« EelmineJätka »
world. The peculiar circumstances of the Jews as a nation,—the fixed and divine character of their ethics, as compared with the unauthoritative and conventional morality of heathenism, secured among them all that was found on earth of a wellprincipled mutual benevolence,—the shadow of what once was, and the emblem of what should hereafter be. Notwithstanding all the prejudices, all the idolatries, all the wickedness of the nation, there was an element in the Jewish church, of which the Gentile world knew not the existence,—the lingering spark of divine lovelove to God, and to those who bore his image on earth.
But it is in Christianity that we see the grand machinery complete, which is to restore man to God; and which, when all its powers shall be in full operation, will rapidly hasten on the reign of love, and ultimately bring mankind into a spiritual brotherhood. As clothed with the power of the Spirit of God, the Christian religion has a direct tendency, so far as it reaches, to re-establish the ancient moral order of the universe, to re-unite intelligent creatures among themselves, and to heal the great schism of sin.
We may be the only beings, (fallen angels excepted,) who are at variance among themselves, and with God. Our planet may be the only one which, as it rolls beneath his throne, looks dark
with the shadows of guilt; though it has been the theme of gratitude and wonder to holy intelligences, because in its troubled atmosphere was once seen the mystic star of Bethlehem. This may be the only world where a contest is going on between good and evil; where light and darkness, love and hate, are blended ;-the only scene of a mediatorial economy.
And this may be the reason of the apparent specialty of those passages of scripture which state that God sent his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh;' and that Jesus 'took part of flesh and blood, and 'was made like unto his brethren.'X
Or, should these and similar texts be capable į of a meaning compatible with the idea of other fallen worlds ;-should the pestilence of moral evil, unhappily, be more widely spread in the universe,-should other races be estranged from God, and among themselves ;-then may the atonement of the cross have extended also to these ; and when the King of glory ascended to his Father's right hand, he may have received gifts, not only for us men who dwell on the earth, but also for 'the rebellious' of other planets. The cross may be the instrument of peace to many worlds; the proclamation of mercy through the blood of the ‘Lamb that was slain,' may have echoed beneath other skies; and the same principle of union and brotherhood which cha
ha -I Shear Lakin Anterse, Hadi bilanche to Has the deve estaban it is probata
ea dewould have some home att ta meel of way
racterizes the gospel, here, may at this moment be the cement of a spiritual relationship among societies of redeemed creatures, in distant parts of the universe.—But of this we know nothing, for nothing is revealed. At all events, in the Mediator, the whole church militant and triumphant is one. In Him, saints and angels make but one communion. Through Him, angels are 'ministering spirits to the heirs of salvation;' and while these holy beings 'desire to look into' this new and surpassing manifestation of the divine benevolence, it enhances the ecstasy of their joy, if it does not exert an influence in securing the perpetuity of their bliss.
On earth, the cross of Christ is the instrument which is to heal all divisions,—to harmonize all diversities,-to blend all distinctions, -to unite into one whole the most discordant materials. In Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek-Barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free.' He has made the Jew and the Gentile in him,'' having abolished the enmity ; for to make in Himself of twain one new man, SO making peace: that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.'?
I Luke xv. 10. Col. iii. 11. Eph. ii. 14, 15, 16.
THE FOUNDING OF CHRISTIANITY AS A SYSTEM
Christ's first disciples were Jews, and had been under the teaching of John the Baptist, his forerunner. Thus the church of God was preserved unbroken; and there was a graceful transition from the Jewish to the Christian school, John himself, Andrew, Simon Peter, Philip, and Nathanael, forming the earliest germ of the new divine society.
The creed of the first disciples at the outset of their profession, was, “We have found the Messiah!' A conviction of this truth, mingled, no doubt, with an ineffable attraction of soul towards the person of their heavenly Teacher, was the basis of their discipleship; and was all, perhaps, of which they were, at the time, conscious ; for their knowledge was as yet but in its infancy, and they had the deeper mysteries of the kingdom
still to learn. “Lovest thou me?' was the only test presented to the candidate for admission into the new fraternity; and the pledge given in return, “ Lord, thou knowest that I love thee,' included every other obligation. Their love to Christ was not a calculation, or an inference,-it was a spontaneous impulse—a sentiment which absorbed every other, and it could best be described by saying, 'Did not our hearts burn within
As love to the great Master Himself was the source of their profession,-so it was the perennial fountain of a mutual affection. They loved each other in a manner to which there was no parallel among worldly men, and, which to them must have appeared inexplicable. They felt that they were all of one family; and with this new and holy relation, they allowed no ties of earthly kindred to interfere. They were also inspired with a zeal and a philanthropy before unknown in the world. They quitted the circle of domestic endearment, and the arts of gain, in order to promote the highest welfare of their fellow-men; and they were prepared to be martyrs to truth, and to benevolence.
The teaching of the Divine Founder of Christianity, was the announcement of a new era—a coming reign of divine love on earth. The moral system, which He inculcated, was not dependent