Imágenes de páginas

of goodness. Jesus was preeminently a child of nature, a being of holy impulses. His sinless nature unfolded into the consummate perfection of an ideal sainthood as naturally as springtime unfolds into summer, as childhood ripens into manhood. Through all the trials and conflicts of his earthly life we behold the harmonious action, the natural play of a nature aflame with the love of righteousness. “The holy sadness, the peculiar unrest, the high and lofty melancholy which belongs to a spirit that strives after heights to which it can never attain may suit the somber genius of Judaism, but it does not comport with the buoyant temper of Christianity as embodied in the life and teachings of Jesus.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus flings abroad a proclamation of emancipation to men chafing under the tyranny of uncongenial and incompatible moral ideals. The Sermon throbs with the prophecy of a spiritual transfiguration that will place man's religious life upon a plane of nature by translating unregenerate human nature into the realm of spiritual impulse and desire. When Jesus said, “ Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect,” he uses not the language of command, but the language of promise. He here promul. gates to the sons of men the glorious Magna Charta of their liberties as the sons of God, the law of life and love which makes men free from the law of sin and death. The Old Testament saint who bewailed the fact that he derived no inspiration from his idealt was looking to the wrong source for inspiration. Ideals can furnish intelligent guidance and direction to human effort, but the heart alone can furnish motive power. The true artist gets his inspiration from love of his art. In literature, in commerce, in war, in the realm of nature, and in the realm of grace it is the heart which drives the motor wheels of human progress and achievement.

Love rules the court, the camp, the grave,

And men below and saints above.

It was easy for Rothschild to toil for the accumulation of gain, becanse his heart was aflame with the love of gold. It was easy for Newton to thread the intricate paths of science, because his heart was aglow with the love of knowledge. It was

• Frederick W. Robertson.

+ Psa. cxix, 96.

easy for Napoleon to hazard the perils of a hundred battlefields, because his heart was consumed with the feverish lust of power. It was easy for Jesus to scale the lofty heights of spiritual achievement, because his soul was aflame with a passion for righteousness.

And herein consists the true imitation of Jesus, as illumined in the Sermon on the Mount. The Christian is to rise by a new spiritual creation into a nature like Christ's. Through the sanctifying energy of the Holy Spirit he is to become a creature of healthful impulses, and then to his own self be true. Not in the absence of toil and conflict, but in the natural play of spiritual impulse and desire where aspiration and effort flow in rhythmic unison, can we enter into the serene secret of spiritual repose which Jesus disclosed to the yearning hearts of men when he said, “Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” For unto us “are given exceeding great and precious promises,” whereby we become “partakers of the divine nature."

Joseph Lucwet



Dr. H. M. HARMAN, in his introduction to Dr. C. W. Rishell's book, The Higher Criticism, said : “We make no objection to higher criticism being applied to the Bible. On the contrary, we believe in it. But it must embrace the discussion of external as well as internal evidence. In many cases the only proof of the authorship of a book is external evidence. The internal evidence may, in fact, amount to nothing at all. On this point we need refer only to the authorship of the Letters of Junius. How has the question of their authorship puzzled the learned and critical world! Where external and internal evidence unite in proof of authorship we have the highest certainty. But one of the most difficult of all problems is to determine whether a book is the work of one author or more. We may be satisfied that there is a unity of plan in it, and, of course, some arranger or architect of the whole ; but how many men had a share in the work we could never tell. ... The books which compose the Bible have not all the same degree of certainty and strength, or the same inspiration and importance. They are not like the links in a chain, which is no stronger than its weakest link; but they are like witnesses in court in favor of some great cause which depends upon the strongest, not upon the weakest witness. The great center of the Bible is Christ, whose history is one of the best authenticated in the world. He is our Great Citadel, and in possession of this Impregnable Fortress we need not be alarmed if some of the outposts are carried by the enemy."

PROFESSOR A. H. SAYCE, writing some time ago in the Contemporary Reviero against the evil tendencies, the extravagances, and the vicious methods of certain biblical criticism, objected especially to so much weight being claimed for merely linguistic arguments, saying, “I have been a student of language and languages all my life, and the study has made me very skeptical as to the historical and literary conclusions that can be drawn from linguistic testimony alone.” Professor Sayce concluded his article as follows :

The same method and arguments which have made of the Pentateuch a later and untrustworthy compilation, whose divine origin and character are discernible only to the critics themselves, would, if applied to the gospels, end in the same results. In this country, it is true, our critical friends have hitherto kept their faces steadily averted from the New Testament, but the Protestant critics of the Continent have been less timid or prudent, and the way along which they should walk has long ago been pointed out to them by the Tübingen school. And even if we confine ourselves to the Pentateuch, the consequences of the “ critical ” position are serious enough. It is not only that the conception of the Mosaic law which lies at the back of our own religion, which was assumed by our Lord and his apostles, and which bas been held ever since by the Christian Church, is swallowed up in chaotic darkness; we are forced to assign the origin of the belief in the divine message and supernatural authority of the law to successful fraud. I know we are told that what would be fraud in modern Europe was not fraud in ancient Israel, and that with an improvement in manners and education has come an improvement in morals. But the question is not about ancient Israel and its ideas of morality, but about the immutable God, under whose inspiration, if we are to follow the teaching of Christ and Christianity, the Law was given to Israel. The “higher critics " never seem to me to realize that their conclusions are opposed to the great practical fact of the existence of traditional Christianity, and that against this fact they have nothing to set except the linguistic speculations of a few individual scholars. It is not Athanasius against the world, but Nestorius against the Church. On the one side we have a body of doctrine, which has been the support in life and the refuge in death of millions of men of all nationalities and grades of mind, which has been witnessed to by saints and martyrs, which has conquered first the Roman empire and then the barbarians who destroyed it, and which has brought a message of peace and good-will to suffering humanity. On the other side there is a handful of critics, with their list of words and polychromatic Bibles. And yet the “higher criticism ” has never saved any souls or healed ang bodies.


The recent celebration of the Centenary of the Church Missionary Society was made the occasion for much criticism in leading Anglo-Indian journals of the manner, methods, and attitude of the Church of England in its missionary work. The missionaries of that Church have tried to refute the charges made against them, declaring themselves anxious to remove all obstacles to missionary comity and cooperation.

Alfred Nundy, of Gorakhpore, N. W.P., writing in the Contemporary Review in advocacy of an independent self-supporting, self-governing, self-extending national Church for India, such as Henry Venn aimed at sixty years ago, shows on the authority of no less a person than Bishop Clifford, of Lucknow, that the missionaries of the Church of England are primarily responsible for the perpetuation of disunion and the want of comity and cooperation. Bishop Clifford, before he was raised to the episcopate, when secretary of the Church Missionary Society, at Calcutta, addressing the Bengal Church Mission Conference, spoke as follows:

Yes, brethren, let us not deceive ourselves in this matter ; the sin and shame of the disunion which exists among native Christians rest almost entirely with us European missionaries. It is we who are guilty-we missionaries of the Church of England who have not sought enough to conciliate our brethren, and have of. ten carried ourselves stiffiy and as though we had a monopoly of the grace of God, and the Non-conformist missionaries who have needlessly perpetuated their sectarianism and imposed it upon their converts in this heathen country, where often the original cause of difference has no existence. God forgive us all, for we are Ferily guilty concerning our brethren. How should they know, bow should they be able to stand out for union against those whom they regard as their spiritual fathers? No, it is we who are to blame, we with our Phariseeism and our bigotry and our want of brotherly love. Let us not attempt to excuse or bide our fault, but, frankly acknowledging it to God and one another and our native brethren, try to make amends, and, before it becomes quite too late, begin now to strive sincerely and honestly to put away these unhappy divisions and build up the Church of Christ in godly union and concord. Here is this vast empire with its 250,000,000 of souls, sunk in the darkness of ignorance and superstition and false worship. And here are we, the disciples of Him who prayed for his people that they all may be one. How have we learned our Master, and how do we represent his will to the people of this country? Alas ! instead of going to them as one body, united in one great purpose, preaching the one Lord, one faith, one baptism, inviting them to join themselves to Christ, and in him to all who call upon his name, we find ourselves split up into some twenty sections, each with a different banner and a peculiar shibboleth of its own. Shame to us that we cannot worship together, cannot meet at the same Holy Supper, often cannot preach and work side by side in the same town, without endless jealousies and heart burnings !

Mr. Nundy, illustrating the want of comity and cooperation, says:

Some years ago I had to go on professional work to the interior of a district in the Northwestern Provinces. I called on the Indian pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church, who invited me to attend the Sunday evening service. The Methodists, though they have but recently started the work of evangelization in these parts, have been so far successful that the converts in and about this town number more than five hundred, drawn mostly from the lower castes. No special place of worship had been erected, but the service was held in the veranda of an ordinary native house. The next morning I took a walk in the town and was pointed out a building capable of accommodating one hundred and fifty persons, which was the church and school of the Church Missionary Society who had commenced work there fifty years ago. The building was closed, and in the veranda around it a number of cows and goats were tied. On going into the compound a Christian

« AnteriorContinuar »