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and wasting away of the body in the grave. Of life beyond the grave there is not the slightest intimation in the book. On the contrary the highest motives to human conduct are drawn from the present life. Penalty and reward are looked upon as temporal; and, though sometimes coming late, as surely coming, if not upon the man himself, then upon his offspring."
The resurrection of the body, of which no trace is found previously, is brought out in II Maccabees, with singular abruptness, and, as Dr. Bissell says, the way in which “ without previous preparation we are brought face to face with it, in a certain dogmatic completeness, is almost startling.” But it is not a universal resurrection which is taught, but of the godly and faithful only. The tyrant who puts the seven brethren to death is told that for him there will be no resurrection. In fact, this resurrection, or reanimation of the body, seems to be the reward of righteousness; and future punishment seems in some cases to be either annihilation, or exclusion from a resurrection, in which case the singer remains a ghost only, without a body, in the realms of Sheol or Hades.
Salvation, according to Wisdom, is not from punishment or any outward evil, but a purely subjective process, made possible indeed by a divine act,” but this divine act is not something in the future, but begins with the act of creation. The Eogia, or“ wisdom,” that entered into the work of creation is the power that saves, and he who discerns this in faith is saved. The author knows nothing of salvation through a personal Redeemer to come. Indeed, one of the most remarkable features of these apocryphal books, whether of Palestinian or Egyptian origin, is the absence of all allusion to the coming of the Messiah. This has been a great puzzle to the student of this literature. Drummond says: It would seem that in the period between the captivity and the rise of the Maccabees the Messianic hope had resolved itself into vague anticipations of a glorious and happy future, in which the presence of God would be more manifest, but of which a Messiah would form no essential feature.”
It is curious to see in these books how dogma and speculation, as well as history, repeat themselves. The materialists of to-day, who seem to imagine they are saying something new, are only repeating the thoughts, and often the words, of the apostate Jewish materialists of Alexandria, two centuries before Christ, at whom the pseudo Sol. omon aims his shafts. They are represented as saying (chap. ii):
“Our life is short and sad, and in the death of a man there is no deliverance ; and there has not been any one who returned from Hades. We were born accidentally, and we shall be hereafter as though we had not been, for the breath in our nostrils is smoke, and thinking a spark produced by the beating of the heart, which, being extinguished, the body will be turned to ashes, and the spirit will vanish as thin air. Our time is the passing by of a shadow, and of our end there is no returning, for it is fast sealed, and no man cometh again. Come on, therefore, and let us enjoy the good things that are present; wine, ointments, flowers, luxury, voluptuousness,” &c.
The length of this article forbids us going into farther particulars in this direction. With a single example of the excellent things to be found in some of these writings, we close :
“Thou hast mercy upon all ; for thou canst do all things, and overlookest the sins of men, that they may repent. For thou lovest all the things that are, and abhorest nothing which thou didst make; for if thou hadst hated anything thou wouldst not have made it. And how could anything have remained, if it had not been thy will ? But thou sparest all, because they are thine, O Lord, thou lover of souls. For thine incorruptible Spirit is in all. Therefore thou reprovest them by little and little that fall into sin, that leaving their wickedness they may believe on thee, O Lord. For there is no God but thou that careth for all, to whom thou mightest show that thy judgment is not unjust.
“ Foolish were all by nature who were ignorant of God, and could not out of the good things that are seen know him that is, nor on considering the works acknowledge the workmaster, but deemed either fire, or wind, or violent water, or lights of heaven, to be gods which govern the world. But if they were astonished at their power and working, they should have understood how much mightier he is that made them; for by the greatness and beauty of things the Maker of them is relatively seen. But yet for this they are little to be blamed'; for even they easily err who seek God, and are desirous to find him."
Origen's Systematic Theology.
We think the above title not inappropriate. Before Origen there existed no system of Christian doctrine. Even Clement, his teacher, had made no attempt to combine into one statement the fundamental teachings of Christ and his apostles ; though the want of such a presentation of the essential truths of Christianity was deeply felt by those who had charge of instructing the gentile converts and young catechists, as well as by those who were in constant controversy with the pagan philosophers and the so-called heretics. Origen in his De Principiis laid the foundation of a system of Christian doctrine. He says, in his preface, that the apostles taught only what was necessary; many doctrines not being elaborately set forth, but left to be developed more distinctly by the disciples of science, who were to build up a system of doctrine on the foundation of the articles of faith given.
Ueberweg, with the help of Redepenning, has furnished a very good digest of the system of Christian doctrines as presented by Origen in the work named above. It is brief, intelligible, and authorative, drawn from the several books composing this work, helped by citations from some of his commentaries. We are quite sure our readers will welcome this statement by himself of the creed of this eminent Universalist, when they remember that he was one of the . great teachers and oracles of the early church ; and that this statement therefore shows beyond controversy what was very generally received as gospel teaching at this period, A. D. 210-250. The quarrel regarding his Universalism, as we have elsewhere shown, grew up two centuries after his death.
For the convenience of the reader, we have broken it into paragraphs, with titles corresponding to the subjects, omitting all references, which may be found in Ueberweg:
I. The Father. In opposition to the Gnostics, Origen, like Irenæus and others, holds it to be apostolic doctrine that God, who created the world out of nothing, is at once just and good, the author of the Old and New Testaments, the giver of the law and the Father of Jesus Christ, who was born of the Virgin through the influence of the Holy Ghost, and became man by his own voluntary self-humiliation. He conceives God as a purely spiritual essence, not fire, nor light, nor breath, but an absolutely immaterial unit. Only on the supposition that he is immaterial can God be conceived as absolutely unchangeable, for all that is material is mutable, divisible, and perishable. The depths of the divine wisdom and knowledge are uusearchable ; the entire fullness of the divine light is accessible to no creature Yet God is not without measure and limit, he is self-limiting; the absolutely unlimited would be unable to conceive itself. God's omnipotence is limited by his goodness and wisdom.
II. The Son. The Son is always begotten of God the Father, in the same manner in which light always begets its own lustre, or as the will proceeds outward from the mind, without causing a division of the latter into parts, i. e., without being separated from the mind. In all which the Father is and bas the Son participates, and in this sense
a community of essence may be predicated of him and the Father ; yet he is not only as an individual another being than the Father, a second God (dettegos Oxós); but he is also inferior to him in essence, in so far as his existence is conditioned and depends on that of the Father ; be is dɛós, but not, like the Father, • Oxós, he knows the Father, but his knowledge of the Father is less perfect than is the Father's knowledge of himself
. As being a copy, he is inferior to the original, and is so related to the Father as we are to him; at least in that measure in which the Son and the Spirit tower above all creatures, does the Father tower above themselves.
III. The Holy Spirit. In the unfolding of the divine unity into plurality, the Son is the first term, the Spirit the second, standing next to the created world, yet himself belonging to the Godhead as the last element or term in the adorable Trinity. The Spirit receives all which he is and has through the Son, as the latter also receives all from the Father; he is the mediator of our communion with God and the Son.
IV. World of Spirits. Later in order than the Holy Ghost, but not later in time, is the entire world of spirits, created by the will of the Father, and numbering more than we can calculate, though not absolutely innumerable, The time will come when all spiritual beings will possess the knowledge of God in the same perfect measure in which the Son possesses it, and all shall be sons of God in the same manner in which now the Only-begotten alone is, being themselves deified through participation in the deity of the Father, so that then God will be all in all.
V. Origin of Evil. The created human spirit, having turned away from the fulness of the divine life, was placed in a material environment, but is free to choose between the good and the bad ; the faculty of willing and the power which men may use for good, are the gift of God, but man's decisions are his own work. Yet even in this God affords us his aid through his Holy Spirit; each of our actions results from a mixture of our own volition and of divine assistance. Evil is the turning away of the creature from the fullness of true being to emptiness and nothingness, hence a privation ; life in sin is a life of death. The cause of evil is neither God 'nor matter, but that free act of turning away from God, which God did not command, but only did not prevent.
VI. Universal Restoration. In the future world there will be rewards and punishments, but at last evil itself must become ancillary to good ; the consequences of evil cannot endure until after the end of the world ; at the end of all things will take place the Apokatas tasis, the restoration of all things to unity with God. The evil spirits, at their head the devil, tempt us as much as is necessary that we may prove ourselves ; but even they are corrigible and shall be redeemed. Good angels stand at our side ; at last love brought the Logos himself down to us, and led him to assume not only a human
body, but also a complete, rational, human soul. To numerous ages of the world the Logos did not appear himself; in the present æon, which is already near to its end, he has come down as a Redeemer, to lead all things back to God. The divine Logos, mightier than sin, is the world-redeeming power; through him the Almighty God, for whom nothing is irretrievably lost, will lead all men back to full and blessed life. The object of future punishments is purification; as by fire the evil in us will be extirpated, more quickly in those who are purest, less quickly in the impure; the worst sinners will continue in these punishments, as in their hell, till the end of time ; after which God will be all in all, being the measure and the form of all the motions of the souls, who only feel and behold him.
VII. The Scriptures. The Holy Scriptures were inspired by God, and contain his word, or his revelations. These Scriptures contain pre-eminently matter of instruction, and inform us respecting the formation of the world and other mysteries ; in the next place, they furnish precepts for our conduct. The Gospel and the Apostolic Epistles stand in no respect behind the Law and the Prophets. The Old Testament is unveiled in the New. Yet the New Testament is itself not the end and consummation of the revelations of God, but it is related to the complete truth as the Old Testament is to it; it awaits its unveiling at the second coming of Christ, and is only a shadow and image of those things which shall be after the end of the present period of the world ; it is temporary and not immutable, and will one day be changed into an eternal Gospel. Even a Paul and a Peter descried only a small portion of the truth.
Protestant Foreign Missions.
Protestant Foreign Missions: Their Present State. A Universal Survey. By Theodore Christlieb, D. D., Ph. D., Professor of Theology and University Preacher, Bonn, Prussia. Translated from the 4th German Edition, by David A. Reed. Only authorized American Edition. Congregational Publishing Society. 80 cents.
We have often mentioned, in these pages and elsewhere, that Christianity was in its beginnings a missionary religion, that its very life was in its aggressive activity. The great Teacher himself said to his disciples at the close of his life on earth : “ Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations ; go into all the world and preach the good tidings to every creature." And with what fidelity and force of purpose they obeyed this command, even unconscious heathen witnesses bare ample record. Only thirty years after this utterance of Jesus, Tacitus declares that in the far-distant western city of Rome there was such a
great multitude" of Christian converts that the imperial government and people joined hands in a common persecution of them, putting them to death by hundreds. Forty years later, Pliny, the gov