« ÎnapoiContinuă »
The revelation, therefore, which is fully adequate to human need, must appeal to all three sides of our nature. By our senses, we must be assured that its author is the Ruler of the material universe; by our intellect, we must be able to perceive the harmony of His special and ordinary operation; and by our spiritual perception, we must be able to recognise the Father of our spirits. Actions and words thus attested will therefore be the outward form of the revelation, except in those cases in which the Divine Spirit directly speaks to or acts upon our spirit.
So far as the intellect of the Creator is concerned, we have full revelation in the production and rule of the universe; but as we have seen that the material rule is impossible to man, so we may look for the fuller revelation of the Supreme Ruler in the rule He exercises
This of necessity is a rule of law. By law, we understand a rule of life, imposed by adequate authority, and enforced by suitable sanctions. Such law must be natural, not arbitrary, such as will improve the life and perfect the nature. It can only come from the Author of the nature, because He alone understands its potentialities, and He only has the
right to fix its destiny. It would also seem as though the reward would be mainly an elevation of the nature, both in itself and in its conditions, and the punishment a degradation of the nature and its conditions. The necessity for such government for man arises from his dependence, and from his union with others of equal claims and of equal dependence. But this implies something entirely different from the forces of the material universe as the means of enforcing the law. Obedience to law necessarily supposes knowledge of the command, sense of obligation, and acquaintance with the consequences of obedience and disobedience. And although this may incipiently be found in the nature,-proclaimed and enforced by conscience,-yet for the full necessity of our nature, direct instruction is required. Even in purely secular things, this instruction is necessary to success; for without it no man can begin at the beginning, in handicraft or science, and proceed to eminence. But as the domain of law is in the highest side of human nature, which affects and rules the lower sides, the necessity is imperative. This involves a direct communication of the Divine will, without which it is impossible that the law can be
known, either in precept, authority, or sanction. We have here a threefold Divine revelation, involved in our nature, requiring such a rule. The law itself reveals the righteousness of the Ruler; the instruction, His deep interest in the creature, for whose benefit it is given; and the maintenance of the law, His continual operation in the nature over which it rules.
If we consider all that is implied in the spiritual life of man, we shall see that a distinct knowledge of the relations borne by God to us must exist before the development of suitable emotions is possible. But as the human intellect is incapable of demonstrating the Divine existence, so, à fortiori, it cannot give us any instruction concerning the many phases of His nature, and of His relations to us. Thus, not only is an outward and direct revelation of Himself necessary, but by that necessity it is guaranteed, because not only is suitable emotion and action required as the first duty of a creature toward his Creator, but it is only by such subordination and obedience that the final purpose of the scheme of which he is the head can be attained. And this is all the more certain, as man by necessity of nature is under the dominion of law, which we have seen requires a knowledge of command and obligation, neither of which can exist without the knowledge of the lawgiver.
The above conclusions have enhanced value, from the fact that the emotions and actions, both in the subject and object, are essentially personal, and therefore require a knowledge of the person towards whom they are exercised. I can only reverence, obey, love, and trust a person, and neither of these acts can be performed to one of whom I know nothing, whose very existence I am unable to prove. But reverence, submission, trust, and love to God are at the foundation of every high and noble human character. For these principles and samples of highest human excellence there must be a sufficient reason : the greatest results cannot be without a cause; and in this case the primary element of the cause is the knowledge of a person whose nature and whose relations to me require every duty I can render Him. Inasmuch, therefore, as my nature requires this knowledge, and as my intellect cannot furnish it, there must be some side of my nature capable of receiving it, and which, therefore, the Creator has supplied.
As the intellectual life of man is awakened and developed by the operation of the Creator and Upholder in the visible universe, so the spiritual life is awakened and developed by the direct operation of the Divine Spirit in and around its subjects. As the superiority of the intellectual over the animal life is seen, in that it employs and rules it, so the superiority of the spiritual over the intellectual is shown in the same manner. The evidence in proof of an intellectual life in man is the science, the philosophy, and learning at present existing, and the records of intellectual vigour in past times embalmed in books and other monuments of its power. In like manner we can turn to myriads, all through past time, who have been conscious of the spiritual life, who have declared its origin and nurture to have been as above described, and who have acknowledged it to be the cause of all the virtue which has improved and adorned themselves, and which made them the means of similar life and virtue in others. This is a series of facts of the highest historic authority, for not only have such cases been found in all