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the Truth as taught by the Lord ; that something human is the love of the truth, which has been mercifully preserved in the soul that it may serve as a mother to the new nature. Into this love of the truth, as into a matrix, the seeds of Divine Truth enter. In the Parable of the Sower, where a parallel line of correspondence is used, this love of the truth is termed the good ground of an honest and good heart. The Divine Truth and our human love of it being thus united, the immediate result is the beginning to be of a new state within the soul, which is as a new-born babe. As it grows and develops, it shall become a new will, with new affections, aspirations and desires, and a new understanding, with new thoughts, convictions and purposes. The same love of the truth which was as its mother shall continue to foster and cherish it after it is born into the soul. At first it is as a very small, feeble thing-a babe; it is liable to dangers, diseases and even death ; being fed and nourished “ with the pure milk of the Word” it can, however, grow continually " in grace and knowledge," until it attains moral manhood, and becomes “a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.”
In the sense that all changes possible in the soul of man are comprehended in the possibilities of man's nature, the Divine operations in thus making man a new creature," in thus bringing forth in man
a new nature,” ar to that extent natural ; but in the sense that these operations are superadded to those of which man is ordinarily the subject, and which regard his present life alone, they are above nature, or super-natural. They are spiritual, taking place in the spiritual plane of the human soul; lifting man above the thoughts and affections of the earthly life, preparing him for an eternal development as a spiritual being in the spiritual world.
Just as the new birth was a spiritual, and thus a super-natural, work, so the preservation of spiritual life in the soul, its restoration from a state of disease, or its resurrection from a state of death, are spiritual, and in this sense, super-natural, operations. Of such supernatural operations the Lord's miracles were the representative types. The miracles did not contravene natural laws ; in like manner, the supernatural operations in regard to regeneration are not contrary to natural laws. All Divine operations, whether in regard to man's natural or bis spiritual life, are according to law, the law in the one case being natural, and in the other case being that of man's spiritual nature. Miracles were wrought under and according to law—the operation of principles which rule in man's spiritual nature, and which ordinarily
terminate in regard to that spiritual nature, was prolonged into the natural plane of life, restoring the sick, purging the lepers, recalling the dead to reunion with their bodies, and to a continued residence in the mortal plane. Both the miracles and the Divine operations as to regeneration are alike natural, in the sense that the possibilities of such operations were from the beginning implanted in man's nature; and that when the need arose, and the requisite power was present and operative, the spiritual law became manifested in the natural plane, and there became active according to natural laws : and both alike are supernatural, in the sense that they were something superadded to the ordinary course and current of nature.
The greatest of miracles was the birth of the Saviour without the instrumentality of a human father : the offspring of God and a human mother. This production was supernatural, however, only so far as the initiament was concerned : all the rest of the process, the gestation, the birth, the subsequent growth of the child, was in accordance with ordinary natural laws. But the event was paralleled by the production of the first human pair, who were produced without the instrumentality of either human father or mother. And the event spiritually repeated in the experience of every one who is “born from above,” or “born of God”—born spiritually, that is, of Divine Truth from God ingerming the human love of truth, which, as a matrix, receives and nourishes, develops, and eventually brings forth to birth the new state of soul. The subsequent growth and maturing of the spiritual life follows the ordinary laws of man's mental nature. The difference between the “ new birth ” in every regenerated soul and the birth of the Saviour is exactly parallel with the difference between the Lord's miracles and His continued operation in the souls of men, viz., in the case of the Lord's birth and the miracles the operation of the spiritual law was prolonged into the natural plane ; in the other cases the opera
; tion terminates in the spiritual plane. The “new man ” is born, is kept alive, is developed, may be healed of spiritual diseases, or may even be restored to life, without adding to the visible population of the globe: the natural plane is a temporary covering which is sloughed off at death, when the new man will rise an eternal inhabitant of heaven. Think of this majestic drama of a life carried down from the spiritual into the natural plane, terminating in the visible and tangible realm of nature, and we shall then see a son of a woman, begotten of God, the inmost life in Him no other than God Himself ; capable of being glorified with all His Father's glory, of dying as to the physical envelope and continent, of rising again from the dead, and of ascending up “above all heavens," so that He might “ fill all things.”
The spiritual miracle is the new birth, the preservation in existence of this new creature, the healing of the diseases by which its health is menaced, the cleansing away of the infirmities by which its life is endangered, the supply of all needful spiritual provision by which its life is sustained, affording to it protection against all its enemies, and, if need be, its restoration to life. Of these operations the Lord's miracles were representative types.
None who believe in the continued operation of God in Christ, in the continued efficacy of the Gospel, can doubt that the series of spiritual operations thus briefly sketched continues to be performed. Nor can they doubt that the series of operations will still continue to be performed. Hercin is made evident the abiding value of the miracles of the Saviour: they will for ever furnish the dramatic representations of the Lord's spiritual work in the human soul. His birth, His life, His work, and His teachings thus mutually illustrate and confirm each other : all are pertinent to the great theme of man's regeneration, which they severally were designed to illustrate and to enforce. Men will never outgrow the Word because they will never outgrow the need of a Saviour, the necessity of spiritual life, or the only means whereby spiritual life is to be brought forth in the soul, viz., the being born from above.
It is not difficult to see, if this view be at all justified by the facts, how essential a prerequisite to receiving the benefit conferred by the miracle was faith in the worker. The typical signification would have been altogether imperfect had not faith been thus prerequisite. The spiritual healing or restoration represented by the external miracle is ever contingent upon faith ; not only faith as a mental act, but faith as a state of love and trust and belief, This state of faith is the only receptacle of the Lord's gifts : it is the state in which man can so hold communion with God as to submit himself to the Divine operation, and become the subject of it. Faith in the truth is much more than the mere intellectual perception and acknowledgment that the thing so accepted is true : it is the love of the truth that is seen to be true. This loving perception of the truth, as intimated above, is the human mother in the soul, in whom the new creature shall be spiritually ingermed, from whom the Man-child shall be born. Hence this faith, this loving perception of Divine truth, this trust and confidence in the Lord, is indispensable in the spiritual miracle, as it was indispensable in the miracle when brought down into the physical and natural plane.
This view, further, supplies a reason why so many of the most remarkable miracles wrought by the Saviour were witnessed only by those who already believed in Him. Thinking of the Lord in a merely natural manner, Judas asked Him, “Lord, how is it that Thou wilt manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world ?" The Lord's answer reveals a solemn truth, that only unto those who love the Lord and keep His words can the Divine Love, the Father, and the Divine Wisdom, the Son, united in the Lord Jesus Christ, come; only with such can the Lord abide. Others could not behold His 'person or witness His work. Those who love see. This thought will help to explain why after the resurrection Jesus did not show Himself to any of His enemies, or indeed to any save those who had already believed in Him. They loved the light, would have come to the light, and to them the light came! The thought may also suggest a reason why only the three disciples Peter, James, and John witnessed the resuscitation of the child of Jairus, beheld the spectacle of the transfiguration, or gazed on a part of the agony of Gethsemane. Indeed, the more intently one studies the Gospel history the more must one be satisfied that deep spiritual wisdom pervades it everywhere: it is weighty everywhere with an inner meaning all over, it shines from within with a steady and an unquenchable light.
This view, lastly, suggests a reason why the Lord's immediate followers possessed and continued to exercise some supernatural or miraculous powers. I am not anxious to discuss the point, “ When did so-called miraculous powers cease out of the Church?” I think the question should rather be, “Have such manifestations of power ever actually ceased ?" The Lord's apostles were distinctly commanded, and therefore empowered, to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead. They, as instruments under the Lord, by their teachings and by the power of their influence over the souls of men, did perform the spiritual operations denoted in those words. Every true apostle of the Saviour, in every age, can be an instrument for repeating the spiritual miracle,—that is, the truths which such an apostle teaches can exert such a healing, cleansing, restoring power upon the souls of those who listen, love, and obey. But further, during the dawn of that age, God having clothed Himself with flesh, having thus brought out into the ultimate plane of nature the high principles of His love and wisdom, having rendered visible and tangible the operations of His mercy for
the spiritual wellbeing of mankind, to the apostles and early Christians were communicated the truths of salvation, and also the power of prolonging their operation into the natural plane of life. In this way it was provided that the Scriptures should be written as we have them; and it was shown that the power of the Lord for the salvation of mankind was still as operative in the truths of the Gospel when taught through the lips of other messengers as it was when the message was uttered by the lips of the Lord Himself. “They went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, confirming the word with signs following."
INCIDENTS OF A TOUR IN FRANCE AND ITALY.-II.
FROM MILAN TO ROME.
I LEFT Milan for Padua, having selected this city rather than visit Venice-which lies at a short distance from Padua—a second time, and because it was in my way to Ravenna.
The route was through a rich country, abounding in mulberry trees, olives and vines. The cultivation of the vine in Italy is said not to be so scientific or favourable to the perfection of the grape as the method pursued in France and Germany, but it is certainly more graceful and picturesque. The vine is conducted in festoons from tree to tree, which have been planted along the field in rows from end to end. In autumn the branches of the vine, thus trailed, and having many larger bunches hanging from each, have a luxuriant and charming appearance.
As I sat in Padua, long narrow carts, with steep sides, passed full of large bunches of ripe, fine, black grapes, as a cart in England might be loaded with potatoes not in sacks, and they had a very rich
appearance as they moved along. The Italians are, however, said to be far behind in their vine culture altogether, and I can well believe it. There is a want of care and neatness about all they do which is a sad hindrance to complete success. This remark, however, is not so applicable to the north of Italy as to the centre and the south. In the neighbourhood of Rome, and southwards, the vineyards are most slovenly, and their methods' backward. Perhaps the exuberant fertility of the land may make it difficult to keep things orderly and neat, but to want of energy and decision of character there is always a confusion which a little steady diligence would soon restore to order and comfort. Padua
a very dull town. It has a large university, of a thousand students, with good buildings; but there is an appearance of decay and