One of the main difficulties at such meetings, is the entry of disputants upon the arena who have not considered the subjects to be examined, and who, of course, talk vaguely and wide of the mark. We wish it were more customary to have champions selected at the session preceding the discussion, who should prepare themselves to support their several opinions in full, and with the advantage of some knowledge of the question before the College. For instance, at the next session, the subject of Collegiate endowments is to be brought forward—why should not two persons pledge themselves to support each side of the subject, so that the discussion might be to some good purpose, and also, that the public might know beforehand who were to be the disputants. We do not mean to exclude extemporary discussion, but only to provide for some real information for the benefit of those who come forward at the moment.
During the coming year it was determined to collect facts relative to public and private schools through our country, and 'committees were appointed to make the needful inquiries. We hope these committees will attend to their duties, for in education, as in most sciences not physical, our great want is an accumulation of facts from which to reason; each man has some facts to support his view, but each arguing from very partial knowledge, comes to an erroneous conclusion. Let us then, before we build any more systems, collect and classify all available information. If the Baconian mode of theorizing be looked to and held to in half a century or so, we may know a little about education: at present we are told languages are the best study for the young, and that they are worthlest; that mathematics afford the best exercise for the intellect, and that they do not exercise it at all; that mental philosophy is invaluable to the young, and that it is all