Page images
PDF
EPUB
[merged small][ocr errors]

the material and the sensible. But the tendency of the times is strongly to the opposite of this; men believe in what they see and handle, and little else; ours is an intensely practical age. We belong to the indicative mode and present tense of things; we are struggling for liberty and just law, fighting for national existence, digging for gold. The problem with us is to live; the actual present fills our thoughts, and the material world is all the world we know or have any evidence of. In theory and in practice, in philosophy and science, and in the actual conduct of life, we are fast drifting to materialism.

The great question to be settled, the great battle to be fought by the Christian church and ministry for the next half-century, is not whether this or that particular dogma of our ancient faith is defensible, this or that particular statement of Moses, or some other sacred writer is reliable, but have we a revelation, and have we a God? Is there anything beyond Nature, and her eternal irrevocable laws? It is not the scepticism of Colenso, or even of Renan, that is to give us the most serious trouble, but the scepticism, more insidious and more formidable, because more in harmony with the tendencies of the age, the scepticism of Comtè, and Spencer, and Lewes, and Mill, in philosophy, and of men among the very chiefest in natural science. The battle is between the natural and the supernatural, the material and the spiritual.

He who, in an age so practical and material, is to present to men for their acceptance and belief truths so spiritual, a religion of faith and not of sense, the religion of the future, and the supernatural, has need to arm himself not only with the weapons of reason and a sound philosophy, but also to call to his aid that power by which he shall be able to seize the invisible and the spiritual, and make them stand forth as realities to the awakened perceptions of his hearers. A bold and fervid imagination is needful for this. Platitudes and abstractions will not do. The powers of the world to come must take form and shape; the hand-writing of imVOL. XXIV. No. 93.

15

pending doom must come out upon the wall, visible to the

dullest eye.

Here lay in no small degroe the secret of Payson's peculiar power as a preacher ; the definiteness and reality which his vivid imagination imparted to whatever truth he would present, and the strong light in which it enabled him to place the realities of the invisible and spiritual world before his hearers. The most effective pulpit orators of the present day are, almost without exception, men largely gifted with

this power.

But why refer to other examples, when the discourses of him who spoke as never man spake afford the richest illustration of our theme? How full of imagination those dis . courses; how rich and varied the imagery ; his very words are pictures ; he speaks to the eye of the hearer; he utters the most profound truths, but, clothed in the forms of sensible representation, they become, like himself, incarnate. He teaches not so much by argument as by metaphor and illustration. His sermons are parables ; and a parable is a little poem. If called upon to specify the one distinctive feature of our Saviour's discourses, I should name this, the predominance of the ideal element. When he would inculcate the lesson of reliance on Divine Providence, he reminds us of the lilies which toil not, neither do they spin ; and of the sparrows that alight not without our Heavenly Father's notice. When he would teach us of how little moment are the distinctions of earthly rank and condition, he shows us the rich man in his palace, and the beggar lying at the gate ; then presently that beggar in Abraham's bosom, and that rich man calling in vain for a drop of water to cool his tongue. When he would teach us to be doers of the word, and not hearers only, he builds a house upon the sand, and the rains descend, the winds blow, and the floods beat upon that house, and it falls, and great is the fall of it. In his vivid presentation the future suffering of the ungodly takes shape and realization under the figure of the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched. To express the lesson of

unreserved consecration he does not say, my disciples must make my service paramount to all other considerations, but he that cometh after me, and hateth not father and mother and sister and brother, yea, and his own life also, cannot be my disciple. So vivid and intense become even the most abstract and universal truths when brought under the burning glass of his fervid imagination. It toucheth the mountains, and they smoke.

He who in this most pragmatic, unbelieving age, would seize the truths of the invisible and spiritual world, and make them stand forth as realities to the apprehension of men, has need in no small degree of this same faculty which characterizes so remarkably the discourses of the Great Teacher, and which imparts to them at once so much of beauty and

of power.

What was said of the theologian is even more true of the preacher, who is the theologian in the pulpit; he has need to be many men in one. He has occasion for qualities and powers the most diverse ; he must discard no one of the faculties which God and nature have given him; he needs them all. Least of all, perhaps, can he afford to dispense with that of which I have been speaking. He must draw his illustrations from all surrounding objects, and each passing event must be made tributary to his purpose. From nature, from art, from science, from the living world as it surges around him, from the heavens above, and from the earth beneath, and from the waters under the earth, must he seize and press into his service whatever can illustrate, whatever can enforce or adorn. As the fabled Orpheus, by the sweet touches of his lyre, drew the wild beasts of the forest, and even inanimate objects, around him at his pleasure, so must the christian orator, by the power of his imagination, be able to command the presence and the service of things animate and inanimate, visible and invisible, in the onward march and progress of his thought. Not rocks and trees and wild beasts alone, but angelic and spiritual forms must come at his call,

beings that " walk the earth unseen, both when we awake

and when we sleep.” As the prophet of Israel touched the eyes of his servant, and showed him the mountains round about him filled with angelic warriors and chariots of fire, so must he who speaks for God to this unbelieving world be able to draw aside at times the thin veil that hides the invisible, and show his astonished hearers the dread realities that lie so near to every one of us. As in the contest of Greek and Trojan story, over the embattled hosts upon the plain, the gods themselves were fighting for and against the mortal combatants below, so must the dull worshipper of mammon and of sense, as he comes to the house of God, be made to see that the very air above him and around him is full of armed warriors in fierce contest over a prostrate soul, - and that soul his own!

ARTICLE V.

THE TOPOGRAPHY OF JERUSALEM.

BY REV. SAMUEL WOLCOTT, D.D., CLEVELAND, OHIO.

In a former Article (Vol. xxiii. pp. 684–695) we reviewed the theory of the Topography of Jerusalem propounded by James Fergusson, F.R.S., an eminent British architect, and published in Smith's Dictionary of the Bible, and gave some reasons for dissenting from it. After the Article had been printed, we met for the first time with a pamphlet of seventy pages, published by Mr. Fergusson subsequent to his Article in the Dictionary, entitled, “ Notes on the Site of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem, in answer to the Edinburgh Review.” In our previous Article, written with a desire to compress the argument, in reply to the points brought forward in the Dictionary, into a brief compass, with as little of a controversial aspect as possible, we find that we passed over some points which did not seem to us essential to a

correct judgment of the question, but on which Mr. Fergusson lays special stress, and which in the pamphlet before us he reiterates and presses into the foreground as conclusive and unanswerable. Without going over ground already traversed, believing that our former argument offers a sure foundation for the convictions of those who accept it, we feel constrained to resume the discussion, and take up every point not already disposed of, and not belonging to his profession as an architect, which Mr. Fergusson deems important. This service we attempt the more readily, because in the judgment of so respectable an authority as Mr. Grove of Sydenham one of the few biblical scholars who seem to treat his speculations with favor, — “his arguments have never been answered, or even fairly discussed” (Smith's Bib. Dic. Vol. ii. p. 696). There were two references in our previous Article which first demand a brief explanation.

After quoting the point taken by the Edinburgh Review, that Mr. Fergusson failed “to account for the building reared by Abd el-Melek," we remarked, “ It may be added that he equally fails to account for the present Church of the Sepulchre” (p. 694). To the issue raised by the reviewer, he replies that he finds the Khalif's building in the Mosque elAksa; and had the fact been in our mind, we should have stated it or omitted the reference. The issue which we raised in the above sentence we shall present again.

Next to the Bible, our most important witness on the Zion question is Josephus. Our citations from this author in our former paper, relative to the successive sieges of Jerusalem, were given without explanation, our object being to show that the royal palace and original citadel were in the upper city and on the western hill, and this appears on the face of the narrative. The Asmonean dynasty, about 165 B.C., while retaining the royal residence in the upper city, erected a fortress or acropolis near the northwest corner of the present Haram area, which Herod subsequently rebuilt, and which from the days of Nehemiah appears to have been a fortified point for the protection of the temple. This fortress figures

« PreviousContinue »