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difference as to the result, even if it be allowed that the epistles contain no reference to the stories of Matthew and Luke, and that the Gospels were written subsequently to the epistles. According to this pagan author and opponent of Christianity, the stories of Matthew and Luke were current among Christians, and devoutly believed ; and their absence from the epistles, in detailed form, will be readily understood if we reflect that not one of them was intended as a biography of Christ, and that, altogether, they were written for quite another purpose. This is not the case with the Gospels. They are strictly biographies.
3. But is it possible to understand the first verses of the epistle to the Hebrews, save in the light thrown upon them by the narratives of Matthew and Luke? We think not. Reduce Christ to a Humanitarian level, and how shall we interpret the following : “God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds ; who being the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when he had by Himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high !” Is this a mere man, taken from the commonest rank of our humanity, who was thus endowed and exalted ? O the Gulliverian credulity of scepticism! To be sure, among that ilk, the more stubborn and sturdy cry out in reply, “ It is all nonsense ; Paul did not write the epistle to the Hebrews, and therefore it is of no account!” Has scepticism the possibility of pause at anything that savors of unbelief?
4. But the apostle continues : “ Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.” In the second chapter it is said that he was “ made a little lower than the angels.” And here we have in these two statements the key to the mystery. On bis spiritual side, as the “only begotten Son of God," he was made “much better than the angels"; but, on his human
side, as “Son of man,” he was “ made a little lower than the angels.” But these statements are incapable of interpretation without the assistance we derive from the biographies of Matthew and Luke. Let not this fact be overlooked.
And here finally we have the invincible truth: The Divine and the Human blended in Christ! And this truth, if not expressly stated in every Gospel and Epistle, is everywhere implied in the New Testament, from the beginning to the end. All attempts, therefore, to dethrone Christ, all attempts to hurl him down from “ the right hand of the Majesty on high,” must, so long as the evidence of his nature, and his true place in the order of intelligent beings remains, prove utterly abortive. The ineffable ridiculousness of such an attempt is pune gently and eloquently stated by that sainted Christian scholar, Edmund H. Sears. We subscribe to every word of it:
“ There was a time when the darkness of spiritual death covered the face of the world as with a pall; when men and women worshipped their own lusts in the groves of Astarte ; and when the God who ruled the heavens and the earth, and whose image filled the niches of the temples, was an adulterer and a tyrant. Down through this darkness, like a new sun risen, not on midnoon, but midnight, descends a form of divine and human perfections, transcending not merely the thought of that age, but the ideals of all the ages ; and along with it came a new influx of power, a procession of the Holy Spirit, which swept through the heart of the race in Pentecostal gales, taking man, prone to the dust, and setting him upon his feet, searching the sties of sensuality, and cleansing them, inaugurating a new order of virtues, creating a new world out of the old moral chaos, and for the sinners and the harlots, giving to history the Apostles' glorious company, the noble army of martyrs, and the saintly women in spotless robes. Who stands at the head of this procession of heavenly years? A fictitious character, say these critics, which the age created out of its own seething passions and imaginations. The age first created the Christ, and then the Christ created it — the process which naturalism prescribes for lifting ourselves into the infinite by main strength, and by taking hold of ourselves.
That system we call Christianity, in the centre of which is Christ in his divine humanity, giving us the moral persections of God in their unclouded blaze, with a whole series of truths ordered and harmonized around this one ; pertaining to the nature of man, his redemption, his regeneration, his immortality, his retribution, the procession of the Holy Spirit to complete bis nature and cleanse it — that system which spans the age, and all the ages, like a firmament of lights to guide
, them out of darkness
comes of the forged books of a dark period! The world will believe this when they believe some crazy mechanic from Bedlam, who should come along and assure us that, with his trowel and mortar, he built the splendid arches of the Milky way.”
Thoughts on the Parables.
To such of the English-reading world as had the pleasure of perusing the articles from the pen of Prof. Calderwood on the “ Parables of Our Lord” published several years ago in the pages of the Family Treasury, and to the wider circle of readers of his philosophical writings, his recent book, the title of which is here given,' will have a peculiar interest. The articles in the Treasury awoke the expectation that the author might furnish, at no distant day, a more complete statement of his views, and his justly earned reputation as a clear and discriminating thinker gave reason to hope for a valuable addition to Scriptural interpretation. This hope has not been disappointed. Readers will welcome his book as occupying a distinct place in parabolic exposition, and as presenting, in its excellent ethical treatment, a wide range of suggestive thought.
In the preface Prof. Calderwood modestly acknowledges a measure of unfitness for his task. He disclaims both the artist's eye, and the poet's fancy, needful for adequate treatment of the Parables, and contemplates no addition to such service as has been rendered by the lofty imagination of such writers as Jeremy Taylor, John Howe, Richard Trench, James Hamilton, Thomas Guthrie, and William Arnot. But the Parables present a most attractive subject for analytic treatment. This attraction has afforded Prof. Calderwood unabating interest in their study, and has induced him to attempt an ex position of them for popular use. “ The special feature in the design is an attempt to ascertain the relations of the parables to each other. They are regarded as a unity,- a Revelation within the Revelation of God. This conception of the unity of parabolic teaching in the Gospels has determined the grouping of them, and also the interpretation of each parable in its order."
i The Parables of Our Lord Interpreted in view of their Relations to Each Other. By Prof. Henry Calderwood, LL.D., Professor of Moral Philosophy, University of Edinburgh. London: Macmillan & Co.
This idea of the relations and unity of the parables is the prominent one in the work. A whole chapter is devoted to showing that they were “presented in relations deliberately chosen by the Great Teacher,” and “on a definite plan, thereby making a consistent whole. A scheme of arrangement is proposed as not merely fanciful, but as evidently reasonable, and as giving an impressive view of the unity and relations of the parables of our Lord. The grouping of them in this scheme into four divisions is for the purpose of showing their unity and relations by analytic treatment.
The unfolding of this scheme the reader will trace with interest. That there is unity in our Lord's parabolic teaching cannot be denied.' But whether that unity permits of dissection, and of having its parts exhibited in this analytic way ; or whether it is organic like the unity of a flower, so delicate that to attempt an analysis of it is to destroy it, is matter of investigation. What has Prof. Calderwood achieved? The test of his work is his degree of success in finding a scheme of arrangement with a place for each parable into which it will easily and naturally fit. In accordance with this view Prof. Calderwood takes as the key of his plan the introductory phrase,“ kingdom of heaven," or “kingdom of God," which he defines as “the spiritual kingdom which God has established in the world through the atoning work of the
Lord Jesus Christ." In this definition he does not, like Lisco and others, distinguish between the kingdom as a divine power, and the kingdom as a community or church. Nor does he, in his treatment of the parables, recognize any such distinction. In his interpretation of “the Parable of the Net,” he expressly opposes this distinction saying, that “the kingdom is the kingdom of God,” which “can hardly mean here the visible church, as so many have taken for granted.” For “it is apparent that the wicked, as a class, are spoken of as included in the kingdom, in a way quite inconsistent with the supposition that the visible church is represented.” In fact to admit this distinction as to the meaning of the phrase “ kingdom of heaven” would mar the plan proposed for showing the unity of the parables.
“ First, there are those parables which are concerned with entrance into the kingdom ; next, those describing the duties and privileges of the kingdom ; thereafter, those setting forth the relations of the kingdom to this present world ; and, finally, those which illustrate the relations of the kingdom to the world beyond." This grouping, if the phrase “ kingdom of heaven” has only a single signification, exhibits unity in the parables. But if it has a double signification, meaning in one parable one thing, and in another quite a different thing, then to show the unity of the parables a higher generalization must be sought, such as will embrace both meanings.
Lisco, recognizing a double meaning in the phrase “ kingdom of heaven," grouped the parables into three divisions. The first division containing those revealing the kingdom as a divine power; the second, those referring to the kingdom as a community or church; and the third, those treating of the fellow members of the kingdom according to their state of feeling, conduct, and destiny. One difficulty of this classification is, that it does not give an impressive view of the unity of the parables. And this is the difficulty that Prof. Calderwood seeks to escape by ignoring any distinction of meaning of the phrase “ kingdom of heaven," in its various applications. If he can show that all the parables refer to the king