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tears. We have no true and solid love one of another, unless one love the other not in himself but in God. Only in God can the brotherhood of the race be found. Men must be carried up to the Father, before they can be seen and loved as brethren. So far from the love of God being antagonistical to the love of man, it is only in loving God that we really do or can love man. We love the child because we love the Father.
We do not love our fellow-men less because our love is charity instead of philanthropy, but we love them from a higher and a stronger motive, with a purer, richer, and more enduring love. Having found our neighbour in God, we can then find God in our neighbour, and live or die for our neighbour ; for it is not for him, but for God. Those who, in what Protestants call the dark ages, from pure love of God, associated themselves for the redemption of captives, and, when their funds failed, sold themselves as the ransom of the slave, probably loved the slave not less than do our modern Abolitionists, who, at a convenient distance, declaim against his master, and gain the praise of philanthropy by making speeches against slavery, and by their incendiary proceedings riveting the chains of the slave all the firmer. Philanthropy never did and never will loosen the bands of the captive. Let philanthropy go, let the slave go, let humanity go, – but let the heart be touched by divine charity, let each love God and him only, live for God, and desire nothing but God in heaven or on earth, and the prison-doors will fly open, the fetters drop from the slave's feet, the bowed down will be raised up, the whole race will be free, their hearts will be one heart, beat with one love and one hope, and bound with one joy.
We open here a great subject, which we would gladly, if our space permitted, pursue still farther. We may, perhaps, resume it hereafter. The age would do well to weigh it as it has not weighed it ; and it would do well to contrast what charity did in the ages of faith, and what it does now where men are not ashamed to be Christians in their deeds, with the puny and abortive efforts of philanthropy, — Rome, for instance, with London, or England of the fourteenth century with England of the nineteenth. The principle we contend for has no exceptions. There is only God we can seek and not miss. Whatever else we seek we gain not, or, if we gain it, it turns out to be worthless, or worse. God is the Supreme Good. We must seek him, and leave all subordinate goods to follow
or not follow, as he pleases. If they follow, it is well, be thankful ; if they do not, still be thankful, for it is just as well. He who has God has all. The possession of secondary goods adds nothing, their loss diminishes nothing. They are goods only in so far as they are included in bim. " Seek first the kingdom.of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you”; for, in so far as they are for his glory and your good, they are included in his gift of himself. If he gives himself
, what good thing can he withhold ? We have written not to depress the human, but to show its impotence when abandoned to itself or sought for its own sake. The great rule to be observed is to deny the human, or to seek it only in God, where it ceases to be human, and becomes divine. This is the self-denial taught us by our holy religion. We must utterly renounce ourselves, crucify our nature, as the only possible condition of obtaining any thing good. " He that will save his life shall lose it.' But this crucifixion of nature, this self-renunciation, is moral, not physical. Nature remains with all its capacities, and self remains with all its faculties, but not as an end, not as that which is to supply the motive or reason of acting. We annibilate ourselves for God, live for him only, and we live for ourselves only in him. We exercise still all our faculties, and retain the same sensibility to pleasure or pain ; but we retain not the sensibility, and exercise not the faculties, for their own sake. We cease to be our own. We are the Lord's. Yet in this we lose nothing, but gain every thing. “He that shall lose his life for
sake shall find it.” We give ourselves to God, to live only for him, to have no will but his, no thought but for him ; and in return he gives us himself, and in himself gives us the Sovereign Good, all conceivable good, yea, more than is conceivable. All good is ours, moral, spiritual, physical. The secondary goods, the elevation of the individual and of society, the freedom of the captive, and the unloosing of the bound, so far as they are goods, follow in the train ; and we are sure to find, that, in giving up all for Christ, we receive in return a hundred-fold in this life, and the promise of that which is to come. Christian asceticism is the only path to true good, individual or social.
Art. IV. - Natural and Supernatural. Remarks on a Let
ter from a Protestant Minister.
The writer of the following Letter is a minister of the Christian denomination, - a Protestant sect which originated in this country between forty and fifty years ago, with Elias Smith and Abner Jones in New England, and two or three others at the West and South, whose names we forget. They deny the Most Holy Trinity and Incarnation, but seem inclined to admit the doctrine of Redemption, and in this last respect differ from the Unitarians, with whom, however, they maintain friendly relations. The Letter was not intended for
. publication, but, as we have no leisure to reply to it in a private communication, and as it opens a subject on which Unitarians and so-called Liberal Christians generally appear to want clear and distinct views, we trust the writer will pardon the liberty we take of inserting and replying to it in the pages of our Journal. With the writer himself we have but a slight acquaintance. He has called on us once or twice, and we have been led to think very favorably of his natural ability and disposition. He has evidently received only a limited education, and his mind appears to be undisciplined ; but he has great intellectual activity, and is candid and ingenuous. We believe him, when he says his aim is at truth, and we have no doubt but he is prepared to follow his convictions, whithersoever they may lead him. May Almighty God, through his great mercy, grant him the unspeakable happiness of finding the truth as it is in Jesus !
“ MY DEAR SIR, I have frequently thought of our conversation at your house the other day, in which I was much pleased and interested. I have looked at the subject-matter of your propositions more analytically than I then did.
“ I think that an important point was lost sight of, — that is, the point of contact between the natural and the supernatural, which must exist, let the mediums and teachers of the supernatural be what and as many or as few as they may. This is an important point; and the capacity of the natural to apprehend, to contain, and to realize the supernatural is another. On these all the difficulties turn.
“One of your propositions was, ' Salvation belongs to the supernatural.' It is beyond the range of nature. • The knowledge and the power by which we understand and experience salvation are also supernatural.' This was substantially another. And without going over the whole ground of your other propositions, I understand the main thing at which all aimed was, that with our human powers we cannot get at the supernatural, we cannot know nor obey the supernatural. Now I bespeak your patience while I give some of my reflections.
“ I take two things for granted. 1. Human beings have no other than human faculties. 2. Man cannot, under any circumstances, receive that for which he has not a receptive capacity. On these, men of reason will not quarrel.
“ Well, in salvation ihere are at least three things, distinct: the subject, the object, and the instrumentality ; or, the Saviour, the saved, and the instrumental action by which the Saviour acts upon the saved. Now the Saviour is supernatural, the means by which he acts on the object are supernatural, but the saved is not supernatural ; and prior to salvation the Saviour and the saved are apart, at a distance from each other. Also, in salvation there must be a contact between the saving cause or causes and man, or, in other words, a contact between the natural and the supernatural, which you believe as well as I.
“ Now if the saved is the natural, on what principle is salvation possible ? Only on the principle, that the natural may receive, may know, and do the supernatural. If the natural may not know the supernatural, then salvation is impossible. To say that the power to receive the supernatural must be given by the supernatural is only to repeat the same difficulty; for the supposed power to receive, if given, must be itself received, which, if supernatural, would be again impossible. The fact, that salvation has ever occurred in any one case, is infallible proof that in human nature are powers which can realize the supernatural.
“Now, I affirm, that, if the supernatural exists in human language, man by the use of his own powers can get at it. If it is accessible by any means, the individual man can get at it.
“ In nature we see the supernatural flowing into the natural, into the ultimates and particles of all things. God is supernatural. He is not nature, and nature is not he; yet he pervades all things ; he is omnipresent in nature. Here, then, is a living proof that the unthinking, unintelligent natural receives and contains its measure of the supernatural. But this is not the fact I am upon.
“ Now, man has what nature beneath him has not, a soul ; and I argue that it has powers like the Eternal Mind, to the extent that the Eternal Mind may be understood. 1. From the fact, that the thought and love, by nature displayed, we unconsciously recognize as being like (in nature) our own. 2. From the fact, that man can know God only through kindred powers. Why could not Newton's dog know Newton? Because he had not the kin.
dred powers, and without those powers could not know his master. Nor can we, any more than Newton's dog, know the God who made us, without natural and kindred
any man, in the Church or out, ever know God? If so, this position is proven. Man may know the supernatural, if he has kindred powers.
“Now, if man by nature cannot know the supernatural when it lies before him, then he cannot know it at all. For he must either know the supernatural by natural means or by supernatural. If by natural, my view is sustained. If by supernatural, he must understand his means or he cannot use them. If he gets at salvation supernaturally, then he gets at the supernatural by his own powers, using them as a means. How may I understand Jesus and all inspired minds? They, you say, utter the supernatural. I grant it. But how am I to get at it, if I cannot by my own powers understand the supernatural ? Can the Church remove the difficulty ? What she gives must also be either natural or supernatural, for these contain all true teachings in the universe. If she gives me the natural, it is what I had before. If she gives the supernatural, by which to aid me, I cannot understand her without giving demonstrative proof of my ability to know the supernatural. If the Church gets at the supernatural, she faces the same difficulties. If individual man has no powers by which to understand the supernatural, neither has man in the aggregate ; for in one man lie all the faculties found in all men. The more I think, the more I believe that any man may, with an honest heart, come to God and know his will. If man alone cannot, neither can a million. But I must close. I have given these remarks, that
you may see the turn my thoughts have taken. I think the above is logical. But my mind is open to any argument you may think proper to give. Please show me any essential flaw in the reasoning I have adopted. I aim at truth, as I believe that you do. I may fail in seeing; but when I see, I will never dodge logical se. quences, let them be what they may. I am, dear Sir, very truly
The Letter gives but a confused statement of the ground we assumed in the conversation to which it refers. The minister undertook to demonstrate that the Church is unnecessary and useless. To this end he contended, 1. Natural reason is competent of itself to decide, from their intrinsic character, what are, and what are not, doctrines of revelation. 2. When once the means of salvation are ascertained, the Church cannot be needed ; and, 3. These means can be ascertained as well without the Church as with it ; because the Church is
; only an aggregate of individuals, and has no faculty for dis