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MAN WILL COME

HIM

follow any other. Jesus says: “FOLLOW ME.” “IF ANY

UNTO ME, LET DENY HIMSELF, TAKE UP IIS CROSS, AND FOLLOW ME.”

This cross is no imagination : it is no idea or theory: it is an intensely personal death unto sin and a living unto Christ. Here is the most concrete of all realities. The Apostle says: “I die daily.” Again : "onr old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed."

Freedom from sin, in the most comprehensive sense, is the • end of the Christian life; death shall be swallowed up in

victory. He who is unwilling to take up his cross, the intensive death unto sin, cannot follow Christ. Flesh and sense must be denied : passion and lust must be overcoine, and if not given up or overcome, there inust be a want of personal godliness in the actual struggle of life. Thousands have gone to priests whose daily life proves that they are not the disciples of Christ. These may be obedient to priests : they are not lovers of Christ! "By their fruits ye shall know them." Never were words more striking than the saying of Strauss: “Where priests rule, there infidelity abounds."

The scheme advocated by Dr. Nevin is fallacious. It is not based upon the creed as such : but upon a private judgment,

idea, or theory," as a principle, put into the creed. Speaking of this creed, the eminent Danish divine, Dr. Martensen, says: Its whole inner form and contents are such as to prove its insufficiency to serve as the highest critical standard of the church.

It is quite clear too, that without the Scriptures, we should derive from the Apostles' Creed a poor support. It gives us not the slightest information concerning the sacramental significance of baptism. We are, therefore, unable to see in this theory of the Apostles' Creed, any improvement upon the Reformation.” See Mar. Dog., Clarke's Ed., pp. 40–1.

No theological scholar finds any fault with Dr. Nevin for attempting to construct a scheme of theology; his fearful mistake centres in trying to identify a purely buman “idea or theory” of the Person of Christ with the existence of the Christian Church. This abstract notion he puts into the creed, as the principle of his scheme, in his own way;

and

then confounds his own private judgment creed with the “old and historical sense of the creed."

The church question finds no solution in the speculative notion advanced by Dr. Nevin. He has labored hard to defend his so-called churchly theology; all his efforts must fall to the ground.' A principle being false, the superstructure is worthless. This scheme is like Romanism, it makes formal baptisin the condition of salvation. Reflection must convince every profound mind that ground and condition being correlative terms, it must follow that both the ground and the condition are in Christ, and can be nowhere else.

Let Christians come to realize, as they should, the Gospel meaning of the cross, and at once every priestly “idea or theory” will be swept into oblivion ; and Christ will reign supreme in every heart. Personal activity in the spirit of the cross will become, as it should, the watch-word of the Christian Church. Ministers of the Gospel will arouse themselves to a more earnest sense of self-consecration to Christ. Dr. Nevin ought to see that his notion of a mediated life is positive pantheism; and as such, must lead, like Romanisin, to a sort of self-glorification. Priestly conceit will take the place of apostolic devotion to Christ. The Saviour speaks to persons, not through priests, and much less through a human “idea or theory” of sacra nental grace. The Holy Ghost, who is a person, works in the sphere of self-consciousness. This priestly abstraction virtually denies the personal presence of the Spirit. All is made to turn upon the pantheistic notion of a life mediated through priests. This life, it is said, is communicated in the form of a germ. Now the scientific scholar knows that a germ is not a tree. Without the correlative condition the ground or germ can never become a tree. By analogy it is the tree, and not a germ, that forms the vital point in the parallel. Tlie tree grows ; the germ passes away in the organic unity between ground and condition.

Christian unity centres in no priestly order; it is dependent upon no human “idea or theory” of the so-called Apostles' Creed, -it is the power of that which is divine: “The love of Clirist constraineth us." The cross is the manifestation of

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Divine love: “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but might have everlasting life.” Personal faith in Christ is here, as in other places, clearly affirmed to be the only bond of unity between Christ and Christians. This living faith finds its condition in Christ himself, and not in an “idea or theory" of what is called sacramental grace.

True Protestantism, like Apostolic Christianity, goes directly to Christ himself. A blind and superstitious reverence for human notions, ideas, or theories, forms no part of the Christian system. Christ is more to Christians than all the world beside. It is Jesus himself who says: “ COME UNTO ME, ALL YE THAT LABOR AND ARE HEAVY LADEN, AND I WILL GIVE YOU REST.

A. S. V.

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Art. V.-The Jesus of the Evangeliste : His Historical

Character Vindicated; or, an Examination of the Internal Evidence for Our Lord's Divine Mission, with reference to Modern Controversy. By the Rev. C. A. Row, M. A., of Pembroke College, Oxford, late Head Master of the Royal Free Grammar School, Mansfield; author of "The Nature and Extent of Divine Inspiration,” etc. London:

Williams & Norgate, 1868. It is more than two years since this work was published, but it is little known as yet in this country. In England it has received the highest praise from a number of the most competent judges. Dr. R. Payne Smith, in his Bampton Lectures for 1869, which have only been printed a few months, says of it, “For fulness of thonght, and terseness and accuracy of reasoning, I do not know its equal. No man can read it without being convinced, I should imagine, not merely of our Lord's historical existence, which is what Mr. Row undertakes to prove against Strauss, etc., but also of his unapproachable perfectness.” And yet, even in England, it does not seem

thus far to have gained the attention of a very wide circle of readers. It is just what its title imports. It does far more than refute the mythical hypothesis as to the divine origin of Christianity. It furnishes an unanswerable proof that the Jesus of the Gospels was a real person, and that his mission was divine. It cannot be denied that every thing of importance is gained if this point is established. We can afford, as the author truly says, to await the solution of all other difficulties connected with the Scriptures, if we can retain a firm conviction that the Gospels are historical in all their great features, and that we have a Christ whom we can worship, and love, and trust. Let this be believed, and then no error which the soul may entertain can be inconsistent with its exercising a saving faith.

This book, owing to its philosophical character, and the severity of its reasoning, may never have place in many libraries, but, by those who possess it, it will be highly prized. As a refutation of the destructive errors which it combats, it is unrivalled. Its lines of thought are not altogether new, and yet it is fresh and original. In one respect it differs from preceding works on the same subject. Mr. Row (inore particularly is this true of the latter part of his book) grapples, far more than other antagonists of the school of Strauss do, with the details of the theory he opposes. The keenness and closeness with which he follows up his opponents, allow them not a moment's rest. He drives them out of every hiding-place. He gives them the benefit first of one of their assumptions, and then of another, until they have no standing ground left, and are completely driven from the field. This especially applies, as already intimated, to certain parts of the volume. As a whole, it has the merits of an able work, planned and written not merely with reference to opponents, whose arguments are to be pulled to pieces, but in order to exhibit clearly the truth on the subject of which it treats. It has been pronounced to be, what in our opinion it really is, a complete hand-book of Messianic argument, so that it is fitted to be very serviceable to the champions of the divine character of Christ and Christianity, by saving them immense labor in the collection of facts, while it will suggest many valuable uses and inferences. It contains no rhetorical paragraphs, but it is pervaded by a calm, yet intense earnestness, and soine of its passages are truly eloqnent. Some of its views and assumptions are, as we think, utterly erroneons, and we expect to notice then hereafter, but they do not materially impair the force of the reasoning, which is thoroughly scientific.

Those who sweetly believe and know that Jesus now lives, do not need to have it proved to them that he was once in this world, with all those glories and excellencies which the Gospels ascribe to him, and yet even such persons find that their souls are refreshed and strengthened by reading well written disquisitions, in which the divine origin of Christianity is proved from the character of Jesus. For they are compelled while reading to contemplate, more or less steadily, his perfections. Now a large part of Mr. Row's book is similar in its nature to such disquisitions, for he spends much time in examining the portraiture of our Lord, in order to show the impossibility of its being a mere invention. If we may learn more concerning morals by studying the character of Christ than in any other way, and if it is true, as many think, that Christianity is as much indebted to the superhuman loveliness of that character, as to any of its doctrines, no book can be without value in which the divine liueaments of the Saviour are dwelt upon and clearly exhibited.

It is, however, the good of the unbelieving which is more directly sought by such treatises as the one before us. If it should be alleged that there is no need of such treatises, because the mythic hypothesis is by this time exploded, it is sufficient to reply that, even admitting it to be so, Mr. Row's book is a refutation not merely of what is strictly called the mythic theory, but of all that has been urged to prove that the Gospels are unhistorical: and that, supposing that such writers as Strauss and Renan should after a while be forgotten, still there will ever be secret doubts in many minds as to the historical reality of the person of our Lord. In regard to the influence for evil still exerted by Strauss's Lives of Jesus, a writer, well qualified to speak on the subject, says: “They who speak of him as dead, are themselves dead, it is to be feared, to modern theological thought and issues. The influence of

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