Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

Latin conqueror shall then say: I am Christ whom ye always pray to,” etc. Instructions, chaps. 41, 42.

Methodius : “For the whole world will be deluged with fire from heaven and burnt for the purpose of purification and renewal.” On Resurrection, chap. 8.

Lactantius : “But in the midst of these evils there will arise an impious king hostile not only to mankind but to God, ... for he will say that he is Christ, though he will be his adversary.” Epit. Div. Inst. chap. 71. “He will constitute and call himself God, and will order himself to be worshiped as the Son of God. And power will be given him to do signs and wonders by the sight of which he may entice men to adore him. He will command fire to come down from heaven and the sun to stand and leave his course," etc. Div. Inst. vii. 17.

And as illustrating owānoovtal Út' aútoù toll kata épatos :“When these shall so happen, then the righteous and the followers of truth shall separate themselves from the wicked and flee into solitudes. And when he hears of this the impious king inflamed with anger will come with a great army, and bringing up all his forces will surround all the mountain in which the righteous shall be situated that he may seize them. But they, when they shall see themselves to be shut in on all sides and besieged, will call upon God with a loud voice and implore the aid of heaven, and God shall hear them and send from heaven a great king to rescue and free them and destroy all the wicked with fire and sword.” Div. Inst. vii. 17.

In a work on the end of the world appended to Hippolytus, though probably of later date, we find not only similar illustrations, but evidence of an attempt at elaboration of this chapter of “ The Teaching” itself. In fact, as the designation of Antichrist as a Son of God seems now first to have occurred in “The Teaching,” its appearance in Hippolytus and Lactantius must be accepted as evidence of the use of “ The Teaching” by these authors.

The appended author says: — “For in every respect that deceiver seeks to make himself appear like the Son of God." Chap. 20.

The elaboration spoken of is found in chapter seventh, where especially noticeable is ‘Ol Troméves ús dúkol yevýpovtal, for otpadýportal apóßara els dúkovs in “ The Teaching.”

Those interested can find a great amplification of the ideas of the time respecting Antichrist and his times in these last authors. They allowed their imaginations to run riot without any authority, unless derived from the imagery of the Revelation. But the point of critical interest is that what is so amplified in later works is but germinant in “The Teaching," which greatly confirms the early date of the latter.

It will be seen that we refer katábeua to Antichrist or his work. There is very little linguistic authority for giving it an abstract sense. If we recall now what Professor J. R. Harris has done for KTÉTOOLS, the difficulties of this last chapter seem pretty much to disappear.

Thos. Stoughton Potwin. HARTFORD, CT.

BOOK REVIEWS AND NOTICES.

REVELATION : Its NATURE AND RECORD. By HEINRICH EWALD, late Professor

in the University of Göttingen ; author of " The History of Israel," “ Prophets of the Old Testament," etc. Translated from the German by the Rev. THOMAS GOADBY, B. A., President of the Baptist College, Nottingham. Pp. x., 482. Edinburgh : T. & T. Clark. New York : Scribner & Welford.

The Translator's Preface tells us that “this first volume of Ewald's great and important work, • Die Lehre der Bibel von Gott,' is offered to the English public as an attempt to read Revelation, Religion, and Scripture in the light of universal history and the common experience of man, and with constant reference to all the great religious systems of the world.” Few men have been so well qualified for such a task as Ewald. His book is not easy reading, but is very suggestive. The style is vague and airy, but is a fit vehicle of lofty thought. Our notice of the book is not so much a criticism of it as a brief and broken outline of its train of thought.

Man is capable of receiving a revelation from God. It is therefore reasonable to expect that one be given him. Any question of it is a question of the existence and truth of God himself. “There is a spirit in man, and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.” But the revelation itself is to be distinguished from the natural product of the faculty that receives it. Revelation excites to activity the whole mind of man as nothing else does, but has its own peculiar contents. It began in the earliest ages of the world. Antiquity lived in the feeling that mankind could not do without the knowledge of God and his word. If Moses was the first inspired writer, he was not the first inspired man. Abraham is called a prophet. All Christians should think and pray and speak and act as oracles of God. (1 Peter iv. 11.)

“Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” They were holy men because they were moved by the Holy Ghost, and they were moved by the Holy Ghost because they were holy men. Their knowledge of God was in proportion to their holiness. The reception of revelation and obedience to it prepares the mind for receiving larger measures of it. “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will show them his covenant.” One of the first and most certain results of the fear of God, or true piety, is its purifying and stimulating effect upon our knowledge of God. Itself a consequence of revelation, no sooner does it act but it influences revelation. It enlarges faith and the contents of faith, and begins an ever repeating, ever extending circle of reciprocal influence which increases the contents of revelation, and confirms the soul in the certainty of its truth. Ewald illustrates this by two examples, one taken from the earliest times of historic revelation, the other from near its close. The fear of God led the patriarch Job to order his life uprightly in accordance with the comparatively narrow cir cle of divine truths and precepts at first revealed to him. In the subsequent high conflict of his experience, this fear of God, never wholly lost amid his manifold trials, but constantly renewing itself in submissive obedience, enabled him more clearly to see what was before imperfect and obscure, until he came to see in wonderful certainty the light and salvation of a revelation incomparably surpassing all that he had pre

viously known and believed. Just so the history of the Apostle Paul shows us the same round of influences. In him the fear of God, the old inherited fear of God which prompted his early childhood and led him always to do what he thought he ought to do, under the guidance of light from above which his soul was open to receive, enabled him to see aright the true nature, range, and purpose of the Old Testament, and also the whole compass and demands of the New, and following this out in all thoroughness, with Christian simplicity and godly sincerity, he continually received still higher and brighter light of an ever-increasing revelation of God, which purified and strengthened his old fear of God, and invested it with an energy, confidence, and joy, sufficient to transform and consecrate his whole life. Everywhere the Scripture attests this reciprocal action between revelation and religion.

Prominent in Hebrew history are the prophets, men who were interpreters of God's will, preachers of righteousness, foretellers of future events. One marked characteristic of them is their hopeful spirit. While denouncing in the severest language the guilt of the nation, and declaring impending ruin, it is still their sure hope, their firm conviction, that the community of the true God will never be utterly destroyed. Amid all the miseries and overthrows of the time, they foretell with the purest confidence and with inflexible certainty the surely coming perfection of those germs of the divine righteousness and life that are implanted in the race. They foresee the coming kingdom of God.

The consummation and completion of revelation is Jesus Christ. He is the key-stone of the entire edifice. Without Him its various parts would fall asunder and disappear. “Upon this wonderful structure, for the founding, defence, and further progress of which the whole antiquity had labored, he placed the still wanting last coping-stones and sheltering roofs, without which it must certainly have become disintegrated by exposure and have fallen into decay." “ Christ himself is the unity whose light shines back from the New Testament upon all the earlier books." “Christ alone is the light that penetrates every part of it with his radiance." It is nowhere said in the New Testament that God appeared to Christ as He did to the prophets. He does not say as did the prophets, “ Thus saith the Lord;” but He himself is the revelation of God, and declares his own authority : “ Verily, verily, I say unto you." “ Nowhere in the Bible can there be anything which we are not obliged to consider in his light, and to estimate as it stands related to him."

Other religions have their sacred books. If we compare them with the Bible we find many points of resemblance and of attraction, but still more of difference and repulsion. Even where, as in Buddhism, we find on the surface the greatest seeming resemblance, as in its doctrine of self-denial, a deeper examination shows a most fundamental difference. With all their flowers of Vedic song and beautiful moral sentiment, the Gentile sacred books are so much inferior in intrinsic value and charm of style to the books of the Old Testament that they can never come into any serious rivalry with them at all. “There is no danger to-day of our sinking into Brahminism or Buddhism, but there is great danger of our falling back into a Chinese condition of things." The spirit of atheism and the contempt of religion which mark the system of Confucius are the chief peril of our times.

Revelation has been given mostly in the line of one people, the Jews ; not to be limited to them, but through them to be given to the whole

world. They were in a measure and for a time secluded from the rest of the world ; yet, in fact, no people ever lived in such a constant connection with other nations as did the Jews. And in this connection, whether for the time friendly or hostile, they maintained the fundamental thought upon which their nation stood ; they preserved the nucleus and aim for which they were associated, notwithstanding the great vicissitudes and distresses, errors and defeats, which marked their course. Historical research confirms universal tradition that the primitive religion of mankind was monotheism. The various heathen religions are degeneracies from better and nobler ideas of God. For centuries there was a tendency to such degeneracy among the Jewish people, but it was strongly and nobly resisted by God-fearing men, and averted by the divine discipline which the nation received.

As a consequence of the consummation of revelation in Christ, the Holy Spirit is present in humanity. Ewald writes of the Holy Spirit very much as if he meant by that expression the general consciousness of the community of God on earth, but he must also mean that the Spirit of God is the author of this consciousness, for he is careful to say that “what is to have authority as revelation must be derived, not from man, but from the mind and heart of God, and must correspond to his inmost will and nature as well pleasing to Him, but what in this respect is truth to the distinct apprehension of one man must be current as truth among all men equally." Revelation is perfected and finished with Christ. His spirit carries forward the work which He himself so powerfully began. The community of God on earth finds its consummation and perfection in Him. He brings to pass on earth the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, and we ought to give heed to the testimony of the Spirit as revealed in the consciousness of all believers.

Ewald regards the Ten Commandments as the earliest of all Scripture, the foundation on which rested the constitution of the Jewish people. His view of the authorship of several books of the Bible appears occasionally in this volume, and is quite different from the traditional view. But to suppose that a large part of the Pentateuch was written by some other than Moses, or that Isaiah, chapters xl.-Ixvi., were written by some other than the writer of the earlier portions, and a hundred years later, or that the book of Daniel was written in the time of the Maccabees, does not at all affect the inspiration of these writings, or impair their value as records of divine revelation. The high significance of the Bible consists in this, that it gives us a perfectly authentic picture of the origin and development of all true revelation and religion in humanity. In this aspect of it, its worth can never be diminished, but can only increase with the progress of centuries and millenniums.

Edward Robie. GREENLAND, N. H.

CORRESPONDENCIES OF FAITH AND VIEWS OF MADAME GUYON: A Com

parative Study of the Unitive Power and Place of Faith in the Theology and Church of the Future. By HENRY T. CHEEVER. Pp. 292. New York : Anson D. F. Randolph & Co.

The aim of this book is to set forth the office of faith in the discipline and development of the Christian character. The believer is not to be satisfied with the appropriation of Christ; he is to enter by a continuous act of faith into union with Christ. The author does not accept without qualification the doctrine of the Mystics, but he writes in hearty appreciation of their spirit and method, and is intent upon setting free the large truth involved in their doctrine.

The book is divided into three parts. The first part brings out the correspondencies in faith among the more spiritual believers, and shows that in this agreement through faith the Church has its only ground of unity. The second part is a sketch of the views and experiences of Madame Guyon. The third part, which is a review of Professor Upham's “ The Life of Faith,” treats of the law of spiritual training, the discipline which gains holiness through faith.

Dr. Cheever writes with vigor and enthusiasm, but he does not allow himself to pass over into unqualified statements. He is noticeably free from the fault, common to writers upon the Life of Faith, of depreciating or denouncing those who do not accept their views. Not that the author is not, on occasion, polemic; on the contrary he distributes his blows with good-natured impartiality. The reader is at no loss to know his opinion of the various theological parties of the present. He is evidently no admirer of “self-conscious, progressive orthodoxy or advanced thinking,” albeit he is decidedly optimistic in regard to the spiritual tendencies of Unitarianism. But this is quite incidental to the purpose and spirit of the book. We believe that our author is right in his general conception of the spiritual need of the church. Protestantism has made little real advance in its use of faith beyond the doctrine of justification by faith. If we are still obliged to turn to the Mystics for the higher examples of the inner life of faith, it is because the church at large lacks completeness and elevation in its common types of spiritual devotion. The life of a Mystic like Madame Guyon has its lessons for the “Christian workers” of to-day. No one can read the record of her remarkable answers when under examination by Bossuet without the sense of quickening and refreshment. Dr. Cheever is to be congratulated, as are his readers, upon his most appreciative and discriminating review of the life of Madame Guyon.

Wm. J. Tucker.

OUTLINES OF UNIVERSAL HISTORY. Designed as a Text-Book and for private

reading. By GEORGE PARK FISHER, D. D., LL. D., Professor in Yale College. 8vo, pp. xvi., 674. New York and Chicago : Ivison, Blakeman, Taylor & Co. $3.00.

The name of the author of this Compendium is a guarantee of its excellence. Such works are apt to be meagre, dry, and superficial. A mass of names and dates crowds upon the reader's attention ; little if any room is allowed for incident or description ; generalizations are vague and mechanical, and history becomes a set of tables. Professor Fisher has met the inherent difficulties of his task with remarkable skill and success. Large portions of the volume are thoroughly enjoyable in the reading. As a text-book it has the highest merits ; a lucid order, firmness of outline, definiteness of statement, grace and flexibility with simplicity of diction, insight into the special significance of particular periods and movements with a constant sense of the meaning of history in its unity. Each division has a general introduction, and these preliminary surveys are drawn with peculiar skill. A convenient paragraphing, and a judicious use in captions and otherwise of various fonts and sizes

« НазадПродовжити »