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tree or as a germ, that through secondary causes — the sunlight, the air, and the rain — should expand into the oak? The microscopic germ, with this force lodged in it, that determines the growth of the oak, the form and strength of every fibre, the outline of every leaf, the outward sculpture and inward structure of every acorn that shall cover it for a thousand years, is as much a proof of infinite wisdom and almighty power as the oak in its perfection. If one fails to be proof, the other must. If, to go further, we were to suppose a single germ to be placed upon this globe, which, with untold ages for its development, should give rise to all the myriad forms of vegetable and animal lise, with all their wonderful relations to each other, as the germ of the oak develops the woody fiber, the root, the stem, the leaf, the flower, and the fruit, all unlike, but having a relation to each other — if we could believe that from one such germ all life upon our globe had sprung, would it shake our belief for one moment in Goa, or alter our conception of his character? Do we look upon the trees and the animals around
upon our own bodies — as any the less the work of God, or evidence of his existence and illustrative of his character, because produced through secondary causes, than they would be if they came full grown from the hand of God, as we believe that Adam came? Not at all. If one looks at his own body, and fails to see so much of purpose there as to imply a designer, then he would fail to see it if he were created full grown. There is a certain kind or degree of scepticism for which there is no cure : it is an incapacity to weigh proof. This may exist in connection with great learning and great power of scientific investigation. Where this defect exists, all labor spent in accumulating proof is labor lost. When you have presented one object to a man in clear sunlight and he cannot see it, you know he is blind, and no accumulation of objects will enable him to see. This principle was forcibly illustrated by our Saviour when Abraham says: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead."
We consider the scientific discussion as to how animals and plants came upon this globe to be a matter of investigation as to facts. How that question will be ultimately decided we have no doubt. Biologists can throw light upon many dark points, but it is upon geology that we must mainly rely for facts. We have not yet seen any strong argument made out, nor do we believe that geology has yet given one whisper of satisfactory testimony in favor of the development theory. And if we are threatened with the authority of great names, we will not be dismayed while we have on our bookshelves the works of the same great men, in which the opposite view is most ably maintained. We can afford to wait, certainly, till they have refuted their own arguments, unless we get new light in other directions. When the proof comes, we are not only bound to receive it, but are ready to do so. And it will have no more to do with the argument for the existence and attributes of God, than the discussion before an aged oak whether it were created as a tree or sprung, like ordinary oaks, from the germ within
We welcome all the labors of the development theorists, and feel thankful for them. We welcome them as contributions to science. We never read a more convincing work on natural theology than Darwin's book on the fertilization of orchids. We have no doubt that he and his colaborers are accumulating weapons that will yet batter down his philosophy and the leading theory upon which it rests. “ We heartily adopt,” says a distinguished scientific man, “ the science of Darwin, but not his philosophy.” The distinction is a just one; and such a spirit will guide us safely. The subject of variations, which we have been discussing, has given rise to the development theory. We accept the facts of variation and the influence of natural selection," but not the inferences that are drawn from them. We see the need of variation for the best good of the world, for man himself. If provided for in the creation of certain species, and those species most useful to man, we see in this a mark of wisdom as much as in the adaptation of the parts Vol. XXI. No. 82.
of our bodies to each other, or of our bodies to the external world. We regard, then, the law of variation as a means of preserving the species under certain circumstances, and as a means of better fitting created things for their various uses, and not as the creator of the thing, nor in any sense the originator of the species. Variation is the quality of a species, and not its producer. We see nothing yet to shake this belief; but if the lessons we have learned from geology and living forms are to be modified or proved to be mistakes, we will welcome the new light. It will not be hard to change opinion in such goodly company.
EXAMINATION OF PHILIP. III. 11 AND REV. XX. 4.
BY PROF. JOHN J. OWEN, D.D., FREE ACADEMY, NEW YORK CITY.
The first of these passages, as found in our common version, reads thus: “ If by any means, I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead." That the general resurrection of mankind, both good and bad, is not here referred to, appears quite evident from the context, which represents it as an object of the apostle's greatest concern to secure personally for himself. To share in the general resurrection, he had only to live and die as a heathen man or an unbelieving Jew; but to attain to the resurrection here spoken of, he must “know Christ, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, and be made conformable unto his death.” Even then, possessed of all these high spiritual attainments, there is an einws (if possibly, if by any means), which, connected as here with the indicative mood, implies indeed no uncertainty of result, but nevertheless emphasizes most strongly the great difficulty of the achievement.
The resurrection here spoken of, must then be a resurrection of the righteous dead, who, as Paul in 1 Thess. iv. 16, 17 informs us, are to rise first — that is, before those living on the earth are changed — and be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and so to be ever with the Lord. To this resurrection, as being distinct from, and antecedent to, that of the wicked dead, our Lord may have had reference in Luke xiv. 12-14, when he exhorted the chief Pharisee at whose table he was reclining, to bid the poor, the maimed,
, the lame, and the blind to his entertainments, adding for his encouragement, that he should be recompensed therefor at the resurrection of the just. A reference to the resurrection of the righteous dead, apart from that of the wicked, appears also clearly to be found in our Saviour's reply to the Sadducees (Luke xx. 35), " but they who shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry,” etc.
It cannot be denied, that Paul may have had such a beatific vision of the glory of this resurrection of the just, that it seemed to him an object of attainment, in comparison with which everything else seemed insignificant and worthless. The marvellous disclosure of revelation, that from the loathsome grave the body so long held in its putrid embrace was to come forth, no more an object of aversion and horror, but one of resplendent beauty and loveliness, fashioned like unto Christ's glorious body, to dwell forever with God and the holy angels, was enough, perhaps, of itself to fill the soul of the apostle with an intense longing to have a part in so wonderful a resurrection and transformation.
But, nevertheless, this is a resurrection to which all the righteous will attain. Although it is an inference from scripture, and from our reasonings of the future life from what we see around us, that saints in heaven will be possessed of different grades of glory and blessedness, according as may have been their spiritual attainment on earth, yet we are assured in the word of God, that all the dead in
Christ shall rise in his likeness, and be admitted into his glorious presence. Why then, it may be asked, was there such an intense desire on the part of Paul to attain to that which will be reached by all the pious dead? Why did he struggle for a blessing which belonged so clearly even to the humblest believer?
Interpreters have felt this difficulty, and have resorted to various methods to overcome it. It is the opinion of some, that the apostle simply expresses his desire to put himself under the transforming influence of this fact of the resurrection, and thus make it conducive to growth in grace and holiness. But such an exposition would do great violence both to the language and drift of the passage. The verb katavráw is employed in the New Testament and elsewhere, signifying to come to, arrive at, and, metaphorically, to attain to the possession of a thing. It is never used to denote the passive reception of that which follows as the object, but the acquisition of it - as the end or goal of one's aim and desire. Very harsh also would be that metaphor which would refer the resurrection of the dead here spoken of, to the influence of that fact upon the soul of the believer. Not that we would deny the power of this great truth, when fully apprehended, to excite the highest aspirations after holiness; but the phrase, "resurrection of the dead," is too specifically used, here and elsewhere in the New Testament, to justify our interpreting it as an influence or motive excited by the fact, and not the very fact itself.
Similar to this interpretation is that which refers the words now under consideration to Christ's resurrection, spoken of in the preceding verse.
But there is a wide dif. ference in the relations which that resurrection and the one here spoken of sustain to the apostle's line of argument. The knowledge of Christ's resurrection is introduced as a means to an end, which end is made known in the following verse : είπως καταντήσω εις την εξανάστασιν των νεκρών. The knowledge of that resurrection cannot be regarded logically as the means of attaining to its power or in