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sistently to deny the christian name, to those who do not believe in the trinity of Athanasius or the dogmas of Calvin, without at the same time denouncing Tertullian as a heretic and infidel.* Indeed the above formulary is demonstrative evidence that these unscriptural theories had not been admitted to the creed of the church in the days of this orthodox Father. U.
Judged according to the standard set up by the Exclusionists of the present day, all christian writers for three centuries after the birth of Christ would share the fate of modern Unitarians, and with them be struck off from the list of Christians. The attempt to save Tertullian would be hopeless. He could not stand the test a moment. His writings are full of expressions, which either directly assert, or plainly imply that the son is inferior to the Father, and distinct from him. We might fill page after page with such expressions. His current language cannot by the most ingenious sophistry be made to favor the modern hypothesis of the trinity. He contends that the assertion the Father is greater than I,' is strictly and literally true; and observes very justly that he who begets is different from him who is begotten, and he who sends from him who is sent; before all things, he says God was alone, and God is the head of Christ, and all things were given or subjected to the son by the Father. His writings we say, abound with expressions of such or similar import. It is true, he calls Christ God, but he must have read the Fathers to very little purpose, who does not know that, in applying this term to Christ they had no intention of identifying him with the One Supreme Being. They supposed that he derived in some sort a divine nature from God, and in virtue of possessing such a nature was entitled to be called God in an inferior sense. They constantly,however,asserted the supremacy of the Father as the one true and only true God. -Ed.
OUR SAVIOUR'S DISTRESS IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE. MATTH. XXVI, 36-42.
THIS is a scene of deep and bitter agony, described with slight variations, by all the four Evangelists. It is a story of affecting interest to every Christian, and has often occasioned perplexity and distress to serious minds. As the son of God, the visible representative of the unseen Jehovah, made known to us in these distant ages by the records of his unearthly power and wisdom, and revered as one empowered by the Almighty to save mankind from sin and ruin, we are apt to regard him as a being wholly above mortal passion and mortal fear.
Some Christians, unwilling to believe that the blessed Jesus could suffer like a common man, as if this could impair the dignity of his character, have given a strange and far sought explanation of this scene of anguish. They have declared that, at this awful moment, when he prayed that the cup might pass from him, when the intenseness of his agony wrung the heavy damps from his frame, even then it was no mortal suffering, which weighed down his spirit, it was no instinctive recoil of nature at the certain aproach of a cruel and infamous death. They choose to impute it to the vengeance of an angry God, justly due to a guilty world, condensed to one burning point, and hurled with measureless and blasting power on this innocent and holy victim! They suppose that the mercy of God consists, not in par
doning freely the returning penitent, but in punishing the innocent instead of the guilty. But we have not so learned the character of our heavenly Father. We can see no mercy, and no justice, in the power which inflicts torture on the innocent that the guilty may go free. We need not have recourse to this shocking fiction to explain the sufferings of Jesus on that fearful night.
I shall proceed to point out something in his character, and something in his circumstances, that might wring from him those strong expressions of anguish and those earnest prayers for deliverance.
First, in his character. We are to consider him not only as the Messiah, but as a man- a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.' It was necessary that the captain of our salvation should be made perfect through suffering,' that we who come after him might know from his example how to drink of his bitter cup of affliction and share in his own baptism of sorHis example is the more powerful, and our love the more ardent, because he is an intelligible being— one of like passions with ourselves, whose sufferings in our cause we can understand and appreciate, and to whom we can be united in feelings and sympathies. We are encouraged by the devotion and the example of an High Priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, who was tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin.'
He was not
I said that he was a man of sorrows. indeed disposed to cast a gloomy shade over the inno
cent joys of life, for he could mingle with the festive throng at a nuptial banquet; but the history of his public life shows that he was more disposed to weep with those who wept, than to rejoice with those who rejoiced. He was in the world without being of the world. He had too vivid a view of things unseen and eternal, to be interested as we are in things seen and temporal. Destined from the beginning to accomplish the most glorious revolution in human affairs, and to bring the greatest blessings on the human race,he well knew that, during his life, he should derive no glory from that revolution, and have no share on earth in these blessings.
I do not mean to speak of his sorrows as the result of disappointed selfishness or ambition; they might have flowed from wounded affection. His tender sensibility made every man's grief his own. Every throb of human wo, touched with thrilling power on the cords of his own heart. He knew what was in man; he knew human sorrows, and he sympathized in them; he knew human sins, and he wept over them. He knew the approaching ruin and desolation of the land of his birth; he saw the coming visitation of God, which was to grind and scatter his own loved nation; and he mourned with more than a patriot spirit over that hopeless obstinacy, which caused destruction like a whirlwind to sweep over them.
No wonder then that there was a vein of sadness running through his life, for he knew too much of human danger and human wo to allow his benevolent heart to be glad and joyous. He had looked through
the world's pleasures and interests, with the vision of God's prophet, and he saw all of them hollow and transient; many of them alloyed and embittered by base passions; some of them, leaving behind upon the character, dark and foul stains which the river of death cannot wash away. Viewing human nature and happiness, as he did, in heaven's own light, they lost much of the brightness, which allures the common observer, and his quick and far reaching eye saw the guilt of his fellow men in all its blackness, and their peril in all its withering horror. How then could his spirit be gay, when he saw the happiness of a race dear to his kind heart, fast fading away; and eternity bringing upon them its awful retributions? The things which to other men are dim or viewless objects of faith, were to him distinct and fearful objects of knowledge.
Again, his own position and relations must have contributed to throw a still deeper shade of melancholy over his spirit. In a most affecting sense, he was alone in the world. He never had, and never could have had an equal friend, with whom he could wholly sympathise,and freely and unreservedly interchange thought. He had indeed parents and kindred, who loved him with fond affection, he had disciples who listened reverently to his instructions. He could enter cordially into their feelings and sentiments, for they had a cherished place in his own heart. But they could not sympathise with him. Gross and ignorant as they were, they could not enter into the powerful emotions, or understand the heavenborn sentiments of one who held