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read." Not one of God's prophets and apostles has failed to give repeated warnings, that "He will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or whether evil."
Here, then, is an awful difficulty; here is a tremendous problem. Every man whose eyes have been opened, is soon forced to cry out with the Psalmist, "Mine iniquities are gone over my head; as an heavy burden, they are too heavy for me;" or with Job, "If I wash myself with snow-water, and make my hands never so clean; yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me."
How, then, shall man be just with God? And not one man only, or one thousand,—it is "a great multitude, which-no man can number, of all nations, and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues" :—how shall all these be "washed and made white"? What mighty Seraph could have devised a way; or, how could the united strength of all the Thrones and Dominions, and Principalities and Powers of heaven have accomplished so mighty a work?
Yet, when He "looked and there was none to help, and when He wondered that there was none to uphold," Jesus, the son of a poor maiden of Nazareth, took upon Him this task, which none of the archangels of heaven had dared to attempt; He took upon Him to redeem and save a lost and ruined world. Who can rightly weigh and estimate the tremendous nature of the work, without seeing, that had the virgin's son been anything less than "the mighty God," His undertaking would have been the wildest, the most insane thought that ever entered a human mind 1
And this it is—the greatness, the vastness of the work to be done—which supplies a key to the real character of those awful sufferings which rent, and crushed, and at last slew the holy, the sinless, and the long-enduring substitute for man.
But why should those sufferings have been so terrible, as we have already seen they were? The answer is, because of the greatness of the undertaking, of which we have just now been speaking.
"Is, then, anything too hard for the Lord?" No; but we must remember that Christ was human as well as Divine, and that it was His humanity which had to bear the weight of human sins; He was "a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief," chiefly because "the Lord had laid upon Him the iniquity of us all." The mind naturally recalls to recollection the expressive type given in Lev. xvi.: "Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, .... putting tliem upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away .... into the wilderness; and the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited."
But no type ever comes up to the full meaning of the "great mystery of godliness." Christ was not merely to bear and carry away the transgressions of His people :—He was "to make an end of sins, .... and to bring in everlasting righteousness." (Dan. ix. 24.) He "obtained eternal redemption for us." He "ransomed us," "redeemed us," and "purged away our sins." "By one offering He perfected for ever them that are sanctified." These full and glowing expressions go far beyond the type of a "bearing away their iniquities into a land not inhabited."
The two facts, then, must be taken together; that the guilt, the sins, of millions, were all made to meet upon the second Adam's head ;—the Lord "laying upon Him the iniquity of us all," and regarding him as the owner of all this enormous load of guilt: and that, so burdened, he did, in the space of a few short hours, endure the punishment due to all these transgressions, and "made a full, perfect and sufficient sacrifice, oblation, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world." Do not these two great truths, taken conjointly, fully account for, and supply the " Reason" for, the unspeakable sufferings borne by man's representative; of which we spoke in the second of these papers? And do we not entirely fail, if we look for, or hope to find, an explanation anywhere else?
The undertaking—the work to be done, in those few hours which we call "the Passion," was great, prodigious, appalling; it filled the soul even of Jesus Himself with terror, and extorted the cry, "Oh! my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me!" With what unspeakable awe must angels have seen this conflict between nature's dread, and the holy resolution of the Son of God. The cup was not removed, but He was " strengthened." He entered upon, and went through, the tremendous sufferings which could not be severed from the work; and was able, as His human nature sank, crushed, under the load, to utter at last those blessed words, "It Is Finished!"
LECKVS HISTORY OP EUROPEAN MORALS.
History of European Morals from Augustus to Charlemagne. By W. E. H. Lecky, M.A. London: Longmans. 1869.
We cannot help thinking that the title of this book is a misnomer. It might, with equal or more propriety, be termed a History of European Immorality. It is replete with details of the most loathsome character. We do not, however, find fault with Mr. Lecky for this. The subject which he has undertaken necessitates such discussion, and he has certainly not shrunk from it, but has waded sturdily through the miry way along which his course leads him. His volumes are freo from that prurient sympathy with vice, which, in the pages of Gibbon, like the hollow strakes spreading through the house, indicates the leprosy fretting underneath. The fault we cannot help finding with him is, that in the most revolting portions of his book he maintains a serene impartiality between virtue and vice; nay, can find use and benefit in institutions which the word of God condemns with the severest reprobation. He quotes St. Augustine, but we cannot think that, in this matter, the mind which was in the Father was the mind which was in Christ Jesus; at any rate, in the use which Mr. Lecky has made of his words. In these volumes there is a large collection of anecdotes, illustrating the depravity of man in various ages and under various conditions of enlightenment and civilization. We think Mr. Lecky has forcibly demonstrated, although almost unconsciously, how utterly inadequate the philosophy of Greece permeating Rome was to produce any adequate impression upon the seething mass of moral degradation in which it flourished. Such philosophy may have furnished amusement, and afforded topics of discussion, to select coteries of intellectual men; and in individual—we had almost said, exceptional—cases may have influenced the formation of moral character; but we think it almost idle to imagine that, except in rare cases, they affected communities. Among the Greeks themselves, their theology, such as it was, and in particular the worship of Apollo, had, in our opinion, far more power upon their morality than the systems of their philosophers. We hear a good deal in Mr. Lecky of the "lex naturae;" but even the instances quoted by him (Vol. i. pp. 320, 321,) go to prove how feeble its influence was; indeed, if we are to credit him, " the condition of slaves greatly deteriorated" after it was broached; not, however, in consequence of the introduction of this conception of Greek philosophy into Soman law—for in theory it was amelio
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rating, but because no such dicta, even though gradually affecting legal enactments, availed materially against barbarous fears and passions. We are willing, for the sake of our common humanity, to suppose that when Augustus sentenced a slave to crucifixion for killing and eating a quail, it was "an extreme example;" but the Emperor may probably have often discussed the "lex naturae," and ought to have given heed to its dictates.
Manifold as were the corruptions which disfigured Christianity, even at the worst of times and in the darkest ages, the marked power which it possessed of leavening masses of barbarians, and, comparatively speaking, humanizing them, Btrikingly exhibits its superior claims to consideration as the moral agent, and approves it as a system proceeding originally from God. What that power would have been, had it not been contaminated by human passions and infirmities, and had it confined itself to inculcating the precepts taught by its Divine Founder, imagination would vainly seek to realize. Mr. Lecky has done it but scant justice in the estimate which he has formed of it as a moral agent. He refuses, moreover, altogether to consider its claim to a divine origin, and treats it exactly on the same footing that he does the Stoic and Epicurean philosophies. He thus practically removes God from the immediate government of the world, by his virtual disbelief in miracles, and his protest against the idea that the source and origin of morality sprang either from the nature or will of God. We conceive, too, that a great fallacy lurks in what he is pleased to term the theological estimate of sin, and can only term his statements upon the subject a parody. A reference to the New Testament, and to the prayer of our blessed Lord, "I pray not that Thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that Thou shouldest save them from the evil," should have dispelled, upon the authority of the Divine Founder of Christianity, the absurdity that the fantastic practices of ascetics are a reasonable and consistent course of conduct for Christians to pursue if they would avoid occasions of sinning.
Into the question of the relative merits of the intuitive and utilitarian schools of morals, to which Mr. Lecky has devoted no inconsiderable share of his labours, we do not care to enter here. The question is interesting and important, but could not be fitly argued in a brief criticism. Judicent alii. Our general opinion of the book is, that it will be most unsatisfactory to every one who believes Christianity to be much more than a cunningly-devised fable. It has created considerable sensation on its first appearance, but we doubt its attaining lasting popularity.
NOTICES OF NEW BOOKS.
Short Lectures on the Sunday Gospels, from Advent to Easter. By the Rev. Ashton Oxenden. London: Hatchards. 1869.—We give a cordial welcome to this little volume. The plan and execution are both excellent. It will furnish a most useful manual for heads of families anxious that their children and servants may enter with profit into this important part of our Church service. The exposition attached to each Gospel is not too long for family worship, and is, in all cases, simple and devout. Mr. Oxenden mentions, in his Preface, that he has availed himself of all the aid he could obtain from various writers: he has combined this with valuable thoughts of his own, and the result has been an admirable short and plain commentary, such as we have attempted to describe.
Li'il,i and Truth; or, Bible Thoughts and Themes—The Gospels. By Barotitis Bonar, D.B. London: Nisbet, 1869.—We have much pleasure in bestowing similar commendation on this work of Dr. Bonar's to that which we have awarded to Mr. Oxenden's volume. It consists of eighty-six very brief meditations on select passages from the Gospels, which not improbably may have originally been notes of sermons. We have found them full of interesting thought, and very edifying. The essential truths of vital Christianity are presented in a lively manner, well calculated to win attention, and many jndicious and solemn warnings against different phases of error are interspersed. The volume will be found very useful, either for family worship or private perusal. In days when, tinder the plea of promoting Christian union, such foolish and mischievous endeavours are being unscrupulously used to bring about concord between what is sweet and what is bitter, between light and darkness, between Christ and Belial,—we rejoice in being able to unite in a joint commendation these two publications, where the wisdom which is from above, having first wrought in the minds of the authors purity, displays itself in unity in all essential truth. The Christian reader who takes pleasure in the writings of the excellent bishop elect of Montreal, would feel himself as much refreshed with those of the minister of the Free Kirk, and would recognise in both, disciples of the same Master, followers of the same Lord, preaching to him the same Saviour, and teaching him the same blessed truths which are profitable through faith unto salvation.
(1) Spiritual Liberty: a Sermon preached before the University of Oxford, on Whitsunday, 1869. By Archibald Campbell, Archbishop of Canterbury. Oxford: Parker. 1869.—(2) Tlie Spirit of Truth the Holy Spirit: a Sermon preached before the University of Cambridge, on Whitsunday, 1869. By Connop Thirlwall, D.D., Bishop of St. David's. London: Rivingtons. 1869.—Fuller, in his "Church History," says it matters not whether a learned writer be of " Cambridge or Oxford, so God hath the glory, the Church