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called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” Pope gives the spirit of this passage, recognising at the same time the beautiful description in the fortieth chapter of the Great Shepherd :
" The tender lambs He raises in His arms,
Feeds from His hands, and in His bosom warms;
There should be no mistaking such language. In Scripture the Deity does not reveal Himself as a God, but as the Only God. Modern thought seems to have acquired somewhat of the looseness of ancient mythology in the idea that divinity may be distributed. One God is presented in three persons, each distinctly God. Where the Redeemer is accounted a mere man, some bave the idea of His partaking of divinity beyond other men. Other men may also aspire to somewhat of this high distinction. Such is what may be called the Emersonian view, which appears to suit the present indefinite tone of thought. Not so in the Scriptures; they present an impassable gulf between the character of the Redeemer and the disciple.
Pope has indeed caught this great truth in the concluding lines of his poem :
“ One tide of glory, one unclouded blaze,
In connection with the Incarnation Pope blends another feature, which associates itself with our preceding argument
Lo, earth receives Him from the bending skies !
How the intense prophetic style breaks forth in these words! Luke cites the original thus: “Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth."1 But who interprets these expressions literally? and not rather according to the Lord's own words: “Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted”?2
Want of space forbids me to enter further into the examination of this prophetic style common to the Scriptures. But there is another feature connected with the Lord's coming, and His reign upon the earth, which I must notice. Throughout the whole series of the 1 Luke iii. 5.
2 Luke xiv. 11.
prophets there runs (as before intimated) an unmistakable description of the essential characteristics of the Messiah's kingdom—the universal diffusion of Divine knowledge and holiness. This, certainly the chief feature of human blessedness, is thus referred to by the poet :
“ All crime shall cease, and ancient fraud shall fail ;
Returning Justice lift aloft her scale ;
These statements are drawn from such texts as Isaiah lx. 18, and xxxii. 15-17. The originals are peculiarly beautiful. Let us take the latter reference, “ Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness (justice) shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness (justice] quietness and assurance for ever.” So in the next chapter : “The Lord hath filled Zion with judgment and righteousness. He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes; .. he shall dwell on high : his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks.” Now, turning back once more to the eleventh chapter, we find these pre-eminent characteristics of the Redeemer's kingdom are the reflections in man of the Divine excellences in Himself: "The spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
With righteousness shall He judge the poor, and reprove with equity.
And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.
It would weary the reader were I to go through the prophet, culling the numerous reiterations of these memorable essentials of the Divine kingdom among men. I recommend, however, the following texts to be referred to. In the ninth chapter: “Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, to order and to establish it with judgment and with justice even for ever.” In the eleventh chapter: “The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." In the sixteenth chapter: “He shall sit in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness." In the thirtieth chapter how striking are these words, showing (as already argued
1 Refer also to the prophet Jeremiah xxxi. 34, where the same idea is finely expanded.
from the words of the Lord in John) how the Lord will reign with men, not in person but in Spirit, by the well-instructed voice of conscience and reason : “ Thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left." There is also in the fortieth chapter a universal picture of the Divine kingdom in these words : Thy people shall be all righteous."
Weighing, then, the several arguments presented in this section, I think the threefold peculiarity I mentioned as running through the prophets may be pretty clearly traced :
I. The great doctrine of the Incarnation of Jehovah.
II. The renovation, at the First and Second Advents, of the spiritual-moral condition of the human mind, through the new influences of Divine Truth in the heart and reason.
III. The corresponding restitution of the ostensible phases of society throughout the world.
It may also be now considered a question by no means impossible to answer—whether either of the two classes of prophetic statement which have been reviewed—one full of intense imagery, the other consisting of plain moral injunction, the two often mingled together lend countenance to the popular idea of the accomplishment of the Second Advent by a miraculous interference with the order of Nature, attended by utter catastrophe to the physical globe? In the next paper I shall, all being well, consider more especially whether the authorities of the New Testament require us to entertain the idea of such an occurrence.
THE TAY BRIDGE DISASTER AND MODERN
A SERMON BY THE REV. J. F. POTTS, B.A.
“ And he [Isaac) said, Behold now, I am old, I know not the day of my death."
-GENESIS xxvii, 2.
When Isaac said this, he was thinking of the day of his death. He was thinking of a change that was about to come upon him.
In this sense we can see that people are often “old” without knowing it. If, for instance, a great accident is about to happen, which is going to send a number of people into eternity, all those people are “old.” A certain new state is at hand for them, of the approach of which they have no idea. Like old Isaac, they “knoir
But if any
not the day of their death." “Day," here, means state, and “ death” means resurrection to life. The reason why “death” in the Word means resurrection, is because when a man dies his life is still continned. It is continued in a certain new state.
But this is a fact which our modern Sadduceeism prevents us from realizing. In proof of this, look at the state of the public mind when a great accident happens. Listen to the loud wail that is set up because some of our fellow-creatures have entered upon the eternal life. “Oh, what an awful thing !” This is what people say when they are speaking according to their real sentiments.
Go to-day through our Christian society from end to end, and you can't hear. one single expression that conveys to your mind the idea that we Christians believe there is any such thing as a future life which is a far better life than this. That, at least, has been my experience. During the week that has elapsed since the Tay Bridge fell, I have talked with many people in different departments of society about the accident, and I have listened attentively to hear whether there would be a single expression of Christian hope about the matter come from any of them. But there hasn't been one. I don't say that none of the people I conversed with had any Christian hope. idea of that kind occurred to them, they were afraid to utter it. Very likely they were afraid that it would sound heartless. Knowing the state of society around them, they thought that if they said anything that might convey an impression that it was at all a good thing for those people to have fallen with the bridge, it would sound heartless to the people around them. And very likely they were right. Very likely it would have sounded heartless to those people. But why would it have done so? Evidently because in their hearts they don't believe in the other life. They don't believe that the other life is a far better, brighter, and more perfect life than this. They don't believe that those people have entered upon a better, a brighter, and a more perfect life than this, and therefore they raise an unmitigated howl of lamentation over the fact that they have done so. Practically we are Sadducees, who, as the evangelist declares, “say there is no resurrection.” Of course we don't say there is no resurrection, we only act as if there were not any.
If all the people who went down with the Tay Bridge, instead of doing so, had come that night into a fortune; if they had all suddenly come into ten thousand a year ; if they had all just received news that a remote connection in New Zealand had died and left them all that much a year, on condition that they should go to New Zealand to live and enjoy it, that howl of universal lamentation which we have just
heard, would have been changed into a shout of triumph. That, you see, would have been something that we modern Christians could appreciate. Ten thousand a year is what we believe in, and therefore when a person comes into it, even if he has to go to a foreign country to enjoy it, we don't feel at all shocked. Of course we all profess to know that ten thousand a year of earthly wealth falls far short of the happiness of the eternal life, but then you see it is earthly. That, to us, is the great advantage that it has. The other kind of a fortune is a spiritual one, and therefore when a person comes into it, we lament, put on black, and shudder, to show our appreciation of it. Is this because we are Christians, do you suppose, or because we are not Christians ?
There is a very interesting passage in the “Republic” of Plato, which shows that that heathen writer had better ideas on the subject of death than those which in practice prevail in our modern Christian society. It is in the form of a dialogue between Socrates and one of his friends, and runs thus :
“Shall we not request the poets not to revile the other world in that unqualified manner, but rather to speak well of it, because such language is neither true, nor beneficial to men who are intended to be warlike ?"
“We certainly must.”
“Then we shall expunge the following passage, and with it all that are like it:
I would e'en be a villein, and drudge on the lands of a master,
Homer's Odyssey, xi. 489. And this :
• Well-a-day! Truly there are, yea e'en in the dwellings of Hades,
Iliad, xx. 64. And,
Ye banished the soul from the limbs, and flew to the nethermost Hades, Sadly her destiny wailing, cut off in the ripeness of manhood.'
Iliad, xvi. 856. And, Gibbering, under the ground his spirit fled, like a vapour.'
Iliad, xxiii. 100. These verses, and all that are like them, we shall entreat Homer and the other poets not to be angry if we erase, not because they are unpoetical, or otherwise than agreeable to the ear of most men; but because in proportion as they are more poetical, so much the less ought