Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

and glory,

how far soever they may actually come short of it, so also in the exaltation of Christ to the right hand of the majesty on high, he still shares a human destiny, a destiny attainable by us, a joy and glorious reward which will be shared in kind by all his faithful followers ; and according to the measure of their gifts and their fidelity to him will their reward and crown be glorious, though they will shine as lesser lights around the august throne of God, and Christ himself will appear with a brighter, fuller radiance, as their Head, Leader, Shepherd, the Captain of their salvation. “ For the joy that was set before liim he endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Heb. xii. 2.) But to his faithful disciples, Jesus also assigned thrones of judgment declaring that in his Father's house were many mansions, and that they should be with him where he was to be, and behold his glory, and share in the triumphs of his spiritual kingdom. When, therefore, we read that Jesus is crowned with glory and honor for the suffering of death, we are to remember, for our encouragement, that it is the man, Christ Jesus," who suffered and was crowned ; and that we, and every man who walks in his steps, living not for himself alone, but for the world, consecrating his time, talents, wealth, and opportunities to the promotion of truth and righteousness, shall also receive a crown of glory. The memory of the just shall be held in everlasting honor. “ They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever.” (Dan. xii. 3.) Do we then detract from the honor due to the Saviour, when we set him forth as made in the likeness of sinful fesh ?" (Rom. xiii. 3) Nay, we exalt him, by giving him the glory due unto his name. For his true glory, as every man's true glory, consists in being obedient and faithful to the law of God and the will of God, under the conditions of trial and temptation and free will which belong to the lot of humanity. And his preeminent distinction and glory consist in this, that he humbled himself and became obedient even unto death upon the cross.

“ Therefore, (i. e., for this reason,) God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name.” (Phil. ii. 9.) “ And he is the head of the body, the Church ; who is the beginning, the first-born from the dead ; that in all things he might have the preeminence.” (Col. i. 18.)

In conclusion, we observe, that we have thus endeavored to maintain the honors justly belonging to the Saviour, without making them interfere with those of his father and our Father, of his God and our God; “ that Supreme, that Great and Awful Being, to whose will he was always most perfectly submissive, and for whose unrivalled prerogative he always showed the most lively zeal.” 11 And how much more touching and forceful are the example and precepts of Christ, when we view him in the simple light of a man approved of God, and as he himself said, " I am in the Father, and the Father in me, and the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works,” (John, xiv. 10,) than to suppose him infinitely remote, by his very nature, from our proper humanity. When we follow his footsteps, hang on his lips, and listen to his divine instructions, as the evangelists have recorded them, and trace him through the scenes of his last trial and temptation, in Pilate's judgment hall, in the Garden of Gethsemane, and gather in spirit around Calvary, and catch the accents of that matchless prayer, which, in the agonies of death, he offered up for the forgiveness of his enemies, while their hands were reeking with his blood, — it is his proper humanity which lends the chief interest to the scene, and so touches the heart, and awakens our deepest wonder, admiration, gratitude, and love. Were he the Supreme God, we feel that he could not thus have suffered. Were he not human, his sufferings, his piety, his meekness, his divine love and holy resignation to the will of God, would have no such power over us to melt the soul, and enkindle in our hearts a congenial sentiment of lofty self-denial, profound humility, and boundless love. No higher motive to the consecration of all our powers to the service of God and the good of mankind can be imagined, than that which is furnished by the example of Christ, who being in the form of God, and not thinking it robbery to be like God in receiving homage from mankind, yet humbled himself, and took the form of a servant, and became obedient unto death for our sakes; and on

11 Priestly, Corruptions of Christianity ; Dedication to Rev. Theodore Lindsey.

account of this humility and self renunciation, has been exalted high in honor, and had a name given to him which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus

every

knee should bow and every tongue confess that he is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. And surely, if we realize the trutlis of the gospel, and understand its principles, and apprehend aright the example of Christ, and appreciate his spirit, we shall not fail to let the same mind be in us which was in “the man, Christ Jesus,” and cherish the same pure, benevolent, meek and lowly disposition, which dwelt in him, who is the way, the truth, and the life.

J. 0. S.

ART. XX.

Did Jesus Sanction the Jewish Belief in regard to the Devil ?

“ Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father

ye

will do." (John, viii. 44.)

“He that coinmitteth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.” (1 John, iii. 8.)

“For the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil; whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God; neither he that loveth not his brother.” (1 John, iii. 10.)

That through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil.” (Heb. ii. 14.)

"If Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how then shall his kingdom stand ?” (Matt. xii. 26.)

“And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day.” (Luke, xiii. 18.)

“ To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God.” (Acts, xxvi. 18.)

“I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.” (Luke, x. 17-21.)

1. These passages recognize the Jewish belief in a spirit of wickedness, a personal being, as the cause of physical and moral evils,

That in the period subsequent to the Babylonish captivity, the notion of some sort of an evil spirit, as an enemy of God and man, had found its way into the Jewish thought, it is but reasonable to believe, even though it does not show itself in any definite and positive form in their sacred books. But after the close of the Old Testament, during the period between the last of the prophets and the advent of Christ, some four hundred years, the idea had become fully developed by their intercourse with the heathen, and the growth of Oriental speculations, and had taken the peculiar and personal shape with which it is clothed in their minds, whenever it is brought out in the New Testament by contact with Christ and his disciples.

We have selected those passages chiefly in which the Saviour recognizes this belief of the Jews, and adopts their language, for the purpose of meeting the point respecting the sanction given to opinions by the use of the popular terms in which these opinions are expressed.

Christ, certainly, does not enter into special argument on the subject, or attempt, by an elaborate exposure of their error, to convince them of the folly and falsity of the belief. Would this fact justify the conclusion that therefore he adopted their doctrine, and believed with them in the existence of a mighty evil spirit, who is the foe of God, and forever engaged in seducing the spirits and afflicting the bodies of men ?

This would be a very hasty and a very unsafe logic, and would involve us in endless difficulties. It is true that Christ and the apostles speak of the devil as a real person; but they do the same in other cases, where it will not be pretended that they believed in the actual existence or personality of the subject of their remarks. For example, the Saviour

6. No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon.” (Matt. vi. 24.) Here Mammon, the heathen god of riches, is spoken of in the same language as the Almighty; and yet who regards this as any evidence of his real existence, or of Christ's belief in his existence? Yet he does not deny his existence, but speaks of him as having servants, as being loved and held to by his worshippers. It would be a very weak and

says :

לל

puerile logic which should argue that, therefore, Mammon was a real god, or else Jesus sanctioned the error which he ought to have corrected. Ile simply used the popular speech of the day to rebuke a common sin ; and meant no more than preachers do at this day, who warn the people against giving themselves up to the service of Mammon.

In the same manner the prophet speaks of Beelzebub, whom the Jews called “ the prince of devils,” literally, * demons.” 1 Matt. xii. 24, 27, &c. This Beelzebub was one of the heathen gods, the “ god of flies,” whose worship was established specially at Ekron. We read in the Old

Testament, that Ahaziah, king of Israel, who had been severely injured by a fall, “sent messengers, saying unto them, Go, inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron, whether I shall recover of this disease. But the angel of the Lord said to Elijah, the Tisbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say unto them, Is it not because there is not a god in Israel, that ye go to inquire of Baal-zebub, the god of Ekron.'

(2 Kings, i. 1, 2, &c.)

Now we must note here, that the angel of the Lord and Elijah both speak of this fly-god, Baalzebub, as though he were really a god, an actual being. They do not deny his existence, nor enter into an argument with the messengers, or with Ahaziah, to prove that they are in error in believing in his personality. The whole point of the proceeding was

1 Beelzebub was not the only " prince of devils ;" for the ancient Sabians called “ Sammael" the “prince of demons,” or evil spirits, though the Jews call him the “angel of death.” So “Serapis,” whom Plutarch calls the cominon god of the Egyptians, the same with Osiris, is called by Porphyry the chief or “prince of evil demons.” Among the Hindoos, “ Moisasur” is the prince of devils, and the king of hell; and with Christians, Satan has attained to that honor. We do not know how these rivals settle the matter among themselves.

2 “The meaning of the word zebub, or zebul, is a fly, the god of which the Ekronites worshipped. History informs us that those who lived in hot climates, and where the soil is moist, which was the case with the Ekronites, who bordered on the sea, were exceedingly infested with fies. These insects were thought to cause contagious distempers. Pliny nakes mention of a people who stopped a pestilence, which these insects caused, by sacrificing to the fly-hunting god," probably this same Beelzebub. — Inquiry into the Existence of a Personal Devil, p. 42. Pliny's Nat. Hist. L. x. c. 28, $40. See also Parkhurst on the word. VOL. XVII,

25

« ÎnapoiContinuați »