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practical life. It is true that the apostles Paul, James, and John, sometimes make statements which coincide with the results of certain schools of philosophy; and such statements are to be found also here and there in the Old Testament. These are, undoubtedly, to be received on the authority of the writers of Scripture. Yet the main object of revelation is a Person, namely, Christ. We have His earthly history, which is quite as affecting to the peasant as to the philosopher; and we are instructed concerning His relation to God, whose existence is the object of an intuition of our common reason. But we are made conversant with persons, not by philosophy, but in the region of practical life. If God has spoken, and manifested Himself as a Person, philosophy can no more set aside or modify the fact, than it can practically annihilate the men and women who are around us.
The respective regions of philosophy and of practical life, are totally distinct; and our experimental knowledge of the world is instinctively felt to be something infinitely firmer, safer, and of more importance than any speculation concern
We can get along very well in secular affairs without a theory of being; and if we have such a system, it does not generally in the smallest degree alter our practical beliefs, or modify our course. Bishop Berkeley disbelieved the existence of matter, regarding the conception as groundless and absurd; and David Hume could find no evidence of the existence, either of matter, of other men, or even of himself. Yet these two philosophers were the same in intercourse with their fellows, and in their pecuniary dealings, as men who believe not only in qualities and impressions, but also in a substratum. They believed in the fecundity of the soil, the stability of masonry, the taste of meat, the usefulness of money, and the agreeableness of company. So you may hold, if it please you, philosophical theories side by side with your practical Christian theology; but if you confound the one with the other, or allow of mutual interference, you are in error.
Such confusion is involved in the independent adoption of some intellectual or moral principle, and applying this to the
teachings of Scripture so as to make them harmonize with it. The endeavor to reduce all Scriptural teaching under the heads of such principles, is most emphatically to be condemned, as both unscientific and unchristian. All pronouncing, further than is warranted by express Scripture statements, concerning the grand aim of God in creation, or in revelation, or in the salvation of man, is also to be carefully shunned.
Yet we are far from counselling or approving of a slavish adherence to the mere letter of Scripture. Truth, as a whole, constitutes, of course, a system. The agreement of the truth revealed, with that which we know apart from revelation, accredits, in the first instance, the revelation itself. A passage of Scripture very often contains a principle of wide comprehensiveness, and of vital ramifications. The fragments of truth which are revealed for the guidance of our lives, have, each of them, a systematic tendency. The sum of revealed truthalbeit there are apparent discrepancies which our minds cannot always reconcile-has a manifest connexion and unity. One of the most convincing proofs to a candid mind of the Divinity of the Bible is, the mutual relation of the various fragmentary revelations made in various ages, a relation which often outstrips. the knowledge of the successive writers of Scripture themselves, but is evident to us who are in possession of the whole.
It may also be justly contended, that a true theory of the dictates of our reason—a theory which brings them up into clear recognition by the understanding-is almost certain to be favorable to the proper working of reason itself ; and that a false theory is as certain, so far as it influences us at all, to be injurious. A certain theory of fate and necessity renders the Turks slothful. Therefore, philosophy, as the science, that is, the orderly account, of the results of intuition, will be helpful to the theologian.' His original intuitions have not been impeded by an obstructive element, but rather facilitated by the co-operation of another faculty; and now that he is come to apply himself to the Scriptures, the same condition is in his favor. All this must be admitted ; and it does not in the slightest degree tend to confound the two sciences.
Again, when we say that philosophy has little or no connexion with theology, we wish the important difference between philosophy and psychology to be distinctly held in view. Philosophy is the science of being, psychology an inductive science of the mental phenomena. Although ontology has no direct connexion with theology, the same cannot be said of the science of mind. Since the Scriptures, throughout, deal with mind, the better we are acquainted with mental phenomena, the better shall we be prepared to understand and to apply Scripture. Besides, it is evident that a certain theory of human nature runs through Scripture itself. It is alluded to in the Old Testament, and often in the writings of the apostle Paul. Duly to elicit and expound this, it is necessary to be acquainted with the standard teachers of the science.
Finally, since the processes whereby Scriptural doctrines are ascertained and classified are logical, it is obvious that the study of logic is preliminary to theology. One main reason why the old theology is so immeasurably superior to the new, is that the old writers were expert logicians. Their object was lawfully and clearly defined ; they kept it steadily in view; and they knew and steadily followed the proper method of procedure. Hence it is that their doctrinal structures have endured all the storms of criticism, and will remain lasting monuments of the clearheadedness of the builders, when more modern and pretentious, but less substantial erections, shall one after another have crumbled to dust.
The Christian Year.
BY A CLERGYMAN.
Whitsunday. “ And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”—Eph. iv. 30. Every Sunday, brethren, in the midst of Divine Service, we stand
up and make the solemn and sublime confession, “I
believe in the Holy Ghost.” Like
other article of our precious Creed, this is full of the deepest and most glorious meaning. It concerns the Great Object of worship, and it concerns Him as the gracious Agent by whom the revelation of God in Christ is made effective, by whom the facts of it are unfolded and applied, our union with Christ is accomplished, and the consequences of it are carried on through all our mortal discipline, until theirconsummation in eternal glory. It is the Spirit who, by His presence, sanctifies the body of the Church, as formerly He consecrated the temple of the body of Christ. By His presence, the Church is diversified from the world, from any assembly brought together by the will of man. His presence in the Church characterizes the Gospel economy. As once He inspired prophets and apostles, so now the efficacy of prayers with God, the power of the Word with men, and the grace of the sacraments, are due to His operation. Let these weighty truths be fully in our minds, let these rich blessings call forth our devout thankfulness, whenever we are permitted to join in the confession, “I believe in the Holy Ghost.”
The Church has held from the beginning the doctrine which an intelligent and fair inquirer would learn froin Holy Scripture, that the Holy Ghost is truly and properly God, “The Lord and the Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified.” “There are," says St. Paul, “diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” (1 Cor. xii. 6.) The Divine operations on the human mind, whereby it is regenerated, renewed, sanctified, and finally made perfect, are ascribed to the Spirit. To Him is ascribed also the resurrection of the dead. Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost is spoken of by our Lord as an unpardonable sin. And in the form of Baptism, the Spirit's name is joined with those of the Father and the Son. The Spirit is ever spoken of in Scripture, not as an act, but as an Agent; not as power, but as the possessor and exerciser of power; not as inspiration, or an inspiring influence, but as the Inspirer; not as comforting grace, but as the Comforter; as truly and properly a Divine Person, willing, loving and acting.
Of this Holy Spirit, St. Paul affirms, “Whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption." The day of redemptionthat is, the time when all God's promises of blessing to us in Jesus Christ will be fulfilled. When the Israelites were in bondage in Egypt, God sent Moses to them with promises. He promised to deliver them, and to bring them into “a land flowing with milk and honey," where He would dwell among them and be their God. He then proceeded to plague Pharaoh, until consent for their departure was wrung from hím. When the faithless King pursued them, God overthrew him and his host in the Red Sea. Still, though Moses in the morning sang a song of triumph on the shore, yet this was not the complete day of redemption. By and by the law was given, and the tabernacle erected and filled with the Lord's glory. Neither was this, however, the day of full redemption. But when the waters of the Jordan had divided before the sacred ark, and the walls of Jericho had fallen, and the nations of Canaan had been driven out, and the chosen people had been settled in peaceful possession of the land ; then the victorious and now aged Joshua could appeal to their experience and say: “Ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls, that not one good thing hath failed of all the good things which the Lord
all are come to pass unto
you, and not one thing hath failed thereof.” (Josh. xxiii. 14.) That, at length, was the day of their redemption.
So, brethren, when all which God has promised to us in Christ shall have been fulfilled; when each of us that endureth to the end has vanquished the world, the flesh, and the devil; when, after daily partaking of manna from the skies, we have seen the waters of the darker Jordan divide ; when, finally, the whole Church of God-some awakened froth their graves at the voice of the archangel and the trump of God, others changed in the twinkling of an eye—have arisen to meet the Lord in the air, to be forever with Him; when they have heard the rapturous invitation, "Come ye blessed of my Father," and through their Lord, the conquerors of sin, death, and all evil, have with Him entered upon the eternal kingdom; then will have at last urived the time named in the text as the day of redemption.