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for some time in her papers and Synods, has, at the General Synod at Pittsburg last November, fully committed itself to the great work. It has begun in good earnest. A general Board has been appointed, who are to have a general care over this sacred interest. An institution located in Philadelphia, begun a few years ago by Rev. Mr. Böheringer, a Reformed minister, as an individual enterprise, has been taken under the general care of the Board, and is in flourishing condition. Another has been commenced in Centre County, Pa., by Rev. D. G. Klein. Liberal contributions are already in the hands of Rev. Dr. Zacharias, for the founding of one at Frederick in Maryland. Plans for yet others are maturing; and such is the interest beginning to be felt by pastors and congregations in regard to this interest, that a short time will show the happiest results.
If there ever was a time when such a work of mercy was specially pressing, that time is now. If the orphans caused by the wars of Napoleon, or those made by the famine-pestilence in Silesia, could induce the Churches of Europe to listen to the cry of the fatherless, ought not the American Church compassionate the loneliness of the thousands whose fathers have laid themselves a sacrifice on the altar of the Union? The thunders of a hundred battles have died away, and our hearts have been often cheered by the sounds of victory; and even now does a kind Providence begin to show us light through the last dark cloud of war, and the nation is waiting, hopefully and believingly, to hear the final crash of the most enormous treason that ever lifted its poisonous and hissing head against a benign government. But, hark! there comes a softer and more touching voice from ten thousand desolate hearths and homes! Rachels are mourning for their sons, widows for their husbands, and lonely orphans for their fathers. Will you—whose homes, whose fatherland, whose flag, whose national honor and liberty has been defended_will you coldly pass by the lonely fatherless children of the brave? Do you not see them by thousands lifting towards you their little hands imploringly, and saying: “We are orphans and fatherless; our mothers are widows ?”
If ever, that time is now, when the Church should adopt the magnanimous words of St. Ambrose: “The Church possesses nothing except her faith; all else she has, belongs to the poor; the possessions of the Church are the property of the poor." If ever, now, ought the Church to feel the deep and touching force of her solemn Litany:
"That it may please Thee to defend and provide for the fatherless chil· dren and widows, and all that are desolate and oppressed;
“We beseech Thee to hear us, O Lord.”
But let us not forget that praying and doing belong together. Faith and works cannot be separated. Good and pious thoughts, feelings of mercy and pity, are nothing worth, unless they grow into acts. It was with reference to the purse, which by Judas was grasped too firmly and fondly, that our Saviour said, “The poor ye have always with you.” “If a brother or a sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body, what doth it
Reliable statistics show that there were in the city of New York alone, in 1859 and 1860, over 40,000 homeless children running in the streets as little beggars, or candidates for a life of ignorance, wretchedness and crime. low greatly must that unfortunate number be now increased! Any considerable town or city in the land will show similar, if even not such extreine results. When the family is broken, all is broken. When home, the home-feeling, and parental care are gone, all is gone. These little souls, like little ships unmoored, drift off on the wild sea of life, to be broken by dangerous rocks, or to be dashed on the desolate shores of a dread eternity.
Is the Church doing its duty by merely looking on, or turning coldly away? Is the Church a mother, as the holy Apostle calls her? Then here are her children, or at least those whom she may adopt as her children. She can give them homes, give them instruction, teach them industry, show them the way to usefulness and happiness in this life, and to glory, honor, and immortality in the world to come. She can set the solitary in families," and thus greatly lessen, if not entirely abate the lonely, plaintive cry which sounds through the land, from tens of thousands of little hearts and tongues: “We are orphans and fatherless; our mothers are widows!"
( Believing that our readers wish sometimes to read an article that will make them think earnestly, we here insert another lecture delivered by Dr. Nevin, January 25th, 1856. We took the lecture down at the time as it fell from his lips, and so secured the copyright! Having thus fairly gotten possession of it, we share it with our readers. Should our venerable teacher object to this disposal of his thoughts, we shall have our readers on our side against him! Ep. GUARDIAN.]
The constitution of nature underlies and conditions the constitution of grace. Nature in this sense determines the idea of redemption. Redemption involves history. It must unite itself with nature, follow its order, and thus have nature for its real basis and subject.
Hence, we find that our ideas of grace are conditioned by our ideas of nature: false views of nature lead to false views of grace. Thus, as we mentioned in the last lecture, there are two heresies in anthropologyPelagianism and Manicheism; so we have two corresponding ones on the side of Christology-Ebionism and Gnosticism: Pelagianism runs into Ebionism, and Manicheism into Gnosticism.
Pelagianism held that man is not so fallen as to be entirely helpless for the purposes of salvation. he can excite and stimulate his nature, so as to be adequate to rise into fellowship with God. Manicheism, on the contrary, held that man had so entirely lost his constitution, that no redemption of it was possible-there must be a substitution of a new nature that is in no way based on the old.
Pelagianism, assuming such power in fallen nature, needed only a human
Christ, a teacher, an assistant; and this Ebionisin assumed Christ to be. Manicheism, with its extreme ignoring of the human, falls in with Gnosticism, which denies the possibility of a real union of the divine with the human in Christ. These four heresies—two on the side of Anthropology, and two on the side of Christology-form the fundamental types of error in regard to Christianity; hence they all enter, in one form or other, more or less, into all errors and heresies, since all assume that there has been no true union of God and man, nature and grace. In opposition to all these, the true idea of redemption requires realness all round, in opposition to mere notion or show—a really salvable natural humanity, needing and actually receiving into its bosom the power of salvation in a really supernatural form. These conditions are met in full by the mystery of the Incarnation. This mystery is set before us by the Church as its foundation.
“The Word became flesh." This is the Incarnation. Here we must ask, first, What was the previous relation of the Logos to the world ?
We learn that he was its creator—the source of the natural creation. (John i. 1-3. Heb. i. 2. Col. i. 15–17.)
He was the fountain of light, truth, wisdom or reason. (Job xxviii. Prov. viii. John i. 4, 5. vii. 12.) He was reason in its highest, most absolute form. So in him was life in its fountain-truth identical with substance; truth really existing, not abstract.
He was the principle of Old Testament revelation in word, type, and theophany. In the Old Testament, he was also the word—the logos—he spake. The type and theophany were preparatory approaches, and had their truth only as they stood related to the completion of all in Christ in human form. So in the epistle to the Hebrews: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners,” &c. So the “Word became flesh,” &c. There was an actual entrance at last into the sphere of man's natural life.
From this view of Christ's previous relation to the world, we may see how the world in its history stood related to the Logos. Paganism stood related to Christianity, as a dream (somnambulism) to a waking state. It had no realities as its contents—it had only its aspirations and endeavors toward the truth. Judaism was different; here, the relation is as shadow to the , reality. The Jewish revelation, in its promises, types, historical personages, was real in its own proper order, but only in virtue of what was to follow--it was as the aurora ushering in the sun. The sun is not yet risen—but here is a faint light of it. It is reality, but only the reality of prophecy and preparation-only true in what comes, which is its source and substance.
This is brought out clearly, in the mission of John the Baptist. Though he was the greatest of the Old Testament prophets, yet he was only as a voice in the wilderness, proclaiming the preparation for the Lord's coming; calling on all to prepare, because the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Though he was the flower and crown of the Old Testament, yet he was only as a shadow. “I indeed baptize you with water," &c. In the one case all was shadow, in the other all was substance.
Hence, Jesus Christ came as an actual incarnation. As the fall was a real sinking away from God, a real falling under the dominion of nature and Satan's power; so here there was a real entering of the supernatural into the natural, of the divine into the human, of heaven into earth. To conceive properly, then, of the mystery of the incarnation is to make ear.
nest with it in our minds as an actual manifestation of God in the flesh for the purposes of man's redemption. This involves,
I. The introduction of a real constitution in his person. “The Word became flesh.” This conception requires more than a theophany or aratar. We have to do with more than doctrine, derived from certain facts. It is more than the conceptions of incarnations in the orient, in which the deity was supposed to enshrine itself. More is required than enthusiasm or inspiration of the highest exercise. No conceivable elevation of the human in the way of gnostic imaginations, can bring it into union with the divine, or bring the divine down into the human. All these fall short, not being actual, real. Hence, the Church so carefully guarded this point by deci. sions-guarding it thus on both sides, the divine and the human, the Chris. tological and the anthropological. The human must be conceived as capable of salvation, and so fit to be really united with the divine. So Christ must become truly human. Both sides of the mystery must be real—and no less real their conjunction in the hypostatical union. The supernatural must actually be born into the bosom of the natural. So we have it in the creed. So in the early Church, as in the Council of Nice, she takes ground by the most emphatic decisions against the Arian, Socinian, and Humanitarian heresies. On the one side it was guarded by the term ouooutros applied to Christ consubstantial with the Father-to show his relation to the divine; and, on the other side, to maintain the human side as real, the term
EoToxos (mother of God,) was applied to the blessed virgin-as in the third and fourth Council. On the one side he was consubstantial with his Father, on the other truly born from the human, from the mother of God.
Thus, this mystery includes the fact of a new creation in the world, a new order of existence, or being, over against the order of nature, or the
natural order of man's life. “In him was life.” He was the true Sheki. • nah-in him was grace and truth in the most emphatic senseHe was the
substantial being. John i. 14. “I am the light of the world," &c. "I am the way, the truth, and the life.” “I am the resurrection and the life.” (John xii. 46. 1 John i. 1, 2; v. 11, 42. Col. ii. 9.) “In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” This language abounds so much in Scripture, that we overlook its true force. It is not doctrine, but fact-not a continuation of the old merely, but a new creation.
II. It involves a real mission, action, conflict, work, answerable to his high nature. His life was not a show, a pantomime, a fantastic dramaa series of empty appearances. He was the actual presence in the world of a new order of existence, of higher powers, a new law or constitution of life, above nature, and yet truly and really settled in its bosom, which moved and made itself felt with real corresponding force in the way of history or actual fact. Not merely in the way of wonder, not magical, not a miracle merely as a transient appearance of power, but a continuous power.
We have exemplifications of this in the lower sphere of natural existence. We have seen how a higher law can suspend a lower. The law of vegetable or animal reigning in the midst of mere chemical or mechanical forces, subordinating these to itself, holding them in power or dispensing with them to suit its own wants and advantage. In the same way, this abiding presence is not transient, but an abiding force in nature, uniting itself with its laws, and controlling all the lower laws of nature, and making them subservient to its own high ends.
This is seen in the sinless development of Christ. He had power to thrust aside evil and keep it at bay, so that it could not enter into the constitution of His being, though this was developed in the midst of it. He was, in His development, always in a truly normal state. This was the case in His whole conflict with Satan's kingdom, in the midst of which He was establishing His own kingdom. This kingdom was real. He was in a real conflict with Satan and his kingdom. All the policy of hell was exerted for His defeat. This began in the temptation. Matt. iii. I-11. This was the prelude to His ministry. Luke iv. 13. He "returned in the power of the Spirit," 14. He had His eye ever on Satan as the prime mover in the drama of sin and death. Luke x. 17-19. “I beheld Satan fall," &c. He was at war with him as the prince of this world. Matt. xii. 22–29. He cast out devils, healed diseases, as the natural effects of Satan's power and of sins; so, also, He quieted the irregularities and disorders of the natural world—seas, storms. All this He did by the power that was in the permanent constitution of His own life. He was not merely the instrument between God and these; He was the natural and proper cause of miracles. Nature felt and owned His presence, and obeyed His will and word—virtue went forth from Him to heal and to save. Hence, He had also a corresponding power in the moral world. He was able, as the Son of man, on earth, to forgive sins, to dissolve the law of guilt, and to accomplish a true spiritual redemption for man.
III. This involved a real victory over sin, death, hell and Satan. The result of His work and conflict was an actual historical triumph over the kingdom of darkness in His own person, involving the possibility of a like triumph over it for man in general. His sinless life was burdened at the same time with the penalty of sin which lay upon the fallen nature which He came to save; and to exhaust this in full, He submitted Himself to the law of death. By so doing, He in fact vanquished death, and the power of darkness to which it belongs. Heb, ii. 14. For with Him death could only be the way to a higher form of life. “Put to death in the flesh, but," &c., 1 Peter iii. 18. “Delivered up for our," &c., Rom. iv. 25. The order of His humiliation passed over at once into a returning order of exaltation. So we have it in the creed: Suffered-died-was buried-descended into hell-rose from the dead,” &c. All this in the way of real outward history and fact, and all as the natural course of that new constitution of grace that was in Christ's person. This constitution completes itself, so far as His person is concerned, in His glorification. This is not something by way of addition, but His glorification is the last result of what goes before-the actual evolution or unfolding of Christ's inward power to its proper supremacy over the world. See Matt. xxviii. 18. “All power,” &c. Eph. i. 19-23. Eph. iv. 8–10. Phil. ii. 5–11. “Wherefore He saith, when He ascended," &c. Here we see how the one order conditions the other. Heb. xii. 2.
The gospel consists primarily in these facts—not doctrines derived from them. All these facts come from one, and are one fact: Christ came in the flesh. Hence, St. John gives us this fundamental heresy as the true mark of anti-Christ—he that denies this is anti-Christ. To believe this one fact is the root of all orthodoxy—this is the only fact for faith, all else, without this, or separated from it, is a lie. Hence, this is so prominent in the creed; it is indeed its basis and ground. But this fact involves conse