Изображения страниц
[ocr errors]


misery will take no notice of the cold pretence, unless to think, -“Whatever engagements he made for me, I have broken them all.” In short, while Christ is regarded simply as an historical individual, with the chasm of an incommunicable personality between him and us, no ingenuity can construct, except from the ruins of moral law, any other bridge of mediation than the suasion of natural reverence, by which his image passes into the heart of faith.

It is otherwise when we break through the restraints of the modern individualism, and strive to enter into that literal identification of Christ with Christians which is so frequent with St. Paul. If, instead of saying that Christ had our human nature, we could put our thought into this form,—"He was (and is) our human nature,”-if we could suppose our type of being not merely represented in him as a sample, but concentrated in him as a whole, -we should read its essentials and destination in his biography: his predicates would be its predicates: and in his sorrows and sanctity it might undergo purification. Humanity thus made into a person would then be the corresponding fact to Deity embodied in a person: both would be Incarnations, essential Manhood and essential Godhead,-co-present in the same manifested life. In the ordinary conception of the doctrine of two natures Christ is represented, we believe, as a man: in the mode of thought to which we now refer he appears as Man. The difficulties which arise in the attempt to carry out this form of thinking are evident enough even to those who know nothing of the Parmenides of Plato. Indeed they are rendered so obtrusive by our modern habits of mind, that even a momentary seizure, for mere purposes of interpretation, of that older intellectual posture, scarcely remains possible to us. The apprehension of it, however, is indispensable to one who would appreciate the mediatorial theology of Christendom, -a theology which never could have sprung up if our present conceptualist and nominalist notions had always prevailed, and which, ever since their ascendency in Europe, has been driven to deplorable shifts of self-justification. The parallel between the first and second Adam, the fall and the restoration, the death incurred and the life recovered, acquire new meaning for those who thus think,—that as the incidents of Adam's existence become generic by descent, so the incidents of Christ's existence are generic by diffusion; that if in the one we see humanity at head-quarters in time, in the other we see it at head-quarters in comprehension ; so that, like an atmosphere which, purified at nucleus, has the taint drawn off from its margin, our nature is freed from its sickliness in him. It becomes intelligible to us in what sense we are to take refuge in him as our including term, to find in him an

epitome of our true existence, to die (even to have died) with him, to suffer with him, to be risen with him, to dwell above in him. On the assumption of such a union, his life ceases to be an individual biography; what is manifested in him personally becomes true of us universally; and it is as if we were all, like special examples in a general rule, or undeveloped truths in a parent-principle,-virtually present in his dealings with evil and with God. It is evident, that in this view his mediation has no chasm to cross, no foreign region to enter, but is an inseparable predicate of his own personal acts. The facility of conception afforded by this method is betrayed by Mr. Campbell's resort to an analogous hypothesis as a mere illustrative help to the mind. Witness

the following striking passage : “ That we may fully realise what manner of equivalent to the dishonour done to the law and name of God by sin an adequate repentance and sorrow for sin must be, and how far more truly than any penal infliction such repentance and confession must satisfy divine justice, let us suppose that all the sin of humanity has been committed by one human spirit, on whom is accumulated this immeasurable amount of guilt ; and let us suppose this spirit, loaded with all this guilt, to pass out of sin into holiness, and to become filled with the light of God, becoming perfectly righteous with God's own righteousness, such a change, were such a change possible, would imply in the spirit so changed a perfect condemnation of the past of its own existence, and an absolute and perfect repentance, a confession of its sin commensurate with its evil. If the sense of personal identity remained, it must be so. Now, let us contemplate this repentance with reference to the guilt of such a spirit, and the question of pardon for its past sin and admission now to the light of God's favour. Shall this repentance be accepted as an atonement, and, the past sin being thus confessed, shall the Divine favour flow out on that present perfect righteousness which thus condemns the past, or shall that repentance be declared inadequate ? Shall the present perfect righteousness be rejected on account of the past sin, so absolutely and perfectly repented of ? and shall Divine justice still demand adequate punishment for the past sin, and refuse to the present righteousness adequate acknowledgment,the favour which, in respect of its own nature, belongs to it? It appears to me impossible to give any but one answer to these questions. We feel that such a repentance as we are supposing would, in such a case, be the true and proper satisfaction to offended justice. Now, with the difference of personal identity, the case I have supposed is the actual case of Christ, the holy one of God, bearing the sins of all men on his spirit,-in Luther's words, the one sinner,'-and meeting the cry of these sins for judgment, and the wrath due to them, absorbing and exhausting that Divine wrath in that adequate confession and perfect

response on the part of man which was possible only to the infinite and eternal righteousness in humanity."-p. 143.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

The case which our author here presents as an aid to the imagination was to Luther the literal reality ; to whom, accordingly, Christ was “the one sinner,without the difference of personal identity,” which is here so innocently slipped in, as if it were of no consequence. Christ, in the reformer's view, was humanity, our humanity ; and the grand function and triumph of faith is to feel ourselves included in him, to merge our individuality, sins and all, in his comprehending manhood and atoning obedience. Hence the stress which Luther lays on “the well-applying the pronoun" our, in the phrase, “ who gave himself for our sins;" “ that this one syllable being believed may swallow up all thy sins.” The effect of this realism on the theology of Luther has not been sufficiently remarked. We believe it to be the key to much that is obscure in his writings, and the secret source of his antipathy to the Calvinistic type of the Reformation. Absorption of Manhood into Christ,distribution of Godhead into humanity,—these were the correlative parts of his objective belief,-Atonement and Eucharistic Real Presence: and neither in themselves nor in their correspondence can they be appreciated, without standing with him at the point of view which we have endeavoured to indicate.

Whether mediatorial religion shall continue to include in its scheme some provision for dealing with God on behalf of men, will mainly depend on the successful revival or the final abandonment of the old realistic modes of thought. Mr. Campbell's compromise with them, taking refuge with them for illustration while disowning them in substance, answers no logical or theological purpose at all. If he follows out the natural tendencies and affinities of his faith, he must rest exclusively at last in the other half of the doctrine, which exhibits the dealing with man on behalf of God. In this best sense mediatorial religion is imperishable, and imperishably identified with Christianity. The Son of God, at once above our life and in our life, morally divine and circumstantially human, mediates for us between the self so hard to escape, and the Infinite so hopeless to reach; and draws us out of our mournful darkness without losing us in excess of light. He opens to us the moral and spiritual mysteries of our existence, appealing to a consciousness in us that was asleep before. And though he leaves whole worlds of thought approachable only by silent wonder, yet his own walk of heavenly communion, his words of grace and works of power, his strife of divine sorrow, his cross of self-sacrifice, his reappearance behind the veil of life eternal, fix on him such holy trust and love, that where we are denied the assurance of knowledge, we attain the

repose of faith.


Grote's History of Greece. Vol. 12. Murray.
History of Latin Christianity. Vols. 4-6. By Dean Milman. Murray.
History of Christian Churches and Sects. By the Rev. J. B. Marsden.

2 vols. Bentley. First Three Centuries of the Christian Church. By the Rev. J. J.

Blunt. Murray. A History of Europe from 1815-52. By Sir A. Alison. Vol. 5.

Blackwood. The European Revolutions of 1848. By Edward Stillingfleet Cayley.

2 vols. Smith and Elder. A History of the Dutch Republic. By J. L. Motley. 2 vols. John

Chapman. The Nature of the Atonement, and its Relation to Remission of

Sins and Eternal Life. By John M‘Leod Campbell. Macmillan. Hours with the Mystics. By Robert A. Vaughan. 2 vols. J. W.

Parker and Son. Lectures on the History of Ancient Philosophy. By the Rev. Archer

Butler. Edited by William Hepworth Thompson, M.A. 2 vols.

Macmillan. Modern Painters. By John Ruskin. Vol. 3. Smith and Elder. Illustrated Handbook of the Arts of the Middle Ages. By M. Labarte.

Murray. Handbook of Architecture. By James Fergusson. 2 vols. Murray. Sinai and Palestine. By the Rev. A. P. Stanley. Murray. The Englishwoman in America. Murray. Letters from Cuba and the United States. By Hon. Amelia Murray.

2 vols. J. W. Parker and Son. An Account of the Defence of Kars. By Dr. Sandwith. Murray. A Journal of the War. By Mrs. Henry Duberly. Longman. A Pilgrimage to El Medinah and Meccah. By Captain R. Burton

Vol. 3. Longman. A Journal of a Tour in unsettled Parts of North America in 1796 and

1797. By the late Francis Baily. Edited by Augustus De Morgan,

Esq. Baily Brothers. The Science of Social Opulence. By William Lucas Sargant. Simpkin

and Marshall.



Recent Works suitable for Book-Societies.

The Political Life of Sir Robert Peel. An Analytical Biography. By

Thomas Doubleday. 2 vols. Smith and Elder. Table-Talk of Samuel Rogers. Moxon. . Memoirs of Mrs. Fitzherbert, with an Account of her Marriage with

H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, afterwards King George IV. By the

Hon. Charles Langdale. Bentley. Memoirs of Ralph Wardlaw, D.D. By the Rev. W. L. Alexander.

Black and Co. A Portion of a Journal kept by Thomas Raikes, Esq., from 1831-1847.

Vols. 1 and 2. Longman. A Selection from the Correspondence of Robert Southey. Vols. 1 and

2.' Longman. The Iliad of Homer faithfully translated into unrhymed English Metre.

By F. W. Newman. Walton and Maberly. Noctes Ambrosianæ. Vol. 3. Blackwood. The Lump of Gold, and other Poems. By Charles Mackay. Routledge. The Isles of Loch Awe and other Poems. With Illustrations. By

Philip Gilbert Hamerton. W. E. Painter. Poems. By James Ballantine. Constable. The Daisy Chain; or, Aspirations. A Family Chronicle. By the Author

of “ The Heir of Redclyffe.” J. W. Parker and Son. After Dark. By Wilkie Collins. 3 vols. Smith and Elder. Amberbill. 2 vols. Smith and Elder. Clara ; or, Slave-life in Europe. With a Preface by Sir A. Alison.

3 vols. Bentley.

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »