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intimation of a suffering, dying Messiah, or one who should rise from the dead, and No Clear And Proper PredicTions WHICH WERE FULFILLED IN JESUS PERSONALLY.
Of course, not only were the Evangelists, and Peter, and Paul, in error on the proper interpretation of the Old Testament Scriptures, but Christ himself! He called his disciples fools and slow of heart for not believing predictions which this bold assertor tells us did not exist! He expounded in Moses and all the Prophets, what this writer tells us cannot be found there!
Again, John v. 39. 'The Saviour saith to the Jews, 'Search The Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life, And They Are They Whtch Testify Of Me. And (verse 46) he adds, 'had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me, For He Wrote Of Me. But if ye bebelieve not his writings, How Shall Ye Believe My Words?'
But how perfectly erroneous was all this, according to the system of the so called 'Christian Examiner,' for he says expressly, ' We cannot but doubt whether Prophecy was ever intended to afford direct and positive evidence to the Divine mission of Jesus!' Of course, then, Christ himself directs the Jews to seek for testimony where there was none. Nay, he declares the Old Testament Scriptures did testify of him, what this reviewer says they did not testify, and were not intended to testify. If this be biblical interpretation, what is blasphemy?
Once more, Luke xxiv. 44, in the parting instructions of our great Redeemer, a little before his ascension into heaven, he said unto the disciples, 'These are the words which.I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that All Things Must Be Fulfilled which were written in
the LAW OF MOSES, AND IN THE PROPHETS, AND IN THE
Psalms Concerning Me. Then opened he their understandings, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus It Is Wrttten, And Thus It BeHooved CHRIST TO SUFFER, AND TO RISE FROM THE DEAD THE THIRD DAY.' r
But not so, saith the ' Christian' reviewer, ' The language of the Prophets gives us no intimation of a suffering, dying Messiah, or one who should rise from the dead, and no clear and proper predictions which were fulfilled in Jesus personally!'
Of such interpreters—of men who under the guise of Christ's ambassadors—openly and audaciously contradict their Master's express and reiterated declarations—who set their miserable intellects against his own word—and while they profess to be only attacking (only!) the infallibility of Christ's inspired Apostles, in effect strive to destroy our confidence in the assurances of Christ himself—of such interpreters of the Book of God as would leave us nothing to rely on—for what is infallible, if the words of Christ deceive ?—we can hold—and in all Christian honesty we can express.;—no other sentiment than that of unmingled reprobation.
A worthy commentary on the legitimate result of such views is presented in the September number of the same periodica], through the medium of a review of Benjamin Constant's work on Religion. And here we are invited to weigh anchor and set sail on a perfectly new voyage of experiment in religion, since the reviewer tells us all that the existing forms of Christianity are worn out, and worthless. But let us, though at the expense of a long extract, cite the author's words.
Page 68. 'From Benjamin Constant's theory, we may derive much to soften our indignation at the past, and to inspire us with hope for the future. All the great institutions of 'former times have been good in their day, and in their places, and have had missions essential to the progress of humanity to accomplish. The Catholic institution, Catholicism, which still excites the wrath and indignation of many a religionist, as well as of many an unbeliever, was a noble institution in its time. It was a mighty advance upon the paganism which preceded it. It was suited to the wants of the age in which it flourished, and we are indebted to it for the very light which has enabled us to discover its defects. Its vices—and they need not be disguised—appertain to the fact that it has lingered beyond its hour. It has now, and long has had, only a factitious existence. Its work was long since done, its purpose accomplished, and it now only occupies the space that should be filled with another institution,—one which will combine all our discoveries and improvements, and be in harmony with the present state of mental and moral progress.'
'Protestantism,' continues he,' cannot be said to supply the place of Catholicism. Protestantism is not a religion, is not a religious institution, contains in itself no germ of organization. Its purpose was negative, one of destruction. It was born in the conflict raised by the progress of mind against Catholicism, which had become superannuated. Its mission was legitimate, was necessary, was inevitable; but may we not ask, if it be not accomplished? Catholicism is destroyed, or at least, is ready to disappear entirely, as soon as a new principle of social and religious organization, capable of engaging all minds and hearts in its service, shall present itself. And this new principle will present itself. Men will not always live in a religious anarchy. The confusion of the transition state in which we now are, must end, and a new religious form he disclosed, which all will love and obey.'
'We think,' continues this writer, p. 70, 'the time has come for us to clothe the religious sentiment with a new form, and to fix upon some religious institution, which will at once supply our craving for something positive in religion, and not, offend the spirituality which Christianity loves, and towards which the human race hastens with an increasing celerity. We think, we see indications that this presents itself to many hearts as desirable, and we think we see this especially among our own friends. Every religious denomination must run through two phases, the one destructive, the other organic. Unitarianism could commence only by being destructive. It must demolish the old temple, and clear away the rubbish, to have a place whereon to erect a new one. But that work is done, that negative character which it was obliged to assume then, may now be abandoned. The time has now come to rear the new temple,—for a positive work, and, if we are not mistaken, we already see the workmen coming forth with joy to their task. We already see the germ of re-organization, the nucleus, round which already gravitate the atoms of a new moral and religious world. The work of elaboration is well nigh ended, the positive institutions, so long sought, will soon be obtained, and the soul, which has so long been tossed upon a sea of dispute, or of skepticism, will soon find that repose, after which it so deeply sighs and yearns.'
Not for the sake of the unknown writer—not on account of the periodical in which it appears—nor yet for the pleasure of uttering a sentence of condemnation against an interesting specimen of what might be called sentimental, as much as religious hallucination—have we assigned so large a space to this extract. It is because we conceive it to be a most instructive commentary on the inevitable tendency of the anti-trinitarian system. That system is opposed to the humbling and sanctifying simplicity of the Book of God.—Its idol is human intellect. It would brino'
to the bar of its impious judgment Prophets, Evangelists, and Apostles. It would reduce the credit of Divine truth so low that not one single writer of the sacred Scriptures could enjoy the claim of absolute inspiration. It would indirectly, but yet undeniably, impugn the very truth of the Son of God.—And after ii had triumphed, as it dreams, over every obstacle, it would proclaim itself sick of its own workmanship, denounce every variety of Christianity which eighteen centuries have witnessed, as superannuated, publish its own dissolution amongst the rest, and sigh after some new temple truly, as if the commissioned messengers of Christ had not yet established his Church,—as if it were designed that the will of God should be sought—not in the records of his own Spirit, but in the speculative theories of modern illumination.
To the leaders of this system, we do not address one word. Men that will not learn from the Apostles—nay, nor from Christ himself, must be fur above the reach of admonition from a common mind. But to the people who look up to them as guides, we would say,—if they would listen to us—Mark the development made by your own teachers. They have destroyed the old temple, as they tell you,— they have cleared away the rubbish,—but the new temple is yet to be erected. Not the temple of the Apostolic era,—not the temple of the Primitive Church,—not the temple of martyrs and confessors,—but a New Temple, unlike any thing that has preceded it,—unlike any thing