Imagini ale paginilor

ment, their results are meagre and uncertain. According to theory, the terms must be purely intellectual. Every vestige of the material and emotional must be eliminated, as an alloy too gross for the crucible which is to give forth true, pure, universal being.

With no such terms already stored in the receptacle, which has been furnished only by the sensuous and the material, long and tedious is the process by which the terms—the tools of the operation—are forged, and equally elaborate the operation by which the result is obtained. And when all is completed, we have the Absolute, the Unconditioned, the Infinite ; all three, expressions of Nothing-an Idea, without attributes and without relations; an ideal circle from which centre, radii, and circumference have been abstracted. How

a healthy human mind accept such a gigantic abstraction, which has no capability of union with anything, as the source of being and the working power of the universe ?

Compare this pure but one-sided anthropology, which has elaborated its entire whole from itself, with that which has employed the whole nature and all its relations as its object of examination, and the prompter of the con



clusion, and it will be evident that the one is at best a shadow, but the other like David's God, whom he thus describes : "The LORD is my rock and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower.'

The sufficiency of the revelation, therefore, appears, considered simply in its effects on the Israelites; but its excellence is yet more fully shown when they are compared with the other nations of that time.




If the views we have expressed are correct, then we must not only find the influence of the Incarnation in one particular line, but among all other nations also.

At least, we must have proof that all people have had the opportunity of knowing God, and of drawing nigh to Him.

If this were not the case, there would be an evident want of correspondence between the nature and the provision for its universally expressed need.

All but the lowest savages have a religion of some sort; and those who have no longer any worship, nor any god, yet have effete traditions of both, which show that their poverty is recent.

In the past we see recurring desire after a real worship and communion when they have been lost. And it must be remembered that this desire for more authentic knowledge of God sprang from a yet more fundamental sense of need, which produced a religion of some kind in every nation of antiquity. That religion did thus prevail, all history attests. But how is it to be accounted for? All men hunger and thirst; and by their hunger and thirst are prompted to the use of the food and drink which are necessary to the continuance of their life. These are necessary correlatives, and they show us the harmony and correspondence of the physical side of our nature. By what law of thought are we prohibited inferring that a similar universal desire, which is as true

, and precise as the bodily instinct, is not equally natural ? But if this be one of the primary laws of our nature, then we are made for communion with our Maker.

We accordingly find that, in the earliest times, the ancient nations possessed this communion as the fruit of a true and broad knowledge of God. Thus, M. P. Le Page Renhouf, in his Hibbert Lecture of 1879, says, The origin of the religion of Egypt is a matter not of history, but of speculation;' because however far back the recovered books reach, they show it in full operation. Religion, in

[ocr errors]

one form or another, was dominant in every action of their lives.' He quotes the late M. Emmanuel Rougé's ‘mature judgment; than whom no scholar is better entitled to be heard on this subject': No one has called in question the fundamental meaning of the principal passages by the help of which we are able to establish what ancient Egypt has taught concerning God, the world, and man. I say God, not the gods. The first characteristic is the unity, most energetically expressed ; God, one, sole, and only—not others with Him. He is the only Being, living in truth. “ Thou art one, and millions of beings proceed from thee.” He has made everything, and He alone has not been made. The clearest, the simplest, the most precise conception.

The belief in the unity of the supreme God, and in His attributes as Creator and Lawgiver of man, whom He has endowed with an immortal soul, —these are the primitive notions, enchased like indestructible diamonds in the midst of mythological superfetations accumulated in the centuries which have passed over this ancient civilisation' (pp. 90, 91). And the broad and pure morality which regulates every relation of life not only was coeval with these

« ÎnapoiContinuați »