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phrases. Histories to some become parables to others, and facts to those are emblems to these. The rock and the “ cloud” and the 66
convey to the Christian admonitions of spiritual verities; and so do the ordinances of the Church, and various parts of its forms of worship.
Jesus Christ has not revealed his religion as a theology of the intellect, nor as an historical faith ; and it is a stifling of the true Christian life, both in the individual and in the Church, to require of many men a unanimity in speculative doctrine, which is unattainable, and a uniformity of historical belief, which can never exist. The true Christian life is the consciousness of bearing a part in a great moral order, of which the highest agency upon earth has been committed to the Church. Let us not oppress this work, nor complicate the difficulties with which it is surrounded : “not making the heart of the righteous sad, whom the Lord hath not made sad ; nor strengthening the hands of the wicked by promising him life.”
There is enough, indeed, to sadden us in the doubtful warfare which the good wages with the evil, both within us and without us. How few, under the most favorable conditions, learn to bring themselves face to face with the great moral law, which is the manifestation of the will of God! The greater part can only detect the evil when it comes forth from them, nearly as when any other might observe it. We cannot, in the matter of those who are brought under the highest influences of the Christian Church, any more than in the case of mankind viewed in their ordinary relations, give any account of the apparently useless expenditure of power, of the apparent overbearing generally of the higher law by the lower, of the
apparent poverty of result from the operation of a wonderful machinery, of the seeming waste of myriads of germs for the sake of a few mature growths. “ Many are called, but few chosen ;” and under the privileges of the Christian Church, as in other mysteries,
πολλοί μεν ναρθηκοφόροι, βάκχοι δέ γε παύροι.
Calvinism has a keen perception of this truth; and we shrink from Calvinism and Augustinianism, not because of their perceiving how few, even under Christian privileges, attain to the highest adoption of sons, but because of the inferences with which they clog that truth, — the inferences which they draw respecting the rest, whom they comprehend in one mass of perdition.
The Christian Church can only tend on those who are committed to its care, to the verge of that abyss which parts this world from the world unseen. Some few of those fostered by her are now ripe for entering on a higher career: the many are but rudimentary spirits, germinal souls. What shall become of them ? If we look abroad in the world, and regard the neu tral character of the multitude, we are at a loss to apply to them either the promises or the denunciations of revelation. So the wise Heathens could anticipate a reunion with the great and good of all ages; they could represent to themselves, at least in a figurative manner, the punishment and the purgatory of the wicked: but they would not expect the reappearance in another world, for any purpose, of a Thersites or an Hyperbolos ; social and poetical justice had been sufficiently done upon them. Yet there are such as these, and no better than these, under the Christian
name, - babblers, busybodies, livers to get gain, and mere eaters and drinkers. The Roman Church has imagined a limbus infantium: we must rather entertain a hope that there shall be found, after the great adjudication, receptacles suitable for those who shall be infants, not as to years of terrestrial life, but as to spiritual development; nurseries, as it were, and seedgrounds, where the undeveloped may grow up under new conditions, the stunted may become strong, and the perverted be restored. And when the Christian Church, in all its branches, shall have fulfilled its sublunary office, and its Founder shall have surrendered his kingdom to the Great Father, all, both small and great, shall find a refuge in the bosom of the Universal Parent, to repose, or be quickened into higher life, in the ages to come, according to his will.
THE MOSAIC COSMOGONY.
By C. W. GOODWIN, M. A.
the revival of science in the sixteenth century,
some of the earliest conclusions at which philosophers arrived were found to be at variance with popular and long-established belief. The Ptolemaic system of astronomy, which had then full possession of the minds of men, contemplated the whole visible universe from the earth as the immovable centre of things. Copernicus changed the point of view; and, placing the beholder in the sun, at once reduced the earth to an inconspicuous globule, a merely subordinate member of a family of planets, which the terrestrials had until then fondly imagined to be but pendants and ornaments of their own habitation. The Church naturally took a lively interest in the disputes which arose between the philosophers of the new school and those who adhered to the old doctrines; inasmuch as the Hebrew records, the basis of religious faith manifestly.countenanced the opinion of the earth's immobility, and certain other views of the universe very incompatible with those propounded by Copernicus. Hence arose the official proceedings against Galileo, in consequence of which he submitted to sign his celebrated recantation, acknowledging that “the proposition that the sun is the centre of the world, and
immovable from its place, is absurd, philosophically false, and formally heretical, because in it is expressly contrary to the Scripture ;” and that “the proposition that the earth is not the centre of the world, nor immovable, but that it moves, and also with a diurnal motion, is absurd, philosophically false, and at least erroneous in faith."
The Romish Church, it is presumed, adheres to the old views to the present day. Protestant instincts, however, in the seventeenth century, were strongly in sympathy with the augmentation of science; and consequently Reformed churches more easily allowed themselves to be helped over the difficulty, which, according to the views of inspiration then held, and which have survived to the present day, was, in reality, quite as formidable for them as for those of the old faith. The solution of the difficulty offered by Galileo and others was, that the object of a revelation, or divine unveiling of mysteries, must be to teach man things which he is unable, and must ever remain unable, to find out for himself; but not physical truths, for the discovery of which he has faculties specially provided by his Creator. Hence it was not unreasonable that, in regard to matters of fact merely, the Sacred Writings should use the common language and assume the common belief of mankind, without purporting to correct errors upon, points morally indifferent. So in regard to such a text as, “ The world is established, it cannot be moved," though it might imply the sacred penman's ignorance of the fact that the earth does move, yet it does not put forth this opinion as an indispensable point of faith. And this remark is applicable to a number of texts which present a similar difficulty.