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author than to us, their obvious meaning we substantially accept.
"In the life of a man, a partaker with us of flesh and blood, a fellow member of the family descended from common progenitorsin the incidents, relationships, acts, enjoyments, liabilities, sufferings, of a man's passage from the cradle to the grave-in a man's history full of marvels, crowded with deeds of touching kindness, pervaded by a spirit of undeviating and cheerful self-sacrifice, radiant with a purity which even we can appreciate, and chastened with trials and sorrows in which our hearts can take share-in the course and destiny of a man, representative of the entire race, and mysteriously concentrating in himself all the threads of their legal responsibility to the Most High-it was in this guise, and through this medium, full of interest, pathos, and power, that the Godhead was pleased to make an appeal to us on behalf of those his rights which our nature had repudiated, and to disclose to us those his desires and designs respecting us which his own character prompted, but which our guilty misgivings could not recognize . . . All the resources of the
Divine skill brought to bear in the conduct of this extraordinary approach to man, seem to have assumed an aspect of persuasiveness. The power exhibited is, throughout, the power of gentleness. It is a history, from its commencement to its close, illustrative of Deity engaged, not in crushing resistance, not in overawing the conscience, but in gaining the heart. The Son of Man moves on to his merciful purpose, along a pathway of poverty, with grief as his companion. His human relationships are all humble-his very country, a country held in contempt. 'He cries not-he strives not-his voice is not heard in the streets-he breaks not the bruised reedquenches not the smoking flax.' All is noiseless. There is no vulgar magnificence-no pomp-no thunder. Whenever Godhead flashes forth from him, it is in deeds of kindness. His miracles are uniformly as modest as they are decisive-evince a fellow-feeling with the wretched as strikingly as they do a perfect command of divine power-and address themselves as pointedly to our sensibilities as to our reason. His discourses are akin to his deeds. Deep, we may almost say anxious, interest in man pervades and characterises them-but it is in man viewed in his moral relationship to God. The themes upon which he dwells, to which he perpetually recurs, to illustrate which he would seem to task his invention, and which he commends to implicit trust, not merely when delivering instruction in the temple, but in roadside interviews with the profligate, at festive entertainments of the respectable, to the masses, as we call them, in the open air of the desert or the seaside, and upon occasions of national solemnities, are re-assuring, as
his tone and manner are winning and pathetic. He never forgets indeed that he is pleading the cause of rightful authority, but he not less constantly remembers that his mission is one to the affections, and his object not to force subjection, but to gain it. The very record of his life, drawn up for the instruction of all succeeding generations, is in the same spirit-simple, artless, attractive-not a glorious panegyric, but an unadorned narrative-not an outburst of impetuous energy, but a 'still small voice'-stealing over our souls as a touching melody from the shepherd's pipe, rather than startling us as the blast of the archangel's trumpet. And that whole dispensation over which he presides, and which, viewed objectively, we call Christianity, is marked by the same character. Christ is living over his life again, as it were, in his cause. The power at work in regenerating the world is a silent power-itself as unobtrusive as the most hidden law of nature, but as irresistible-the cause of many convulsions, perhaps of most, and yet in its own nature and operation perfectly calm-just as we have seen solid masonry penetrated and rent asunder by the gradual expansion of a vegetable seed dropped into some chink upon its surface."
We must not, however, do Mr. Miall the injustice to leave it in any doubt that his book recognizes all those views which regard Christianity as a mediatorial rather than as a representative Dispensation, as a system of Divine agencies working for man, rather than as a manifestation of what is Divine in his own nature upon the person of a man. But these are the weakest and faintest portions of the work; for, besides their own inherent difficulties, they are brought into the vivid light of other principles and sympathies of our Author's mind, with which it is by no means easy to perceive their coherence. Thus, the present defect in human Character he justly describes as a want of conscious harmony with God, of willing, intelligent, and loving co-operation with the purposes of his Providence. The loss of this he ascribes to Adam's Sin, and he supposes in the first man an entire and unbroken correspondence between the cravings, impulses, dispositions, and affections of his nature, and whatever of the Divine mind, character, or will, was presented to him in the works of God. And he " sees no absurdity in the supposition that the forbidden fruit of which the first pair ate, in disobedience of their Creator's sole injunction, introduced into their physical system an element of change, incompatible with a subsequent spontaneous and irresistible sympathy with moral
We confess that nothing puzzles
rectitude and goodness." us more than the want of ordinary clearness of mind, in men of unquestioned ability, which such reasoning and such theology exhibit. In the first place, if in man by his original creation there was a spontaneous and irresistible sympathy with moral rectitude and goodness, an instinctive correspondence of his nature with the position and the duties assigned to him by God, how then did Adam resist the "irresistible," violate his instincts, and sin? ascribe all subsequent sin to a constitutional deterioration introduced by Adam, is to leave Adam's sin totally unexplained, and indeed inexplicable. And in the second place, what would this irresistible sympathy and instinctive obedience amount to, but the deprivation of all moral qualities, of all conscientious choice, of all voluntary preference for the holy and spiritual over the sensual and present,—an animal constitution with a necessary development? To explain sin, and protect God, our Theologians begin by making man incapable of virtue, giving him a constitution of automatic instincts; and end by declaring that he yet violated this nature of which obedience was the involuntary and necessary law. It is clearly impossible to explain Adam's own sin by the inherited consequences of that offence. Yet all Mr. Miall's views of the remedial influences of Christianity imply in man a free will, through which he may be alienated from the known duties of his nature and position. Even the sufferings and self-sacrifice of Christ he represents only as an appeal to our nobler affections, and an exhibition of holy obedience to the will of God that might fitly win the diviner element in the soul to the love of spiritual law. He thus sets forth his conceptions of Christianity as an energy of God's for the production of the righteousness of faith.
"The service of God to which we are called is the service of love. The only submission which pleases him, is the submission rendered because it pleases us. If it be not an emanation from our own hearts-something done because we prefer to do it—it is not the thing which the gospel requires. That which God in Christ asks at our hands-that which he expects as the fruit of the altered relationship into which Christianity introduces us, is to give full play to our own will in the homage which we render to his throne. If we are not at his feet because we would be there-if we offer
not our worship because mind, conscience, and heart concur in choosing to worship him-if we run not on his errands of mercy because we delight to run, and not because we must-our response to his appeal to our sympathies is not what he intended. The obedience of the Gospel is not the reluctant answer of a weaker to the summons of a stronger power-but the willing and cordial embrace by true love of true loveliness. . . We are called unto liberty. The spirit breathed into us by Christianity is not a spirit. of bondage. God's arrangements in the Gospel put us upon that footing of relationship to him, as that He can receive, and we may render, the homage not of servants but of sons. Our obedience is to be in the nature of a free-will offering, carried spontaneously to the altar by grateful affection. Of our own, in this high sense, we are invited to give to him. The service we pay is perfect freedom -the spirit of it, adoring, heartfelt love. God in the person and work of Jesus Christ, unveils his lovely countenance. We look and live-look and love-look until all nature from within cries out- Submit-obey-adore--and be blessed in the government of the only Blessed One.'"-P. 89.
In harmony with these conceptions Mr. Miall represents Churches to be "fraternal associations with a view to reproduce in other minds that sympathy with Divine government which a realization of God's message to mankind in the gospel has awakened in their own. Their business is to multiply the willing subjects of the Son of God-to lure the hearts of men into submission to his rule—and, of course, to do this, for in no other way can it be done, by instruction and persuasion." And a deep interest in the Kingdom of God, the Reign of his spirit,an earnest and affectionate solicitude for the promotion of human blessedness, and faith in Christianity as the means to both -or, sympathy with God, sympathy for man, and trust in the spirit of Christ to unite them in Love, are set forth as the essential qualifications to win for the Churches success in this mighty work. We must gratify ourselves by quoting one passage from the Section in which our Author displays the necessity to any efficiency of the Churches of a lively and tender sympathy with man in all his conditions. We cite it for its fulness of the Christian, as distinguished from the theological, spirit.
"Friendliness to man ought to be an attribute as conspicuous in the Churches as it was in their Lord—and, as in his case, it should
show itself, not only in relation to ends which man cannot recognise and appreciate, but to those also which he can. They should be known every where for the spontaneity, activity, and universality of their good will. Their reputation should be such as to attract towards them the first glances of sorrow in search of commiseration, and to excite the first hopes of the oppressed yearning to pour out their wrongs into a sympathizing bosom. Grief should be confident that it may cast itself unreservedly upon their kindliness, sure of compassionate regard even when most uncertain of aid. And the outcasts of society-those whose deep degradation sinks them below the reach of the world's pity-the hopelessly forlorn, whose habitual and forced loneliness of misery has worn out in them the disposition to weep, and whose nature sin and woe have converted into an arid desert-should be made to feel that there are yet hearts to bleed for them, and hands to help them in every Christian Church. Oh! if it were but so- -if, instead of the self-complacency which steps aside from the polluted, more careful to express its own disgust, than to awaken genuine repentance, our Churches went in search of those whom the world consigns to neglect and infamyif it was generally felt that as there is no abyss of human wretchedness into which their love cannot penetrate, so there is no method of elevating man's condition and character, which, to the extent of their ability, they are not anxious to employ-if, in the place of a formal, frigid, sectarian, theological benevolence, they evinced a frank, warm, unselfish, untechnical interest in all that concerns the happiness of our race-if they were, as they ought to be, well heads of consolation, not alone to select sufferers, but to suffering of every sort, and active auxiliaries of good, not in a special line only, but in any and every legitimate line-in short, if their love to man, the direct offspring of their love to God, ever intent upon expressing itself whenever and wherever opportunity offers, in little things as well as great, in temporal as well as spiritual blessings, towards the friendless as towards the powerful, by the wayside where none can witness, as well as in the temple, or at the corner of the street where many look on approvingly-with what an irresistible power would the gospel come from their lips! And such the Churches ought to be, and ought to be universally reputed. He whom they represent was jeeringly spoken of by proud formalism as the friend of publicans and sinners.' Hence, the common people heard him gladly.' Whenever the Churches earn a like reproach, they may expect to be rewarded by a like success. sympathy of the messenger will attract sympathy to the message."
From this glance at the befitting aims and qualifications of the Churches, Mr. Miall passes to an investigation of