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an account of his removal, says:—-"The a very long time. He was also a great deceased transacted business principally lover of antiquities, and might be termed in London during the previous week, a prince aniong antiquarians. And and was noticed on Saturday to be during his life he collected one of the particularly cheerful. He rose on Sun- finest private museums of antique relics day morning, took a comfortable break. of Scotland to be found anywhere. It fast, and whilst perusing a periodical gave him great delight to keep this open fell back in his chair and expired with. to the public; and when he could spare out a struggle or a groan.”
the time, to give a description of the He received the heavenly doctrines objects he had thus collected and of the while residing at Islington, and joined persons to whom they originally bethe Deptford Society shortly after its longed. Mr. Paton in early life became re-organization in 1865, became secre. thoroughly dissatisfied with Calvinism, tary in 1867, and continued so up to and became a zealous Methodist ; but the time of his removal. For some in Methodism he did not find that rest he time after his joining the Deptford so ardently longed for, and he became Society he occasionally took a part attached to the Society of Friends, and in the services, but his professional for some years advocated their views. engagements increasing, he was com. On the occasion of Mr. Rendell visiting pelled to give that up. Living at a Dunfermline, some thirty-five years ago, distance from the church, he was very some of the New Church tracts were anxious to spread the doctrines in his handed to him, and he very soon saw own neighbourhood, and last year a the superior light of the New Dispencourse of lectures was given by Mr. sation. Hearing of Mr. A. Drysdale Gunton at Woolwich, and service con- of Alloa, he visited him, and a listing tinued on Sunday evenings for some friendship was formed between them. time after, Mr. Gosling bearing the Mr. Paton soon put himself in possession principal part of the expenses, but owing of all the works of Swedenborg, and here to his illness and other unfavourable he found rest and security to his mind circumstances the service had to be in the faith of Jehovah Jesus, so clearly abandoned.
taught by Swedenborg. From the His loss will be felt not only by the ardent study of these invaluable writ. Deptford Society but also by the Church ings, and the careful cultivation of the at large, for, in addition to the services life of usefulness they enjoin, he becaine already enumerated, he had served the highly successful in promoting the Church in his professional capacity, hav- knowledge and love of divine truth. ing been the architect of the churches He was an acute reasoner, and was able at Brightlingsea, Deptford, Camberwell, to grasp any subject and illustrate it Horncastle, and Camden Road; and to with the eloquence and power of a proshow how much he loved the Church, fessor. Some people thought him : and how great his loss, we add, on be- little severe when treating on a subject half of the Deptford Society, that he that he regarded as contrary to the gave his professional services gratui. Scriptures—he had no sympathy with tously, thus saving them a considerable error, and while many men would have sum as architect's fees.
been inclined to use the wedge, Mr. Joseph N. Paton, Wooers' Alley Paton would have used the hammer. Cottage, Dunfermline, was removed into But, notwithstanding, he was a most the other life on the 14th April. After genial, warm-hearted man. Many times about ten days of failing strength he the writer has felt the full force of his passed away without pain a little before sympathy when pleading for the doce 10 o'clock A.M., aged 78 years. Mr. trines, and more especially in late years, Paton was a man of no ordinary ability. no man could go into his company and From his boyhood he showed a marked enjoy his conversation without leaving taste for sketching, and ornamenting better than when he went. This good his neighbours' hearth-stones with all man has passed from the present scene, sorts of designs. When he became a and the large concourse of clergy and man he cultivated his talents and ap- people of Dunfermline that attended the plied it to pattern designing for damask funeral, showed that, notwithstanding manufactures, to which his genius has what was considered the peculiarity of given a name and a position to the town his religious belief, he was honoured, of Dunfermline, likely to outlive him for respected, and loved.
BORROWING the enthusiastic language of Ernesti,—“The fourth Gospel is the heart of Christ,”—Mr. Sears has thus entitled the interesting and valuable work which he has recently given to the public. The general reader cannot peruse the book without profit, and all who are acquainted with or interested in New Church theology will find very much in the work to afford them pleasure as well as information. It is to be regretted that the book has not yet been republished in this country: the appreciation of the American public is evinced in the fact that the work has there reached a fourth edition. Deeming it eminently deserving the attention of students of New Church theology, I propose to supply the readers of the Intellectual Repository with sufficiently copious materials to enable them to form a concept of the book's character and contents. It is scholarly enough to afford solid instruction, and it is eloquent and rhetorical enough to relieve scholarship from the charge of being dull. Fortunately for English readers, Mr. Sears is sufficiently well known by others of his works, and especially by his valuable treatise on “Regeneration," not to need any
” description of his literary style. The elegance and eloquence which characterise his other works are abundantly-sometimes almost too abundantly—displayed in the book now before me.
1 "The Fourth Gospel the Heart of Christ.” By Edmund H. Sears. Boston: Noyes, Holmes & Co. 1874. Demy 8vo, pp. viii-551.
Many reasons combine to press on the attention of the student of the Divine Word an elaborate consideration of the fourth Gospel. Its sublime teachings concerning the Saviour and His relation to God; the magnificent discourses and subtle sayings of Jesus, which this Gospel has preserved; the mode in which its narrative interlaces and supplements the narratives of the other three evangelists ; the desperate attacks which, especially since 1820, have been made upon its authenticity; the immense amount of learning which has been brought to bear on the controversy; the differences and similarities between the style of this Gospel, the Apocalypse, and the general Epistles of John-both remarkable—all alike unite to render the study of this Gospel at once imperative and fascinating. So much were lost as to our knowledge of the Saviour, were we deprived of this Gospel, or could our faith in its inspir. ation be at all shaken, that, as a mere matter of duty to our own intelligence, we owe to ourselves and to truth some labour to assure ourselves that it was really written by the beloved Apostle, and that it really is, what it claims to be, the history of the Saviour of mankind, narrated by one who had superior opportunities of knowing the facts of which he wrote, and a deeper insight, than others possessed, into the divinity of the Being, some of whose sayings and deeds he details. Therefore, I say, the study of the Gospel and the controversy as to its authenticity is imperative. That the study must needs be fascinating has long ago been perceived by all who have paused and pondered while reading its reports of the transcendently sublime discourses and prayer of the “Son of Man." From its opening statement—“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and God was the Word,” down to the narrative of the conversation between Jesus, Peter and John, this Gospel is the storehouse of grand ideas. Superhuman art would have been needed to design such a portrait as it presents of the “Only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth;" and superhuman skill would have been required to fill out the picture with the host of congruous details given in the narrative. Merely to invent such a character as Jesus, as described by John, would argue a dramatic power which no poet has evinced; and to complete the picture, as John has painted it, would have caused even a Shakespeare to despair. To imagine that such power of invention, and such exquisite skill could have been possessed by a Jewish fisherman like John, or by an unknown impostor of later date, if the objecting theory be sound, is simply the egregiousness of credulity. The comfort that this Gospel has brought, the lofty hopes it has inspired, the sublime
example it has furnished, the power it has exercised over the hearts of the best and the minds of the wisest, through all the centuries subsequent to its circulation, are altogether incompatible with the supposition that the Jesnis it depicts is only the invention of a Jewish imagination, a merely mythical hero, or the forgery of a second century cheat.
Following in the footsteps of great scholars, and clothing their too often dry skeletons of facts and arguments with forms of life and beauty, Mr. Sears has in his book merited the thanks of all believers in the Deity of Jesus Christ, and of all lovers of that Gospel which most fully sets forth this phase of the Saviour's many-sided character. Of course there are, as may have been reasonably expected, a few opinions in the book which New Churchmen could not endorse, some arguments which they could not employ, and some conclusions from which they must dissent; but they, less than all others, will not so fix their attention on the spots visible on even the sun's disc as to forget the ocean of light which streams forth from it. It is only in regard to such a book as the Gospel itself that we have any right to expect that there should be no blemishes,-a perfect book, describing the words and acts of a perfect Man.
Let us proceed to the book. Mr. Sears distributes what he has to say upon his subject into a “ Preliminary,” embracing three essays, severally on "The Supernatural," "Miracles," and "The Immanence of God;" into four parts, severally treating (1) “The historical argument,” (2) “Historic memorials," (3) "The private ministry of Jesus," and (4) “The Johannean theology;" and into “ an Appendix” wherein he discusses the vexed subjects of the “Easter controversy," the “birth of Christ,” the “pre-existence" of the Saviour, and “personality and personification.” Under the heading of part I., “The historical argument,” he considers, (1) “Gnosticism,” (2) “St. John at Ephesus," (3) "The Johannean writings," (4) “The scope, purpose, and spirit of the Apocalypse," (5) and (6) “ The witnesses of the Second Century," (7) "Christianity as a New Influx of Power," and (8) “The pause in history.” Under the heading of Part II., "Historic Memorials," he discusses (1) “The four Gospels in organic unity," (2) "Jesus of Matthew is the Logos of John," (3) "The mystery of birth," (4) "Nazareth," (5) "The Forerunner," (6) "The homes of Jesus” (7) “Jesus in the desert,” (8) “The last meeting by the Jordan." Under Part III., “The private Ministry of Jesus,” he includes (1) “The wedding at Cana,” (2) “The first visit to Jerusalem,” (3) “The second visit to Jerusalem," (4) “Removal to Capernaum,” (5) “The third visit to Jerusalem,"
(6). “ The fourth visit to Jerusalem," (7) “The fifth and last visit to Jerusalem,” (8) “ The night of the last supper,” (9) “Calvary,” (10) “The re-appearing of Jesus,” and (11) “The Person of Jesus Christ." Under Part IV., “The Johannean theology,” he examines (1) and (2) “The cosmology of Plato," and "its character and influence," (3) "The Johnannean cosmology," (4) "The Transparences of nature," (5) " The Word made flesh," (6) "The Logos doctrine," (7) "The Johannean Atonement,” (8) “Converging lines,” and (9) “The thrones in heaven." It will thus be seen that the author has devised for himself a tolerably extensive programme.
In his Preface Mr. Sears informs us that he had sketched in two chapters the history of the controversy as to the authenticity of the Gospel, but was obliged to omit them, “ in order to bring the volume within convenient size.” It may be that quite sufficient of the controversy appears in the work to satisfy ordinary readers, to whom Mr. Sears' discussion of the contents of the Gospel will be more interesting and instructive than any history of the contention. The history of a dispute, polemic or other, is never very edifying literature. Had the "Preliminary” occupied more than 36 pages—which it does not-not a few readers would feel that its omission might have added to the compactness, without injuring the symmetry, of the book. Yet the author was desirous of laying down, at the beginning, several of the foundations of philosophic principles, on which his book was to be built up, and no one has any right to complain of the wish.
Treating of the “supernatural,” Mr. Sears adopts Kant's definition of nature as “the realm of sensible phenomena conditioned by space;" and with a reservation, Kant's definition of the supernatural as “a cogitable world above space, defecated of sense and free of natural law, and therefore supersensible and supernatural.” Between these two realms, man is the connecting link, living in both, at once “the child of nature and the heir of immortality.”
Man begins his conscious existence in the natural, and many never rise to a perception or conviction of the supernatural in themselves or around them.
Faith in the supernatural is at first “only dim and spectral," as the ghosts of Homer; then purely intellectual, as the position of Kant, which is describable only by negatives; and finally faith in a revealed fact, as in the Christian religion. Admitting that man is immortal, a strong presumption arises that such a revelation must be given. The discussion of such subjects, our author contends, is most " practical,” pregnant with consequences of immense practical import.