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our times no harm will come to Christianity so long as we keep inviolate the germ and root in our system. This vital nucleus is the Person and Work of Christ. There are four methods of constructing a theological system. 1. The Analytic, which begins with the assumed end of all things, and thence passes to the means by which it is secured. 2. The Trinitarian, which regards Christian doctrine as a manifestation successively of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 3. The Anthropological, beginning with the disease or sinfulness of man, and passing to the remedy or salvation of man. 4. The Christological, which views every doctrine in systematic theology from the standpoint of a personal Redeemer as the centre in our theological system. It may be asserted that Christ and His atoning work is the central theme of the Bible. As in Beethoven's matchless music there runs one idea, worked out through all the changes of measure and key, so throughout the Bible runs one grand idea-man's ruin by sin, and his redemption by grace. Hebrew monotheism, the Mosaic economy, the schools of the Prophets, and the Davidian dynasty are so many different stages in a Divine-human history, whose characteristics are developed from the indestructible vitality latent in the Messianic idea. This idea is the key to a right understanding of all the events recorded in the books of the Old Testament. The Old Testament is a consistent system only when studied as a theology of redemption. And this fundamental idea of the Old Testament literature is not affected by the Higher Criticism. And a still more striking unity pervades the New Testament. Christ is the hero of the Bible. We must read the whole Bible with the strictest care of exegesis to know who Christ was.
It is then declared by Dr. Etter that the one theme of the whole Bible is Christ's vicarious atonement; and he proceeds to show that the mediatorial idea ought to be the centre in our system of Christian theology. The following passage from H. B. Smith's Systems of Christian Theology is quoted with approval : “ The analysis of incarnation in order to redemption presupposes the doctrine respecting the Divine nature, the end of God in His works, the nature of man, and the condition of man as sinful; and this comprises the first division of theology--the antecedents to redemption. The same principle, in its concrete unity, gives us the doctrine respecting the person and work of Christ. And the same principle, in its application, gives us the third division of the system, embracing regeneration, justification, sanctification, the doctrine respecting the Church, and the Sacraments, and the eschatology.” For such a system the doctrine of the Atonement is fundamental. A defective soteriology works radical and widespread mischief. It begets an unworthy hamartology-a representation of sin as a light matter; a vicious anthropology-a
7-a superficial diagnosis of the ethical constitution and history of the human race; an unbiblical Christology, in which Christ may be only the mightiest of many mighty teachers, reformers, or saviours; an impertinent pneumatology, in which there remains little or no place for the gracious leadings and cleansings of the Spirit ; and an enervated ecclesiology, in which the Church is stripped of her glory, and sinks into the category of the other social and moral agencies which are at work among men.
It is not, however, necessary, and it may not be the best, that a system of theology should begin with the doctrine of Christ. “ The centre is not the beginning, but it throws light on the beginning and the end.” And the theologian ought to construct his system, not only round the Christ centre, but also out of Christian material, that is, the works and teachings of Christ; and these properly include, besides the sayings and doings of the Incarnate Christ, the utterances of the Christophanies, Theophanies, and Pneumatophanies, both before and after the Advent. Christianity is practically and theoretically an exposition of Christ.
But the Christocentric idea may be carried to a wider sphere, even to that of the Cosmos. Christ sustains some relation to the universal creation. Speculative theology discusses whether Christ would have become incarnate if man had not sinned. Dr. Etter thinks “we have no authority for teaching that the Incarnation was simply an expedient to meet the contingencies of human sinning. If man had not sinned, and the Son of God had nevertheless become flesh, the manifestation would, no doubt, have been different.” It is an assumption, and incapable of proof; but we may say that “Christ is the subject of interest to the inhabitants of other worlds."
Dr. Etter's practical conclusion is, that if Christ is thus pre-eminent in the Scriptures, in Biblical, doctrinal, and historical theology, and a subject of profound interest to all angels and all worlds, He should be the sum and substance of all preaching
In criticizing Dr. Etter's position, it may be pointed out that Jesus never presented Himself to men as a finality; He always sought to lead them to God the Father. And the Apostles never speak of Christ as a finality; they unite in the idea which St. Peter most succinctly expresses : · Who, by Him, do believe in God.” It may, therefore, be argued that the Fatherhood of God, revealed through the Sonship of Christ in humanity, is the true centric idea of a system of Christian theology.
OUR CONFESSION OF FAITH. By Prof. J. P. LANDIS, D.D., Ph.D. (Quarterly Review of United Brethren in Christ).—This article concerns only the doctrine of the Trinity. This is thus stated, “ We believe in the only true God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; that these three are one- -the Father in the Son, the Son in the Father, and the Holy Ghost equal in essence or being with the Father and the Son." Dr. Landis introduces his subject by showing its importance, because it affects our very conception of the nature or being of God Himself; because its denial involves denial of the Atonement, because its denial indicates a feeble view of the turpitude of sin, and because such denial involves denial of the deity of Jesus Christ. But it may be objected to such an introduction, that it tends to create a preliminary prejudice, which must interfere with the calm and honest treatment of the subject. It is far better irst to discuss the doctrine, and then consider its bearings and relations.
It is admitted that the doctrine is a profound mystery, and though not involving contradictory elements, is beyond the power of human comprehension. We can, however, as Martinsen says, “have a true, though not an adequate knowledge of the nature of God." (1) There is but one God, and He is one—a simple or indivisible Being, not consisting of parts. (2) This unity is a trinal unity. The Godhead is one infinite, spiritual substance common to three subsistences, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Joseph Cook expresses this so as to avoid the word "person.” The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are one and only one God. Each has a peculiarity incommunicable to the others. Neither is God without the others. Each with the others is God. It will be noticed that the creed, as given above, also avoids using the word "person.”
Dr. Landis discusses the difficulties felt in the use of the word “person,” and finds even greater difficulties connected with the suggested substitutes, “hypostases," or “subsistences.” The test he appears to apply is, What will best resist the error of Sabellianism; but the theologian is most likely to preach an acceptable setting of the truth of the Trinity who is brave enough to take Sabellianism into his counsel,
and not regard it as antagonistic, but, at most, an overstating of one side of truth which must be fairly and calmly estimated. What divines wish to conserve by persisting in the use of the term “ person is the intelligence of Father, Son, and Spirit. They are not names for mere forces. Dr. Charles Hodge says, A
person is an intelligent subject who can say I, who can be addressed as Thou, and who can act and can be the object of action.”
The three hypostases are distinguished by certain properties. There belongs to each a characteristic individuality, which is his own exclusively, and cannot be transferred from one to another. To the First Person belongs the “property" of paternity, Himself unbegotten, but begetting the Son; to the Son, the filial “property” of being begotten; to the Holy Spirit belongs the “property” of procession-He proceeds from the Father and the Son. These “properties” are not to be confounded with attributes.
The proofs of the doctrine of the Trinity are to be found only in Scripture. The familiar passages are reviewed by Dr. Landis, but while they may support & general statement of the doctrine, it may be fairly urged that they can hardly bear the weight of all the philosophical distinctions which theologians have made. And Dr. Landis does not deal with the position which is taken by many devout English thinkers, that the distinctions in the Divine Being are distinctions in our apprehension of the Divine Being; and we have no right on the basis of any revelation given—to assert that they represent eternal absolute distinctions in Him. For many the Trinity is apprehended thus : God thought by us is God the Father. God seen by us-sense apprehended—is God the Son. And God felt by us is God the Holy Ghost. This, too, might be philosophically unfolded.
A WORKING CHURCH. WHAT SHOULD THE MINISTER DO? (Editorial in Quarterly Review of United Brethren in Christ).-A Church must be organized round some great idea. A working Church is one that holds most of the revealed truth, the most points emphasized in its individual life, and all these vitalized in the hearts of all its members. For such a working Church what should the minister do? That is partly answered by showing what the minister should be. The personal character of the minister can never be separated from his work. A bad man may be a good artist. A bad man can never be a good minister. What makes the difference in the words of men ? Not the rhetorical finish, not elegance of diction, but the personal force which is behind the words, which you feel, and like to feel. As Phillips Brooks says, “The truth must come through the minister's character, his affections, his whole intellectual and moral being."
The minister must be a correct interpreter of the Word of God. That demands highly cultured intellectual faculties, a vigorous imagination, and sensitive moral sympathies. He should have an intense love of truth, and skill to discern the relative importance of the truths of God's Word. If he misses the proportions, the foodsupply of his congregation is ill-regulated, and spiritual health is imperilled. He should be constantly renewing personal consecration to the Lord in his work. He must be prepared to undertake special forms of work: a dead Church has often been revived by putting all force for a time into some one branch of work. Make that go: make it live, and life will surely quicken life. And the minister of a working Church must come into personal contact with the membership. It is a poor thing to say of a man, “He's a good preacher, but no pastor.” Here is a radical defect; a cart with one wheel. The pastor must touch every life, and that touch must be the call to work, to give emphasis to what he deems important; an enthusiasm to every one, because he is enthusiastic; an inspiration, an impulse, outward towards God and his very important work in the world.
THE WORD OF GOD. By Rev. MORGAN Dıx, D.D., D.C.L. (The Churchman, New York).—The subject treated is “the extraordinary position, in which we seem to be placed at the present day, on the question about the truthfulness and trustworthiness of that volume which we love and accept as the Word of God.” After a brief survey of the history of the canon—its literary and its moral history-which covers ground very familiar to Bible students; and after the recognition of such legitimate and necessary criticism as is represented by the work of Origen, Epiphanius, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Chrysostom, Jerome, Wickliffe, Coverdale, Griesbach, and Tischendorf, the precise subject is dealt with, and it is considered whether the “ modern suspicion of the Bible be not a result and an indication of an inveterate tendency in human nature to resist authority, to do without the light from above, and to make private opinion the final test of truth.” The claim of the Book explains the opposition to the Book. It professes to be the Word of God to men; inspired, and therefore essentially unlike other books. It contains the history of supernatural religion. It demands faith and obedience. The claim can only be met by denying the character of the Book, its Divine source, its inspiration in a sense in which no other book is inspired, its moral authority, its truthfulness as a record of supernatural things.
With the opponents of the Book, “historic testimony and exterior evidence are now undervalued, and confidence for settling questions of date and authorship is in human intuition. Whatever that be in the Bible which cannot be squared with the prejudices, the prepossessions, the ideas of our own time, must be thrown out as spurious, or regarded as uninspired and without other than human authority." This representation by Dr. Dix is a caricature which no member of the modern critical school could possibly accept as descriptive. Dr. Dix is wiser when he gives reasons for objecting to the modern principles and methods—we can calmly weigh those reasons, and form our own judgment of their value. It is a mistake to excite prejudice before argument.
The first objection to the modern method is, that it makes little account of external testimony and historic evidence. But Dr. Dix does not recognize that too much may be made of such evidence.
use it to prove that the sun goes round the earth. A strict examination of the Bible as it is may surely be undertaken independently of any traditional or historical evidences of how it came to be what it is. Conclusions reached by the study of the Bible as it is may be revised in view of historical evidences.
The next objection is, that it practically invests the modern critic with a power of intuitive discernment, an ability to recognize truth without any aid from historic or other facts. But Dr. Dix makes the mistake of judging a class by its worst specimens, which the class would refuse to recognize as representative. He does not see that a science of the history and forms of human language may be as definite and precise as any other science; and its laws applied to the contents
the Bible may bring to view the character of its several portions, its authorships, and its dates. No intelligent Bible critic makes himself the test of Bible truths, as Dr. Dix suggests.
Another objection is, that modern attacks on the Bible are so offensive and insolent in spirit. And Dr. Dix especially points out the readiness of the adverse critic to repeat his statements after full and complete historic proof of his error has been presented. It would, however, be fairer to recognize that the historical proofs
which are satisfactory to such great writers as Westcott and Lightfoot are submitted to the judgment of others, who may not be able equally to appraise their value. Different kinds of evidence have different influence on different minds; and what we ask of all Bible critics-orthodox or non-orthodox as we may call them-is that they shall fairly and fully put before us, not their conclusions only, but the reasons on which they rest those conclusions. The man who would carry us away by the mere force of his assertions deserves the rebuke of Dr. Dix, and would get it from the members of all schools of thought.
Dr. Dix concludes by showing that the controversy over the trustworthiness of the Bible is bound inextricably and indissolubly with the question as to the trustworthiness and veracity of our Lord Jesus Christ. Mention is made of the modern difficulty as to the limitation of our Lord's human knowledge, but instead of a calm consideration of a subject which demands unusual caution and self-restraint, Dr. Dix goes off into rhetorical extravagance and makes appeal to Christian prejudice. The last word on that very perplexing subject has not been written. Some limitations of the Divine in the human are universally recognized, and are essential to the very idea of an Incarnation ; but very much more must be thought and said and written before we shall be able to trace worthily the limits of the limitations.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON HELL. By Rt. Rev. MGR. DE CONCILIO (Freeman's Journal, and Magazine of Christian Literature).-—It is helpful to be led to an examination of such difficult questions as those connected with future punishment from fresh points of view. From the Catholic standpoint there can be no compromise made as to the doctrine of everlasting punishment. For those who die in mortal sin, that is, absolutely estranged from God, and with their will obdurately attached to things in utter opposition to the moral law, there is a punishment absolutely eternal, that is, lasting for ever, without any redemption whatever. This view is declared to find its support both in revelation and in reason.
On the question whether there is any redemption allowed to any one dying in the state of mortal sin; any time after death allowed for change, and securing freedom from punishment, the Catholic Church replies, Not as a rule, but exceptional cases are recognized in which Divine judgment may be suspended.
As to hell, Catholic doctrine teaches neither more nor less than that hell is a state of everlasting punishment, and consists in the eternal privation of the beatific vision of God, and the consequences which depend upon the same privation. “Once that vision is lost the rational creature has lost its end, its destiny, and its happiness, It is a being out of its centre, at war with its most imperative cravings. It is a living contradiction. This implies a psychological pain worse than anything which could be imagined.”
With regard to other questions the Church has made no definition. The Catholic is not bound to believe that hell is a place, or that there is actual sensible fire as an instrument of inflicting pain. He is free to think and hope that God's mercy may alleviate the pains of the lost; but whatever view he may take, it must be consistent with the view that the pain can never cease, but must endure for eternity.
Fossil MEN. By Prof. L. A. Fox, D.D. (The Lutheran Quarterly).—Though the science of Geological Anthropology is but in the process of formation, and fresh discoveries may very materially modify present conclusions, the Christian thinker cannot fail to be interested in its history and present condition, on account of its direct connection with received notions as to the antiquity of man. An important series of discoveries has been made, some definite facts have been recognized, but the