صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

from sensible things, indivisible and devoid of parts and magnitude. Hence the wisest and gravest among pagans (and of such only were Paul's auditors) could never be made to believe that the supreme Deity ought to be represented under any form whatever ; and if this were ever done at all before the rise (or rather the fall) of that apostate power we name Popery, to conceal our ignorance of what is meant by a "mystery of iniquity,” it was only then as now reckoned among the public shows and spectacles, and invented solely to divert and amuse the common people.

He then proceeds to set forth the first elements of the gospel as a new development of the most ancient faith known to men, and a full explication of the matter charged upon him as a crime when he had before “preached unto them Jesus and the resurrection.” “ And now indeed God, having winked at the times when he was held as “the Unknown,” commandeth all men everywhere to repent; because he hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained ; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men in that he hath raised him from the dead.” In all this there is nothing to shock the prejudices, or contradict the belief of his judges. For though the “ Epicureans and Stoics” may unite in ridiculing the one man's universal hope that he shall live beyond the grave, the other the faith of all God's choicest ones from the beginning of the world that the body shall rise again, yet the admirers of Pythagoras and Plato can see nothing harsh in the return of man from the grave, whether after three days or three thousand years. That he who was to be born of a virgin should die and rise again for the good of mankind, had been believed in all ages, and in all nations. Innumerable fables are afloat through all the world of Vishnu, Buddha, Osiris, Adonis, Hercules, Castor and Pollux, Orpheus, Theseus, and others, who have gone among the dead and returned again to life. That souls pass from one body to another, or from the same body to the same in a different state, has been everywhere held in some form from the most remote ages.

Thus as to the first we have Dionusus or Bacchus (the same with Osiris) falling from the throne of Jove, and torn in pieces by the Titans; but afterwards his members are replaced and he ascends alive into heaven. (Origen contra Cels.b. 4.) So Æsculapius by his medicines is said to have raised the dead to life, and for this to have been smitten with thunder and cast down to hell, by angry Jove; making thus a striking figure of Him who bore for us " the chastisement of our peace, and suffered, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” In the Phædo we have Plato asserting that men shall revive, and from the state of death become living. Diogenes Laertes makes Theopompus affirm of the Magi, that they held to a resurrection, when men's bodies should no longer need food, nor cast any shadow. Owen (Theol. b. 1. c. 8) affirms the same thing as known by the American savages, and Hackwell (Anno 1595) with others, tells us that the same doctrine was held by the Indian Brahmins whom they met in Cambaia during their voyage in the Oriental parts. Vossius (De Idolat. 1. 10) says, “ It was the common consent of nations that the soul survives; yea among many were there reliques of its reconjunction with the body ; but this they greatly corrupted with their Metempsychosis.” For this was often a change from body to body; or å regeneration, a new birth; of which we can make nothing satisfactory, owing to that want of careful and explicit statement which is ever found in the heathen writers when they treat of religious doctrines, and for which they are censured by all the Fathers of the church. But be this as it may, such as held at all to the Metempsychosis could find no special cause of blame in the great apostle for putting it in the form ever maintained by the church.

And as to a time of judgment to all men, and a change of the world by fire, no Grecian could reproach him who had seen Christ without calling in question the gravest and most venerated among his own doctors. When Plato in the Timaeus will treat of the story of Phaëthon, the son of Helius, and his burning of the world, he says, “ It has the figure of a fable, but the truth is this, there shall be a great change of things in heaven and earth, and in a short time a great dissolution of all things upon the earth by reason of much fire.” He also gives this as the explication of an Egyptian priest to Solon, when he inquired concerning Deucalion, Pyrrha, Phaëthon, and others. Seneca follows the Stoics in this, and affirms (Quaest. Natural, 3: 13), “The world's period shall be by fire.” Minutius Felix says the Epicureans had the same opinion. And Plato especially held some faith in a time of judgment, at the period of the world's conflagration, as he says (De Repub. 10), “Seeing the soul is immortal and patient of labor, we must, by a kind of pleasing violence, follow on toward the celestial bliss, that we may be friends to ourselves and the gods, and victors in that long passage of the thousand years—that we may live happily here and in the thousand years when we come to them.

Neither can we suppose the apostle's doctrine of repentance could strike harshly upon a Grecian ear. For there again he has Plato, Empedocles, Pythagoras, and the whole world of their ad. mirers on his side, when they affirm that the human spirit was at first like a winged chariot, self-controlled, and able to soar at will through heaven and earth; but, having sinned, and lost its wings, it fell down into this miserable and contentious world-into this field of Atè and darkness, where murder and wrath, and a troop of other mischiefs reign, and where it must wander on and be lost, unless by a return to God and holiness, she may recover again the golden wings of virtue and original truth.

But Paul's triumph ends not with thus clearing himself before the Athenian judges alone. The malice of the Sophists is the cause that has led to his arrest; and they are all put to shame before the very judgment-seat, where they had hoped to prevail against him by the force of criminal law, whom they could not answer with words or deeds. Nothing cap exceed the coolness of his contempt for the whole crowd of his accusers, and their clamors against his doctrines, when, from “the market-place," they roll like clouds of smoke up “the Hill of Mars,” haling with outcries and insults, as if all Jerusalem were again broke loose, the victim of a hundred persecutions, before a tribunal as stern and as inexorable to favor or pity as that of Minos or Hades, while he well knows that though he must finish his testimony by a vio. lent death, they shall not live to see it; nor shall any Athenian jailor be moved to tears when, like Socrates, he blesses him whu brings to his lips the cup of hemlock. But, omitting all they have said or can say, and disdaining to refer to them at all, he calls up the venerated shades of the ancients-blind Thamyris and blind Mæonides,

" And Tiresias and Phineus, prophets old," The canonized Thracian, that of his sweet lyre is held to lead the choirs of Elysium, the graven shapes of Pherecydes and Thales, and the countenance of hoary Socrates, with their mighty compeers. Pythagoras, Solon, Empedocles, Heraclitus, Cleanthes, Plato, and Aristotle, the priests of Egypt, Chaldea, Phænicia, Persia, and India, that in the grandeur and splendor of their multitude, all else may shrink away to nothing, and become too low for censure; as when, at the prayer of Elisha, the hills about Samaria became thick-set with fiery squadrons to defend his fearless and blameless head against “ the armies of the aliens."

Then, by thus referring them to the words and thoughts of the illustrious dead, he affords them abundant cause 'of mutual confusion and dissension, so that they shall find it occupation enough to argue the whole matter out among themselves, and leave him without disturbance to pursue the calm and earnest vocation of his apostleship wherever it may lead him, until the tyranny of Nero shall give him release by an honorable death, and remit his great soul to its place among “the first-born,” who see God in His holy hill of Zion.

Thus, strong in his own integrity, in the Divine commission for his work, and for his doctrines the common consent of the wisest and gravest sages of the whole earth, the apostle sums up his great argument with Christ, the Juage and Saviour of mankind, the sum and substance and embodiment of all truth—as a man infringing upon none, and as God honored in every nation over the globe. Not only has he cleared himself of all blame before the Athenian laws, and confounded all the philosophers among them. selves, that they could no more combine against him, but even his

Jesus Cheers of old, and martyrdom. pelto

judges desire to hear him again concerning the doctrine of Christ; and he goes forth again unbound, to bear with him the gospel to the utmost corners of the earth, until a blessed martyrdom at last equal him with the holiest seers of old, and finish for him the "dying of our Lord Jesus Christ” in his body, by the life of the same Jesus revealed in his glorified spirit, amid the Paradise of God.

But who, with him, can retire from the presence of that vener: able, and august assembly, but must be conscious of a feeling of sadness coming over his soul, when he reflects that he shall meet but few of thein indeed among the sanctities of a better world ? “ Dionysius, the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and certain others with them, clave unto him, and believed ;" but the most refused, and left him to gather up as he might, affectionate and believing auditors among the lowest of the people, while they of the Areopagus, with the whole crowd of Athenian scholars, counted themselves too wise for instruction, too lofty for reproof, from one whom they esteemed a barbarian. Such, brethren, is the mystery of our calling. The gospel is for the poor and the despised; while“ philosophy and vain deceit" are for the rich, the learned, and the powerful of the earth. From the day-laborers, the slaves, the poor of the world, has God raised up His ministry of most fiery, nimble, and invincible spirits, against whom senates, kings, and hierarchies combine only for their own confusion. Before them fell the persecuting empires of paganism, and behind them lie the bleeding remains of those once terrible nations that “wondered after the Beast.” From the valleys of the Caucasus, from the morasses of the Danube or the Rhine, from the glaciers of the Alps, he brings them forth, like Israel from the Red Sea, and founds of them the mightiest nations of the renewed earth; and the’unnamed myriads that rode to heaven in the flaming chariots of their own martyrdom, above them raise the song of Moses and the Lamb, saying, “Great 'and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty ; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.”

hierarchies.cand invincibleas God raised 'he day-labores

. ARTICLE VII.
THE ATONEMENT AND THE PENALTY OF THE LAW.

By Rev. SAMUEL T. Spear, Brooklyn, N. y. Did Christ, in making the Atonement, of which we have both the history and the doctrine in the Bible, suffer the penalty of the law? Was the penalty of the law inflicted upon the Redeemer as the atonement for sin? This is not merely a modern question, having been keenly agitated several centuries ago. In respect to it, theologians generally deemed evangelical, are divided into two classes : one of which, for convenience of designation, we shall call the Penalists; the other, the Substitutionists. The former hold the affirmative of the above question ; the latter, the nega. tive. The doctrine of the former is, that the sins of elect sinners, and these only, were so imputed to Christ, that He was legally bound to suffer, and did suffer the penalty of the law threatened against them; that of the latter is, that what Christ suffered, was not the proper penalty of the law, but an equivalenta full and sufficient substitute, answering all the ends of the penalty in respect to the character and government of God, and thus opening the way for pardon and eternal life to the penitent believer.

By both classes of theologians it is maintained, that Christ suffered and died as reported in the gospel narrative; that His sufferings and death constitute the essence or matter of the atonement; that although the suffering and death are predicated of Him as one person, still they were true of Him in respect to His human nature only; and that salvation is graciously bestowed upon men through Christ as an atoning Saviour, and in no other way. All this is common ground to both classes. The point of divergence respects the application of the penal predicate to that which is held to constitute the matter of the atonement. Did Christ, in making the atonement, which consisted in His sufferings and death -did He, in those sufferings, and in that death, endure the penalty of the Divine law' threatened against sinners? This is the question we propose to examine. For this purpose we present three inquiries : First, what are the elementary ideas which the human mind assigns to the term punishment or penalty ? Secondly, what is the penalty of the law? Thirdly, who is the penal sufferer according to the express provisions of this law ?

1. What is PUNISHMENT or PENALTY? Webster defines the former term to mean, “Any pain or suffering inflicted on a person for a crime or offense, by the authority to which the offender is subject, either by the constitution of God, or of civil society;" the latter

THIRD SERIES, VOL. VI., No. 1 .

« السابقةمتابعة »