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myself to the custom which in our days proscribes this kind of homily; yet 1 go on in the usual course with constraint. I have a special aversion to the violence done to the connection of Scripture in the common treatment of a text. Yet if we take the parts logically derived from its fundamental idea, and then attach to this logical division, in a neat, beautiful, and even rhythmical fashion, the separate parts of the text, such violence will often hardly be avoided. How frequently will it be with the preacher who is frittering away his powers on this artificial structure of the sermon, as with the poet whose rhymes are not at hand; the spirit's bloom is withering. Hence Jean Paul wrote poetry in prose.
In many other respects, also, I have not found it best to make use of the freedom which in the preceding remarks is required for the sermon, and in which I should, under other circumstances, have indulged myself. Since my duties as a preacher are only the smallest part of my calling, I have generally been unable to bestow that labor upon my sermons which he is able to give them whose duties find their central point in his weekly sermon. All this may serve as an apology for the imperfections which exist in them.
In one point only, as I think, have I met the expressed requisitions. They are not formal preparations which I lay before my people, but spontaneous outgushings, created in the study and born anew in the pulpit. Nor have they had their origin without the flock, but within it. The experiences of the preceding week among the members of the congregation have almost always been the birthplace of the leading idea of the sermon.
This circumstance may be my explanation, and will justify me if the same materials are used more than once. The general rule that there should not be a repetition either in the subject-matter or in the use of set phrases should be applied to sermons with discretion. In the language of books, repetition should be avoided; but in the language of life, the pulsation of love is often revealed by it. “To write the same things to yon, to me, indeed, is not grievous; but for you it is safe.”
Only let these repetitions not be presentations of different copies of one and the same idea, but continually new produc
tions occasioned by new experiences; -only let them not be artificial flowers which upon every new festive occasion are brought down again out of their glass-case for exhibition, but repetitions like those of nature, which brings forth anew every spring the same leaves and flowers.
God has given me many proofs that these discourses, when they were spoken, were not spoken to the wind. May he now also accompany the written word with the blessing which he has promised.
Art. II.-Ileathen Views on the Golden Age, etc., compared
with the Bible.
The question as to the primeval state of man has assumed immense importance in our days. Mr. Darwin recognizes, indeed, the divine hand in the primitive creation, but sees no necessity of a divine agency in the subsequent development of the countless kinds of plants and animals from the four or five original forms or types; nor were these subsequent developments potentially inclosed in the original types, as the oaktree in the acorn, waiting only for the action of certain agencies, as heat, light, moisture, etc., in order to develop from potentiality into reality. All this took place by mere“ natural selection." Whether man is also a development from the same source and by the same cause, or not, Mr. Darwin does not say; but many of his followers have thrown off the reserve of their master, denying an original creation altogether, and including man in the same process of developinent, while others give us to understand, that it is merely by grace that they do not yet hold these same positions, in order to let the Bible and the faith in it live a few years or decades longer. Many learned questions about the origin of life by a generatio æquivoca, or whether life is eternal, about the origin of human speech, etc., which the Bible answers as positively as it does rationally, are discussed, as if there were no such thing as the
Bible in existence, or as if it were as mute about these things, as the men of the “bow-wow” theory were for an unknown length of time, or as if its authority had been overthrown long ago, or as if its plain words had a meaning entirely different from what they seem to hear. Instead of listening but distantly to the Bible, infidels and Bible-believers start and adrocate the “ding-dong” and “bow-wow” theories,. charging their opponents with palpable absurdity, and they evidently succeed remarkably well in making good their charges.
The Bible tells us as a simple fact, not only that God created man, but that man proceeded out of the hands of his Creator, not as an infant, not as a child-man, but as a man in soul and body, who understood the words of the Creator addressed to him, and who could express his own ideas and conceptions in intelligible language before his Creator. This man, the Bible further tells us, sinned, deteriorating his whole being, soul and body, thereby and impeding his progress or improvement. Now if all men are descendants of the first pair of men, as the Bible also affirms, and if the things just stated are true, it is more than probable, that some knowledge of this primeval state of man, in more or less altered forms, was transmitted from parents to their children, and some traces of it must be found among all nations. Whether this à priori reasoning is justified by facts, is the object of these pages to examine.
That these traces or traditions actually exist, is well known to and admitted by all; but we are at once told that these traditions, etc., are the productions of idle brains or allegories devoid of all force, and that they found their way into different books of the Bible, according to the different stand-points of their writers. Thus is ascribed to rabbinical fables what Paul says of the groanings of the whole creation;" to a Stoic origin what Peter teaches about the destruction of the world by fire; what he says about a new heaven and a new earth is represented as nothing else than a dream of the nations about the return of the golden age. But if it should be found that the Bible stories are older, because simpler and purer than all these traditions, and that these traditions were almost universal, the sincere inquirer after truth will know that the ration
alistic solution does not solve the problem, and that this universality can only be accounted for on the supposition that the Bible is literally true.
What the Bible says about paradise, we find echoed and reechoed in the tradition of classical antiquity about the golden age. What the poets say about it, they want us to understand by no means allegorically or spiritually, but literally. That the body is the prison-house of the soul, as a later philosophy taught, is an idea altogether unknown to the primitive religious consciousness. In the next place, the poets expressly state, that in that age not only moral and spiritual, but also physical evil was altogether non-existent. They represent the latter as a consequence of the former. Physical evil of every form follows sin. The first passage to which we call attention, is Hesiod's 'Epya kaì népal, 106-120, which is indisputably a very old composition, even if Hesiod should not be its author. Here we read :
“ First of all, the immortals holding the mansions of Olympus made a golden race of speaking men. And as gods they were wont to live, with a life free from care, apart from and without trouble and labor: nor was wretched old age at all impending, but ever the same in hands and feet, did they delight themselves in festivals out of the reach of all ills: and they died, as if overcome by sleep; all blessings were theirs. Of its own will the fruitful field would bear them fruit, much and ample; and they gladly used to reap the labors of their hands in quietness along with many good things, being rich in flocks, and dear to the blessed gods."
It is worthy of note, that death existed even in this happy state, contrary to the Bible. But death was only a falling asleep, and a passage into a still happier state of existence, as v. 121 says: “ By the behests of mighty Jove they are demons, kindly haunting earth, guardians of mortal men.”
In the next place, it deserves attention, that in this simple description, not temporal happiness is the main point, but this, that “men lived like gods, and were dear to the blessed gods.' Then this generation of men was not a race of savages, living in a wild state of nature, and happy, because unaffected by culture, “but they gladly used to reap the labors of their hands with many good things.” Greatly modified, we find the same tradition in the works of the Latin poets, Virgil and Ovid, who, though they make physical happiness the main
point, still represent men as sinless and nature as free from all suffering and evil. Metam., I., 89–93, reads: “First, the golden age was created, which without any judge, freely without (written) laws, kept faith and practised righteousness. Punishment and fear were absent,
they were safe without a revenger.”
The same tradition we meet with in the writings of many other writers, poets and philosophers, as Diod. Sic., I., 8; Lucret., V., 923; Plato, Polit., 271c, 278c; de leg., IV., 713c; de repub., III., 415a.
Some philologists deny, indeed, that the tradition in this form was the popular view, maintaining that, according to the latter, the first men lived in a state of animal savageness Onpiwdūs šīv; in the pseudo-Homeric hymn in honor of Hephaistos we read (vs. 3 and 4): “He taught men on earth glorious works— before they used to live in caves upon mountains, like beasts." From this savage state man is delivered by the gods who teach him agriculture, handicraft, and arts. Athene, Hephaistos, Prometheus, Demeter, are the merciful gods who rescue man.
Afterward the rationalistic notion prevailed, that man was his own deliverer, stimulated by want and pleasure; necessity, and still later, chance contributed also its share.
Now, if we were ready to grant, for argument's sake, that this view had been the popular one (a position, however, that is by no means proved), this much at least is certain, that it is not the older. By the same process, by which nominal Christians have exchanged the Bible teachings for rationalism or any thing else, the older and nobler view gave way to rationalistic corruption-at first it is the gods, then it is man himself, led by want, pleasure, necessity, or chance, that rescued the race. But the two views are, after all, not necessarily irreconcilable. In the myths of the golden age we have reflected the universal remembrance of the state in paradise, while we see in the tradition, that men were delivered from a state of original savageness by the gods or by men, the special views of the Hellenistic and Pelasgian tribes, who remembered that they had been delivered from a state of savageness and misery through influences coming from the
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