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precisely, perhaps, anti-spiritualism. It is not, however, a denial of the angels any more than of God. But exactly it denies that man, as a class of creatures occupying that particular place in the universe which is the kingdom of nature, is liable to be visited by any other creatures, whether higher or lower, not also denizens of nature. It denies, too, that there are any other avenues to the human mind' than what the anatomist can indicate with his scalpel; denies, therefore, that the human spirit is open to be acted upon by the Holy Ghost, as in the early days of Christianity; and denies, too, that men are ever approachable in any way, or for any purpose whatever, or erer so slightly, by angel, spirit, or devil. The denial runs thus, “As to spirit, I have never seen it, and I will believe it when I have. And, what is more, I never have heard of any one, worthy of belief, who ever did see a spirit. When I am told about my head or my hand, I know what is talked about; but about spirit I know nothing, nor anybody else, either; and my common sense tells me the same thing. And that God has given me common sense, I do know.

I do not mean to say that we shall not live again; but I mean to say that at present spirit is what my common sense knows nothing about; and I am for common sense. True ; but uncommon things may require an uncommon sense, or rather a sense which is too commonly fast asleep. For the purposes of the natural man, which are common sense, the faculties of the natural man suffice; but things which are of God, or which look towards Him, are not discerned so. Says St. Paul, “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things which are freely given to us of God.”

Often, in the very arguments which they employ, persons writing in defence of the Christian miracles evince their own latent anti-supernaturalism. Continually, in theological works, miracles are defended as realities by those who have no perception whatever of spiritual laws, and no sense whatever of the miraculous. How infected by materialism a person may be, who fancies himself to be very spiritual in his views, is shown in the attempt which frequently is made to render miracles credible by analogy with Babbage's Calculating Machine. This wonderful machine is said to work accurately through a long series of figures, till suddenly it throws up a number which is out of order, and which cannot be accounted for, but which, it is supposed, may possibly result from some undiscovered law of mathematics. And it is gravely suggested that, in obedience to some occult property, the great machine of nature has here and there, and especially about Palestine, stopped its regularity for an instant, and thrown out a miracle, at a time fore-ordained in the making of the clockwork. Anything rather than suppose the intervention of God, or angel, or spirit! Anything rather than a miracle, as being out of the order of nature, even though really it should be in the order of heaven! A thousand miracles of the strangest origin may be brought in at the back gate, if only they can be used for barring the front door of the intellect against admitting the possibility of signs and wonders having ever been fresh from heaven,-ever having been supernatural, willed, that is to say, in the spiritual world, outside of nature, and at the very seasons respectively of their being shown.

By certain professors of theology there has been lately published an explanation of the day of Pentecost, as having been a day of misunderstanding among the frightened apostles, in consequence of there having been an earthquake, which they thought was a mighty rushing wind, in the house where they were sitting. And the speaking with other tongues, at which the foreigners were amazed, is argued to have been altogether a mistake, and in keeping with the impenetrable darkness plainly discernible in the ingenious but excusable manner in which the Acts of the Apostles are narrated, up to the day of Pentecost, from the resuscitation of Christianity, whenever and whatever that may have been.

The operation of the spirit by its gifts, as described by St. Paul, tests Scriptural expositors very curiously. One says, virtually, that it means what it means, without attempting to realize it in any way. Another sees into not only the credibility but also the philosophy, of the various gifts; and yet, as even Neander does, finds the gift of tongues to be unintelligible and improbable. And a third expositor teaches that the gifts of the spirit are simply natural endowments; that coveting earnestly the best gifts is merely attempting self-culture; and that by the gift of tongues is to be understood not a power for speaking languages, foreign or unknown, but the interjectional, broken utterance of a man choking with emotion. The spiritual blindness of the age is such, that often there is not much more light to be perceived in the Church than there is out of it. And everywhere, too, and in every section of the Church, are to be seen blind leaders of the blind; and continually one or other of them looks up, and with authority says some such thing as that the gift of tongues means broken utterance, that is really an inability to speak.

The anti-supernaturalism of our time is shown, again, in the state of feeling which generally exists on prayer, the Holy Spirit, and on everything else which supposes either that the spiritual world can open in upon the soul, or the soul open out

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on that. Of modern treatises on the nature, operation, and effects of the Holy Ghost, the best which can be said is, as Coleridge expresses it, that they believe that they believe. They believe, indeed, but with a faith which has never realized itself. Why is it that so rarely the Scriptural doctrine of prayer is enforced, except by such men as preach everything which is written, and everything alike? Why is it that so commonly men pray by the way of duty merely, and with no sense of the Divine bosom to lean against ? Why is it that so many good men pray only the prayer of self-recollection before God, and never the prayer of faith? Why is it that they go through their daily supplications as a spiritual exercise, but never both delighted and trembling at once, feel their souls in that state when they not only speak but are spoken to, when they not only humble themselves, but are lifted up? And in almost any church, anywhere, why is it that it feels as though the heavens overhead were like brass, but that men's hearts fail them for fear, lest praying with the apostles, they should be really hoping against the laws of nature? There is hardly anything which is more foreign to our modern ways of thinking than that a sensible sick man should ever have thought to be the better for calling the elders to pray over him. Says the apostle, The prayer of faith shall save the sick." But to-day faith feels itself powerless for such a prayer, being benumbed by the phrase "laws of disease." And

yet
the
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persons who would scout a miraculous cure of the Middle Ages, because of the laws of disease being as inviolable as the bands of Orion or the law of gravitation, these same persons continually forget themselves, and allow or assert that the will of the patient helps on a cure. But, in doing this, they indicate the way exactly in which a miracle is to them incredible. For their objection to believing in a miracle, is precisely because it implies a hand thrust into nature from outside of it; is because it implies the will and action of some one, not of this world, God, angel, or spirit.

It is an old proverb, “Like people, like priest.”. Of course instances to the contrary must be allowed for; and then it may be said that the spirit of the age preaches from every pulpit. Nor can this be reasonably expected to be otherwise, unless the preachers should at least be all men of rare genius, or have been educated in some other earth than this. The spirit of the

age

is like the atmosphere; it reaches men everywhere, as they sit at the fireside or in the lecture-room, and as they wander in solitude or kneel in the closet. And with breathing it, when baleful at all, there are very few persons, if any, who can resist being injured by it. And notwithstanding creeds and articles

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of admission, it is yet no more to be shut out of church than air is. And if it could be so excluded, then the remedy of intellectual suffocation would itself be worse than the disease. And thus everywhere among the clergy, when they utter themselves, is manifested something of the same anti-supernatural, antispiritual state of mind as what plagues other people. It is true, that the doctrines of supernaturalism are almost universally preached, but a discerner of spirits judges not only from doctrine,

a but also from the manner in which it is developed. And a preacher, may set forth doctrines of a supernatural character and support them by arguments from history and logic, and he may grace them, too, with rhetoric, and lend them also a sincere utterance, and yet have no lively sense of the miraculous, nor much perception of the spiritual, of which miracles are a manifestation. Miracles are for signs; but they are no proper signs, unless there be in us some faculty or mental state to which they signify. A miracle, believed merely from the force of testimony, and from simply the same state of mind which believes in the reports of the diving bell, is not rightly believed, is not believed in the right way, is not believed from the spiritual state from which it ought to be believed, and through which only is it of any good. And that state of feeling is conscious of susceptibilities of its own, and of an order higher than that of nature, and of relations to high answering purposes in God, through which there is not a soul but may possibly be vouchsafed a miracle--and not a neighbourhood but may have the Spirit poured out upon it.

. In order to have the miracles of the Bible answer better the purpose of doctrinal proofs, the theologians of this century have often largely availed themselves of the spirit of the times, for the prejudices which it prompts against the possibility of the supernatural in any other locality or age than the Scriptural. But now Chubb, Toland and Anthony Collins were unbelievers; and yet they were harmless men compared with the hapless clergyman who thinks to uphold the miracles of the Holy Scriptures by denying the possibility of any others. He may not know the mischief of his course, but his successor will inevitably develope it.

On the evidences of Christianity, there is an argument often made, according to which one well-attested ghost story would countervail all the angels who have ever visited this earth, whether singly or in hosts, and all the words of the Lord which have ever come to prophets, and all the miracles of Jesus and his apostles, and all the visions of John the Divine. But Richard Baxter knew better what he was arguing about than perhaps any English controversialist of this day, and his manner of

arguing was the very opposite of that. For he published two collections of narratives of supernatural occurrences in his own time, which had been attested to him as being true, by the persons to whom they happened, or else had been vouched for, as well authenticated, by friends whose judgment he thought he could trust. Such histories were becoming unfashionable in his day, but Baxter saw clearly and published, that to yield the credibility of such things to the sceptics, was blindly to betray Christ to the Sadducees.

Let facts be facts, and good evidence be evidence everywhere, or truth can never be itself. Christianity will never be itself while disciples fear for its fate, or feel it necessary to argue among themselves as to its essence. As an inheritance from the past, the gospel is defensible easily and perfectly; and, when it is itself, it is its own sufficient evidence. But, even as Jesus in his own country had to marvel at unbelief, and“ could there do no mighty work,” so might Christianity now, in its own country, complain of unbelief, not as directed upon itself, but, worse than that, as general anti-spiritual sentiment, weakening the air, so as that the soul of man can get no breath nor strength, nor can think freely, nor look clearly into the past, nor hope for what is offered it from above, nor trust even its own faculty for receiving.

In those in whom it is strongest, the spirit of the age boasts itself against all the ages of the past, as being unworthy of credit on the greatest things which they have to tell about, and as being incapable, incompetent witnesses on even some very simple subjects of observation. And this it does, notwithstanding that, though calling itself the spirit of this enlightened age, it is the avowed spirit of perhaps not one person in a hundred. Every now and then comes forth some one, who

says aloud, after this manner, “I know it, and also every man living, knows by his own eyes and ears, that there has nothing ever been known of the spiritual world—not a word from it even, not a miracle. That there is a state, a region, a fountain-head, a something of spirit, it is now agreed shall be considered as certain. But that anybody knows, or ever has known more about it than anybody else, is nonsense. I am myself the standard by which you may measure Abraham the patriarch; and as to his visions, they were merely dreams, such as I have myself. I am the measure of the man Paul. And, you may believe me, as to voice or light from heaven ever having come to him at the time of h conversion, that it was not so. Simply, at that time, he had a attack of vertigo, such as we all know something about. ( the glorious freedom of the spirit, by which I am free ignore the weary past, so hard to understand, with its miracl and its histories! Oh, the glorious clearing of the mind, by

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