« VorigeDoorgaan »
Connexion between the
iii. 14; also iv. 7; iii. 17.
Ps xxvi. 8; with which the old worshipper of God was wont to exclaim, “ Lord, cxxxvii. 5.
I have loved the habitation of thy house, and the place where thine honour dwelleth.” “If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right
hand forget her cunning;” that associated love was to be transferred Eph. ii. 22. to a society made the new “ habitation of God through the Spirit;"
and this was expressed by the term αγάπη.
In this secondary application of the word, then, it may be interLove of God preted to mean, either the disposition of God to man, as dwelling in and of Man. him by the Holy Spirit; or, the corresponding feeling of man to
God in that relation. And as this spirit of love, which He hath given, (1 Tim. i. 14,) becomes ours only as members of a society, the Christian's endeavour to preserve and cherish this holy union is necessarily connected with his social behaviour as a Christian, and is, in short, the main principle of it. Hence the continual blending in the Scripture precepts, of the command to love God and our
brethren, as if it were one and the same thing; e.g. • He that 1 John iv. 20, loveth God, loveth his brother also.” “He who loveth not his
brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen ?” “We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren.” Every one that loveth is born of God.” “He who seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him ?” In some of them this interpretation is suggested by the peculiar mode of expression; as in the last, in which the love of God is spoken of, according to the phrase so often applied to the Holy Spirit, as “ dwelling in us. The same may be observed of that
which describes the being born of God as the effect of loving; the John iii. 5. Scripture language elsewhere being, that we are so born of water
and of the Spirit.
It was from our blessed Lord's discourses that this (as many other terms) of the inspired writers, appears to have acquired its
secondary meaning. Among many passages may be noticed John xv. I. especially that in which He tells his disciples, “ As the Father
hath loved me, so have I loved you;” and, again, his prayer to John xvii.21. the Father for Christians in all ages, “ That they all may
be one; prayed He, “as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast
Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for_thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee; but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that
Use of the term Love by our Saviour,
. . .
the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.' This passage is given at length, because the particular use of the term is only apparent from the context; as, for instance, in the last verse,
“ That the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them,” is a form of expression cast in the same mould with one of the preceding sentences, “ The glory that thou gavest me I have given them,” by which, no doubt, the gift of the Holy Spirit was intended, agreeably to the sacred language, in which the term glory is made to signify any manifestation of the Divine nature.
The apostles, accordingly, continually employ the word in a way And by the which can scarcely be explained but by such a reference as this. Apostles. We read of the *r love of the Spirit,” of “ love in the Spirit,” of Rom. xv. 30;
faith working by love,” of “the love of God being shed abroad in Gal: 1,8; our hearts,” (another coincidence with the ordinary language which Eph. iv. 16; describes the gift of the Spirit,) of “the edifying in love ;” and the apostolical blessing is, that “the God of love may be with us.
Of St. Paul's writings, the twelfth and thirteenth chapters of the By St. Paul. First Epistle to the Corinthians may be selected, as furnishing the most striking instance of the use of the word by him. The topic (as he expressly tells us) is spiritual gifts; and in discussing this, he contrasts the extraordinary gifts of the Spirit, with youn, or charity; meaning by this latter, as it is plain, the ordinary influence of the Spirit; and declares, that it was this, and not the former, out of which arose the moral qualifications of a Christian—that the gifts of miracle, of prophecy, and of tongues, were useful for the planting of Christianity, but this for the salvation of the possessor. Hence, too, he speaks of it as "never failing, ' abiding;” whereas the extraordinary operations were to cease or fail. This was the permanent gift, the efficacy of which was to go further than its accompaniments, faith and hope ; greater than faith, and greater than hope ; because it is even from this principle that the Christian “ believeth all things, hopeth all things. “ And now abideth these three,” (abideth, as opposed to the extraordinary graces of the early Church, of which he had been speaking,) “faith, hope, and charity, but the greatest of these is charity.”
In no part of the New Testament, however, is the peculiar use By St. John. of this term so striking, as in St. John's writings. " That God is 1 John iv.
108 Compare ? Corinthians xiii. with Galatians v. 19, and the correspondence between, what is called in the one the result of dyern, and in the other the fruits of the Spirit, will be apparent. The following scheme will serve to show the main coincidences. Characteristics of yban, from
Fruits of the Spirit, from 1 Corinthians xiii.
Galatians v. Ι. Μακροθυμε, πάντα υπομένει.
1. Μακροθυμία. . II. Xρηστεύεται.
II. Xρηστότης. III. Πάντα πιστεύει. .
III. Πίστις. IV. Ου χαίρει έτι τη αδικία, συγχαίρει
IV. Xagá. δε τη αληθεία. . V. Ου παροξύνεται.
V. Πραότης. VI. Ού λογίζεται το κακόν.
VI. 'Αγαθωσύνη. κ. τ. λ.
Rev. ii. 4.
- No man,
love,” and that “if we love one another God dwelleth in us,” is the thought, that entwines itself into all he writes, whether narrative or precept. To “ the beloved” is his habitual form of address. When he describes what St. Paul would call “ neglecting the gift within thee,” the language is, “ Thou hast left thy first love;" faith in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is called by him, " believing the love that God hath in us, and the like. And accordingly it is said of him that, when incapable of preaching and teaching any longer, his only exhortation used to be, “Little children, love one another.
No one passage in his writings is more remarkable than the fourth 1.John iy. 12, chapter of his First Epistle.
" hath seen 13, , .
God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us. Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. And we have known, adds he, “ and believed the love that God hath in us; God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have bold
ness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this Compared world.” Now if we compare the first sentences of this paragraph
with a corresponding verse in his Gospel, what has been asserted of his Gospelhis meaning will, perhaps, be more evident. In the Gospel, when
he is giving an account of the manifestation of God in Christ, his John i. 18. language is, “ No man hath seen God at any time; the only-begot
ten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, He hath declared him.” In the Epistle, when he is dwelling on the manifestation of God by the Spirit, he writes, “ No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us;" 110 following it up by the several expressions already quoted, all conveying the same truth, that this manifestation is made by God's Spirit in us as a society; and it is this union, and the feelings arising out of it, which constitute the love of which he writes
-that love which God hath in us; God being love. 111 The Agapæ It can hardly be questioned, that by this use of the term in the
language of the apostles, must be interpreted its meaning as applied language. to that ancient Christian rite, which celebrated the union of Chris
tians as members of Christmas the common abode of the Holy Ghost. They were called Agape, and were always appended to the administration of the Sacrament; to intimate, no doubt, the close connexion which, according to Scripture, exists between the
founded on this
109 'Ey guir. Our translation is, “ to us.”
110“ Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
111 In the long list of errors charged on Peter Lombard, whose works once obtained a place in the divinity studies of all the universities of Europe, to the neglect of Scripture, one noted' is, that he identified agacaro) with the Holy Ghost. It is by no means my intention to defend
his application of the word; but his notion clearly arose from observing that the word was used by the writers of the New Testament in a peculiar sense, and one connected with the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. His view is contained in Lib. I. distinct. 17, of the small volume of his works, printed A.D. 1528, and is noticed by Mosheim in his “ Elementa Dogmaticæ Theologiæ," p. 68.
Saviour's death and that blessing for which it was expedient he should go away.
As by the Eucharist they were reminded more especially of his dying for our sins, so in this kindred ceremony, they commemorated his return and eternal abode with them by his Spirit. It continued to be observed until the middle of the fourth Abolished in century, when, owing to some abuses in the celebration of it, it was abolished by a decree of the Council of Laodicea. 113
the fourth century.
The regular observance of public prayer has been already noticed Grace one under another head, when it was considered as one means of dis- object of pensing the contents of Scripture. But, although this was one pur- Prayer. pose which the public liturgies have served in all ages of the Church, yet is it not their chief or most obvious purpose. We assemble in common prayer, as a mode of obtaining that Divine grace, which is promised to us as members of a community; that we may worship in, and be ourselves the temple of the Holy Ghost; which temple is, not the Corinthian Church alone, but every Church in every age. Ignatius's exhortation to the Church of Ephesus proves that the glorious impression of this great truth, made by the inspired teachers on the Christian world, was still fresh and strong. a point," writes he,“ of frequently assembling to offer thanksgiving and glory to God; for as oft as you gather together, the powers of Satan are quelled, and his destruction fails, when this your act of faith is as the act of one mind.” 114
There are still extant ancient Liturgies, bearing the names of No Apostles and of those who were their contemporaries and fellow- particular labourers; and although there is internal evidence in these composi- enjoined by
Scripture. tions that they were not the production of the authors to whom they are attributed, it would be wrong to assert that there were no such liturgies originally, or that these contain nothing of the originals. The question does not, however, affect the character of our Church services. If we except the Lord's Prayer, no obligation is imposed on any Church to adopt or to retain forms except as couvenient; and it was, on this account, we may presume, that no public prayers are left among
the materials of sacred record—that each Church, in every age, may be at liberty to form a liturgy for itself. The obligation is to have some, but not any one instituted form. Accordingly, the custom of bishops assuming the liberty of composing each his own liturgy, may be traced so far back, as to lead us to a fair presumption that it existed at a period within the limits of the present inquiry."
112 “ The Holy Ghost was not yet 114 Ep. ad Ephes. C. 13. [given), because Jesus was not yet glorified.” “ If I go not away the Comfor- 115 Wheatly on the Common Prayer ter will not come.
Book. Introduction. 113 Can. 28, Tom. I. p. 1501, of Labbis' Councils. Its celebration was still, how- 116 See Bingham's Eccl. Antiq. Book ever, permitted in private houses, as ap- II. Chap. VI. Sect. 2. Palmer's Disserpears from Canon 27 of the same Council. tation on Primitive Liturgies, p. 6.
268 CERTAIN RITES WHICH FALL INTO A DISTINCT CLASS. [PART III.
The Lord's Prayer is mentioned as an exception; for, even though we should
in dictating that prayer was not that we should necessarily use it as one of our prayers; still, its suitableness for being so used by all ages and Churches would leave no plea for ever discontinuing its use; and the framing of it by our Lord himself, would of course make its omission, under such circumstances, imply a want of due reverence towards Him. It was unquestionably used by the early Churches in their public liturgies, and its use was considered by many as an indispensable duty.
CERTAIN RITES WHICH FALL INTO A DISTINCT CLASS.
the same Rite.
All religious ceremonies have one sole legitimate object; they are mixture of the outward signs and formal acts of communion with God; and Religious
with a view to that communion they are all instituted and celebrated. objects in
It is true, that the original character of a religious rite may in the course of time be lost, and some different object may be proposed and effected by it. Worldly policy, or any views of present convenience, may so far interfere with the use of it, as to give it a political or otherwise worldly character; but it loses its spirituality in proportion. Not that the two objects are incompatible; but that
such is the risk incurred by allowing them to be associated. The Marriage. ceremony
of marriage is a religious act; but the same rite is in most Christian nations made likewise to serve as the form of the civil contract; and civil privileges and penalties are made to depend on it. And out of this union, no very serious evil, perhaps, has arisen, to detract from the advantages of the arrangement. "Oaths, again, are religious acts; and the more formal and solemn the oath, the more properly is it to be styled a religious ceremony. venience of a pledge, which might pass in courts of justice for a sort of coined and stamped truth, and subject him who presented it insincere and adulterated to a penalty, analogous to that attached to forgery,—the convenience of this has been always recognised by the magistrate ; and even in heathen countries, a religious ceremony has been adopted as the most appropriate form. In the same manner as men have fixed on gold and silver for money by universal consent, because of some intrinsic attraction in those metals, which attraction afterwards has become a secondary consideration; so it has fared with oaths. They were admired for their holy solemnity, and the hold which they possessed on men's consciences, and, therefore, were chosen for the political purposes which they have been made to
117 See particularly Tertullian, de Oratione, C.9, and Ap. Constitut. Lib. VII. C. 44.
of natural religion, an oath is an act of worship and homage done to God;" and again, in reference to the prophecy or Jeremiah iv. 2, “ here an oath religiously taken is represented as a part of that worship, which all nations shall offer up to God under the new dispensation."
118 See Burnet's Exposition of the Thirty-nine Articles, Art. IX. consider the matter upon the principles