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of individuals, each retaining his own personality. Whoever meditates profoundly her existence will find copied or imitated in her all the mystery of God and man,—all the ineffable mystery of the ever-adorable Trinity, and the Incarnation of the Word or Second Person of the Godhead. She is the most wonderful work of God, in which he, as it were, exhausts his wisdom, power, and goodness, and reveals hi own ineffable Es
It is to this grand, sublime, and even awful as well as endearing conception, that our critic must rise before he can say any thing to the purpose against our view of the Church; and when he does, he will wonder at the marvellous simplicity which led him to question our assertion that religion to be a power must be the Christian Church.”—pp. 16, 17.
In rejecting, as we do, in whole and in every part, the theory of a church so brilliantly stated in this extract-in denying the existence of any vital union between religion and a church, as an organization in affirming that religion may have, does have, an existence and a power, apart from organization—in repeating our former statement, that a church in itself, as an organization, has no mystery, no power, no sancity; but that it derives all mystery, all power, all sancity, from the religion which its several members bring into it-bring into it, too, as individuals—in affirming all these things, Mr. Brownson will say, and say justly, that we are obligated to furnish something as having authority—a something which is not the individual, which is not the State, which is not an idea--a something that can speak to the individual, and to the State, and fearing neither, control both-a something, too, which can speak without liability to mistake, whose commands shall be irrevocable, and whose power cannot be resisted. Yes, we are obliged to furnish a power possessed of all these attributes. And are we asked, what is this power? We answer, reverently—God! We are of the number who believe that God not only was, but that he is—that he rules among the inhabitants of the earththat he is ever present, actively present, and all sufficient to mediate between the claims of the individual and the State. Mr. Brownson himself, believes all this. The difference of conviction between him and us, relates only to the medium through which God, ruling among men, would restrain the licentiousness of the individual and the despotism of the State. He will say that God speaks through that mysterious body, so vividly portrayed in the extract, last quoted from him. We say, that God speaks through the reason the conscience, the soul, of the indi. vidual man.
The only objection which Mr. Brownson has offered to our view of the subject under discussion, is that it does not give religion the means of becoming a power. It must have an existence and an authority distinct from the individual and from the State. It must not be a part of either of these, for in this case, it will be what the individ. ual or the State makes it, and so may be altered at the will of the party that proclaims it. We can conceive of no objection more fallacious. Because God speaks to the guilty wretch through his own conscience-because the word torturing and distressing him is thus spoken-is the word of rebuke a part of that wretch, just what he makes it, to be altered at his will, to be silenced at his nod? We confess, it occasions us no little surprise to find our author representing every thing, spoken through the individual, as a part of the individual, and so subject to him. Certainly, there is no necessity for such a representation. God can speak the words of truth, warning, censure, despair, hope, through the individual soul. To affirm that he does so speak, is to involve no contradiction. The things so affirmed, are at all events possibili. ties. And if they are possibilities, the argument, so far as the present issue is concerned, is with us. Mr. Brownson has argued the necessity of the church, on the ground that any other authoritative element in society is an impossibility. We may not have shown that there actually is an authoritative power other than the church. We are not called upon to do this. Our sole obligation is to show that there may be such an element of power. This we are confident we have done. And so long as it is in the power of God to speak to man through man-to speak through this medium words which no human will can modify, no human cunning evade, and which no human strength can resist—we find no necessity for that more cumbrous and complex instrumentality, which is usually commended to us as the infallible church. This organization has been offered to us on the sole ground that it is a necessity. We have seen that no such necessity exists; and until forced to accept it on other and more conclusive grounds, we feel cornpelled to trust in the individual soul as the medium of communication between God and his subject man.
G. H. E.
Universalism clearly Taught in the Scriptures.
In a former number of this jourual,' we intimated that we should, on a subsequent occasion, present the Scriptural argument in favor of Universalism. We propose to undertake that work now. Before proceeding to it, however, we trust that we may be indulged in a few prefatory remarks.
There are two classes of professed Christians, who regard such an undertaking as we propose with indifference. The first of these classes deem Universalism untrue. Intellectually convinced of the verity of the doctrine of endless misery, or at least, accustomed from infancy to receive that theory with unquestioning faith, they think of Universalism simply as a dangerous heresy. The first emotion which a grave proposition to consider the Scriptural argument in favor of the salvation of all mankind, awakens, is a mingling of pity and contempt. We can appreciate their feelings, and shall waste no time in complaints. Another class regard our task as futile, from quite a different reason. They profess either to think the doctrine of Universalism unimportant, or, at best, as so ambiguously spoken of in Revelation, that it were absurd to expect to find any clear declaration of holy writ in its favor. We confess that we are surprised at such positions. Who can soberly say that the doctrine of the final destiny of man is unimportant? What question can be deemed of any consequence, if this is not transcendently momentous ? To us it seems that the fact of the divine existence itself is not to man a truth of so grave consequence, as that information which concerns his immortal destiny. To other intelligences the first named fact may outweigh any questions concerning the fate of humanity; but to man, the inquiry as to his doom takes precedence of all others. Nay, does not the common judgment of humanity acknowledge this? When the Christian minister, the moralist, the philosopher, would awaken man's interest in the fact that there is a God, do they present it to him as a cold intellectual formula? By no means. They instinctively feel that the mass of minds would hardly trouble themselves more about such a truth in its abstract form, than they would about the size of the satellites of Herschel, or the distance of Sirius from our globe. If they would kindle emotions in men's souls, they point out the bearings of the fact on human duty, on human interests and hopes. God lives, and created man; and man owes homage io his Creator. God holds man to account for his deeds; therefore man should take heed how he acts. God blesses him every day; and man should render to his Benefactor constant gratitude. God rewards virtue and punishes vice; therefore man should, as he values his own weal, habitually realize his answerableness to the Most High. It is perfectly idle to ask mankind to leave their own interests out of sight, when thinking of the character and claims of God. The Scriptures do not demand it. When the beloved apostle would present the weightiest consideration to the soul, to awaken its love for God, he states God's prior love for man. 66 We love him, because he first loved us.
1 Quarterly, October, 1856.
But it may be replied, that, even though it is conceded that it is ever so desirable that man should know his own destiny and that of his race, the Scriptures are yet silent on the point. If they foreshow the reward and immortal happiness of the righteous, they leave the fate of the wicked shrouded in uncertainty. In fine, divine Revelation, it is affirmed, is not explicit on this point. With such an allegation we join issue. We cannot help thinking that a revelation of such a character is imperfect. Admit that the line of demarkation between the godly
2 1 John iv. 19.
and ungodly is so plain, that a holy soul can easily ascertain on which side of that line he stands; will he not have occasion to recollect that not a few of his friends are in. cluded among the corrupt ? Who can confidently affirm that all of his own household are converted? Who but that has kinsmen that are wicked ? Who does not know that myriads of his race are going down to the grave, ignorant of Christ, and perverse in heart? If any Christian has the spirit of his Lord, he cannot but feel an interest in the moral condition and fate of even those depraved souls. In this matter, as in so many others, Paul is an example for all Christians. Though he was saved, his sympathies yearned toward his brethren. “I say the truth in Christ,” he writes, “I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, that I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh.” 3. Self-abnegation, self-forgetfulness, is indeed a divine virtue. But it is not to be exer. cised toward God and Christ alone, but also in favor of our fellow-men. If, however, the Christian sympathies go out keen and strong toward his race, how can he bear to have the great question of their destiny left unsettled ?
We will not, however, protract these considerations. For ourselves we cannot help saying, that the fact that man shall be raised from the dead, and made immortal, is not a whit more important than the fact that he shall become reconciled to God, and sanctified from sin. When we are ready to affirm that the salvation of all mankind is a truth of secondary importance, we shall be prepared to assert that the resurrection of the dead is a matter of comparatively trilling moment. We therefore feel that it is not an extravagant assumption, that the Scriptures contain some clear information as to man's destiny.
We readily grant that perhaps but little light will be thrown on this point by the Old Testament. That contained but an imperfect revelation. It pointed to a new and fuller revelation. This ampler revelation was given through Christ, in the gospel. What he did not fully state, his apostles, he authorizes us to believe, would com
3 Rom. ix. 1, 2, 3.