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from ours, as we do of Paganism from his?" pp. 18, 19.
There are some forcible remarks in this sermon, on the imperfect degree in which Christian doctrines are felt and experienced in the heart, even by those who know them traditionally; and the familiar
manner in which we accustom ourselves to speak of the most awful doctines of Revelation-such as redemption, grace, the atonement, future retribution, the Divinity of Christ-without considering, or being affected by, the import of
the terms which we use. The conclusion very affectingly calls upon the youthful part of his academical audience, to consider, together with the blessing, the responsibility also arising out of a liberal education, and to guard themselves against its abuse; to appreciate the exceeding value of the word of God; and to esteem the knowledge of it to be infinitely surpassing all other knowledge, since it communicates spiritual health, and imparts the joyful assurance of immortality, and thereby "confers the blissful feelings of eternal youth upon the mind."
The second sermon carries on
the remarks with which the preceding one commenced, as to the singular adaptation of the Holy Volume to the purpose of teaching a practical and permanent rule of life, with a view more particularly to shew in what manner the great doctrine of Revelation, that of Christ crucified, bears upon the social duties. Some preliminary observations are suggested, as to the inconsistency of those Christian writers who have attempted to establish systems of moral philosophy derived chiefly from the principles of natural reason, but borrowing partially the light of Revelation. The text is that apposite declaration of St. Paul, in 1 Cor. ii. "I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified." With respect to the several systems of ancient
philosophy, Mr. Evans observes, that they are of inestimable value to the Christian scholar, not only from disclosing to him the peculiar points upon which a revelation was required to bear, not only from the interest which they excite by the heart-moving comparison of the original light of nature with our acquired illumination from the Gospel, but principally because they have almost exhausted the storehouse of human thought upon these subjects. But the modern composite theories of morals, above alluded to, he shews are destitute of all these advantages. Their inventors have thought to supply the great deficiency of the ancient systems (the want of a motive of obligation sufficiently obvious, strong, and permanent), by calling in from Revelation the doctrine of a state of future retribution : but against this plan, Mr. Evans contends, there lie insurmountable objections, not only from reason, but
from the Revelation itself, whence they have borrowed.
"There is an objection in reason, first, because, in a system of philosophy, all ought to be traceable to one source. And this character forms the great beauty of ciple, therefore, a future state, to which all the ancient systems. On such a printhe system attaches the final motive of obligation, ought to be demonstrable, equally with the rule of life, from the But every one knows light of nature. that it is not. Thus the system is deranged, and its logical unity dissolved, by the introduction of an entirely foreign and independent principle.
"A second objection on the ground of reason, is, that our assent to the doctrine of a future retribution implies an adequate notion of the Divine justice. But this (as in the case of other of God's attributes) must be derived from our notions of human justice. Thus we are conducted by such a system in a vicious circle: we must have formed an adequate notion of human justice before we can assent to the position of a future retribution; and we must assent to the position of a future retribution before we can possess ourselves with an adequate notion of human justice". But the objections
"How singular is the oversight of Paley, in laying down, or rather adopting, his fundamental definition; Virtue is
from the very Revelation itself, to which they profess themselves indebted, are of a still more serious cast.
"In borrowing this doctrine from Revelation, they have entirely neglected to take with them the foundation upon which it rests,-the cross of Christ. It has accordingly shared the fate of all facts which are introduced detached from the natural relation of surrounding circumstances it droops and dies, as a tree which has been transplanted without its roots; and, as far as the planters are concerned, the roots have been left to perish too. For what is now their position, as they lay down their transplanted doctrine of a state of future happiness? However stated, it amounts to this, that a man may be saved by the law which they thus establish. It is difficult to see how this materially differs from the opinion, so severely reprobated by our Church (and in that reprobation every Christian church and person will join), namely, that every man shall be saved by the law or sect which he professeth; so that he be diligent to frame his life according to that law, and the light of nature.' This is, indeed, removing the offence of the Cross, by removing the Cross itself; for (as our Article proceeds to say) Holy Scripture doth set out unto us only the name of Jesus Christ whereby men must be saved.'
'Let it however be allowed, for argument's sake, that this consequence from their system has been too closely pressed; let it even be granted that advantage has been taken of unintentional omission, of neglect of fortifying points, of latitude of language. Still the effect cannot be disputed, which is, to instil into minds not culpably unwary the above pernicious opinion, and to lead them to think the grand and essential facts of Christianity our Lord's incarnation, death, and burial, an useless shew, a cumbrous machinery, the employment of which seems derogatory to the wisdom of Almighty God. Is it considerate? is it charitable? is it dutiful to our Crucified Master, to employ, or allow to be employed, a carelessness of expression pregnant with such dreadful consequences?
Putting, however, the best colour upon all this, still we find another objection behind, which cannot be set aside by any plea of mere looseness of language.
the doing good to mankind, in obedience to the will of God, &c.' Who would suppose that he had never defined the term 'good,' one of the most thorny in morals; one whose application was a distinguishing feature of difference between the two most famous schools of antiquity? Besides (an unpardonable fault in a definition), it is already included in the term 'will of God,' as any one will see immediately, by merely substituting the words, 'acting towards,' for 'doing good to.'”
"For, let us supply what they may assert to be an unintentional omission: then, since of course a system of morality is applicable to all mankind, their position stands thus: That all men, by observing the duties which the system has laid down, will enjoy the future happiness which has been procured by the cross of Christ. But where is such a position to be found in Scripture? Where has it promised a state of future happiness to all mankind, upon living up to those duties? Its promises are confined exclusively within the pale of the Christian covenant; and the salvability of any without can be but the suggestion of a charitable hope, or (granting the very utmost) a fit subject of argument for such as are prepared to engage in an interminable are controversy.
It may, however, still be asserted, that such systems, though not applicable to all mankind, may serve to point out a rule of moral conduct to the Christian, supplying directions where the Scriptures are not practically explicit, presuppose natural principles, or perhaps are silent altogether. The state of the question thus narrowed brings us back to the point which was proposed to be examined, and will render much assistance to the course of argument, by setting off in more prominent relief the peculiarities with which the doctrine of Christ crucified, invests all those duties which are the subjects of moral philosophy.
"Let it be borne in mind, that, according to the latter systems just discussed, the motive which obliges the Christian is the simple one of a certain expectation of future reward or punishment. According to the Gospel it will appear to be one much more complex; or at least (even granting this to be the final motive) that it can never be acted upon by him, except in association with a number of others of a certain class. Their rule of life, also, is sought among the principles of nature: in the Gospel it presupposes these, but is not confined to them: so that the Christian, calculating from these principles only, would as certainly fall into error, as he who omits important elements in any deduction of science. They suppose only two persons, man and God: the Gospel interposes a third, the Son of God; and this, of course, immediately gives a new complexion to the whole question.
"God the Father has made the promise of everlasting happiness to men, upon obedience to his will, for and
Where, then, does Mr. Evans place faith? Does he forget its office? Does
through the merits of his only begotteu Son, Jesus Christ, who, by taking our nature upon him, suffered death upon the cross, in order to procure for man that inestimable blessing. But the Father, notwithstanding this reconciliation, has no immediate communication with man: he will turn away his ear from every note of praise or prayer, he will avert his face from every posture of supplication which is not addressed to him through the mediation of the Son,-through him he bids him look for every blessing now and to come, to the new relation which he has established with mankind to confess himself indebted for all, on him to hang all his hopes, and having his heart impressed with the cross of Christ, his thoughts fixed in earnest contemplation of what his Saviour has said, done, and undergone, and thus imbued, as it were, with his precious blood, to proceed to return.
"It is evident, therefore, that the will of God is not to be sought by the Christian merely among the natural relations
of man to man. Those relations, indeed, still subsist; but they are all drawn by Christ towards himself, and acted upon by his influence. Besides their mutual motions, they have also another and general cause assigned them. If they follow not this cause, they are not within the system of Christianity. Every act of the Christian must have sure reference to an act of Christ's displayed by him in his sojourn upon earth, and destined to exert its influence upon him, as mystically effecting his spiritual station, as directly operating by example, as urgently promoting by command. Thus, is God's will that we should be gratefully disposed to be sought in the mere elements to which the moral philosopher would direct us? Or shall we not rather carry into our practice that deep and settled feeling to which human language cannot give a name, that which we imbibe through every pore of mind from the contemplation of the character and office of the Son of God?
"It is evident also, from the above consideration, that, as to motive, the Christian cannot, dares not, look at everlasting happiness, without combining in the same view the cross of Christ. As consistently may he expunge from his Creed, every article intervening between God the Father Almighty,' and 'the life everlasting.' he mean to omit it? or does he intend to include it in the general expression, "obedience to God's will;" for certainly it is the will of God that we believe on Jesus Christ whom he has sent. If we understand the passage aright, it sounds as if constructed upon the untenable principle of Christianity being a remedial law. It would require some study to make it tantamount to the Scripture declaration, "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."
CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 349.
No! that life he looks forward to through a long and permanent chain of objects, every link of which has been designed to move both his heart and understanding; ' through his holy incarnation, through his holy nativity and circumcision, through his baptism, fasting and temptation, through his agony and bloody sweat, through his cross and passion, through his precious death and burial, through his glorious resurrection and ascension, and through the coming of the Holy Ghost.' This is his perspective; down this long alley of glorious and heart-stirring facts, he contemplates the life to come, and through this only, as a Christian that hopes for salvation, dare he look forward to everlasting happiness. On a basis so widely different from that proposed by the moral philosopher, rest the duties of the Christian, even when the former has borrowed the grand doctrine of eternal life." pp. 30-38.
Mr. Evans justly remarks, that a comparison between passages in the writings of philosophers, and passages of Scripture enforcing the same precept, would strikingly illustrate the bearing of the doctrine of Christ crucified upon our practice. But we cannot agree with him when he proceeds to bring forward what he considers "a parallel still more convincing and striking,"-"two rules of life in the New Testament;" namely, "one which must have guided men before the Gospel dispensation was completed by the descent of the Holy Ghost, and another by which they were influenced afterwards, as members of that covenant:' "the former prevailing in the Gospels, the latter in the Epis tles.' This disjunction of the Epistles from the Gospels, of the writings of St. Paul or St. Peter from the Sermon on the Mount, we think wholly untenable, and that there prevails a more explicit not a little dangerous. It is true exposition of some points since life and immortality were fully brought to light in the Gospel; but by no means to an extent to allow us to speak of "two rule of life;" for, strictly speaking, we believe there was essentially but one rule of life, from the time when the first promise was given to Adam, or when Abel offered his F
prefigurative sacrifice, to the period when the Great Sacrifice was presented upon Calvary, and the knowledge of it was proclaimed to the world by the Apostles. If Mr. Evans had confined his contrast to the comparative clearness of the exposition, instead of the alleged diversity of the principle, we should have concurred in his statement; and perhaps, after all, he does not mean much more than this. Applying his remarks with this limitation, they are so peculiarly beautiful and appropriate that we gladly extract a portion of them.
"The comparison of a very few parallel passages will be sufficient for the purpose.
"In his sermon on the mount (Luke vi. 37) our Saviour says, 6 forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.' Here is a moral precept, whose obligation (in addition to that imposed by the law of nature) arises from the authority of the Deliverer, and the promise from God with which he accompanies it. But when we meet with the same precept in the Epistles, we find it grounded immediately upon Christ crucified. Thus, in his Epistle to the Colossians, (iii. 12) St. Paul urges them 'to put on bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.'-Where we see both the rule and the motive which are peculiar to the Gospel. Again, in the same sermon, (Matth. v. 42) our Lord thus lays down the duty of charity. 'Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.' Here is a moral precept enforced by the same authority as that above quoted. Let us now turn to the Epistles. In his second Epistle to the Corinthians (viii. 9) St. Paul is pressing them to contribute to the necessities of the saints, and thus lays down the grounds of their duty: For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. Again we are presented with the doctrine of Christ crucified.
"Let one more example suffice. Our Lord, enforcing the duty of humility upon his disciples, says (Luke xiv. 11), Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.' But how does his Apostle exhort to the same duty? He thus charges the Philippians (ii. 5, &c.), 'Let this
mind be in you, which was also in Christ
ven, and things in earth, and things under
appeal made to the heart of man,—it
"Thus we find in Scripture a moral system infinitely more pure and perfect than any production of human hands, coming from the lips of its Deliverer with infinitely more authority, addressed also to a people which believed in the life to come, we find this in the same book actually superseded by one which rests upon the fact and doctrine of Christ crucified. What shall we think, then, not only of the pretension, not only of the inutility, but of the mischievous antichristian tendency of those systems which we have been discussing." pp. 40-42.
"Thus it has been endeavoured to shew the nature of the doctrine of Christ crucified, as bearing upon those duties which the moralists assume as their province. In the course of this investigation there has surely appeared no inclination to undervalue and deny the usefulness of moral philosophy. So far from it, that an acquaintance with the study, as based upon the mere light of nature, has been carefully stated, at the outset, to be essential to the character of the Christian scholar, of the well-appointed defender of his faith. But to those systems, which by borrowing a truth, but not the whole truth, from revelation, obscure the light of nature at the same time that they stain the purity of the Gospel, to them it is freely confessed that an equal deference has not been paid. Nor can he who addresses you sufficiently express, even in the most earnest terms of deprecation, his full sense and dread of their baneful effects. Alas! what they are too well calculated to produce, requires no additional encouragement. By the corrupt infirmities of our nature we are already but too well disposed to dwell slightly upon the great doctrine of Christ crucified, to have recourse to any other base than
this for a rule of life, and, like the wilful
"A celebrated father of the church (Chrysostom), in remarking on the accomplishment of these words of the prophet, and his rest shall be glorious,' says, in his fanciful manner, the very form of his death is more glorious than a diadem. Therefore, kings, putting off the diadem take up the cross, the symbol of his death: on the purple, the cross; on diadems, the cross; in prayers, the cross; on arms, the cross; on the holy table, the cross; and in every quarter of the world the cross shines more glorious than the sun.' What in his days was fast quitting the heart, and taking its place among the baubles of outside shew, degenerating into the sign of a wretched superstition, let us, in accordance with purer times, resume spiritually in our bosoms; when we rise, the cross; when we lie down, the cross; in our thoughts the cross; in our studies the cross; in our conversation the cross; every where, and at every time, the cross, shining more glorious than the sun. Yea, let this, in our warfare below, become our sign, and in this we shall conquer." pp. 52, 53.
unlearn. And one of the most delightful feelings with which God rewards our spiritual improvement, is the discovery at length of a task which can satisfy our
noblest faculties, one in which alone we find them to act in perfect unison with concentrated effect, and this our complicated mental frame to shew forth all the harmony designed by the hand of its Creator. It is a feeling analagous to that of manhood, when it finds the proper direction and combined effect of those powers which had been lavished separately, and without object, on the trifles of childhood. For example, the Christian who had formerly found, as he thought, his powers of understanding so vigorous, so acute, so suitably employed in the questions of policy, literature, or science, discovers now that they were coarse, blunt, inadequate, and unsuitably employed, compared with those to which in the service of the Spirit they have now ripened, when his judginent has grown up to that intuitive and exquisite discernment of God's will,-that nice selection amid the daily mass of occasions placed before him of what shall contribute best to his own spiritual health, and most redound to the honour and glory of his Saviour, setting apart with unhesitating distinction, profitable from unprofitable, -holy from unholy,-lasting from fleeting, what is of God from what is of man; when his power of abstraction is spent no longer on unpractical dreams, but grasps real spiritual essences; when his foresight pushes far beyond the boundaries of life; and when his power of attention has become an absorption, by which he can shake off at will the distracting intrusion of the world." pp. 63–65.
The three remaining sermons are in the same earnest spirit; and are well adapted, by their impressive and able manner, and their energetic appeals to the heart and conscience, to impress the mind of the youthful student and aspirant after literary attainment; to direct him to judge aright of the relative value of the various kinds of knowledge which are inviting his attention; and to excite him to the diligent improvement of his talents, and his opportunities of acquiring information, as a matter in which conscience is concerned, and the healthful state of his heart and affections. We copy two or three passages as specimens. In speaking, in the third discourse, on the analogy of the natural and spiritual birth, Mr. Evans offers the following remarks. We fear that the latter part of them applies better to the aspirations of the Christian, than to his actual attainments. "We have not only to learn, but to speculations, for which in periods
In the fourth sermon, on "the comparative Opportunities of the earlier and later Church," Mr. Evans argues that we have no reason to complain that we have fallen on times less auspicious for our spiritual welfare than those of primitive Christianity, every period having its relative advantages and disadvantages. In particular, he shews that the gift of miraculous powers did not of itself confer on the early church any more sure ground of faith, or more powerful stimulus to spiritual energy, than the ordinary privileges of the present period. Alluding to the peculiar necessity which exists, in a day of outward peace to the church, of guarding against irregular excitements of imagination and vain