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so that rulers shall rule in its might, and all human laws be founded upon it, and the lex talionis shall be expunged from our statute books. We want the presence of this law, in the treatment of the criminal, the vicious and profligate ; so that we may no longer view them as things to be crushed and blotted out, but men to be won back to God, and saved by its power. The nations have need to be taught this law of love, that they may beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks, and study war no more. All this was taught rudimentally and founded on an absolute basis of truth by the “ Man Christ Jesus."
3. Destiny is absolute. In this respect, other teachers fail. They are hypothetical and not positive. They suspend destiny upon contingencies, and do not announce the result. They tell us what destiny may be, if certain conditions are fulfiled, but whether they will or will not be fulfiled they do not know. Destiny is a problem yet unsolved, and they have no positive method for its solution. There is a heaven and there is a hell. If certain conditions are made good, men will go to the first, if not, to the last; and whether they will or will not be made good, is a point concerning which the oracles are dumb. If the individual soul faint and weary with the battle of life, and thirsting for life and immortal rest, goes to the wisest of the teachers of these systems and says, “ Tell me, I pray you, what destiny is reserved for me ? ” The answer must be, “I do not know. That depends upon circumstances. It may be heaven or it may be hell, and
be hell, and I have no positive method by which I can determine which shall be your portion.”
It was not so with Christ. But when he said of men in the resurrection, “ They are equal unto the angels, neither can they die any more, and are the children of God, being children of the resurrection,” he announced destiny, not hypothetically, but positively and absolutely. And so, when he said, “ The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into his hands ; ” “ Of all that the Father giveth me I will lose nothing, but will raise it up again at the last day,” he propounds no hypothesis, no unsolved problem, but a positive and absolute truth, which is based upon principles that are universal and unchangable.
We have thus taken a brief view of some of the peculiar-, ities of the “ Man Christ Jesus” as a teacher. If any are disposed to think that we have not given him a position of sufficient prominence as the founder of a spiritual kingdom and a ruler over men, let them remember that truth is mighty and must prevail; that Christ's Kingdom is not of this world, a kingdom of force—but that truth, divine truth is the sword of the spirit, by which he conquors, and his dominion is the dominion of love. Back in the ages, there was a man named Plato, who taught philosophy. He systematized human thought. And there grew up a school called the Platonic school. It spread far and wide, and Plato became the teacher of teachers. So wide has his influence been that, unto this day, there is scarcely a respectable school of philosophy on which there are not traces of the impress of his master mind. So true is this, that a recent writer has said, “ He that would study philosophy must study Plato, for Plato is philosophy." How vast the dominion of this man over the intellects of the world! He had no visible crown or throne ; and yet no king that ever reigned has swayed the sceptre of a king. dom half so wide or enduring. Why may not Jesus reign over human hearts without a throne or a sceptre, or the outward paraphernalia of government ? It is to be noted that he lived as well as taught, and thus became the embodiment of that law of love which is the fulfilment of all law. From that life, closing as it did with a prayer for his murderers, and from his teachings there went out a mighty spiritual force, the power of which cannot be estimated, and which is yet destined to conquer the world. We do not bring Christ near to our hearts, when we seek to exalt him and place him upon a visible throne, with a sceptre in his hand, and a crown upon his head. Rather do we put him away from us. He comes near to us only, when we see him as “the Man Christ Jesus," a partaker of our nature, tempted as we are, and yet, conquering by the omnipotence of truth and love.
A Glance at the Arena.
When the scholarly Casaubon first visited Paris, and was being shown over the Sorbonne, his guide observed, * This is the hall in which the doctors have disputed for three hundred years.”—“Ay;" retorted the critic, " and what have they settled ?” In view of the present aspect of Theology, and the actual or impending dissolution of all ecclesiastical unity, we are tempted to lay all the swordsmen of the Church under suspicion, and to demand, with Casaubon, what have they settled ?
At the present tide of spiritual experience, the position of every Christian thinker is big with interest, excitement, and responsibility. The bands of the ancient faith are unclasping, and the fibres of the new faith are not yet firmly knit. The religious elements no longer cohering and combining—dissolve in the alembic of speculation, or sink in the eddies of doubt. The spectator sees no more any systems of religion, compact and vigorous, authoritative and venerable ; but fragmentary theologies, ruinous ecclesiasticism, and relics of mediæval dogmas that have died on the march. The tongue and pen of man--no longer subservient to the authority of tradition—lend their eloquence and vigor to the latest ideas; and the platform and press are already the ascendant powers in our civilization, and the acknowledged creators of public opinion. Our young men can not longer follow in the footsteps of their fathers. However baited by fashion, influenced by habit, coaxed by affection, or threatened by bigotry, they are seeking new paths, and confiding in new guides. The old formula of life does not fit their conscious spiritual condition. Their navigation does not verify the old chart of the universe. The old terrors have ceased to alarm; the old homilies have ceased to edify. To most young men, of vigorous understanding and sound health, the Church is, we apprehend, little better than a superannuated grandmother, whose counsel is heard with impatience, and disregarded with impunity. In spite of all the restraints it can summon, their adventurous reason or vault
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ing passions clear the barrier, and they are launched upon a troubled element, clouded by speculation and bounded by mystery. However dubious their prospects, there is little authority left to reclaim them; for the experience of the leading human societies--uniting with the illimitable expansion of material discovery-has refuted the boasted infallibility alike of the Romish and evangelical Churches; and the bafted interpreters stand aghast before an insurrection of doubt, that threatens to culminate in a general reign of infidelity.
We see, in this tendency, many things unpleasant to contemplate. But why should we ignore a phenomenon that chances not to give us pleasure? We hold that a Christian thinker ought to look at all facts-whether auspicious or otherwise—that appear in the unfolding scenery of his
age,-giving such account of them as he may be qualified to furnish, and not affecting, with a base timidity, to banish the threatening omens by shutting his own eyes. If an incompetent teamster, having overturned his coach and fifteen passengers, were to sit down by the way-side, ignore the catastrophe, crack his whip cherily, and assume that all was right, it would hardly change the depressing fact, or improve the reputation of that line of travel. If the old ecclesiastical coach has really capsized-if the spring-torrent of new life, pouring in from the fountains of modern science and philanthropy, has rent such chasms in the orthodox turnpike, as to endanger the safety of passengers and suspend spiritual intercourse—the plain dictate of common sense is, to right the vehicle and repair the road.
This prosperous America of ours, with all its luxurious furniture, has more skepticism than its theology can confute, and more irreligion than its churches can cure. Planted over as it is with temples of worship and spires of faith, it has millions of people who find in all its decorated palaces no spiritual home-in all the range of its natural ministries, not even a stone on which they can pillow their cares, and entertain a heavenly vision. We alluded especially to the tendency to speculation and unbelief among young men ; but it is not confined to them. Men of ripe years and wide expeence are unsettled in opinion and adrift in position. These doubts have infected the churches, repressing the springing affluence of their zeal, and corroding their organic structure.
upon us !”
There may be preachers so deeply immersed in the abstractions of theology, so much enamored of the prerogatives of their office, or so far wrapt from the world by the blandishments of a sectarian circle, as not to be aware of these solemn facts. But what preacher can mingle with the community at large, find the clue to the meditations of men of the world, gain the confidence of the enterprising and thoughtful youth, and hear the spontaneous utterance of the popular heart in our noblest literature—without feeling how woefully inadequate the ecclesiastical establishments of the country are to the spiritual guidance and redemption of a great people ? Under all the cheerfulness and hilarity of our prosperous living, there seems a spirit of unrest and of questioning that demands, without ceasing, of church and priest, "Who will show us any good ?” and a spirit of prayer, that supplicates with painful fervor, “ Lord, lift the light of thy countenance
Here in America, the drift of the popular heart from the old moorings has assumed every phase, from a modified orthodoxy to a reckless infidelity ; from the shadowy Trinitarianism of H. W. Beecher, to the philosophic Theism of Theodore Parker; from the mild misgivings of the New Haven and Andover professors, to the revolutionary climax indicated by organized Universalism. Among thinking men, the tendency involves a kind of speculative anarchy. All the sects are divided and subdivided, in order that each characteristic doctrine may reflect its manifold aspects. Definitions, distinctions, objections and qualifications multiply round every proposition, and complicate every issue. The extreme orthodoxy of America is in the position of a man roused at midnight by an inundation, holding forth a flickering lamp to mark the rise of the waters, too much alarmed to devise means of escape or defence, giving incoherent orders to a tumultuous household, and apprehending every instant that he may be washed from his foundations. Our extreme liberalism might be figured as a man abroad on the bosom of that flood, blinded by the darkness, endangered by drifting wrecks, and doubtful whither the current is bearing him. Nobody,” confesses an eminent Unitarian preacher, “can tell us anything of the perils, the storms, the icebergs of that Atlantic. We have providentially in one generation and day been thrown upon it. The winds of