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unity of all things is found. But it recognizes him also as a plastic creator, expressing himself in creations of beauty; not merely creating the flowers and all lovely things to secure in them the praise of his creatures, but adorning the lonely wilderness, and elaborately painting even the microscopic animalculæ, because he himself delights in beauty, because the spontaneous evolution of his own character impels him to make his works beautiful, and then divinely to rejoice in them, and declare that they are very good.
That Christianity justifies this view of God is evident, because it teaches that there are, in the divine nature, energies which impel him to act, and of which his action is the spontaneous evolution and the real satisfaction. Such, for example, is the doctrine that Christ's sacrifice satisfies the divine justice, and the doctrine that the pardon of a penitent satisfies the yearnings of the divine compassion. It teaches that in God are feelings,—if this human word may be applied to those divine and external energies—which, by their very existence, necessitate a certain course of the divine procedure. Such, for example, is the doctrine that Christ died that God might be just ; his justice could not but evolve itself in that divine action. A similar evolution and satisfaction of himself in creations of beauty, is precisely the idea of God, which the æsthetic mind demands. Thus in the profoundest and most distinctive doctrine of orthodoxy, we find the deepest idea of æsthetics, and the very element that is to satisfy its demands.
And precisely accordant with this view of the divine character, is the divine requirement of men in order that they may be made into God's image. He requires, not merely that they propose their own happiness or the happiness of the universe as a distinct and objective end of action, but that they act from an inward and spontaneous delight in holiness and in God; that they so discern his loveliness that they shall spontaneously praise him, and thus participate in the spirit of heaven, whose perfect inhabitants are so enraptured with what they see of the Divine beauty, that they can never satisfy themselves with wondering adoration, and rest
not, day nor night, saying : “ Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty! the whole earth is full of thy glory.” And this realizes precisely the life of spontaneous joy in all that is, which the æsthetic mind demands.
It is true that, when the Christian life commences in the soul, it allies itself with the love of self and a regard to the soul's highest interest; it allies itself with conscience, and strengthens itself by appeal to duty; and the man goes forth to work because he knows he ought, and his Christian life is a conflict and a toil. But, as the Christian life advances, it is more and more the development of love, the very nature of which is to fasten on its object for its own sake, and with no ulterior consideration ; and love gradually gets precedence of the sense of duty and the regard to eternal interest, and, in its quick and spontaneous impulses, leaves no place for the categoric imperative of conscience ; and the whole life of the soul, in trae spiritual freedom, tends to become but the spontaneous action of pure impulses and the perpetual following of sanctified desires ; tends to the statecertainly realized in heaven, if not before — when work will be no longer toil, when action will no longer be conscious of restraint, and the whole existence will be one long gushing joy in all that is, an everlasting anthem, spontaneous as the music of birds, intelligent as the adoration of angels.
Thus Christianity has resources to satisfy the unintelligent demands of those æsthetic natures that impotently strive to realize a spontaneous, childlike, purposeless joy in the beauty of nature, which can be realized only in the perfection of holiness ; those souls that discard the purpose and work of life, in their enjoyment of what it expresses, who, to avoid the conflict of subjecting the will to law, recognize no personal will of God, and scarcely any definite will or purpose of their own, more than as “the river windeth at its own free will;" who know not that the spontaneousness which they inadequately exhibit, is realized only in Christianity, which most distinctly reveals the personal will of God, and most distinctly demands that human life should be controlled by an intelligent purpose and the human will sub
jected to the divine law; and which, at last, realizes that true freedom in which the broadest influence of purpose and intensity of volition are combined with the perfectly spontaneous and never ending joy of divine love.
The four demands of infidelity, which have been enumerated, lie outside of the immediate scope of Christianity; yet Christianity is adequate to meet them. There are other demands of the soul, which never lead to infidelity for their satisfaction. Such are, the consciousness of guilt and of the need of reconciliation to God; the consciousness of sin and the aspiration for spiritual purity; the consciousness of im
erfection in all that is human, and the demand for objects of pursuit that are adequate to satisfy, and an object of love that is free from all unworthiness, and capable of concentrating the strongest affections of the soul. These demands Christianity alone meets. And however desirable it may be to present it, in all its comprehensiveness and its fitness to meet every human want, it is its adaptedness to these spiritual necessities, which give it its highest power; and, in meeting these, it must always find its highest success. All its incidental capacities are found in its central revelation of God in Christ reconciling the world unto himself. To preach Christianity, in all its comprehensiveness, we are not to preach Christ less ; but to understand that, in him, are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and that, only by studying more thoroughly Christ and redemption through him, can we learn more clearly what is the comprehensiveness of the Christian system, and how to set it forth in its fit ness to meet all the wants of man.
Brethren of the Society of Inquiry, to you this gospel is now committed. In the face of infidelity and atheism, in the face of heathenism and superstition, in the face of worldliness and indifference, in defiance of Satan and all his strength, you are now to go forth to proclaim this gospel of life. See that you grasp its central life, and discern its universal scope, and preach it as the power of God unto salvation. Human expectations perish. Hopes swell in the huVOL. XIII. No. 50.
man heart like waves out of the ocean, only to break in ceaseless succession and roll back, sighing, to the heart from which they came; and the heart, strong as the ocean, never ceases to swell with new hopes, always to break again. But beneath the swelling and breaking of human hopes rises, evermore, the ocean-tide of God's love. This is the Divine power, swelling vast in the gospel that you preach. It is the promise of the Eternal : “ The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” In this assurance labor. Broken hopes, thwarted plans, bitter discoveries of human wickedness, toil without visible results will sober and sadden you. Death will overtake you while you feel that you have accomplished nothing, and you will be able only to look to Jesus to pardon an unprofitable servant; yet, in the assurance of victory, labor; and, in the distant future, looking down on the renovated earth, you will hear and join the voice of the great multitude, as the voice of many waters and the voice of mighty thunderings, saying : “ Alleluia, for the Lord God Omnipotent reigneth!”
FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE OF THE SCRIPTURES.
By Rev. Edward Robie, Greenland, N. H.
The number of primitive words in any language is exceedingly small; and each primitive word was, in the first instance, the name of some object or appearance in outward nature. A word is used literally when it is used in its primary sense and original application; a word is used figuratively when, though retaining its primary sense, it is used in an application different from its original one." E. g. when, in
1 Newman's Rhetoric, p. 103, sixth edition.
a description of some stately edifice, mention is made of the pillars that support the structure, the word pillars is used in its ordinary literal sense; but when it is said that virtue and intelligence are the pillars of a republic, or when it is said of some distinguished statesmen, that they are the pillars of the State, the word is still used in its common signification, as denoting that which, firmly fixed, gives a solid support; but the word is applied to objects different from those to which it was originally applied, and is accordingly figurative in its use,
When it is said of old-age that is the evening of life, the word evening is used in its ordinary sense, but not in its ordinary application; and the word calls up before the mind images of the setting sun and the approaching twilight, which betoken the close of the day; and, in the form of the expression, there is an implied comparison between the life of man and a natural day.
By far the great majority of words in any language are figurative; although many words have been so long and so exclusively applied to spiritual ideas, that their primary and original application has been lost sight of, or forgotten. A slight examination, however, into their history, will show that they are figurative ; or if, with regard to some few words, this cannot be done, it is because their early history is lost in obscurity. Very few persons, in speaking of the moral ideas of right and of wrong, remember that these words are figurative. Yet right literally means straight; and wrong literally means wrung, twisted, crooked. Law denotes that which is laid. All words applied to mental exercises or states are figurative, being originally applied to outward and material things. Thus, to imagine, in its literal signification, implies the forming of some visible image; to impress, conveys the idea of leaving a stamp or mark, as a seal leaves its stamp on the wax or any other soft substance. To reflect
1 So with the word Gesetz in German, which is a participial form from setzen. Thus in the very structure of language there is an argument for the being of God. As the Latin word futum, meaning something spoken, implies that there must first be some being who spake what is fated or spoken, so the English word law implies that there must first be some being who laid what is laid.