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The Diaconate, . . . . ' . . . . .h <i#;"» . 1 
The Influence of Theories of the Will on Theology, . . » . 32 
The Freedom of the Will in its Theolof^ical R^ationB. By the Rev. 

Dr. J. L. Girardeau, .51 

A Plea for the Study of Hebrew. By the Rev. F. W. Lewis, . . 84 
Plana of Church Finance, . . . ... . . .92 

Presbyterianism. By the Rev. Dr. D. E. Frierson, . . .112 

The Revised Book of Church Order. By the Rev. Dr. Stuart Robinson, 121 
Ethics of the Fathers. By Dr. Alexander Meyrowitz, . . . 145 
Mediaeval and Modern Mystics. By the Rev. L. G. Barbour, . 219 

Non-Scholastic Theo]o/iy, 258 

The Grace of Adoption. By the Rev. Thos. H. Law, . . . 275 
The Four Apocalyptic Beasts; or, The Cherubic Symbol. By the 

Rev. Dr. A. W. Pitzer, . . . . . . , .288 

The Dancinj:; Question. By the Rev, Dr. R. L, Dabney, . . . 302 
The Question of Dancin^^ from Another Point of View. By the 

Rev. Dr. John B. Adger, . . . . ... 338 

Thoughts on Foreign Missions. By the Rev. Dr. J. Leighton Wilson, 363 
Capital and Labor, . . . . , . . . • . 378 

Life of Horace Mann. By Prof. J. T. L. Preston, . . .385 
The Brethren of our Lord. By the Rev. Dr. B. M. Smith, . 437 

Vaffrancy, ............ 462 

Endless Punishment. By the Rev. Dr. R. L. Dabney, . . . 474 
Calvin ilnd Servctus. By the Rev. Dr. John B. Adger, . . 485 
Contrary. Choice. By the Rev, James A. Waddell, . . . 516 
The General Assembly at Louisville. By the Rev, Dr. John B. Adger, 550 
The Lord's Supper, By the Rev. Dr. T. E. Peck, . . . 623 

The Ministerial Gift. By the Rev. P. P. Flournoy, . . .646 
The Jurisdiction of the Evangelist. By the Rev. Dr. J. A. Lefevre, 659 
Professor Flint's Sermon before the General Council at Edinburgh, . 672 
The Public Preaching of Women. By the Rev. Dr. R. L. Dabney, . 689 
The Alternatives of Unbelief. By the Rev. Dr. H. C. Alexander, . 713 
Davidson's Hebrew Grammar. By the Rev. Alfred Jones, . . 738 
The Recent Ordination at Ilangchow. By the Rev. Dr. Jno. B. Adger, 754 
Critical Notices : 

Syllabus and Notes of the Course of Systematic and Polemic The- 
ology, taught in Union Theological Seminary, Virgini 
Discussions in Church Polity, 187. Some Elements of 






Lent Lectures, 1879, 101. A Blow at the Root of Modern Infidelity 
and Scepticism ; or, Huxleyism Analysed and Driticised, 196. A 
Popular Commentary on the New Testament, 201. The Christian, 

203. An Examination of the Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible, 

204. History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin, 
401. The Reign of God not the Reign of Law, 403. The Fletcher 
Prize E«say. The Light: I^s it Waning? 408. A Short Method 
with the Dipping Anti-Pedo- Baptists. 412. St. Paul at Athens. 
Spiritual Christianity in relation to some Aspects of Modern 
Thought, 414. Voices from Babylon ; or, the Records ofiP)aniel 
the Prophet, 416. Eventide at Bethel, 419. Wells of Baca; 
or, Solaces of the Christian Mourner and other Thoughts on 
Bereavement, 419. The Widow's Trust, 419. Feeding on Christ. 
The Soul's Hungering and Thirsting, and its Satisfaction, 420. 
Pointed Papers for the Christian Life, 420. Conference Papers; 
or, /Analysis of Discourses, Doctrinal and Practical, 606. Ser- 
mons Doctrinal and Practical, 609. Studies on the Ba|)tismal 
Question, 771. CaBsar: a Sketch, 778. Moses the Lawgiver, 781. 
Principles of New Testament Quotation, 783. TheX)ld Preacher's 
Story, 790. Walks to Emmaus, 790. Prophecy, 791. Difficulties 
of the Immersion Theories. 792. 

Recent Publications, ... . . . 206, 423, 615, 794 


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VOL. XXX.— NO. 1. 




The Committee appointed last year to report to the Synod, at 
its present meeting, on the subject of the Diaconate, respectfully 
present the followino; paper: 

The Committee in taking up the subject referred to them have 
acted under the impression that the purpose of their appointment 
was not that they should attempt an exhaustive treatment of it, 
but should consider it in certain aspects in which either princi- 
ples underlying the diaconal office may be developed, or theoreti- 
cal differences be discussed, or the points indicated in which our 
practice is defective. Accordingly, we propose, after a brief 
statement of certain assumptions in reference to which there is 
universal agreement among us, to submit the results of our reflec- 
tions under the following heads: first, The Relations of the 
Diaconate to the Presbyterate ; secondly. The Scope of the Dea- 
con's Functions; "and thirdly,. The Sphere of his Operations. 

*Thi8 paper was presented as a report to the Synod tit its recent sessions 
at Spartanburg, and appears in the Revie\^ in accordance with a request 
of that body. It will be observed that the report was a partial one, dis- 
cussing only the first head of the general schetne of topics which it pro- 
poses to cover. The Committee were directed to submit the remainder 
at the next sessions of the Synod. 



The Diaconate. 


In the first place, it is assumed that the office of the deacon 
^vas instituted by Christ, the King and Head of the Church, and 
therefore exists of divine right. This requires no discussion, 
since it is obvious that our standards, following the Scriptures, 
enounce the principle that an office which lacks a divine warrant 
is a mere human device, and should be excluded from the house 
of the Lord. 

In the second place, it is assumed that the office of deacon is 
perpetual in the Church. "The ordinary and perpetual officers 
in the Church," says the Form of Government, "are bishops or 
pastors; the representatives of the people, usually styled ruling 
elders; and deacons." It is hardly necessary to state the dis- 
tinction between the perpetuity of an office and its perpetual 
occupation by an officer. He ma}' cease to be an officer by either 
deposition, or demission, or elevation to higher office, or removal 
by death, or transfer of membership. The officer may chatige, 
but the office remains permanent. 

In the third place, it is assumed that the deacon is not a 
preacher. The designation of the end upon which his office 
terminates makes this clear. "The Scriptures," says the Form 
of Government, "clearly point out deacons as distinct officers in 
the Church, whose business it is to take care of the poor, and to 
distribute among them the collections which may be raised for 
their use. To them also may be properly committed the manage- 
ment of the temporal affiiirs of the Church." The doctrine and 
practice of our Church are so firmly settled upon this point as to 
make it unnecessarv that it should considered. 

In the fourth place, the qualifications for the deacon's office 
are so distinctly specified in the Scriptures, that no difference of 
opinion can exist among us in regard to them. They are, there- 
fore, taken for granted, with the simple remark, that they are 
partly spiritual and partly natural; but as the office takes its de- 
nomination from its end, and not from its qualifications, that of the 
deacon is said to be temporal in contradistinction from the others 
the ends of which are spiritual. 

T\\ the fifth place, we assume that the election of deacons is by 
the people. This has not been the practice of all the Reformed 



The Diaconate. 

Churches, but it is the hiw and practice of ours ; and besides is 
settled by the precedent recorded in the sixth chapter of the 

AxjtS. ' V :. .- .■v:v..;,.;--,tf,.;; , 

In the sixth place, we assume that the deacon ought to be 
ordained by the congi-egational presbytery, with prayer and the 
imposition of hands. This is not required by our present Con- 
stitution, but it may obviously be deduced from the scriptural 
account of the ordination of deacons ; and the provision touching 
the matter in the Revised Book, sent down to the Presbyteries 
by the General Assembly, so clearly reflects the opinion of our 
Church, that discussion is now deemed unnecessary. Having 
premised these assumptions, we proceed to take up those aspects 
of the subject which particularly challenge our attention. .,.,, 

I. First, we will consider the Relations of the Diaconate to the 
Presbyterate. Under this head, we propose to speak, 1. Of the 
points of similarity and difference between the office of deacon 
and the other officers of the Church; 2. Of the theorv that the 
higher office includes the lower; and 3. Of the relations of the 
deacon to the eldership in the jjracticai working of our system. 

First. All the offices of the Church are reducible to their 
highest genei'ic unity by the property of ministry. They are all 
ministers of Christ for the advancement of his glory, and minis- 
ters of the Church for the protnotion of her welfare. Jesus him- 
self said that he came not to be ministered unto, but to minister; 
and Paul declared that the Apostles preached not themselves, but 
Christ Jesus the Lord, and themselves the servants of the Church 
for Jesus' sake. What was true of the Apostles must be true of 
all lesser officers ; and accordingly Peter exhorts presbyters to 
refrain from esteeming themselves lords over God's heritage. 
The appellative deacon is sufficient to show that the officer who 
bears that name is emphatically a servant of the Church. Ac- 
cepting the usual distribution of functions as designating the 
chief end to which each kind of officers is to be devoted, we say 
that the preacher ministers by the word and doctrine, that the 
presbyter ministers by rule, and that the deacon ministers by 
distribution. Ministry, then, is the highest genus under which 
the offices of the Church may be collected. The whole essence 





of the property of service enters into all tn^i-s^cific functions 
which church-officers are called to discharge. In this regard they 
are all alike. 

But in order to ascertain the relations which the respective 
offices sustain to each other, it is necessary to point out. the 
elements of difference between them, as well as that of similarity. 
We must go on to discover the proximate genus and the specific 
difference, in order to ascertain th^peculiar properties and the 
limitations of the several offices. Now the ministry of the church 
divides itself into orders which furnish a lower generic unity. 
These orders are not three — the preacher, the presbyter, and the 
deacon, but two — the presbyter and the deacon. The order of the 
presbyterate is a proximate genus distributable into two species, 
which are distinguished from each other precisely by the posses- 
sion or the non-possession of the property of preaching. One 
class of presbyters preach, and the other class of presbyters do 
not preach. The property of ruling is common, that of preaching 
peculiar and distinctive. The preacher and the ruling elder are 
not different as to order — they are generically the same officer. 
They differ only as to the performance or non -performance of a 
special function. We are not called upon here to vindicate this 
distribution, but content ourselves with the remark that the more 
closely it is examined the more distinctly will it be seen to be in 
accordance with the teachings of the Presbyterian Reformers. 
The doctrine of Calvin upon this point is very definitely ex- 
pressed. We cite attention to his language in his comments upon 
the twenty-eighth verse of the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians. 
He says that Paul indicates a twofold order of presbyters — 
duplicem ordinem preshyterorum. He does not say two orders — 
duce ordines, but a twofold order — duplex ordo ; that is, clearly, 
one order with two distinct properties. 

Now the deacon is not simply distinguished from the other 
officers by the possession of a specific property. He is generically 
different from them. He does not belong to the order of pres- 
byters, with a specific function which peculiarly marks his office; 
he belongs to a different order, which has been generally desig- 
n.ated by the^ title of distributors. He is not a presbyter who 


The Diaconate. 



distributes, as the preacher is a presbyter who preaches. He 
falls under an entirely different proximate genus; so that the 
difference between him and the other officers of the Church is 
generic and not merely specific, or, to speak perhaps with greater 
strictness, he is both generically and specifically different from 
them. In the case of the deacon the genus and the species are 
one and the same — the order and the function coincide. There 
is no division of the order diaconate into species, as in the case 
of the presbyterate. Let it be carefully observed, then, that the 
presbyterate and the diaconate are two distinct and separate 
orders, not indeed coordinate as to authority, but concurrent as 
to ministry. Whatever be the relations subsisting between them, 
it is evidently not that of generic identity. This is clear from 
the consideration of the object-matter about which each order of 
officers is concerired', and the ends which it contemplates. The 
one terminates mainly on persons, the other on ecclesiastical 
goods ; the one is appointed for government, the other for distribu- 
tion ; the one is chiefly occupied with the care of souls, the other 
with the care of bodies. 

.,„ Secondly. But here we are bronght face to face with the next 
question which we proposed to discuss: Does the higher office 
include the lower? Does the presbyterate contain the diaconate? 
It is one which lies directly in the track of our exposition of the 
relation between the two orders, and which cannot therefore be 
logically evaded. What, then, is the doctrine concerning the 
inclusion of the lower office in the higher, as stated by those who 
h?ive held it? 

1. Sometimes it is thus expressed, as in the first revision of 
our Form of Government which was approved at Memphis, 1866, 
by the General Assembly: "He that is called to teach is called 
also to rule, and he that is called to rale is called also to dis- 
tribute." It* this language is to be strictly construed, it means 
that the obligation to distribute is as much bound upon the pres- 
byter by a divine call as is that to rule upon the preacher. 

2. Sometimes it is said to-be a virtual inclusion of the lower 
office in the higher. This, for example, was the view expressed 
by the London ministers who were authors of the Divine Right of 




The Diaconate. 


Church Government, ^fheir language is : " All the inferior offices; 
are virtually co!Mpref)<ended in the* superior, and may be discharge(i 
by them; elders may distribute as well as deaconsv, and beyond 
them, rule: pastors may distribute and rule as well as deacons- 
and elders, an-d beyond both, preach, dispense sacraments, and 
ordain ministers: Apostles may do them all, and many things 
besides, extraordinary." Here the doctrine seems to be that the 
higher officers have the power possessed by the lower, so that in 
the absence of the lower they may actually discharge their 
functions, but in a regular condition of the churcti^do not exer- 
cise that power. 

3. But at other times, the ground is taken that there is an 
actual inclusion of the lower in the hi";her; so that the hi-rher 
officers are not only empowered to perform the acts of the lower 
in an irregular and extraordinary state of the church, but in its 
regular condition may ordinarily discharge me functions of the 
lower. Thus, for instance, elders may coiiporate with deacons in 
the jomt administration of the business which properly belongs 
to the diaconal office. This is the view set forth in the Catechism 
of the Principles and Constitution of the Free Church of Scot- 
land. To the question: "Df)es it not belong to the deacons alone 
to administer the secular affairs of the church?" the answer is: 
*'The greater office alwa-ys includes the less; the presbyter may, 
therefore, as a deacon, take part, when it is necessary, in con- 
ducting the 'outward business of^the house of God.'" This is 
the theory in which the practice of holding what is known as the 
deacons' court is founded. The elders and deacons sit and vote 
together in relation to busir»ess which is properly diaconal. Such 
are the forms in which the doctrine is enounced, and it must be 
admitted that they are not coincident with each other; it becomes 
necessary, therefore, to settle the state of the question which we 
are discussing. 

First, then, the question is 4iot, whether the higher officers, 
when they are the only existing officers, may discharge the func- 
tions of the lower who are wanting. In that case, it is conceded 
that they not only may, but ought to, discharge those functions. 
Where no deacons can be obtained, the elders ought to perform 



The Dmcondfe. 


'diaconal duties. But that, we conceive, is a diflferent thing from 
paying that the elder is a deacon. 

Secondly, the question is not, whether the ruling office includes ■ 
the non-ruling and merely distributive, as an object upon which 
government terminates. In regard to that, there can be no dis- 
pute. The governmental administration of the affairs of the 
Ohurch, as well teniporial as spiritual, is lodged in the presbyter- 
ute. But in this sense, all ecclesiastical persons are included 
Jinder ihe presbyterial office. The preacher who is the highest 
officer as well as the deacon who is the lowest are alike included 
under the jurisdiction of presbyterate. ■ >;*•/= ^1*1 !«f?ii ' #5;> ifffe^ 

Thirdly, the question is, whether in a regular condition of the 
•church, in which its complement of offices is filled and in orderly 
operation, the higher office so includes the lower as to make it 
legitimate for the higher officer to discharge the functions of the 
lower. To state the question still more precisely, in relation to 
the matter immediately in hand, ii is whether the presbyter is 
also a deacon, "and whether, in a regular state of the church, he 
may therefore legitimately perform diaconal functions. And the 
question is, further, whether there may be a joint management 
by vote, or a joint execution, by presbyters and deacons, of busi* 
ness belonging to the deacon's office. This, then, is the precise 
question before us, and in undertaking to refute the doctrine that 
the higher office so includes the lower, we shall first consider the 
arguments in support of the affirmative, and then present those 
which occur to us in favor of the negative. 

1. The first argument which we encounter is derived from 
alleged apostolic teaching and practice: the Apostle, the higher 
officer, included the presbyter and the deacon, the lower officers; 
therefore, reasoning from analogy — for there is no scriptural 
statement of the fact — the preacher, the higher officer, includes 
the presbyter and the deacon, the lower; and the presbyter, the 
higher, includes the deacon, the lower officer. There are here 
two questions: Do the Scriptures teach that the apostolic office 
included that of elder and deacon ? and, if they do, is the ana- 
logical inference legitimate, that the preacher includes the elder 
and deacon, and the elder the deacon? In proof of the fact that 


The Diaaonate. 


• '5,: 

{ I 

the Apostle included the elder, two passages are relied upon— - 
1 Peter v. 1, in which the Apostle says: "The elders which are 
among you T exhort, who aro also an elder"; and 2 John 1, in 
which the Apostle John styles himself an elder: "The elder unto 
the elect lady." We submit that these passages are of too doubt- 
ful meaning to ground the doctrine of the inclusion of the lower 
office in the higher. 

(1.) In the first place, they do not necessarily teach an inclu- 
sion of the lower in the higher office, but, for aught that appears 
to the contrary, only a divinely-ordained coexistence of the two 
offices; and this view would seem to be supported by the fact 
that when the Apostles acted as Apostles, they did not act as 
elders, and, on the other hand, when they officiated as elders, 
they did not as Apostles. When they organised a church by the 
appointment and ordination of elders, they acted simply as Apos- 
tles; but the eldership having been constituted, whenever they 
sat with it in the exercise of joint rule, they acted not as Apostles 
but as elders. Thus, in the Synod of Jerusalem, they partici- 
pated as presbyters with the body of the presbyters as, quoad hoc, 
their coordinates and peers in rule. The Apostle did not express 
himself as apostle mediately through the elder, but the Apostle 
who was at the same time also an elder expressed himself as elder. 
We see no reason to conclude that one office was included in the 
other, but merely that there was the concurrence of the generi- 
cally distinct apostolic and presbyterial offices in the same person. 
At least the hypothesis of coexistence has as fair a support in the 
passages cited as that of inclusion; and as these are the only 
proof-texts adduced in behalf of the latter, we repeat it that they 
are too doubtful to furnish it an adequate ground. 

(2.) In the second place, if it should be said that the Apostles 
were not only extraordinary teachers, but also extraordinary 
presbyters, and that as such they included the ordinary presby- 
ters of the Church, we refer again to the fact that when they sat 
with the ordinary presbyters they did not sit as a superior order, 
with higher authority and rank than the other elders, but as coin- 
cident with them in order. They did not sit as prelates, but as 
the fellow-presbyters of their brethren. 


Tliif jPiaconate. 

1 M I ■ vj > ^ i 



(3.) But, in the third place, even if it could be proved from 
Scripture that the Apostle included tie elder, the inference by 
analogy from that admission to the position that among the ordi- 
nary officers of the Church, the higher officer includes the loAver 
would appear to be illegitimate. For^ first, reasoning by analogy 
from the case of extraordinary and temporary officers to that ol 
ordinary and perpetual, is, to sa}^ the least, too doubtful to ground 
a theory which takes on the aspect of a regulative dogma. Sec- 
07idly, if the apostolic office as the higher included the presbyte- 
rial as the loAver, this inclusion must be conceived either under 
the notion of the product of a genetic process of evolution, or of 
a result of logical classification. Let us suppose the former^ — 
that the elder's office was evolved, produced, out of the apostle's. 
Now pursuing the path of this analogical reasoning, it would 
follow that the elder's office as lower is evolved out of the preach- 
er's as higher. But what is the fact? Every ordinary officer is, 
so to speak, produced, in the development of the steps looking to 
his induction into office, at the last, by ordination. No ordina- 
tion, no officer. Now, in the ordinary and regular condition of 
the church, who ordains? The higher or the lower officer? Thp 
answer is, that it is not the preacher, the higher officer, Avho ordains 
the elder, the lower officer, but precisely the contrary — the elders 
ordain the preacher. The preacher is genetically evolved from 
the presbytery. But to press the analogy under consideration 
would be to establish the doctrine that the preacher ought to 
ordain the elder. The analogy therefore is deceitful. But if it 
be said that we conceive of the inclusion as the result of a logical 
reduction, then it must be held in the sense that the lower office 
is included under the higher as the species is included under the 
genus. If this be so, then as the whole essence of the genus is 
contained in the species and something more that is a peculiar 
property, the whole essence of the apostolate descends into the 
elder, and he is an apostle with an additional and distinctive 
function. That of course no one would hold. Further, the infer- 
ence is drawn from the case of the apostle to that of the preacher. 
He includes the elder because he is the higher officer. But the 
genus, we have seen, is the presbyterate, and the preacher is a 
VOL. XXX.,. NO. 1 — 2. 



The Diaconate. 


species; so that, logically speakin<^, the preacher is included in 
the e)der and not the elder in the preacher. A species may be 
greater than the genus — man is greater than animal ; so the 
preac^her is greater than the elder, but, nevertheless, the genus 
includes th^ s^^ecies, not the species the genus. Animal includes 
man, not the contrary. So, logically, the genus presbyterate 
incliides the species preacher. The -whole essence of the genus, 
presbyter,., is in the preacher, and he is something more; but the 
contrary doctrine would lead to the position that the elder has 
the Avhole essence of the preacher as the generic officer, and some- 
thing more that is distinctive, viz., the ruling function. Neither, 
therefore, upon one supposition or the other can the' inference be 
drawn from the apostolic office that in the ordinary condition of 
the Church the "higher office includes the lower. It would seem 
indeed that the lower and generic office, presbyter, includes the 
higher and specific office, preacher, and that all we can determine 
is, that in the defect of the lower officer, the higher officer may 
discharge his functions. There is no need to formulate a theory 
as to the inclusion of one office in another, but simply to hold 
that one officer may be called upon occasionally to perform the 
acts habitually pertaining to the other. 

Th^ truth would appear to be that it is useless to inquire 
whether the preacher includes the elder, or the elder the preacher, 
for the simple reason that the preacher is an elder, and therefore 
not only may perform, but is bound to perform, the dutie^ of an 
^Ider, ^ So far as he is an elder, there is no difference between 
him and the ruling elder. He does not include him; he is the 
ruling elder. There are other persons besides him who are also 
ruling elders though not preachers; but as to the office of rule, he 
and they are one. There is no dispute upon the question whether 
the person who preaches may also rule. Of course he may and 
ought, for the reason that he is an ordained ruler: but it cannot 
be proved that as preacher he ever performs the function of 
rule., He includes rule in his office, but not in his office as 
preacher. The distinction is patent. 

Thd special question before us, however, is, whether the office 
of presbyter includes that of deacon ; and we proceed to consider 


The Diaconate. 


the proof alleged from Scripture to show that the apostolic office 
included the diaconate, and the inference by analogy that the 
presbyter's office includes the deacon's. It is inferred from the 
narrative in the sixth chapter of Acts, that, previously to the elec- 
tion of the seven deacons mentioned, the Apostles themselves had 
distributed the alms of the Church to her poor members. It is 
certain that contributions were laid at the Apostles' feet, but there 
is no clear evidence that they discharged the distributive func- 
tion. It is worthy of notice that the names of the seven appear 
to indicate that they were Hellenists, and it has been argued that, 
as it is not likely that there were no Hebrew distributors, such 
had previously existed as transferred from the synagogue upon 
their profession of the Christian faith. We venture no decisive 
judgment upon this point; but in the absence of anything more 
certain than a bare probability that the Apostles had acted as 
deacons — a probability somewhat countervailed, at least, by the 
considerations which hav^^ been mentioned — it must strike a can- 
did mind as rash to found upon it a theory regulative of eccle- 
siastical practice. The words, "It is not reason that we should 
leave the word of God and serve tables," may mean that the 
Apostles had not done so unreasonable a thing; they may mean, 
on the other hand, that, inasmuch as the opportunity existed for 
the appointment of others to attend to the poor, the Apostles 
availed themselves of it to relieve themselves of an unreasonable 
impediment to the full exercise of their proper ministry. Both 
suppositions have been advocated. The case is too doubtful to 
afford definite ground for a doctrine. 

The other passages alleged are those in which the Apostles are 
represented as having acted as receivers and transmitters of alms 
contributed by the Gentile churches for the relief of the poor 
saints at Jerusalem. That, however, would not prove that they 
were deacons, or that they acted in the capacity of deacons. We 
send contributions by other hands than those of deacons to Balti- 
more, and to our brethren now suffering from the ravages of the 
pestilence. The Assembly's Executive Coonmittees do not employ 
deacons to transmit money to distant missionary stations. If a 
minister going to one of those missionary points were made the 



The Diaconate. 



bearer of supplies, how would that prove him to be discharging 
the functions .of a deacon any more than a trustworthy merchant 
charged with the same responsibility? No doubt the Apostles 
in their instructions, by letter or orally, urged the duty upon the 
Gentile churches of contributing to the wants of their needy 
brethren in Judaea, but in doing so they were performing a func- 
tion proper to their own distinctive office as preachers, a function 
which every pastor now feels himself obligated to discharge in 
similar circumstances. Here again the scriptural evidence that 
the Apostles acted as deacons is too slender to afford 'i foundation 
for the generalised statement that the hi<2;her office includes the 
lower. And putting both these sources of proof from Scripture 
together, we cannot fail to observe that the induction is very in- 
complete which leads to so wide a generalisation, the data too 
meagre to ground so controlling a theory. 

But even if it were admitted that the Apostles did under cer- 
tain circumstances discharge the duties of deacons, that would by 
no means legitimate the inference that in a formed and regular 
condition of the Church preachers and elders may perform diaconal 
functions. The record in Acts would prove precisely the oppo- 
site. For, whatever were the facts before the election and ap- 
pointment of the seven, after that took place it is certain that the 
Apostles did not act as deacons. They expressly affirmed that it 
would have been unreasonable for them to do so. Deacons being 
in existence, the performance of their duties by ministers of the 
word was pronounced to be incompatible with the due discharge 
of their proper functions. Should it be urged that such a conse- 
(juence resulted simply from the want of time on the part of the 
Apostles to attend to the duties of the diaconate, and would not 
hold where there is time for such duties on the part of the higher 
officers of the Churchj the answer is, that the supposition is purely 
gratuitous. There is no time, there never can be any time, from 
the very nature and pressure of his own official trusts, for any 
officer to leave his proper functions for the purpose.of performing 
those of another, when that other may compass their discharge. 
This is certainly true of the minister of the word, and, we sub- 
mit, must also be true of ruling elders, who, in addition to their 




The Diaconale. 


secular avocations, have the burden of government and episcopal 
oversight resting upon them. They have a plenty to do, if they 
attend to their peculiar duties. So much for the proof from 
apostolic teaching and practice. 

2. The next argument in favor of the theory that the highe? 
office includes the lower is derived from the doctrine and practice 
of the Reformed Churches. 

(1.) It cannot be questioned that the standards and the prac- 
tice of the Scotch Churches may be pleaded in support of the 
theory. The deacons' court of the Free Church is a well known 
instance of their practice, and the First and Second Books of 
Discipline, the Collections of Steuart of Pardovan, and the Cate- 
chism of the Free Church, definitely announce the doctrine. 
The virtual inclusion of the lower in the higher office is asserted 
in the "Divine Right of Church Government," written by certain 
London ministers. Our information may be at fault, and if so 
we will be glad to be corrected, but we have been unable to dis- 
cover that there has been a common consent of the Reformed 
Churches touching this matter. We have not encountered any 
statement of the doctrine in their Confessicms, and we have failed 
to find it in Calvin, or Turrettin, or Voetius, whose great work 
on ecclesiastical polity is very full and minute, or in DeMoor, 
whose distinctions are particular, or even in George Gillespie; 
while Dr. David King, a Scotchman, in his able work on Pres- 
byterian Church Government, expresses grave distrust of the 
tendencies of the practice upon this point of the Free Church. 
We have not found it in the Discipline of the French Churches; 
but Canon I., Chapter IV. is in these significant words : " Moneys 
belonging unto the poor shall not be dispensed by any other hands 
than those of the deacons, by and with the advice and consent of 
the Consistory." It is deserving of attention that in the French, 
Belgic, an<i Dutch Churches, exactly the opposite theory was, 
under certain circumstances, put into practice — that the deacon 
might discharge the functions of the pc£sbyter. He shared the 
spiritual government of the church with the elders. Says Canon 
II., Chapter V., of the French Discipline: "Whereas our 
churches, by reason of the present distress, have hitherto most 


The Dtaeonate. 


happily employed deacons in their government^ and that they 
have discharged at the same time the elder'» office; such as for 
the future shall be so elected or continued, shall have with tha 
pastors and elders the government of the church, and therefore 
shall commonly appear with them at the Consinitory, and at Col- 
loquies, and Synods, provided they be sent by their Consistory.'^ 
Here the office of the deacon was made inclusive of that of elder,' 
the very reverse of the Scotch doctrine. Thefse references are 
sufficient to show that there has not been common consent on the 
: part of the Reformed Churches in regard to the matter under 
consideration. On the other hand, there have been wide differ- 
ences among them, and the conclusion obviously is, that our 
Church must settle her doctrine and practice concerning it in 
accordance with her views of the teachings of Scripture, and of 
the analogy of Presbyterian church government. 

(2.) But if it may be proved that the consensus of the Reformed 
Churches upon this point was more general than we have ascer- 
tained it to be, the argument derived from it would only have the 
force of a presumption — a venerable presumption, it is true, but 
still only a presumption. What is the force of that presumption? 
The answer to that (juestion must depend upon the answer we 
give to another which precedes it — whut is the true Church? 
That question .must first be settled at the bar of conscience. But 
those who have settled it, must believe that the Church which 
they hold to be true is under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in 
its interpretations of the Word. And consequently to them the 
probability is a powerful one that doctrines sustained by the com- 
mon consent of that Church for ages are true. Authority, num- 
bers, and antiquity, may be and are pleaded in behalf of error; 
and therefore the celebrated maxim of Vincent, quod semper y 
quod ubique, quod ab omnibus, must be determined in its appli- 
cation by the sort of body in connexion with which it is pleaded. 
To us, \viiat has been held always, everywhere, and by all, in 
the Reformed Church, comes commended by a presumptive value 
which no independence of judgment can despise. All this we 
cheerfully concede, but yet Protestants have always held that 
even the true Church, as visible, is fallible; and therefore its 


^lie Diaconate. 


common consent cannot be erected into an infallible standard of 
judgment. There is but one such standard — the supreme and 
perfect rule of faith and practice in the inspired Word of God. 
A true Church may depart from this standard; hence the possi- 
bility of a corrupt Church. Corruption presupposes purity; no 
corrupt church begins as corrupt. Like the human race in inno- 
•cence, it starts right. It is therefore evermore necessary to 
compare the special doctrines «nd practices of even that Churcb 
which we believe to be in the main pure and uncorrupt with th6 
infallible and unchanging standard of the divine Word. Sleep- 
less vigilance is the price of purity. We can never be discharged 
from the law that evidence is the measure of assent to the intelli- 
gence of the adult, and that in matters spiritual and supernatural 
in the sphere of doctrine, government, and worship, that evidence 
is to be ultimately found in the Scriptures, and to he ultimately 
weighed by x\iq individual judgment. Now, were it true that the 
pnrticular principle under examination is sustained by the general 
consent of the Reformed Church, it could not be reflectively 
appropriated by us as an established one without testing it for 
ourselves by the supreme standard. Much more does it require 
investigation, if, as we have seen, there is proof of its being sus- 
tained only by a partial consent of the Church. We proceed, 
therefore, to indicate the considerations which lead us to ques- 
tion, if not reject, its validity, especially in its applicability to 
the relation between the office of presbyter and that of deacon. 

We have seen that there is a defect of scriptural proof of the 
doctrine we are examining, that the passages relied on for its 
support are of too doubtful a character to ground it; the argm»i 
ments in opposition to it will be in the shape of inferences-^ 
legitimate inferences we conceive — from the teachings of Scrip- 
ture and from the principles of our standards which express 

1. ^Tb^first is derived from the admitted fact, which has 
already been set forth, that the ehier and the deacon belong to 
different orders. They are generically different, and not merely 
specifically, as are the preacher and the ruling elder. Now, ac- 
cording to the first principle of classification, the essence which 




The Diacvnate. 


\ i 

is contained in the genus^ as a whole of extension, must also be 
contained in the species, as a whole of intension. Bwt the essence 
of the genus-presbyter is the property of rule, and it follows that 
if the deacon is included under the presbyter as generic, the 
property of rule descends to the deacon. It is evident, howevery 
that the property of rule cannot be predicated of the deacon. 
He is not generically a ruler with the superadded property of 
distribution which specifically marks him. He is simply a dis- 
tributor. This of itself is sufficient to show thsut he cannpt be 
included in the elder. IJe belongs to a different order or proxi- 
mate genus, the very essence of which is distribution and not rule. 
It cannot be urged in reply that one order may be included under 
another order, since one genus, as lower, may be included under 
another ffi^pws, as the next higher. For in that case the lower 
genus, so included, is relatively but a species, and the principle ' 
holds that it must contain, besides a specific property, the whole 
essence of the genus. But no reasoning can show that, in accord- 
ance with the Scriptures and o\\v Constitution, the essentia) 
attribute of rule is possessed by the deacon. He cannot therefore 
be reduced under the order of the presbjterate. It may be said 
that the General Assembly of 1840 decided that an elder may 
be a deacon. The question was, "May a person at once be 
deacon and elder?", In answer, the ruling of the Assembly was ■ 
as follows: 

'"^Resolved, That while it is important and desirable that the several 
offices in the Christian Church should be kept distinct, and be sustained 
by different individuals whenever a sufficient number of competent 
men can be found ; yet, in the judgment of this Assembly, it is not-v^^ 
inconsistent with the Constitution of the Presbyterian Church, pbr with 
the precedent furnished in filling the office of deacon at its first institu- 
tioji, that, where a necessity exists, the same individual shoul(il sustain 
both offices." 

Now, it is evident that the Assembly did not deliver the judg- 
ment that the office of elder included that of deacon — the language 
of the ruling implies the opposite — but that the person who is 
elder may in extraordinary circumstances and under thestuess of 
necessity, discharge the office of deacon. All that can be col- 
lected from the decision is, that it affirmed the possible coexistence 



The Diaeonate. 


of the two offices in the same person ; not that the one office 
includes the other. The distinction is one we have already sig- , 
nalised, between a person embracing in himself two functions, 
and an office including another office. The preacher unites in 
his person two functions of preaching and ruling, but the func- 
tion of preaching does not include that of ruling. But whatever 
may be the construction placed upon this deliverance of a single 
Assembly, it cannot legitimately contradict the plain principles 
which we have enounced. 

It may also be suggested as a difficulty in this view that it 
would involve the consequence that a deacon when elevated to 
the eldership would cease to be a deacon. We admit that eleva- 
tion to higher office is one of the causes of removal from the office 
previously held; as when, for example, a State Treasurer is made 
Senator or Governor, he ceases to be Treasurer; nor could he, 
in that case, in ordinary circumstances, act as Treasurer. Upon 
this point we cite the words of Owen, who inconsistently with 
his apparent approval of the doctrine tliat the higher officer may 
ordinarily perform the functions of the lower, but, we think, 
truly, says: "The difference between a deacon and a presbyter 
is not in degree, but in order. A deacon made a presbyter is 
not advanced unto a farther degree in his own order, but leaves 
it for another." But if he leave the diaconal order, to become a 
member of the presbyterial order, how can he continue to discharge 
vacated functions? Is he not functus officio, as deacon? 

It may further be urged, that to admit the legitimate discharge 
of diaconal functions by the elder, by reason of liecessity arising 
from extraordinary circumstances, is to, give up the question. 
But that does not follow. It does not follow that because a 
ruling elder, in such circumstances, performs functions which are 
ordinarily assigned to the preaching elder, as our constitution 
provides in the case of churches having no preacher, his office 
includes that of the preaching elder. It does not follow that 
because, under similar circumstances, the deacon, as the Re- 
formed Churches conceded, may perform those duties, his office 
includes that of the preacher or the ruling elder. "Necessity has 
no law." And to argue from a condition of things in which the 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1. — 3 


I <■ 





The Biadonate. 


ordinary operation of law is suspended to one in which it exists, 
is certainly to reason inconclusively. The argument proves too 
much and is therefore invalid. An elder may, under extraor- 
dinary circumstances, do what is ordinarily done by a deacon, 
and yet the doctrine be true that his office, as such, does not 
include the office of deacon. 

In connexion with this argument from the difference of orders, • 
it may be added, that the doctrine under discussion proceeds 
upon a delusive analogy. As the preacher's office includes the 
elder's, so the elder's includes the deacon's. We have already 
exposed the confusion of the preacher, as person, with the office 
of preaching. But admitting that the preacher legitimately dis- 
charges the functions of ruling elder, the reason is plain : he is 
a ruling elder, and therefore ought to perform his own duties. 
He is ordained a ruler as well as preacher, as his ordination vows 
imply. But the ruling elder is not ordained as deacon, and 
accordingly he undertakes no engagements, makes no vow, at his 
orxlination to perform the duties of deacon. The reason is, 
that he belongs to a different ordo from the deacon, and there- 
fore has different obligations to meet. Tt is clear that there is 
no analogy between the two cases. 

2. Our next argument is derived from the import of ordina- 
tion. No one has a right to perform ecclesiastical functions 
unless he be ordained to their discharge. If, therefore, the elder 
may perform diaconal functions, it must be because he is ordained 
to the office of deacon. But this is contrary to the understand- 
ing by the Church of the import of ordination to the eldership, 
and contrary indeed to the terms of the ordaining act. Surely 
it does not follow that when one is formally inducted into one 
order he is formally placed in another. But unless the elder is 
thus assigned to the diaconal order, we fail to appi^hend his right 
in an orderly state of the church to discharge its functions. But, 
further, if the ground be taken that the elder is ordained not only 
as elder, but as deacon, it would follow that as ordination is 
always to a definite work, and solemnly imposes an obligation to 
its performance, the elder is, ex officio^ bound to do the work of 
a deacon. But that position will be held by none. Nor will it 



The Diaconate. 


do to say that there are others to whom that work is peculiarly 
assigned. If the work goes with the office, the fact that some 
deacons perform it cannot excuse other deacons from its discharge. 
They may have other work to do, but this cannot be neglected 
without a violation of their ordination engagements. They must 
do their whole work. 

8. Our third argument is based upon the incompatibility of 
the duties of deacon and elder, in a settled condition of the 
church in which the offices are filled. It is not necessary to 
advance any other proof of this position than the declaration of 
the Apostles at the election of the seven deacons: "It is not 
reason that we should leave the word of God to serve tables." 
Attention to the temporal duties of the deacon is inconsistent 
with concentration of purpose upon, and devotion of energy to, 
the spiritual functions which are proper to the elder's office. 
He ought not to be diverted from his own proper work to do that 
which pertains to another office, and is of another kind than his. 
If the mingling of the two sorts of duty is pronounced unreason- 
able by inspired authority, one would be apt to suppose that a 
theory which justifies it is itself unreasonable. 

4. Our fourth argument is a probable one drawn from the 
early existence of the office of archdeacon in the post-apostolic 
Church. We have the authority of Bingham for the statement 
that Jerome announced the view that the office was elective and 
that the deacons were the electors. In all probability the board 
of deacons in the early Church were accustomed to elect their 
chairman from their own number. This officer, it is altogether 
likely, came to be, like the moderator of the congregational pres- 
bytery, a permanent president. It would seem impossible to 
account for the existence of such an elective archdeacon as Jerome 
mentions, in any other way. This would be wholly inexplicable 
upon the theory that the minister of the word was, ex officio^ 
moderator of the board of deacons, or that the elders sat with the 
deacons in the joint management of diaconal business. 

5. Our fifth consideration is derived from a logical and yet 
impossible consequence flowing from the doctrine. It is pre- 
sented by Dr. Arnold W. Miller in an able discussion of the 



The Diaconate, 


deacon question. If the higher office includes the lower, it fol- 
lows that "the superior officer must possess all the qualifications 
required in the inferior." But such a consequence is both un- 
scriptural and unreasonable. If you do not admit the conse- 
quence, then the head of the Church has imperfectly provided for 
its wants. He has called officers to a work for which they are 
not qualified. But such a view reacts to the destruction of the 
hypothesis that the greater office includes the less. If you 
admit the consequence, then it is not justified by the divinely 
given list of the elder's qualifications, which do not include those 
of the deacon. One may be qualified to rule and not to dis- 
tribute; and therefore the offices themselves are distinct. And 
so the legitimate consequence of the theory being false, the theory 

itself must be defective. '' 

6. The next objection to this doctrine springs from its legiti- 
mate tendency to effect the i^uppression of the deacon's office. 
If the higher office includes the lower, the lower to the extent of 
that inclusion becomes unnecessary. The elder being supposed 
to be the subject of diaconal power, and the executor of diaconal 
functions, the conclusion is easy, that the deacon as a distinct 
officer is superfluous. This is obvious from the law of parcimony 
which precludes the needless multiplication of causes for an 
effect — of agencies for an act. But this would be to impeach tlie 
wis'dom and authority of Christ in appointing the deacon as a 
separate officer for the performance of peculiar and distinctive 
functions. The wisdom, nay, the necessity, of such an appoint- 
ment, is briefly evinced by such considerations as the following. 
First, other than spiritual officers are able and suited to discharge 
temporal offices. A separate class of officers for those functions 
is required by the principle of a division of labor, assigning to it 
the duties which it is most competent and adapted to perform. 
Secondly, it is inexpedient, human wisdom being the judge, that 
they who minister in spiritual things should distribute the alms 
of the church. That would expose them to the danger of being 
continually deceived. Such is the weakness of human nature, 
that the recipients of spiritual instruction should not be liable to 
the motives arising from the hope of receiving material aid. 


Vte Diaconate. 


And here w<3 refer not to the. dispensation of private charity— 
though even in that case ca<uj;ix)n is necessary in mingling the two 
things — but to the regular operation of a system of offices. 
Thirdly, both functions — the spiritual and the temporal — cannot 
be adequately performed by the same officer. The practice, 
consequently, which tends in an ordinary and regular condition 
of the Church, to sink the deacon's office into the elder's, involves 
not only a disregard to the kingly authority of Christ, but an 
impeachment of his wisdom; and we may add, an obstruction to 
the operation' of his mercy in relation to the temporal necessities 
of his saints. The natural tendency of the doctrine that the 
higher office includes the lower to render the deacon a super- 
numerary was manifested during a long period of the history of 
the Scottish Church. In very many of her congregations the 
office of deacon, as distinct from that of the elder, was obliterated. 
Some of her own writers assign this result to the influence of the 
theory in question, and we think with justice. We see the same 
tendency exhibiting itself in the American Church, in the exclu- 
sion of deacons from all the Executive Committees of the General 
Assemblies; for although they havediaconal functions to perform, 
this doctrine justifies their discharge by presbyters alone. But 
any theory which inherently tends to the suppression, or even 
the neglect, of an office established by the authority and grounded 
in the wisdom and mercy of Christ, is convicted by that fact of 
lodging a sophism in its bosom. " 

7. The last argument against the doctrine which we submit, 
is derived from the fact that it legitimates the bodies known as 
deacons' courts. If thev are without warrant for their existence, 
the theory which justifies them must be regarded as erroneous. 
The force of this argument depends upon the proof of the illegiti- 
macy of the deacons' court. That proof, therefore, it is incum- 
bent upon us to furnish. What then is the deacons' court? For 
an answer to that question we must repair to the authorised 
documents of the Free Church of Scotland, since, so far as we 
know, that court had its origin in, or at least is indebted for its 
formal recognition' to, that Church. In Appendix No. V. to its 
Catechism, entitled "Organisation of the Free Church of*^Scot- 



The Diacondie. • 



land,'* we find this provision : '"When the kirk-session meets 
quoad temporalia — that is to say, in reference to the secular 
business of the congregation — -the deacons are entitled to be 
present as members of it, and have an equal voice with the elders 
in all the proceedings. On such occasions it is called the dea- 
cons' court." Here then we have a definition of the deacons' 
court. With an eye simply to the language of this statement, we 
would be entitled to infer that on these occasions it is the session, 
as session, which meets, and that the deacons are admitted to a 
participation in the sessional deliberations and decisions, because 
they bear reference to secular business. And then the judgrnent 
that such a body is illegitimate would be obvious and indisputable. 
For it would amalgamate two orders, generically different, into a 
mongrel unit — would admit those who have no right to rule to 
joint rule with presbyters who alone^^re entitled to rule. But 
we are not disposed to take advantage of mere phraseology. Let 
it be admitted that the deacons' court of the Free Church is not 
the same thing, even as to temporalities, with the extraordinary 
Consistory of the French, Belgic, and Dutch ChurOTes, which 
mingled deacons with elders in joint rule; but that it meets not 
as the session, with an incorporation of deacons, but as a board 
of deacons, the elders not appearing as elders merely, but as 
elders who are also deacons. This construction is rendered pos- 
sible by the very name of the body. It takes its denomination 
from the diaconal element as that which is prominent in its 
composition. But if it be conceded that this is the nature of the 
'deacons' court as it would be explained by its advocates, it can- 
not, we conceive, be introduced into the working of the Presby- 
terian system without involving a departure from principles fun- 
damental in that system. For, in the first place, it implies the 
sinking of some of the proper and distinctive functions of the 
eldership into those which are purely diaconal. It cannot be 
denied that the session, as session, is both empowered and obli- 
gated to act in reference to temporal matters, in so far as they 
stand related to the personal rights and duties of the members of 
the Church, and are made the subject of deliberation and action 
with regard to spiritual ends. For example, it is the province of 




The Diaconate. 


the session to fix the stipend of the minister of the word, to order 
collections for benevolent objects, and to determine the amount 
of money which may be needed for special purposes. Here they 
deal with temporalities, but temporalities as affecting personal 
rights and duties and contemplating spiritual ends. These are 
presbyterial and not diaconal functions, and to say that the elders 
discharge them as deacons is to say that they abandon the duties of 
the eldership to perform those of the diaconate, or, more strictly, 
that they destroy the functions of the eldership and substitute 
those of the diaconate in their place. This, we contend, is what 
the deacons' court actually does, and therefore charge it with 
being a body whose existence has no warrant. But, in the sec- 
ond place, if this be denied, and the ground is taken that in the 
cases specified the elders act as elders, the alternative is equally 
damaging. For, that is to admit that the deacons are allowed 
to share in acts of rule, which, as they terminate upon persons 
and spiritual ends, are absolutely competent to elders alone. 
The deacons are supposed, in this respect, to perform the ruling 
functions of the elders. And besides this consideration, to say 
that the elders, in the deacons' court, act as elders, is to give up 
the very theory in which that body is grounded, viz., that when 
the elders sit in it with the deacons they act as deacons and not 
as elders. .. -■'\ .>« ■-'■•^.■•.'i.-,:--.^.^^,^ *';■''> i.r'^. 

In addition to these views, it may be remarked, that the 
implicit tendencies of such an organisation are dangerous. Being 
a larger and more imposing body than the session, and wielding 
the whole power of the purse, it tends to overshadow that vitally 
essential body ; and should this tendency be developed, it is not 
extravagant to augur that a new court would be introduced into 
the Church unknown to Presbyterianism, which would be para- 
mount to the court of presbyters itself. Indeed, though we 
would not be captious, this seems to be indicated in the unhappy 
title affixed to the body. To call a deacon a member of a court 
is either a solecism, or, if the language means anything, it trains 
the deacon to regard himself as possessed of the power of juris- 
diction, and entitled to express it as a constituent of a judicial 




The Diaconate. 


If, now, it has been proved that deacons' courts are unpresby- 
terian institutions, the conclusion is fairly reached that the theory 
in which they find their justification is convicted of being erro- 
neous. That theory is, that the office of elder includes the office 
of deacon. '•'■•'■■■'■• '---.-.--,. ,.:-',. j .-/.- ..>-..■ !^.-.m.;..,;v 

In the prosecution of this argument against deacons' courts, it 
is not intended to imply that there ought not to be joint-meetings 
of sessions and boards of deacons. On the contrary, we believe 
them to be highly expedient. But then the ends sought ought 
to be conference, mutual information, and the reception of direc- 
tion and advice by the deacons from the session, and not the de- 
cision of questions by a formal joint vote of the two bodies. Such a 
meeting might be designated elders' and deacons' joint meeting, 
or elders' and deacons' conference, or something equivalent to 
those titles. 

Having endeavored to refute the doctrine that the office of 
elder so includes that of deacon, as to make it competent to the 
elder, in an ordinary and regular condition of the Church, to 
perform the duties of the deacon, and having attempted to estab- 
lish the opposite doctrine, .we proceed to indicate, without ex- 
panding, some of the prominent consequences which would logi- 
cally flow and might be expected practically to result from the 
prevalence of the view for which we have contended in the 
working of our system. It would follow: 

1. That in the general, the distinct functions and responsibili- 
ties of generically different offices would be disentangled from 
confusion and kept separate from each other. It is needless to 
argue at length that this would be a positive practical gain. 
What is every one's business is apt to be done well by no one. 

2. That the session ought not to participate with the board of 
deacons in the joint formal discharge of proper diaconal func- 
tions. The deacons' court, as court, would be precluded. 

3. That the minister of the word is not, ex officio^ moderator 
of the board of deacons, but that board is entitled to elect their 
chairman from their own number. 

y-4r'TJiat where the proper duties of deacon are to be discharged, 
-^b^^deacon ought to be assigned to their performance and not the 



The Diaeonate. 


presbyter. This consequence is capable of special applications, 
some of which we signalise : 

(1.) That, as the canon of the French Discipline already men- 
tioned has it, "moneys belonging unto the poor shall not be dis- 
pensed by any other hands than those of the deacons, by and 
with the advice and consent of the session," 

(2.) That, in connexion with executive committees of the courts, 
the deacon ought to have a place for the discharge of functions 
which are peculiarly and distinctively diaconal. Thus, for ex- 
ample, as the function of treasurer is purely diaconal, it ought to 
be assigned to a deacon. Where presbyteriaf functions ajre to be 
performed by committees, they ought to be composed of presby- 
ters, as for instance, a committee of missions; but where, in 
connexion with these duties, those strictly diaconal come in, the 
deacon ought to come in with them. This would hold in regard 
toa^l1~"tH^ courts from the Session to the Assembly. Special 
temporary committees of finance, whose function expires with 
the meetings at which they are appointed, would come properly 
within the province of courts discharging financial business as 
affecting personal rights, interests, and duties. 

(3.) The deacon ought to have a place in the Board of Trus- 
tees of the General Assembly, and in every board of directors 
appointed by a court, and which involves the execution of finan- 
cial business. U ,...,,*! i,, 

5. That all agencies appointed for the raising of money for 
particular ends ought, so far as the collection of the money is con- 
cerned, to be executed by deacons. Let us illustrate by a special 
case which may serve as a specimen of the rest. Money is needed 
for the support of a theological seminary. An agent is appointed 
to induce the churches to contribute to this purpose. If he be a 
presbyter, or any non-diaconal person, his function consists in en- 
lightening the Church in respect to the matter, and by instruction 
and exhortation inciting it to contribute. So was it with the Apos- 
tles when charged with an agency to raise money for the relief 
of the poor saints in Judaea. They stirred up the churches to 
contribute, but did not actually collect the alms. This is plain 
from the exhortation of Paul to the Corinthian church to collect 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 4. 




The Diaconaie. 



them before the agents came, that there might be no hurried col- 
lection after tbey came, r And he boasted to the Macedonians 
that Achaia was a year ahead of the arrival of the agents in be- 
ginning to make collections for the specified end. It is clear that 
the actual collection was done by the deacons. The Apostle and 
his co-adjutors received and transmitted the alms simply because 
it "was either impossible, or utterly inexpedient, to send deacons 
from every church to Jerusalem, as carriers of the supplies. We 
are satisfied that the employment of deacons for collection in every 
congregation would be a more penetrating, searching, particular, 
exhaustive method of raising money, than the personal collection 
of it by one individual. This, we think, is Christ's plan, and 
when the Church adopts and pursues it she will find her difficul- 
ties clearing away. 

In the case of an effort to raise an endowment, while we believe 
that personal solicitation as well as public appeals may be com- 
mitted to a single agent, for they are really of a didactic and 
hortatory nature, it would be better, and safer for the reputation 
of the agent, that the amounts contributed be placed in the 
hands of the deacons of the churches, and by them forwarded, 
either through the agent, or any other approved and trustworthy 
channel, to the Treasurer of the Board of Directors. 

Thirdly. We proceed to consider the Relations of the Board 
of Deacons to the Session in the practical working of our system. 
The duty of the diaconate may be conceived as having a threefold 
relation: first, to the temporary relief of the poor; secondly, to 
the temporal support of the benevolent enterprises of the Church ; 
thirdly, to the temporal maintenance of the Church, and the care 
of all ecclesiastical goods. The third element of this distribution 
will not here be considered, as it properly falls for consideration 
under the second general head of this report, viz., the Scope of 
the Deacon's Functions, and ought to be reserved until the dis- 
cussion of that topic. The relation of the board of deacons to 
the session will therefore be treated with reference to the first 
two/^aspeCts of the functions of the diaconate, viz,, in regard to 
the xjare of the poor, and the support of the benevolent causes of 
the Church. The simplest method of dealing with the question 




The Diaconate. 


before us seems to us to be, in the first place, to compare the two 
bodies in respect to their ends, the nature of their power, and the 
objects about which that power is concerned ; and in the second 
place, to take up the special questions, Have the deacons any 
autonomy? Are they in any sense possessed of independent 
authority? Have they any discretion in their own sphere? and 
jf so, what is its extent? 

1. Instituting a comparison then between the two bodies, we 
find— :, .... 

(1.) That they differ in regard to their enda. Those of the 
session are spiritual; those of the board of deacons, temporal. 
This is generally conceded and need not be discussed. In this 
respect, therefore, the spheres of the two do not come together 
and blend with each other. Neither does that of the deacons 
intersect and share that of the session, nor th»t. of the session 
overlap and engross that of the deacons. ■ ' ' *' 

(2.) They differ as to the nature of their power. The session 
is possessed of the pot eatas jurisdiction is ^ the power of joint rule 
as distinctively a court — the power to interpret and administer 
law, to dispense judgment in causes judicial, and to enforce dis- 
cipline. Of this sort of power the deacons are entirely devoid. 
Their power is only that of a financial board. In this regard 
also it is manifest that the two bodies revolve in different orbits. 

(3.) They differ further as to the objects about which their 
power is concerned, and upon which it terminates. It is agreed 
on all hands among us that the objects of sessional power are the 
Persons of the church members, and that with them diaconal 
power is in no degree concerned. On the other hand, it is cus- 
tomary to say that the objects upon which the power of the 
deacons terminates are Things — the moneys, the temporal sub- 
stance of the Church. Here, it occurs to us, it is necessary to 
distinguish. The power of the session cannot be absolutely ex- 
cluded from reference to things; it touches them relatively to 
persons. Whenever things are conceived as involving personal 
rights, interests, and duties, they fall within the purview of ses- 
sional power. It is for the session to determine whether in con- 
sistency with these personal rights and interests, or in obedience 



The Diacondie. 


. 1. 'i 


to these^personal obligations, contributions of things ought to be 
made to this or that purpose. Whether a cause shall be pre- 
sented to the people, what amount of money is required for any 
end, what method shall be adopted to secure it, what destination 
the contributions of the people ordinarily shall take — these are 
questions relating indirectly but really to the things of the 
Church which the session alone has power to decide. With these 
questions the power of the deacons is not concerned. There is, 
then, an aspect of ecclesiastical things from which the application 
of diaconal power is debarred. Consequently the dictum that 
the power of the session is concerned only about persons and not 
things must be accepted under proper limitations. The whole 
practical system of our church operations evinces the justice of 
this opinion. But the session having decided these questions 
which have been designated as properly falling under its power, 
the things viewed as out of relation to personal rights, interests, 
and duties, pass under the power of the deacons. They collect 
them, receive them, keep them, distribute them. In fine, the 
power of the session in relation to things is exercised in deter- 
mining the causes for which contributions are required, ordering 
the collections, fixing the mode of taking them, and, in cases in 
which oflferings are made for the advancement of Christ's king- 
dom in the general, of specifying the particular direction in which 
they are to be distributed. What remains is in the hands of the 
deacons. Thenceforward the session ceases to touch the things ; 
they are in the control of the deacons, whose acts in regard to 
them, however, although not in their performance interfered 
with by the session, are subject to the review of that court — 
involving its approval or censure. And to this end, it is the 
duty of the board of deacons to render a periodical report of their 
proceedings to the session. Such, briefly stated, is the relation 
of the deacons to the session in regard to the objects about which 
their power is respectively concerned. 

2. The only remaining question which we shall discuss under 
this head — and one perhaps presenting the most difficulty — is. 
Have the deacons any independent power of control in the sphere 
of things? Or are they the mere agents and servants of the 

; 11, 


The Diaeonatt. 



session — its hands to execute its will? Have they any discre-- 
tion, and if so, what is its extent? and what its limitations? 

Here the question is not as to ultimate accountability. The 
principle of responsibility runs through and pervades our whole 
system. Every court in it is in a measure responsible for its 
acts ; no one of tli^m is independent of others, so far as ulti- 
mate accountability for its proceedings is concerned. And what 
is true of them must in a greater degree be true of a body which 
does not enter as an element into the correlated series of courts. 
The board of deacons must be responsible, and we think, respon- 
.sible to the session. On this account, we cannot but regard the 
adjustment of the deacons' court in the Free Church system as 
seriously defective. It is made, for an obvious reason, respon- 
sible to the presbytery and not to the session ; and so assumes 
the complexion of a congregational court coordinate with the 

Nor is the question, whether the deacons, as persons, are 
responsible to the session. Of course they are. Every presby- 
ter and preacher is personally responsible not only for his ordinary 
conduct but for his official acts. Every instance of neglect of 
^the poor, or mal-administration of ecclesiastical things by the 
deacons, may be made a subject of complaint to the session, and 
of censure by it. Here the principle is plain. The personal 
duties of the deacons, and the personal rights of the»members of 
the Church are alike involved, and, therefore, the case falls under 
the cognisance and jurisdiction of the spiritual court. 

But the question is, whether in the legitimate exercise of their 
functions in their own sphere, there is any sense in which they 
are independent of immediate control by the session, iand may 
employ their own judgment and discretion in deciding for them- 
selves. In regard to the moneys contributed to the benevolent 
enterprises of the Church at large, we would answer this question 
in the negative. From the nature of the case, no discretion is 
required. They are, in this respect, the mere executors of the 
session's will. But in regard to their chief function — the care of 
the poor, the case, we think, is different. Here the fact comes 
out distinctly that they are officers of the Church, appointed by 



Tlie Diaconaie. 


Christ and clothed with some authority — an authority not as 
rulers of persons, but as to the administration of things. "The 
office of deacons," says Owen, "is an office of service, which 
gives no power in the rule of the Church. But being an office, 
it gives authority with respect unto the special work of -it, under 
a general notion of authority; that is, a right to attend to it in a 
peculiar manner, and to perform the things that belong there- 
unto." " Owen's meaning is," remarks Dr. Boggs, in a valuable 
article on the Deacon's Office, in the Southern Presbyterian 
Review for July, 1875, " that while in the Scriptures we find 
no carefully drawn definition of the precise limits of the deacon's 
authority, yet the fact of an office being instituted by Christ car- 
ries with it a grant of power from him to transact the duties per- 
taining to it in such way as their owniudgment may decide." As 
officers in Christ's house, then, they would Appear to be something 
more than mere hands of the session. They are its subordinates, 
but not its slaves. They may without consulting the session 
determine upon investigation who are worthy to receive the 
church's alms, and what amounts should be appropriated to 
them. Just here is one of the conditions upon which their pecu- 
liar qualifications may be put into exercise. For this sort of 
judgment they are distinctively suited in contradistinction from 
the other officers, and for that reason receive their special voca- 
tion. True*, they must report even these decisions to the session ; 
but that court passes upon them, not simply as the acts of the 
deacons, but as acts related to the rights of the beneficiaries con- 
sidered as persons under its jurisdiction, and of the members of 
the Church who are entitled to know how their alms are dis- 
bursed. To state the case plainly : no wise session would contra- 
vene the judgment of the deacons as to these matters, since from 
the nature of the case that judgment must be better founded than 
their own. In short, in this sphere, the deacons are not inde- 
pendent, any more than in any other, of the superior authority 
of the session for their acts, but are independent of the session in 
the performance of the acts. Here they have a limited and rela- 
tive independency; else they were mere machines, and the title 
officer as applied to them would be a misnomer. 



The Diaconnte. 


There are two other respects in which, according to our judg- 
ment, the deacons pnss out of the category of mere executive 
agents of the courts, In the first place, they would appear to 
sustain to them somewhat the relation Avhich a committee of ways 
and means bears to a legislature. Not that we mean to imply 
that they are nothing more than committees appointed by the 
courts, for they are distinct officers appointed by Christ and 
elected by the people; but their function is analogous to that of 
such a committee. The session, for instance, having determined 
that a cause falling outside of the regular schedule of those for 
which the stated oiferings of the people are given, should be pro- 
posed to them for their contributions, it devolves upon the deacons 
to devise the best and most effective method of compassing the 
end desired. Here especially their gifts and qualifications, as 
.official ministers of finance, are evoked into exercise, and they 
cease to discharge the simple functions of treasurers and clerks. 
Hero there is a draft made peculiarly upon their judgment and 
their time, and in performing this function they would, to a 
great extent, set the spiritual officers free from the entanglements 
and absorbing effects of secular questions. We submit that this 
view of the deacon's office merits more consideration than is given 
to it. In this respect it rises to an importance which redeems it 
from neglect. 

In the second place, we would signalise what is so often ovefr- 
looked — the recommendatory and advisory function of deacons. 
It is a function which is formally recognised in some Presbyterian 
standards — those of the Churches of Scotland, for example, but 
one which among us, at least, sinks into disuse. It would be 
exactly congruous to their office to suggest advice and make 
recommendations to the spiritual courts in reference to the care 
of the poor, and to questions concerning the raising and manage- 
ment of money. As for this they are supposed to be peculiarly 
qualified by their gifts and habits, so to this we think they are 
called. How greatly their discharge of such a function would 
abridge the time needlessly and perhaps improperly spent by the 
spiritual courts in the discussion of financial plans and methods, 
it is not difficult to estimate. And were our Church to recognise 



Tlie Influence of Theories of 



this as one of the functions of the diaconate, and by her practical 
arrangements call it out into continual exercise, the solemn words 
of Dr. Thornwell would meet a fulfilment which now they so 
sadly lack: "Our spiritual courts would soon cease to be, what' 
they are to an alarming extent at present, mere corporations for 
secular business,", . .. ^ 

■•??s:-» V:^. 

?> i.; I: 

i I I. ' ?■ ' S-' ■ » 1 . ■; V " ;* .1 ; ■ < *, ^ ■ 

t , ■ 

-, .-r ^ . ,j . ' ..:■ ; -■,. ....■,.•!■, -. 

,K- ;■■•«,'( l,i 

;^! '■.,•*!•■ 

r - ^. 


* ,.^V, -W J,.V , 

-.■,/« \».-_\;iA' >.,*;■:■■'...■.■.; 




The connexion between certain branches of philosophy and 
theology cannot but be clo^. So close is it, in fact, that the 
theology of many is virtually dictated by their philosophy. The 
intimacy of the connexion arises from three facts. First, all 
truths are inter-consistent. Hence, secondly, when propositions 
are embraced as truths, the very nature of the reason ensures 
that the mind shall strive towards an inter-adjustment of them. 
Thirdly, theology and philosophy have in part the same fields. 
Both claim as their subjects God and man ; theology (in its 
restricted sense), and anthropology- When man's philosophy 
thus demands adjustment with revealed propositions, his pride of 
thought and rationalism are but too prone to suggest that Scrip- 
ture shall be moulded to suit reason, instead of reason corrected 
to submit to Scripture. Thus, it is familiar to the student of 
Church history, how materialism has dictated atheism; the utili- 
tarian ethics have vitiated the doctrine of Christ's sacrifice; the 
false ontology has introduced pantheism. But theories of the will 
and free agency have been more influential in Christian theology 
than any other part of philosophy. The effects have been exten- 
sive and subtile: if "the form of sound words" has not been 
rejected, in many cases new meanings have been injected into 


The Will on Theology. 


them. Hence the belief that it is ever timely to illustrate the 
subject announced. 

The method attempted will be to state, first, the three theories 
of volition which have been propounded, the Necessitarian, the 
Calvinistic, and the Arminian ; and then, omitting the first, to 
compare the last two in their modifying power over doctrine. 
No attempt will be made to demonstrate the true philosophy of 
the will nor the doctrines of Calvinism cohering therewith, or 
to refute the opposing theory and its doctrinal results. The 
reader is presumed to be established already in both his philoso- 
phy and theology. Only the more important applications of the 
two philosophies can be touched in the limits of this article. 

The prefiitory remark should be made, that theories of the 
will cannot but have the most intimate relations with Christian 
doctrine. 1. Because they unavoidably involve the view held of 
moral responsibility. But God's chief relation to us is that of 
.moral governor. Now we see an erroneous philosophy of the 
will exclude from the sphere of responsibility all man's concreated 
dispositions and desires, all those which are now connate in him, 
all those inwrought by an omnipotent Spirit, dll the subjective 
consequences of a federal relation to Adam. We see it sunder- 
ing the tie between disposition and volition, and placing the seat 
of self-determination in the separate faculty of choice, instead of 
the personality of the monad mind. It cannot but be, that when 
the view of our responsibility is modified in so many points, the 
doctrine touching sin, guilt, the law, expiation, shall be afi'ected. 
2. Because on the theory of the will turns our view of free 
agency; but free agency, as consciousness testifies, under all 
philosophies, determines our accountability, and makes man a 
subject of religion. Hence the question, What constitutes free 
agency? is almost synonymous with the question: How is man 
related to God in religion? But theology has been defined as 
"the science of man's relations to God." The very fact that all 
philosophies claim the reality of our free agency to be an imme- 
diate dictum of consciousness, will incline the rationalistic mind 
to bend its whole views of those relations, with the more confi- 
dence, to its preconceptions on that central point: he will either 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 5. 





The Influence of Theories of 


make the Scripture bend, or break, before them. The law, 
providence, and redemption, must all cohere with the conditions 
of our free agency. 3. Because man's spirit was created in the 
image of God's, and so, the view held of our free agency and 
will cannot but be reflected back upon our apprehension of God's. 
When Ave remember, in the light of these remarks, that theology 
must be a nystem^ that a close logical dependency and harmony 
must rule among all its propositions, we feel that the extent of 
our topic can scarcely be exaggerated. >' ^ ti ^^ I ;r^f-r ; 

I. Examining now the several theories of volition advanced, we 
see that the necessitarian scheme is the result of a sensualistic psy- 
chology, which, overlooking the subjective powers of the soul, 
accords to it only susceptibilities, and ascribes all mental modifi- 
cations to objective impressions. Thus, 1. It fails to make the 
vital distinction between objective inducements to volition and 
subjective motives thereto. 2. It regards volition as an effect of 
desire, and desire in turn as an effect of some sense-impression. 
3. Thus it really omits all true spontaneity, and views man's 
actions as under a necessity as fatal as though it were that of 
material forces. When the seductive object is presented from witt^ 
out, preponderant desire is, on this scheme, as truly the physical 
effect as pain is of a blow; and volition to grasp the object is the 
unavoidable effect of the preponderant desire. 4. Disposition, 
on this view, is not a rational trait of the spontaneity, any more 
than is the instinctive law of a brute's appetite. The oply theo- 
logy (unless atheism be called "atheMogy") consistent with 
this philosophy is that of the pantheist. As our debate is not 
with him, we dismiss this theory. 

The Calvinistic theory, and that of contrary choice, will now 
be stated in contrast, so as to place them before the reader's mind 
in the sharpest discrimination. 

Both agree that free agency is essential to responsibility, and 
that the necessity of external compulsion supersedes both. But — 

The one places man's free agency in the self-determining 
power of the soul; the other places it in the self-determination 
of the will. 

The one teaches that all deliberate, responsible volitions are 


The Will on Theology. 


effects, vis., of the soul's own f^revalent motives; the other that 
volitions may always arise uncaused. 

The one teaches the efficient and certain control of (subjective) 
' motives over all responsible volitions; the other teaches that 
volitions may always be contingent. 

The one holds that this efficient certainty, which is " moral 
necessity," is entirely consistent with our freedom and responsi- 
bility ; the other regards both "physical" and "moral necessity" 
as incompatible with them. 

The one holds that man's freedom consists in his privilege of 
acting out his own preference, according to his own disposition ; 
the other, that it consists in the power of the will to choose, 
, without, or even in opposition to, the soul's own desire and dis- 

The one teaches that all responsible action is spontaneous, but 
that rational spontaneity has always its own regulative law, which 
is its own subjective disposition; the other claims that volition 
may always arise against the disposition. 

The one teaches that the volition always follows the prevalent 
motives ; the other that the will in choosing, always has, even 
though it does not exercise, a " power of contrary choice." 

Both admit that there is a sense in which the involuntary is 
neither praise-nor-blameworthy. But here — 

The Calvinist by the involuntary means only the contra-volun- 
tary ; that which the agent wills not to do, but is compelled 
against that will to do. And he holds that man may be respon- 
sible for states not resulting from volition^ and in that sense 
involuntary, as for the concupiscence preceding evil choice. But 
the other party limits the voluntary to acts of will and their effects, 
thus excluding subjective dispositions and concupiscence from 

The one asserts that only physical inability excuses from duty, 
while inability of will, being itself spontaneous and criminal, con- 
sists with free agency and responsibility; the other demands 
both kinds, in order to ground responsibility. 

It may be as well to say, that this statement of the principal 
points in the Theory of Contrary Choice is in consistent agree- 



Tlie Influence of Theories of 


mentwith the grand fundamental position of the theory, which is) 
that volitions may always be uncaused phenomena. Some advo- 
cates of this theory would accept and attempt to defend it just as 
stated. Others — the Wesleyans especially — would object to some 
points. For instance, they would deny that the theory neces- 
sarily excludes the native dispositions of the soul from the sphere 
of responsibility. But it will appear before we finish, that even 
they practically exclude the native disposition in adhering to 
this theory. 

The former theory of volition is that which coheres with the 
Reformed theology, as expounded in the Westminster standards. 
The latter finds its fullest theological expression in Pelagianism. 
To our readers the features of that old system are too familiar to 
need recital. Other schools of theology, as the Semi-Pelagian, 
the Franciscan, or Scotist, the Jesuit, the Arminian, and even 
the Wesleyan, while recoiling from many of the old positions 
under the stress of a greater reverence for Scripture, still retain 
the essential features of this philosophy. Did they retain all the 
theological consequences of Pelagius, they would be, while worse 
Christians, more consistent logicians from their wrong premises. 

] I. We come now to notice particular doctrines in theology 
which have been affected by false views of the Will. ;i 

1. And here we notice first, the influence of a false doctrine 
of the Will upon our views of several of the divine attributes; 
the divine law; and the impeccability of Christ. 

A. The Divine Attributes. The Westminster Catechism says: 
"God is a Spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable, in his being, 
wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth." The 
definition is not intended to be exhaustive — this would be impos- 
sible from the nature of the case. It is, however, intended to be 
accurate as far as it goes. But the theory of contrary choice 
impugns several of the most glorious attributes here ascribed to 
God. . 

(a). His Knowledge. We do not know whether the Pelagians 
attempted to limit in any way the infinite knowledge of God. 
But the Socinians, arguing from exactly the same premises, have 
denied to God an absolutely certain, universal foreknowledge of 


The Will on Theology. 


the acts of free agents. They admit that God has indeed, in a 
vastly higher degree, the same kind of wise foresight that belongs 
to a great statesman or a great leader among men. But they 
deny that even God can know, with absolute certainty, the future 
acts of free agents. And for those who admit their premises, 
their reasoning seems to be invincible. Say they, God can un- 
doubtedly foresee all that can possibly be foreseen. But in the 
very nature of the case it is inconceivable that even the wisdom 
of God can enable him to foresee as certain an event which is not 
certain. But all the acts of free agents are contingent (here 
comes in that theory of the will which is common to them, 
Pelagians and Wesleyans) ; and hence they cannot be foreseen as 
certain. This logic is perfect. And the premises, viz.7"that all 
man's responsible acts are contingent, is one for which every ad- 
vocate of "contrary choice" contends most earnestly. Hence, 
one of the first results of a wrong theory of the will is to rob God 
of one of his most glorious perfections. 

(b). His Justice. Again, a fiilse theory of the will impugns 
the justice of God. A sound theology teaches that by this at- 
tribute the will of God is invariably and immutably determined 
to visit every sin with punishment according to its desert. But 
can this be asserted, if we once admit, with those who hold to the 
indiflferency of the will, the motives exert no efficient control over 
volitions? In other words, if we find that in the case of the 
human soul, its acts are not regulated by its native dispositions, 
what warrant have we, when reasoning of God, to assume that 
the perfections of the Divine Nature will infallibly control the 
Divine Will ? Is not the Socinian position the only one we can 
properly assume? They do not deny that the attribute of jus- 
tice belongs to God. But they affirm that, notwithstanding the 
fact of the possession of this attribute, it is competent for God 
either to punish sin or to pardon it. And in particular cases 
they place the decision as to pardoning or punishing not in an 
essential and necessary perfection of the Divine Nature (which 
will efficiently and certainly control the Divine Will), but in the 
self-determination of the Divine Will itself. Thus we see that a 
false doctrine of the will leaves us without any valid ground on 

I * '; 



which to ba»e th 

The Influence of Theories of 


expectation that God will always govern the 
world in righteousness. It leaves us nothing but a Socinian 
God, who may do right or who may do wrong, according nsan ir- 
responsible faculty, which rejects alike the guidance of his infinite 
intelligence and of his immutable perfections, may dictate.- Hence 
if it be true that the Divine Will is lika the human will, and that 
the human will is not regulated and controlled by the essential 
dispositions of the soul, then God may at any time cease to be 

God. 'v /I -• ■. ■ ■'•';■' -' ■ . , .M ■':■* ■<.:(;'. i<^-'t, .).■■:■ -jiii ,_. .■:;,.:; ,,'J' 

(c). ili8 Holiness. But let us notice yet another way in which 
an erroneous doctrine of the will must affect our view of the 
divine perfections. In what does God's holiness consist? Does 
it consist in acquired habits of rectitude, benevolence, and the 
^M>ke? Or is it not rather the effulgence arising from the har- 
mony of all the other essential attributes which God has possessed 
from eternity, and itself as eternal as these attributes? Was 
there ever a time when God was in puris naturalihus? (we ask 
th(^ question with all reverence) in order that by the self-deter- 
mined choice of his will to holiness, he might henceforth claim 
the merit of virtue for his deeds? Or has he not rather from all 
eternity been immutably determined to holiness by the very spon- 
taneity of his being? Is this present holiness the result of holy 
acts of a self determined will ; or are all the acts of the divine 
will inevitably determined towards holiness by the divine perfec- 
tions which are back of and regulative of the divine will? If 
moral character is to be denied to those concreated dispositions 
which were regulative of Adam's will; if it can be maintained 
that Adam was without true holiness until this was acquired 
by acts of volition ; if the certain efficient control over the will 
exerted by the new principles implanted by the Holy Ghost in 
the sinner's heart at conversion deprive the acts of the regenerate 
man of moral character and the man himself of free agency, what, 
under these circumstances, becomes of the holiness and freedom 
of God? 

B. The Divine Law. Admit that volitions are uncaused; 
admit that in the case of a free agent the native dispositions exert 
no efficient control over his volitions, and we must seek the 


The Will on Theology, 


ground of the moral distinctions found in the Decalogue in the 
mere will of the Creator. The Ten Commandments will become 
a mere expression of the will of God. Had that will, clothed as 
it is (on this false theory) with the power of self-determination, 
seen fit, it might have reversed every command of both Tables 
and made an exactly opposite code obligatory. But such an 
idea is at once rejected both by sound sense and a sound theology. 
A sound theology admits, indeed, that the Ten Commandments 
are an expression of the divine will, but at the same time it ap- 
pears that they take their moral complexion from the divine per- 
fections, which, as it teaches, are themselves immutable, and 
immutably control the divine will. Thus a sound theology finds 
the ultimate ground of moral distinctions, not in God's will, but 
in his very essence. 

Already we begin to see the sad havoc which a false theory of 
the will — if consistently carried out — will make in our theology. 
It is subversive of all right ideas of the divine perfections. Does 
any one object? "Oh! but the advocates of the doctrine of 
contrary choice would be as far from pressing this theory to 
these results as the moat zealous Calvinist." Doubtless they 
would. But their theory may carry them when they would not 
carry their theory. It would be well for those who trifle with 
the foundations of truth, to remember that they may bring the 
temple down in ruin upon themselves. 

C. The Impeccability of Christ. Let us notice the influence 
of a false theory of the will on those doctrines which concern the 
person and character of Christ. The Westminster Catechism 
teaches that "Christ the Son 6f God became man by taking to 
himself a true body and a reasonablei?oul, being conceived by the 
power of the Holy Ghost in the womb of the Virgin Mary and 
born of her, yet without sin." The points to be noticed here are, 
(1) that Christ was very God; (2) that he was also very man; 
(8) that in his human as well as his divine nature, he was sin- 
less; or to state it more strongly, Christ, even as to his humanity, 
was impeccable. None can deny the vital place which such truths 
as these occupy in theology. Yet a false theory of volition has 
attacked the first of these truths indirectly, and the last directly. 



The Influence of Theoriesof 


The bearing of a false theory of the will on the question of the 
real Deity of Jesus is best seen in the theology of the Socinians. 
Socinianism is but a development of Pelagianism. Pelagius be- 
gan by belittling sin and extolling man's ability to save himself 
Socinus ended by simply adapting the Saviour to the needs of 
the sinner. Pelagius taught fhat all that man — endowed as he was 
with the power of contrary choice — required in order to holiness, 
was the holy example of Christ. Socinus, entertaining the same 
views of human ability, acted according to the maxim of the 

Pagan poet •'-■1^^'' ■; ;4vli<f ■•.:*'-; vivvtv-.. ■ik;--;?:^^-. O ?;*''. ^/ik^ u:i^%,:ii-^nv-h'^r.<y'. 

f " Nec Deus inter sit nisi dignus vindice nodus ' ' ' 

Inciderit;^^ ''^■'"'^- ;.i..i.«;vu.,.. 

and made Christ a holy man who led a holy life, yet who was 
nothing but a mere man. Here we see how the fully developed 
plant only gives us what was wrapped up in the fatal germ. 
And historically we find a false doctrine of the will resulting in a 
denial of the divinity of Christ. 

But the connexion between a false theory of volition and a 
denial of the impeccability of Christ is still apparent. Remember 
the question here is concerning the man Christ Jesus, for all 
admit that as to his divine nature, Christ was impeccable. But 
on what valid ground can it be asserted of the man Christ, who, 
as other men, had a reasonable soul, that he was impeccable ? 
that he possessed the non posse peccare f Evidently it was not 
because some higher power, by external means, restrained Christ 
from sinning. No, he was a free agent as truly as other men are. 
What then insured the fact that Christ would not and could not 
sin when urged by temptation? Or is it a fact that Christ could 
not sin? If not, he was not impeccable. Grant the principle, 
that holy dispositions, when nothing occurs to prevent their 
action, will invariably and infallibly secure holy volition; grant 
that God, without the violation of the creature's free agency, can 
sustain in constant exercise holy dispositions once implanted; 
and finally grant ("according to a Calvinistic theology) that Christ's 
humanity was sustained just in this way ; and we have a ready 
solution of the impeccability of the God-man. But on the as- 
sumption that our moral dispositions exert no efficient control 


The Will on Theology. 



over our volitions, it is conceivable, nay certain, that, notwith- 
standing and even in spite of the support of the divine nature, 
Christ might have sinned. But the case is even worse than this, 
for those who hold a wrong doctrine of the will. On their prin- 
cfples, they are not only compelled to admit that Christ might 
have been peccable — they must go further and maintain that 
Christ must have been peccable. Else on their theory Christ could 
neither have been free, nor holy. He could not have been free, 
unless his will had possessed the power of "contrary choice," 
which, according to their theory, is essential to pardon. But this 
power of contrary choice implies that his will might have deter- 
mined itself to sin as well as to holiness — which makes Christ 
peccable. He could not have been holy, except in so far as his 
holiness was the result of deliberate acts of choice on the part of 
an indifferent will, which might have refused to make holiness'its 
choice. For if Christ's holiness was not voluntary, it could not 
have been meritorious. But according to their theory, a volun- 
tary holiness is the holy character acquired by right acts of will. 
But while he was acquiring this holy character by right acts of 
will, it must have been possible for him to have yielded to tempta- 
tion and chosen what was sinful. He would not have been free — 
which again makes Christ peccable. Thus we see that according 
to a false theory of the will the destiny of man and the glory of 
God hung for thirty-three years in terrible suspense. For during 
the entire course of Christ's earthly existence it must have been 
absolutely uncertain whether or not Christ would sin. For to say 
that Christ was peccable is also to say that he was liable to sin. 

2. Let us now consider the influence of a false theory of the 
will upon theology regarded as a science which treats of God's 
counsels and dispensations toward his creatures. Here we must 
content ourselves with examining certain central doctrines which 
will give shape to all our views on these points. Of these we 
notice first — 

D. The Doctri7ie of the Divine Decrees. What has been the 
bearing oii a false theory of the will upon this doctrine? Out* 
views of the Divine Decrees must all determine our views of Pre- 
destination, Providence, and Election. •• 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 6. 




The Influence of Theories of 



The true doctrine of the decrees is thus briefly and perspicu- 
ously stated in the Westminster Shorter Catechism : " The decrees 
of God are, his eternal purpose according to the counsel of his 
will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever 
comes to pass." Which statement embraces the following points 
as to the decrees : "(1) Their unity; (2) Their eternity; (3) Their 
universality, embracing especially future acts of free agents; 
(4) Their efiiciency; (5) Their absoluteness from conditions." 
Now examination will show that every one of these points as to 
God's decrees will be affected by a false theory of the will. This 
statement is found true simply as a matter of history. For his- 
torically we find that the unity and eternity of the decrees have 
been denied by the Socinians; while their universality, efficiency, 
and absoluteness from conditions have been denied by the Socin- 
ians, Pelagians, Semi-Pelagians, and Wesleyans. Nor need this 
surprise us; for the rejection of the true doctrine of the decrees 
is logically necessitated by that false theory of the will which 
they all hold in common. Let us here restate one or two promi- 
nent features of the theory of contrary choice. The advocates of 
this theory insist that volitions are contingent; that moral neces- 
sity, which underlies the establishment of a causal tie between 
the soul's dispositions and its volitions, is inconsistent with man's 
freedom and responsibility; that the will remains in equilibria 
after all the preliminary conditions of judgment in the under- 
standing and emotion of the native dispositions are fulfilled; that 
the act of choice is self-determined by th» will and not by these 
preliminary states of soul." Now if these cardinal propositions 
in the doctrine of contrary choice be true, then is the truo^oc- 
trine of decrees overturned in every individual point. Let us 
first notice those points where all our opponents join in their 

They all agree that man's acts, to be free, must be contingent. 
The Calvinist can say, that, since dispositions and motives effi- 
ciently determine volitions, God, by knowing those perfectly, and 
by controlling providentially the objective circumstances sur- 
rounding the agent, can surely foreordain and effectuate these. 
But if there were no efficient, causal tie between them, then God 




The Will on Theology. 


cannot. The decree as to free agents can be neither universal, 
efficient, nor unconditioned. He cannot determine that a given 
agent shall do thus, or that he will do thus; he can only say that 
he may do thus. It matters not that this result disparages the 
sovereignty and omnipotence of the Lord and introduces blind 
chance into the events his providence seeks to govern, logical 
consistency must lead all to it who deny the certain efficiency of 
the dispositions and motives. Since the more evangelical advo- 
cates of this false psychology, Arminians, hold the same premises, 
they are in danger of the same consequences. 
" ' Similar consistency constrains them to make all of God's decrees 
concerning human actions conditioned on the creature's foreseen 
free will. When we assert that it is derogatory to God to enter- 
tain any other than unconditioned purposes, we do not deny that 
his decrees are based upon his own wisdom and holiness. In 
this sense, we might say that they are based on all his perfections. 
Nor do we mean to deny that the events decreed are brought 
about through their appropriate conditions or means. But we 
mean that God's acts in holding his purposes are conditioned on 
nothing outside of himself. If the decree is eternal, sure, univer- 
sal, and efficient, then it must be thus unconditioned; because 
there can be no creature's act subsequent to it, which does not in 
some sense proceed out of the prior decree; and the effect cannot 
determine its own cause. But now, if human volitions are 
uncaused and contingent, if, for instance, the sinner's acts of faith 
and repentance must be such in order to be free and responsible, 
obviously God's decree to save him through faith and repentance 
cannot be unconditioned. Waiving the hard question (already dis- 
cussed) how God could certainly foresee these contingent acts, we 
must conclude that any purpose as to that man's salvation must be 
dependent and conditioned. And how deep will this cut? The 
dependent purpose cannot be more certain than the condition on 
which it depends. Since execution and purpose correspond, in 
God's providence, the execution must also be as contingent as 
the condition. Hence neither has God the power of keeping a 
justified believer nor a glorified saint in his blessed state beyond 
the uncertainty of this human will, always contingent in order to 




The Injluenee of Theories of 


be free; nor can we have a hope of such blessedness resting on 
any firmer foundation. Thus, this doctrine of self-determination 
unsettles the very foundations of our heaven! Again, Wesleyans^... 
are very loth to follow the Socinian to his consistent conclusions, 
that because volitions are contingent, even omniscience, cannot 
foreknow them all ; and that thus many of God's purposes origi- 
nate in time, and that his providence is not almighty, and that 
his government is one of doubtful expedients. But if one does not 
wish to leap a precipice, he had best ask himself where he will 
stop, before he sets out on his race towards it. The laws of logic 
are as regular as those of gravitation. A dependent decree can- 
not be more absolute than the condition on which it depends, nor 
the foresight more certain than the condition foreseen. Hence, 
If Judas's act, for instance, in betraying his Lord, must be contin- 
gent in order to be free, then all the decree dependent on God's 
foresight of it must have been mutable just to the extent that 
Judas's "free will" was contingent. How, then, could God cer- 
tainly determine what he would do for man's redemption through 
his Son's sacrifice accomplished through Judas's treason ; until 
the effectuation of Judas's act had put it beyond contingency? 
And suppose Judas's avIU, in the exercise of its self-determination, 
should at last decline the treasonable volition — a supposition 
which must be always admissible, on their theory, before the 
act — then must not God effectuate his plan through some new 
patchwork of it? 

E. Another central doctrine relating to God's counsels and 
dispensations toward his creatures is that of the 

Federal Headship of Adam. Inseparably connected with this 
doctrine are the kindred and important doctrines of original 
righteousness, the fall, imputation, original sin, the nature of sin, 
human ability; and also the doctrines of Christ's federal Head- 
ship, vicarious satisfaction, and***infinite righteousness. Let us 
see now how this doctrine has been affected by the theory of 
contrary choice. 

Calvinists, without pretending to have sounded all the depths 
of the mystery involved in the doctrine of Adam's federal head- 
ship, assert that, ^s a mere matter of fact, it is taught in Scrip- 




The Will on Theology.] 


ture, is based upon God's sovereignty, and is consistent with 
God's righteousness. The following is a statement of the doctrine 
and what is implied in it, taken from our standards (Westminster 
Confession of Faith, Chap. VI., and Larger Catechism, Qu. 20-26), 
The reader will see, on reference, that the following points are 
there stated: (I) That God entered into a covenant with Adam 
not only for himself but for all his posterity descending from him 
by ordinary generation; (2) That Adam's conduct under this 
covenant was to determine not only his own state before God, but 
that of his posterity; (3) That had Adam kept the covenant, all 
his posterity would have been established in holiness, i. e., they 
would have come into existence with wills immutably determined 
to holiness; (4) That in consequence of Adam's violation of this 
covenant, all his posterity are now born into the world with wills 
y^ under bondage to sin, so that they are "utterly indisposed, dis- 

abled, and made opposite unto all that is spiritually good, and 
wholly inclined to all that is evil, and that continually." Now, 
what is asserted and can be proven is, that upon the theory of 
"contrary choice," such a doctrine as that of Adam's federal 
headship would not only be unjust but utterly inconceivable. 

This assertion is one which the bolder and more consistent 
advocates of the doctrine of contrary choice do not care to deny. 
It is true that a rejection of the doctrine of the Covenant of Works 
appears to be somewhat damaging to a scriptural theology; it 
appears to work confusion in the very language of Scripture; it 
appears to render inexplicable some of the most obvious facts of 
observation and experience, to say nothing of the fact that the 
rejection of this doctrine, by involving a rejection of the federal 
headship, vicarious satisfaction, and imputed righteousness of the 
Lord Jesus Christ, robs the sinner of hope and dooms him to 
despair. Still, notwithstanding all these damaging appearances, 
the Pelagians and Socinians have not hesitated to reject the doc- 
trine of the federal headship of Adam. They do so avowedly on 
the ground that this doctrine is utterly at variance with their 
ideas of human free agency and responsibility taught in their doc- 
trine of the will. And logically, their ground is valid. But here 
again the Wesleyans are unwilling to carry their doctrine of the 



The Influence of Theories of 


will so far. To reject what is involved in the doctrine of the 
covenant of works appears too much like a rejection of both reason 
and revelation. Rather than do this, they are willing to make, 
some sacrifices in the matter of consistency. They prefer, there-^ 
fore, in order to secure a theology not so entirely unscriptural as 
that of the Socinians and Pelagians, to sacrifice the head to the 
heart. This spirit may have something commendahle in it, 
though it certainly seems that in so important a matter as theolog}^ 
it is desirable to have both head and heart united. Still, if 
necessity demands a sacrifice somewhere, it would possibly he best' 
to make the head yield to the heart. They wish to retain the 
federal headship of Adam, albeit they wish to retain also the doc- 
trine of contrary choice; whereas they cannot logically retain' 
both. Let us see., The doctrine of Adam's headship implies 
that if Adam had kept covenant with God, then his posterity 
would have been born not only with the 'posse non peceare, but 
the higher blessedness of the non posse peceare. In other words, 
that they would have been born to an estate of secured blessed- 
ness and with wills immutably determined to holiness. This 
consequence of Adam's obedience they do not deny, but claim. 
But if the theory of contrary choice be true, such a state of things 
would not only be inexplicable but inconceivable. For what does 
this state of established holiness imply but the existence of an 
absolute moral certainty — a moral necessity that the creature 
would put forth none but holy volitions? Now such a moral 
necessity, no matter how brought about, is, upon the theory of 
contrary choice, essentially inconsistent with the creature's free 
agency. The position which the Wesleyan takes concerning 
regeneration asserts this incompatibility. When asked whether 
the grace there is invincible, he answers, no; and he argues that 
if it were, none of the evangelical acts following it would be free, 
responsible, or moral. It may be as well, now that this point is 
named, to take note how it both arises necessarily from the doc- 
trine of contrary choice and how it makes havoc of the plan of 
redemption and of God's sovereignty. For, of course, if the most 
special forth-puttings of converting grace are vincible by the sin- 
ner's contingent will, Christ has no sovereignty as to his posses- 





The Will on Theology. 


sion of a purchased people. But to return : we ask, if efficacious 
grace derived through the second Adam would infringe the soul's 
freedom, how comes it that efficacious principles of holiness 
derived from the first Adam, under a covenant of works success- 
fully kept, would not have infringed that freedom ? 

Again, the doctrine of Adam's headship implies that if Adam 
failed to keep covenant with God (as he did fail to do), then his 
posterity would be born into the world with their wills in bond- 
age to sin, so that they would be "utterly indisposed, disabled, 
and made opposite to all that is spiritually good, and wholly 
inclined to all evil." This statement the Wesleyan admits. Yet 
it is so palpably contradictory of his doctrine of the will, that he 
has recourse to his doctrine of "common sufficient grace." By 
this he holds that while in the fall man lost the self-determining 
power of his will, still by virtue of the covenant of grace it was 
restored to every man in Christ. So that every descendant of 
Adam comes into the world with his nature corrupted, it is true, 
but still with a will rehabilitated with the power of self-determin- 
ation. And he holds that, except we admit his doctrine of com- 
mon sufficient grace, we cannot justify God in making the cove- 
nant of works, nor can we establish man's free agency and 
responsibihty. But this position is justly liable to the following 
criticisms: (1) That Mr. Wesley himself being judge, 4;he legiti- 
mate result of the covenant of works (if the theory of contrary 
choice be true) would have been to leave fallen man destitute . 
alike of freedom and responsibility ; (2) That his only escape 
from this unfortunate conclusion is in the doctrine of common • 
sufficient grace. BuMhis doctrine is no where found in Scripture. 
(3) That in order to prevent injustice to Adam's posterity and 
an end of his moral government over them, God was bound to 
send Christ into the world to make an atonement. For this gift 
of common sufficient grace is bestowed only in consideration of 
Christ's work. Thus this doctrine of free will leads to the con- 
tradiction of all those Scriptures which represent Christ's whole 
mission as gracious, as an act of undeserved mercy prompted only 
by God's free compassion. According to this view, God, after 
once permitting man's fall into a, bondage to sin, was bound to' 



The Influence of Theories of 


provide this redemptive reparation. The work was not of grace, 
but of debt. The aid should be called the common debt of God 
to sinners, rather than "common grace." 

F. The word "grace" suggests the last point (or cluster of 
points) to be discussed, the application of redemption in ""effectual 
calling." The violence of the modifications made in this depart- 
ment of theology by the theory of contrary choice, is illustrated 
by the wild definitions which Pelagians and Socinians give of the 
idea o^ grace. With them, grace is our natural endowments of 
spirit, or it is moral suasion, or it is pardon on grounds of repent- 
ance. But the Apostle gives a very different and a perfectly 
distinct meaning: grace is the opposite of "debt:" it is that gift 
which is "not of works." Now the Westminster doctrine of re- 
generation involves these points: 1. That it is a work of pure 
grace; 2. That it finds the sinner in bondage to sin; 3. That 
his will is passive in the act, viz., is subject of it, and not agent 
or co-agent in it; 4. That the power is invincible (as already 
stated). This doctrine of "effectual calling" is a central one, 
around which cluster those of faith, repentance, justification, 
sanctification. There was a liberality, one may even say a 
gratuity, in the covenant of works. God promised Adam a 
reward out of all proportion to his obedience, and he waived, in 
promising it, the principle that he had a right to exact obedience 
of his creature, his property, without promising any recompence. 
Now then, the Apostle in the passages alluded to (Rom. iv. 5, 
xi. 6), is undoubtedly contrasting the grace of the gospel with the 
covenant of works. Hence his meaning must be, that gospel 
grace is something contrasted even with the species of liberality 
exercised in that covenant. But Arminians even, not to say 
Pelagians and Socinians, in order to retain their scheme of con- 
trary choice, teach a grace which is virtually that of the covenant 
of paradise. The amount of it is, that God is so liberal as to 
place man under another probation, in which he determines his 
own lot with the same species of self determination which Adam 
exercised in paradise, and is Simply rewarded for the right or 
punished for the wrong use of the power of contrary choice about 
another "positive" command.* Arminius denied that the law of 


The Will on Theology. 


the covenant of works required faith or repentance, so that the 
gospel command to these is precisely as "positive" as the com- 
mand to Adam not to eat the particular fruit. Does the Wes- 
leyan teach that "common sufficient grace" is needed to restore 
to fallen man that power of "contrary choice" ? But we have 
shown that, on his scheme, God was indebted to man to bestow 
it. Does the Socinian say that heaven is a reward out of pro- 
portion to man's evangelical obedience, and so, gracious? So 
was the adoption of life promised to Adam out of proportion to 
his temporal obedience. Does the Arminian say that our faith, 
without works, is imputed as our gospel righteousness? In his 
sense, faith is a work, and it is no more really out of proportion 
to eternal life than Adam's "work" was. No synergist can hold 
to a gracious application of redemption in the Apostle's sense. 
The synergist is a co-worker with God in that work: the Apostle 
describes a man that "worketh not." According to him, God 
sovereignly applies redemption to a sinner, dead, save as the ap- 
plication quickens him ; according to the synergist, God lays 
before the sinner's self-determination this new proposal, and sim- 
ply rewards his right choice of it. 

As to the second and thinl points of the gospel doctrine of 
effectual calling, the doctrine of contrary choice must of course 
exact a denial of the sinner's inability. That scheme teaches that 
a "loss of all ability of will" would overthrow free agency as truly 
as the other kind of inability created by a destruction of the 
faculties requisite to serve God. It asserts that the man whose 
will is disabled unto all spiritual good by sin must be as irrespon- 
sible as the man who is deprived of the faculties of understanding 
and conscience by idiocy or mental disease. And they are con- 
sistent; for certainty of evil volition cannot consist with the 
power of contrary choice. Again :*of course they must deny that 
man is passive in the quickening; for if he did not at least co-act 
in choosing the new gospel habitus, he would not be a moral 
agent in exercising it. The same result would follow were grace 
admitted to be invincible. If grace in effectual calling is invin- 
cible, and fiith and repentance are the fruits of that grace, then 
they also would be non-moral and irresponsible, on the Arminian 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 7. 


, ■>■■§ 

»: 'i 



Influence of Theories of the Will on Theology. [Jan*^ 


principles ; hence they must be represented as preceding regen- 

But these illustrations have been carried as far as space allows, 
Since the rationalistic influence of this theory of volition is so far- 
reaching, every reflecting mind is impressed with the importance 
of the correct philosophy here. Again, the reader sees a strong 
presumptive argument against the theory of contrary choice in 
this, that it dictates violent exegesis of such a multitude of Scrip- 
ture declarations covering nearly every head of our theology. 
Arrainians are wont to represent the Augustinian or Calvinistic 
construction of the Scriptures as rationalistic, in that we warp 
them to suit our foregone metaphysical theory of the certainty 
of the will. But every impartial reader of Scripture can testify 
that it is we who take the Bible declarations concerning sin, 
grace, redemption, and free agency, in their obvious sense, while 
it is our opponents who find the occasion, from the stress of their 
philosophy, to subject them to laborious tamperings. This is a 
true and ftiir summary view of the history of this debate: That 
when Pelagius had adopted the theory of contrary choice and 
had carried it out with thorough consistency through his scheme 
of redemption, he was found to have sophisticated every head of 
the Church's creed. Such was the deliberate, historical judgment 
of the Church of every subsequent age. But the Pelagian view 
of the powers of nature is flattering to man's pride and self-will, 
hence it was not surrendered. And this is the rational account 
of every subsequent movement of its advocates as to Christian 
doctrine, of semi-Pelagianism, of Arminianism, of Wesleyanism: 
they are successive attempts^ more and more refined and astute, 
to mix the oil and water: to make the obvious and inflexible de- 
clarations of the Scripture ply to the false theory ; to find some 
more indirect bridge over the impassable gulf, which the sense of 
Christendom has always found existing between Pelagianism and 

1879.] Freedom of the Willin its Theological Relations. 51 





The foregoing analysis* of the facts of Adam's case, and the 
development of the inferences which legitimately flow from them, 
have, we submit, fairly conducted us to the following positions; 
first, that Adam was not in any sense necessarily determined, 
but determined himself, to the commission of his first sin; sec- 
ondly, that the moral spontaneity of Adam, as started in the 
direction of holiness, did not determine his will to the formation 
of his first sinful volition, but that his will, traversing the path of 
his holy dispositions and tendencies so far as they were moral, was 
precisely the organ through which he determined himself in the 
commission of the first sin. In other words, we have seen that 
Adam sinned by a self-determination of the will. He had the 
power of contrary choice as an attribute characteristic of his will, 
and by an exercise of that power, which might have been avoided, 
willed to sin. Whatever difficulties emerge to speculation in the 
attempt to think the case, as one involving the self-determination 
of the will, we are under the necessity of believing the facts as 
revealed by Scripture, and of accepting the inferences which they 
enforce. The conclusion to which Ave are shut up is, that the 
sin of Adam was avoidable, and, therefore, cannot without a 
contradiction be affirmed to have been necessary, or unavoidably 
certain. His first sinful volition was efficiently produced by the 
causal power of his will. Here now we have the real test-case of 
a power in the human will to determine itself, that is, to form 
unnecessitated volitions — a case which is lifted out of the embar- 
rassments environing the acts of a being already determined to 
sin by a fixed moral spontaneity. In Eden, and around the will 
of the first man, is the great theological and philosophical battle 
to be fought. Thither every train of speculation, not indepen- 
dent of God's revealed authority, inevitably tends; and there, 
we insist, is the ground upon which, after all, the issue as to the 

*In an article in the October number of this Review for 1878. 



The Freedom of the Will 


freedom of the will must be met. We do not reject nor overlook 
the argument from individual consciousness — that has its proper 
office; but consciousness has been, in the progress of the contro» 
versy, so diversely interpreted, inferences from its alleged deliv- 
erances have been so conflicting, that the demand Jbecomes 
imperious for a more certain source of information. Kant, as 
we have seen, affirmed that we cannot, in the empirical sphere, 
escape the conclusions of Necessitarianism, and Sir W, Hamil- 
ton, that while the fact of liberty is to be believe<5, it is wholly 
inconceivable. Ham-ilton rested in an assumed deliverance of 
consciousness as to a fundamental belief in a self-determining 
power of the will. Kant, in order to ground responsibility, 
mounted to a transcendental existence, unconditioned by time and 
space, in quest of an original self-determination of each indi- 
vidual. The Sublapsarian Calvinist goes back to the will of 
Adam, and, as with the call of a trumpet, demands attention to 
its unnecessitated decision as fixing the moral complexion of 
every other human ^vill' i, • -•. ^ s. 

Here, then, we encounter the great argument for Determin- 
ism — instar omnium — which if true of every human will is true 
of Adam's, if untrue of his is shorn of universal validity. We 
allude to the argument, against a self-determining power of the 
will, of a reductio' ad absurdum. It is presented in two forms: 
First, If it be affirmed that the will is the self-determined cause 
of its acts, we have an absolute commencement, which is incoii- 
ceivable. Secondly, The law of cause and effect requires for 
every specific determination of the will a preceding determination, 
and that another preceding it, and so on ad infinitum ; but, as 
that is absurd, we are obliged to hold that every specific volition 
is efficiently caused by the sum of motives arising from the dis- 
positions, tendencies, and desires of the soul ; and as they in turn 
depend upon the views of the understanding, every such volition 
is ultimately caused by the last view which the understanding 
takes of any given case. This second branch of the argument 
reduces itself consequently in the last analysis to this : that every 
specific determination of the will is efficiently caused by a mental 
apprehension. . 


In its Theological Relations. 


In regard to the first form of the argument — conceded to be 
reflectively valid by Sir W. Hamilton, himself a pronounced 
Libertarian* — we have to say, that there is a failure to signalise 
a distinction between the origination of existence, and the origi- 
nation of phenomenal changes in existence. If the question 
were, whether the will by its determination originates itself as an 
existing thing, we would be obliged to confess that it would be a 
supreme absurdity to affirm that it does. That would imply that 
an effect produces itself — an absolute commencement with a wit-< 
ness. Or, if the question were, whether the will causes, that is, 
creates, any other substantive thing than itself, we would of course 
deny. Or. if it were, as Edwards in attempting to reduce the 
case to absurdity says, whether one act of choice produces an- 
other act of choice, we would also deny, since no phenomenal 
change can be conceived as, of itself, producing another phenome- 
nal change. But if the question be — and we hold that to be the 
real state of the question — whether the will, as an existing 
power, causes its own acts, we fail to see that an absolute begin- 
ning is involved. - In the power of the will we have a cause, of 
which volitions are legitimate effects. The chain of cause and 
effect is unbroken. We would have : volition caused by the 
power of the will, and that power caused by the creative will of 
God. There is no addition to the sum of substantive existence 
by a determination of the will. All that is accomplished is a 
phenomenal change in previous existence. We are happy to be 
sustained upon this point by tHe able and acute American critic 
of Hamilton's philosophy — the late lamented Dr. Samuel Tyler. 
After stating Hamilton's doctrine as to the origin of the causal 
judgment in our inability to construe in thought, as possible, 
an increase or diminution of the complement of existence, he 
remarksf : ' ■ ^ ;'■'■••'-- ■::•■■•: -i■■^. .;-.-',,-(•■»- 

" The question in nature is not, whether the present complement of 
existence had a previous existence — has just begun to be ; but, how comes 
its new appearance? The obtrusive and essential element is the new 
appearance, the change. This is the fact which elicits the causal judg- 

^Hamilton's Reid, pp. 602, 611, foot notes. 

^Pi'ogress of Philosophy, p. 175, et seq, .' ?'* 






The Freedom of the Will 



mont. To the change is necessarily prefixed, by the understanding, a 
cause or potence. The cause is the correlative to the change, elicited in 
thought and posited in nature. The question as to the origin of the sum 
of existence does in no way intrude into consciousness, and is not involved 
in the causal judgment. Such a question may of course be raised ; and 
then the theory of Sir William Hamilton is a true account of vrhat would 
take place in the mind. And this is the question which, it seems to us, 
Sir William has presented as the problem of the causal judgment. Ilis 
statement of the problem is this: ' When aware of a new appearance, we 
are unable to conceive that therein has originated any new existence,, 
and are therefore constrained to think, that what now appears to us 
under a new form had previously an existence under others — others 
conceivable by us or not. We are utterly unable to construe it in thought, 
as possible, that the complement of existence has been increased or 

" This seems to us not a proper statement of the problem of causation. 
This problem does not require the complement of existence to be accounted 
for; but the new form to be accounted for j and a new form must not be 
QoniovindiQdi vf'\i\iiM\ entirely new existence. Causation must be discrimin- 
ated from creation ; in the first, change only, in the last, the complement of 
existence, is involved. If we attempt to solve the problem of creation^ 
the notion of an absolute beginning is involved ; consequently, a negative 
impotence is experienced, as we cannot think an absolute beginning, and 
WQ would fall back on the notion of causation — would stop short at the 
causal judgment, unable to rise to a higher cognition, the cognition of 
creation. -_.,,..„!/',•; ..,:' ,. '.', .■'.,: .;.;;■■ -■?^'.-^,;^. 4 'tv.'.V:- ::vi';J, :- 

"The causal judgment consists in the necessity we are under of pre- 
fixing in thought a cause to every change, of which we think. Now 
change implies previous existence ; else it is not change. Of what does 
it imply the previous existence? Of that which is changed, and also of 
that by which the change is effected. Now change is effect. It is the 
result of an operation. Operation is cause (potence) realising itself in 
effect. . . . When we attempt to separate effect from cause, in our 
thought, contradiction emerges. It is realised to consciousness in every 
act of will, and in every act of positive thinking as both natural and 
rational. ... 

"It is doubtless true, that the negative impotence to think an absolute 
beginning necessarily connects, in thought, present with past existence; 
and a« all change must take place in some existence, the change itself is 
connected in thought with something antecedent : and, therefore, the 
mind is necessitated by the negative impotence to predicate something 
antecedent to the change. But, then, as a mere negative impotence can- 
not yield an affirmative judgment, it cannot connect present with past 
existence, in the relation of cause and effect, but only in sum of existence 
which it is unable to think either increased or diminished. The caugal 


In its Theological Relations. 


judgment is determined by a mental power elicited into action by an 
observed change, and justified thereby as an a£Brmation of a potence 
evinced in the changed existence ; and it matters not whether the change 
be the result of many concurring causes, or of one; still the notion of 
potence cannot but be thought as involved in the phenomenon. When 
we see a tree shivered to atoms by a flash of lightning, it is difficult to be 
convinced that the causal judgment elicited by the phenomenon is merely 
the impotence to think an absolute beginning. 

" We are conscious that we are the authors of our own actions ; and 
this is to be conscious of causation in ourselves." 

If these views be correct, Adam's first sinful volition, as caused 
by a divinely imparted efficiency of his will, was not an instance 
of a supposed absolute commencement. It was an eifect of the 
causal power inherent in his will, or, what is the same thing, of 
the causal power of will inherent in him. 

In re/^ard to this aspect of the argument we would further ob- 
serve : First, that the difficulty alleged is not peculiar to the will, 
and therefore ought not to be urged in reference to it alone. The 
same difficulty might be adduced in relation to the production of 
any physical eifect by a material cause. Unless we are prepared 
to adopt the hypothesis of Absolute Dependence in its most un- 
qualified form, we must admit that there is a causal efficiency, 
derived, dependent, limited, indeed, but real, in natural forces to 
produce their appropriate effects. Why not such a causal ef- 
ficiency in the human will ? In the case of the effects produced 
by a natural force, is there any absolute beginning of existence? 
Are not these effects regarded simply as new appearances, as phe- 
nomenal changes in substantive existence ? We see no difference 
in the two cases, so far as this difficulty is involved, unless it be 
supposed that the divine efficiency is more immediately exerted 
in the will than in physical force, and all real causality is denied 
to the human soul. It is sufficient to say in regard to such a 
supposition, that it is precisely the opposite of the ordinary judg- 
ment of men, and would, by denying the causality of the will, 
bar the possibility of an empirical development of the notion of 
cause as applied to physical changes. Whence do we derive the 
notion of cause, as elicited in experience, if not from the exer- 
tions of the will ? And that it, the very instrument by which 


The Freedom of the Will 


the causal judgment is formally developed, should be stripped of 
eausality, is something passing strange. 

But if it be said that, although the acts of the will are not sub- 
stantive beings, they are existences, real things susceptible of 
predication, and that the difficulty, in that view, is not relieved; 
we answer, that it does not appear how that distinction would 
vacate of force the argument just presented; for phenomena! 
changes in nature resulting from the operation of physical force 
are, in this sense, existences; and yet in affirming that they are 
caused, we do not dream of affirming that they have an absolute 
beginning. But we remark, secondly, that the difficulty, in this 
form, presses equally in relation to the acts of the understanding, 
held by the Determinist to be regulative of volition, as in relation 
to the acts of the will. The understanding being, in the general, 
the power by which the soul knows or forms cognitions, the cogni- 
tive acts are products of the cognitive power. If this is not 
granted, then whence come cognitions? What is their genesis? 
The law of cause and effect postulates a cause for them. What 
is that cause? If it be not the power of understanding, we crave 
to know what it is. Now, if volition is accounted for by referring 
it to intellectual apprehension as its ultimate cause, so as to avoid 
the inference of an absolute beginning, how is that inference to 
be avoided in relation to the first intellectual act? It would seem 
to be clear, that the alleged difficulty of an absolute commence- 
ment is not peculiar to the processes of the will, but holds equally, 
upon the hypothesis in hand, of those of the understanding. 
And so, all intellectual and voluntary activity are alike estopped 
by this inconceivable thing of an absolute beginning. Ere we 
can suppose ourselves to act causally at all, we must await the 
removal of this formidable contradiction! Now, if the Deter- 
minist replies, that all this is true, and that it only supports his 
doctrine, that cognitive acts are the unavoidable products of an 
immanent necessity in the intelligence which must be referred to 
the will of God, we confront him with the first sin of Adam, and 
urge upon him the irresistible consequence of his position, to wit, 
that Adam sinned by virtue of a necessity divinely implanted in 
his nature; which is tantamount to the position, that God was 




In its Theological Relations. 


the real efficient of the first sin. But if that cannot be true, the 
hypothesis which logically conducts to it is fallacious. It is 
scarcely necessary to remark, that the full force of the assumed 
difficuly of an absolute commencerhent directly recoils upon the 
half-way Determinist, who inconsistently maintains an originating 
causality in the understanding as the ultimate ground of voluntary 
action. To him the inconsistency is irretrievably damaging. We 
cannot forbear observing, in addition, that the refusal of causality 
to the will, and the assignment of it to the understanding, is a 
paradox, the statement of which is suflScient to refute it. As well 
might we say, there is no power of taotion in the muscles; it 
resides in the brain. 

Jt must be admitted, however, that the core of the difficulties 
attending this question has not yet been reached. That is found 
in the second aspect of the argument against a self-determining 
power in the will. Let it be conceded, it is urged, that there is 
a power resident in the will, adapting it to the formation of voli- 
tions; still, that power as a generic activity will not account for 
specific determinations. Each act, as being of a particular kind 
rather than another, can only be accounted for by the supposition 
of an intelligent reason, in which its peculiarity is grounded. 
Thus in thought we are never able to escape the necessity of 
referring specific acts of the will, as characterised thus and so, to 
the apprehensions of the intellect. Let us fix our conception of 
this difficulty, as presented by Leibnitz and relentlessly pressed 
by Edwards. On the hypothesis of a self-determination of the 
will, each act of choice must be determined by a preceding act 
of choice, and that by another antecedent to it, and so on ad 
infinitum; which is absurd. This absurdity is avoided on the 
part of Determinism, by denying the dependence of acts of choice, 
one upon another, and referring each to the causal efficiency of 
the habitus of the soul as ultimately directed to specific results 
by the last view of the understanding. The regression is, on the 
one hypothesis, to infinity ; on the other, it is arrested, according 
to some Determinists, by the apprehensions of the understanding; 
according to others, by the causal efficiency of God. Such is the 
difficulty, stated, we think, with fairness. Now, if it be conceded 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 8. 




The Freedom of the Will 


that an un necessitated determination of the will is incapable of 
being thought, that fact would not destroy its possibility. It 
might still be believed, on the ground of a datum of consciousness, 
or the deliverances of supernatural revelation. And if an equal 
difficulty, to thought, can be proved to exist in the* opposite 
hypothesis, the two would be in equilibrio^ speculatively, and 
their respective claims would have to be adjudicated at the bar of 
consciousness and the Scriptures. This plan ,we propose to pur- 
sue. We shall endeavor to show, that the hypothesis of Deter- 
minism may be reduced to absurdity, at least equal to that which 
is alleged against its antagonist; and then, by throwing our 
fundamental beliefs and the testimony of the Scriptures into the 
opposite scale, kick the beam against it. 

First, let us start with the assumption, which we have no dis- 
position to dispute, that every effect must have a cause. Now, 
every act of the understanding, according to the Determinist, is 
an effect; for every thing that comes to pass, he contends, is an 
effect. And as an act of the understanding is something which 
occurs — which begins to be — it must be assigned to that category. 
But if every act of the understanding is an effect, it must have a 
cause. Now, either that cause must lie in the understanding or 
without it. Without it, it cannot be; for the Determinist makes 
the acta of the understanding ultimate causes of volition. The 
only cause, therefore, for an act of the understanding must be 
Avithin the understanding — namely, a previous act of the under- 
standing itself; and as that is an effect, it is likewise grounded 
in another preceding it, and so on ad infinitum. But it is just 
as absurd to suppose the acts of a finite understanding to be pro- 
jected backward infinitely, and of an understanding acting in 
time to reach to eternity, as to make a similar supposition in 
regard to' a finite will acting in time. The Determinist cannot 
meet this argument from an infinite regression of intellectual 
acts, by affirming the existence of a first act which originates 
the series ; for, on his own principles, that first act, as an effect, 
must be accounted for by the assignment of a cause for it, and so 
we would have an act preceding the alleged first act, and his own 
contradiction as to the will emerges. If he says that there must 


In its Theological Relations. 


be a limit to the series of intellectual acts, and that the first act 
is not determined by a previous act, but by something extraneous 
to the subjectivity of the man — by the circumstances, for example, 
in which he is placed, and the objects to which his understanding 
is related — he gives up his position, that although the will does 
not determine itself, the man determines himself. If, inconsis- 
tently, he admits that the man does not determine himself, but is 
determined to the first act of the understanding by something 
outward to himself, he strikes the track of external effects and 
causes. Either that series must recede ad infinitum, or it must 
stop with the efficiency of God. If the former, his own reductio 
ad ahsurdum ensues. If the latter, we confront him again with 
the first sin of Adam, and. Scripture and intuition being our 
authority, we pronounce the result still more absurd. 

If it should be objected to this reasoning, that intellectual 
activity is a property of a substance rather than the effect of a 
cause, the reply is obvious, that a distinction is to be taken 
between the power of thinking', which is a property of the soul, 
and the act of thinking, which is a product or effect of that power. 
The relations are different. But such an objection would be in- 
competent to the Determinist, whose theory is that the intellectual 
apprehensions are causes and not mere properties; and as they 
must be admitted to be second causes, they are also effects. 
Otherwise, the immediate efficiency of God is exerted in the 
production of every human act, and, consequently, of every 
sinful act. 

Secondly^ upon the hypothesis of Determinism, there can be 
no such thing as responsibility for intellectual opinions. Its very 
core is in its affirmation, that every specific act of the will is ulti- 
mately determined by some view of the understanding. It is not 
our intention to deny that in many cases that may be so; what 
we have to do with is the assertion that it is so in every case. 
Now, the only way in which, so far as we know, it has ever been 
attempted to prove that men are responsible for their intellectual 
views, is by showing, that in some sense the will is able to con- 
trol the operations of the understanding, either by determining it 
to reflective, as distinguished from spontaneous, processes; or, 



^The Frtedom of the Will 


by directing its attention to certain kinds of evidence; or, by 
controlling its relations to external circumstances which influence 
it; or, by holding this or that class of objects in connexion with 
the springs of action in the appetites and emotions, which in turn 
affect the mental states. But if the understanding always con- 
trols the acts of the will, never the cdhtrary, it is clear that that 
method of proof is destroyed. Then, either the man is responsible 
for his intellectual views on some other ground or he is wholly 
irresponsible for them. The only other ground, possible to the 
Determinist, is the self-determining power of the man over his 
intellectual acts by his intellectual acts. But it is absurd to say 
that the man determines one involuntary mental act by another 
equally involuntary. They may possibly be determined one by 
another, but he does not determine them. The only remaining 
supposition is, that he is wholly irresponsible for his mental acts; 
and it may be left to common sense to say whether that position 
does not lead to practical consequences not only absurd, so far 
as our relation to God and to truth are concerned, but dangerous 
to the well-being of society. And this is all the more remarkable, 
because the Determinist makes the views of the understanding 
determine the acts of the will. If, therefore, we are not responsible 
for intellectual acts, we are not for volitions. And so, all the 
actions of men would be exempted from the law of responsibility. 
The truth is, that the very seat of obedience to law is the will; 
but if the will is always determined by the views of the under- 
standing, and there is no responsibility for them, there is no 
responsibility for disobedience and no room for punishment. Now 
let the application be made to Adam's first sin. If his will was 
determined by the views of his understanding, and he was not 
responsible for them, he could not be justly said to have been 
responsible for his disobedience to God, and therefore could not 
have been punishable. To that result Determinism logically 
leads ; and if so, no reduction to absurdity could be stronger, 
since it would hold in the moral, and not simply in the speculative, 

If it be said, that this reasoning begs the very question in dis- 
pute, namely, whether the will is not always controlled by the 


In its Theological Relations. 


directive power of the understanding; and that it is overlooked 
that the very reason why the will determines the intellect in its 
reflective processes, or directs the understanding to this or that 
sort of evidence, or places the man in this or that relation to 
circumstances, or puts the springs of action in connexion with 
this or that class of objects, is precisely some previous view of 
the understanding itself without which the action of the will in 
the premises would be irrational and arbitrary; we answer: In 
the first place, we concede the fact that there must be some in- 
telligent reason for the specific determinations of the will in the 
premises, but the very pinch of the question is. Does the reason 
absolutely control the acts of the will, as a natural law the oper- 
ation of a natural force, or has the will power to concur or not to 
concur with the reason? And we anticipate our final conclusion 
by the remark, that in the beginning of certain voluntary acts 
the understanding illuminates, without absolutely governing, the 
will — shows the path to be pursued, but does not compel the will 
to take that path. There must be some light to see by, but the 
light is neither the power nor the determination to walk. In the 
second place, if this be not admitted^ it follows with indisputable 
certainty, as the states and acts of the understanding must con- 
form to the laws of evidence, or implicitly follow those of its 
spontaneity, that if they control the will and are in no degree 
swayed by it, men are not responsible for their intellectual pro- 
cesses and opinions. This last position cannot be true, and 
therefore it cannot be true that in every case the understanding 
dominates the will. Granted that we cannot escape in though^- 
the antecedence of some intellectual action to every volition, it is 
equally true that we cannot escape the moral conviction that we 
are responsible for our opinions. Now we may legitimately doubt 
whether the views of the understanding control the will in all its 
acts — it is not perfectly clear what the precise quantum of their 
influence is upon the will. But we cannot legitimately doubt the 
responsibility of men for their opinions — it is perfectly clear that 
the conspirator against lawful government lawfully administered,.,, 
that the criminal whose crime has been proved by unimpeachable 
testimony, that the hearer of the gospel who rejects it when truly 









The Freedom of the Will 


preached, cannot plead immunity from judgment on the ground 
of irresponsibility for their opinions and beliefs. We are, there- 
fore, bound to square the doubtful position by the undoubted. 
It is the latter which is entitled to stamp the type of our theory. 
Thirdly^ the theory of Determinism furnishes an incomplete 
account of the origination of motives, and of the mode in which 
they operate upon the will. It is conceded that no elective act 
of the will ever takes place without some motive to its occurrence. 
We reject that view of contingency, as sometimes applied to the 
acts of the will, which ascribes to them no cause for their existence, 
and no motives to their production. In this respect, therefore, 
there is no controversy between us and the Determinist. But 
there is a twofold aspect of his theory of motives, in which we 
regard it as inadequate and unphilosophical. In the first place, 
he assigns to motives an invariable dependence, in their origina- 
tion, upon the perceptions of the understanding. The rise of the 
emotions and desires, as inducements to voluntary action, is regu- 
lated by the intellectual processes. Savs Edwards:* f 

"Whatever is a motive in this sense [of a complex whole operating; as 
inducement] must be somethin<»; that is extant in the view or apprehension 
of the understanding or perceivintj^ faculty. Nothino; can induce or in- 
vite the mind to will or to act anything; any further than it is perceived, 
or is some way or other in the mind's view : for what is wholly unper- 
ceived, and perfectly out of the mind's view, cannot aflfect the mind at 
all. It is most evident that nothing is in the mind, or reaches it, or takes 
any hold of it, any otherwise than as it is perceived or thought of." 

We have no wish to misstate any element of the theory under 
consideration; and we think it will be acknowledged that these 
words of Edwards justify the account, attributed to it, of the de- 
termining influence of the understanding upon the origin of 
motives. Not that we mean to imply that Edwards taught that 
no feelings, tendencies, or desires could spontaneously arise with- 
out the originating influence of the understanding ; but that they 
could not operate as motives upon the will without such an influ- 
ence of the understanding. Now we appeal to consciousness and 
Scripture to bear us out in the assertion, that there is a class of 

* Inquiry^ etc., Pt. i., ^2. 


In its Theological Relations. 


motives which cannot be assigned to this category. Those ap- 
petencies which are termed blind impulses must be excepted from 
it. They receive that denomination, partly because they do not 
depend for their emergence as springs of action upon any opera- 
tion of intelligence. Hunger does not originate in, nor is it 
regulated by, any perception or thought or view of the under- 
standing as to the necessity or desirableness of food. It springs 
blindly, unintelligently, from the very make of the bodily organ- 
ism. So is it with curiosity, which, although intellectual in its 
nature, does not depend for its excitation upon any particular 
view of the intellect. It is an original spring of action. These 
examples of a class are sufficient to expose the incompleteness of 
the Determinist's analysis of the origin of motives. But these 
impulses are among the most frequent and powerful inducements 
which solicit the will to action. They are imperious wants which 
clamor for gratification; they admit of no rest until they are 

SUplied. ^ •;;-.! 

In the second place, the Determinist makes the understanding 
always and absolutely regulative of the application of motives, 
when they have arisen, to the activity of the will. It is an in- 
evitable mediator between inducements and the will; more than 
this, it fir^ appropriates the inducements, gives tiiem the character 
of motives, assimilates them to its own processes, and then pre- 
sents its views as the controlling motive — the real, efficient cause 
of volition. " The will," according to the great canon of Edwards, 
" always is as the greatest apparent good," and nothing can appear 
as good or agreeable except as submitted by the understanding. 
It is its office to stamp the agreeable complexion of every object 
to which the tendency of the will is directed. It is alike, there- 
fore, the master of the motives and of the will. If this claim for 
absolute supremacy and unexceptional control in favor of the 
understanding can be invalidated, it is obvious that the theory 
of the Determinist would break down at its most critical point. 
His position would be fatally breached, if any exception could be 
indicated to the operation of this law. 

We appeal to consciousness to sustain the statement that, in 
the first instance, the blind impulses regulate the views of the 




The Freedom of the Wilt 


understanding, and subordinate it as an adjuvant in the attain- 
ment of their appropriate objects. Hunger excites the imagination 
of food, and drives the judgment to adopt the means of its pro- 
curement. The very dreams of the hungry man are ruled by 
the craving for food; they are haunted by visions of it. He sits 
at royal banquets and feasts on delicious viands. So with the 
appetite of sex, and so with curiosity. They impress themselves 
upon the imagination, mould it into conformity with themselves, 
and stimulate the mental processes to action in order that the 
means of their gratification may be furnished. True, the imagi- 
nation thus excited reacts upon them and inflames them to a 
higher pitch of energy. But that is because of its vicarious 
power of representing the objects with which the impulses are 
naturally correlated. It is as if those objects were themselves 
presented. And if it be a fact that it is not the presence of the 
real objects which creates or regulates the impulses, for the hungry 
man, for example, continues to be hungry in the absence of food, 
the power to create or regulate them cannot be assigned to the 
imagination as their mere vicar. Now, it is further clear, that 
the tendency in the impulse, which awoke into activity indepen- 
dently of the representations of the intelligence, terminates as 
directly upon the will as upon the imagination. There is no jieed 
of the mediating office of the understanding to transmit the influ- 
ence of the inducement to the will. It may heighten the impres- 
sion, but does not communicate it. The impulsion is communicated 
immediately to the will, and its conative element is directly incited 
to exercise. The hungry man, for instance, thus stimulated by 
the direct influence of the impulse upon the will, forms the volition 
to seek food; and, if the desired object is at hand, forms the 
volition to eat. Here then, we maintain, is a volition which no 
necessity compels us to refer to the view of the understanding as 
its eflScient cause; and we have in it a negative instance which 
checks a thousand affirmatives in the prosecution of the induction 
leading to the law, that the^ acts of the will are invariably deter- 
mined by the views of the understanding. Let consciousness be 
consulted, and it will testify that while, the influence of the im- 
pulse may simultaneously terminate upon the imagination and 



In its Theological Relations. 


the will, we do not depend upon the information of the understand- 
ing for an inducenaent to act, but are moved by the impulse com- 
municated immediately to the will. That is inducement enough. 
' It would be vain to say that the very nature of these blind 
impulses is to impel, without directing, and that consequently 
the understanding must come in to designate the special mode of 
their gratification, and so to cause a specific volition to adopt 
that mode. That may be so, but we have already discovered 
k^l volitions which do not depend upon this office of the intelligence, 

and therefore cases infringing the invariability of the law we are 
considering. And further, in regard to the specific directions of 
the understanding in these cases, it is the will which puts that 
power upon exerting itself to furnish them, and the will is moved 
by the impulses to that determination. To say that the under- 
standing directed the will to direct the understanding to direct 
the will specifically, looks very much like burlesquing the whole 
matter; but that is what the Deter'minist must say in accordance 
with his theory. 

The conclusion to which we are conducted by this special line 
of argument is, that it is not a universal and invariable law that 
the understanding originates, absorbs, and regulates all motives 
acting upon the will, but that, on the contrary, the blind impulses 
start and control the intellectual processes, and at the same time 
terminate independently of them and immediately upon the nisus 
of the will. 

In accordance with the central idea of this discussion — that the 
question of a self-determining power of the will is really the 
question of an original self-determining power in the will of our 
first progenitors, the exercise of which was destined to fix the 
moral attitude of all their posterity — it is necessary to subject 
this doctrine of a regulative control by the understanding of all 
motives operating upon the will to induce specific action, to a 
comparison with that first test-case. Now, it would seem to be 
manifest, that the understanding of our first parents, normally 
right as it was in their estate of innocence, could not have origi- 
nated the motives to the first sinful act. It could not have been 
the precise seat of responsibility for the "first disobedience" — 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 9. 



The Freedom of the Will 


the organ and motor of the great revolt. The supposition is im- 
possible. Did it then take up the inducements to the sin origi- 
nated by other elements in their subjective condition, represent 
them to the will as motives, and causally enforce them upon it 
in order to the commission of the sin? The moral spontaneity 
of their affections and wills and consciences was as normally right 
as that of their understandings. The motives to the sin, there- 
fore, could not have originated there, any more than in the spon- 
taneity of the intellect. Where, then, was the source of those 
motives? We have seen that in all probability it was, as Butler 
has profoundly suggested, in the blind impulses implanted in 
their constitution by the hand of their divine Maker. Possessed 
of no intrinsic moral character, they might be correlated either 
with lawful or forbidden objects, by virtue of the inherent adapta- 
bility of their nature. These impulses received their direction to 
a forbidden object, not by the spontaneous or elective action of 
the powers of our first parents, but by the insidious art of an 
external tempter. Here is the scriptural account of the way in 
which they were induced to a specific determination of the will — 
to an abusive employment of the liberta» specific ationis. It was 
not their understanding which, in the first place, imparted the 
specific direction ; it was that of the devil, immediately in Eve's 
case, mediately through Eve in Adam's case. He touched the 
spring of action in the blind impulses, perhaps the only vulnerable 
point at which they were accessible, to temptation. If it be said 
that the devil must have operated upon the understanding in 
order to reach the will, it may be answered: In the first place, 
the first apprehension which mediated the access of the tempta- 
tion, the first channel through which it came, was one of sense — 
the visual apprehension of the fruit, and the suggestion of good 
to accrue from eating it was consequent. The sensation con- 
ditioned perception and judgment; and so the appeal to the in- 
tellect was not the initial step in the process. The great master 
of temptation, with consummate adroitness, put his finger upon 
the divinely constituted adaptation between the make of the body 
and the external object.* It must not be overlooked, that the 

* It deserves to be noticed, that such was precisely his policy in his 
first approach t©^the Second Adam in the wilderness. 


In its Theological Relations. 


sin had a progressive development culminating iir the eating of 
the forbidden fruit; and that the moment at which it began was 
exactly that at which, at least in Eve's case, the will moved by 
the blind impulse consented to that motion — tolerated the sug- 
gestion to look wishfully at the interdicted tree. It was this 
sinful consent of the will in the first instance which made it 
possible for the imagination to be inflamed, and the intellectual 
apprehensions to be impressed, and thus for the soul to be pro- 
jected forwards, under a combination of inducements, to the con- 
summation of the transgression. It would seem, therefore, to be 
clear that the views of the understanding could not have been 
the efiicient cause of the beginning of the sin. In the second 
place, in the progress of the temptation, it must be observed, that 
the argument of the tempter addressed to the intelligence was 
not employed until he had appealed to the blind impulse of 
curiosity. Here, again, the will must have consented to the in- 
dulgence of this innocent impulse thus directed towards a for- 
bidden object, before the intellectual incentives presented by 
Satan could have had their designed effect. In other words, in 
the second stage of the temptation of Eve, the impact of the blind 
impulse of curiosity upon the will was felt, before the intellectual 
considerations suggested by the tempter operated as motives upon 
it. We have not space, nor is it necessary, to consider particu- 
larly the case of Adam. Allowance being made for the circum- 
stantial differences between it and that of Eve, we believe that 
the conclusions reached would be substantially the same, with the 
exception that his sin was more aggravated than hers. The con- 
siderations submitted we regard as sufficient to prove that, in the 
case of our first parents, the views of the understanding were not 
motives which causally controlled the action of their will in the 
production of the first sin. And if so, this leading element in 
the theory of Determinism is overthrown, in relation to the only 
case of ♦self-determination in the religious sphere about which it 
is worth while to discuss — the case of our first parents in the 
garden of Eden. , , 

Fourthly^ The hypothesis of Determinism, however specious 
its argumentation, is opposed to consciousness, Scripture, and 









The Freedom of the Will 


the general usage of language as expressive of the convictions of 
the race, in regard to the seat of efficient causality in the human 
soul. It is, we know, an old question, whether the soul has any 
efficient causal power; whether the will of God be not the sole 
efficient cause in the universe. We will not now discuss that 
question at length, but content ourselves with one brief but con- 
clusive argument. If the will of God is the only real efficient 
cause of all things, it is the efficient cause of moral acts, and if 
so, of sinful acts. It was, therefore, the efficient cause of the 
first sinful act of the first man, and by consequence of all the 
sinful acts of all men which spring from it as their ultimate 
source. But we have already shown that such a position leads 
to inconceivable absurdity and contradiction. We therefore as- 
sume that. God, in creating man, endowed him with a causal 
efficiency as to acts somewhat analogous to his own — not a power 
creative of existence, but a derived, dependent, and limited power, 
productive of phenomenal changes in the mode of man's being. 
Now, this causal efficiency in man has its seat precisely in the 
will, and expresses itself in the determinations of that faculty. 
In the first place, we must distinguish, what Determinism con- 
founds, efficient and final causes. The Determinist makes motives 
the efficient causes of voluntary acts. But what are motives but 
ends of action as conceived by the mind ? They are, therefore, 
final and not efficient causes. Granted, that the understanding 
furnishes some of the motives to action, it proposes the ends to 
be secured — it gives the final cause. But it is the will itself, as 
the doer of the action, which purposes its performance — it gives 
the efficient cause. The understanding proposes; the will pur- 
poses and disposes. The power to direct lies in the motives as 
final causes; but the power to do lies in the will. It is clear 
that neither the understanding, nor-i^ie emotions, nor the blind 
impulses, could do what the will does. The distinction would 
seem to be perfectly obvious between that which incites to doing 
and that which does. Motives, therefore, are the final, the will 
is the efficient, cause of voluntary acts. 

But, in the second place, the old difficulty will here be urged 
that the specific acts of the will are determined by the motives ; 


In its Theological Melationd^ 



otherwise they are unaccountable. We have admitted that where 
a moral spontaneity has been established by an original free self- 
decision, that is so.. The fixed self-expression is the result of 
that self-determination. But in the instances of natural and 
merely moral and non-spiritual acts, that principle does not 
operate. Nor did it operate, in the case of our first parents, in 
the spiritual sphere. The Determinist confounds the directing 
power of motives with a determining power. They direct, but 
do not determine the will. It determines itself in accoudance 
with directions furnished to it. On the principle that most effects 
are produced by a concurrence of causes, we admit that final 
causes concur with the efficient cause in the production of volun- 
tary acts. ,, Without the final, the efficient would not produce; 
but it is the efficient, not the final, which produces. Without 
the final cause of justification — the glory of his grace, God would 
not justify the sinner; but surely it is not the final cause which 
justifies. It is grace itself which is the efficient cause of the 
result. And we might just as well argue that, because it is in- 
conceivable that God would specifically determine to justify a 
sinner without the direction of his wisdom hs to the end contem- 
plated, therefore it is his wisdom and not his grace which justi- 
fies, as to say that because the specific determination of the 
human will cannot be formed without the directing power of the 
understanding, therefore it is the understanding and not the will 
which voluntarily determines. So, Adam's will would not have 
formed the sinful volition, without motives inducing the act; but 
it would be unphilosophical and unscriptural to say that the 
motives, and not his will, efficiently produced the act. This is 
another of the defects of determinism, that it paradoxically trans- 
fers the seat of efficient causality in the human soul from the will 
to the understanding. It is like mistaking a man's eyes which 
indicate the point toward which he walks, for his power to walk 
to that point. Without his eyes he would not walk to that point, 
but surely it is not his eyes which walk. 

Further, the distinction between the spontaneous and reflective 
processes of the understanding deserve especial notice in the 
consideration of this question. With the spontaneous, it is con- 

1;' 'A 




The freedom of the Witt ^ 


ceded that the will has nothing to do; but it is directly con* 
cerned in the reflective. The very point of difFerence between 
the two is, that the one class of intellections' is involuntary, the 
other voluntary. This the Determinist must admit, or announce 
his arbitrary resolution to stick to paradox. But, if it be 'admit- 
ted, we have the understanding determining the will to volition^ 
and the will determining the understanding to reflection, or, since 
the Determinist must hold that some of tKe acts by which the 
understanding determines the will are reflective, the case may be 
put more sharply : reflection determines volition ; volition deter- 
mines reflection. This circle cannot be endured ; we must break 
it and get a starting point somewhere. Where shall it be? Is 
it reflection ? Is it volition ? If reflection, the case will be : 
reflection determines the volition which determines reflection^ 
and the circle is as vicious as ever. If volition, the Determinist 
admits that there are some cases in which the will determines the 
understanding, not the understanding the will ; and his invariable 
law, that the views of the understanding are efficients of volition, 
breaks down. Let it be observed that this is an argumentmn ad 
hominem. It is not our purpose inconsistently to depart from 
the position for which we have contended — that at the root of 
every faculty there are laws by which its own processes are regu- 
lated. The understanding discharges its appropriate functions 
in obedience to the fundamental law^s of thought and belief, and 
the will in conformity to the law of efficient causality, lying at 
the basis of all free, voluntary determinations. As "we have 
maintained that the understanding does not causally eff'ect the 
decisions of the will, so we here concede that the will does not 
produce the acts of the understanding. It is the understanding 
which reflects, not the will, even when it is determined to reflec- 
tion by the will. All that we do urge is, that the intellect does 
not efficiently cause the free determinations of the will. The 
nature of effects, strictly speaking, must correspond with the 
nature of the efficient causes by Which they are produced — intel- 
lectual eff'ects with an intellectual cause, emotional with emotional, 
and voluntary with voluntary. The Determinist departs from 
this principle in demanding for the free determinations of the 


In its Theological Relations, 


will an invariable connection with the acts of the understand- 
ing as their efficient cause. He makes the root of intellection' 
produce volition as its fruit. 

The following remarks of Miiller are worthy of consideration:* 

"That the will is this, inseparably one with all other elements of the 
personal life, just as its inmost determininsf centre, the very use of lan-^ 
^ua^e confirms. Even consciousness and reason it ventures to denomi- 
nate as something which the Ego has ; while it directly identities the will 
with the Ego. No one will say : ray will has determined this or that, 
just as he says : my reason, my consciousness has taught me that. The 
will is very man himself, just as Augustine says: Voluntas est in omni- 
bus; imo omnes nihil aliud quam voluntates sunt. By a just estimate of 
this relation, the old instances of the common Determinism, that the will 
in each one of its decisions is determined by certain representations, as 
motives, that these therefore produce the resolve and bring about the act 
by the will as their instrument, will scarcely be able any more to place 
us in embarrassment. That would imply a strange psychology, which 
regarded the conceptions, mental representations, as the only strictly 
active and efficient agencies in the soul, and on the contrary gave to the 
will a merely receptive, or, to speak more correctly, passive pof^ition. 
That is in reality to deny the will, which is indeed nothing if it has not 
real causality. . . , ^Are, then, determinate mental representations, as 
such, motives, impulses, for our will ? The question is^not, whether they 
ought to be, but whether they factually are so. No, answers experience, 
but they first of all become so, by our placing our interest in their con- 
tents, and then making it the object of our desire. ... The motives 
are always only the self-mediation, not the producing cause of the free 
volition ; they belong to that inner body which the will out of pre* 
existent stuff forms for itself, in order to reveal itself therein. The will 
attracts and encircles itself with the representations and feelings which 
correspond with its germinating tendency, not as by a definite resolve, 
but as if with the power of magic, operating unobservedly, and thus 
constitute them the permanent determinings and determinate tone of the 
inner life, by which it is actuated, or by which its volition is mediated in 
the individual act. As therefore the conditions of, and changes occur- 
ring in, the soul become known in the expression and movement of the 
body, so does one recognise in the nature of the motives, by which man 
determines himself, the fundamental constitution or character of his will, 
present at the time, and which he cannot have derived elsewhere than 
from himself. His will is entirely in them, the motives are very mo- 
ments of his will 5 but thereby it is not in the smallest degree deprived 


'''Christian Doct. Sin, Vol. ii., p. 54 f. 



The freedom of the Will 


of its freedom. Also the individual act of the will is never dependent 
upon the motives, strictly taken, but may very well be so upon the ten- 
dency immanent in the will itself/' ' *; ' ' 

Let us now" review the state of the question in hand. The al- 
leged unanswerable argument of the Determinist is his reductio 
ad absurdum of the theory which affirms the possibility of an 
unnecessitated determination of the will by showing that it in- 
volves a regression of such determinations to infinity. This 
cannot be thought. We have endeavored to show that there are, 
on the hypothesis of Determinism, difficulties equally insoluble, 
absurdities equally gi'eat. We claim that this has been accom- 
plished ; and the effect is, .to neutralise, at least, the force of the 
famous reduction from a regressus ad infinitum of unnecessitated 
volitions. That celebrated argument is checked ; and we are at 
liberty to appeal to other sources of proof. This would be the 
state of the question, upon the admission of a perfect equipoise. 

But we submit that the equipoise is not perfect, that the force 
of each reductio ad absurdum is not the same. There is not a 
simple neutralisation of each other. This may be the case in 
respect to the arguments considered only as metaphysical. But 
in favor of th«t in the moral sphere we have the testimony of our 
fundamental intuitions and of the Scriptures, which, taken to- 
gether and thrown, like Brennus's sword, into the scale, kick the 
beam ; while for that in the metaphysical sphere, there is no 
equal additional consideration. The equilibrium is thus de- 
stroyed. But everi if it be granted, that no more has been 
achieved than to complete the neutralisation within the limits of 
the subjective states and processes of the soul, still, as soon as 
those limits are overpassed, and the connection is palpably estab- 
lished with the train of causes leading to the causal efficiency of 
God in relation to sin, the equipoise is destroyed, and the argu- 
ment from that point is overwhelmingly opposed to the hypothe- 
sis of Determinism. Let us gather up these additional consider- 
ations with reference to the first sin of the race and by rapidly 
throwing them together evince their transcendent power. God 
was not the efficient producer of Adam's first sin ; that sinjvas 
not a mere negation of rectitude, a privative effect of a deficient 


In its Theological Relations. 


cause, but a positive and gigantic disorder; Adam was the ef- 
ficient producer of the sin ; his moral spontaneity was all right, 
and therefore it could not, as a motive or as a complex of motives, 
have necessitated the commission of the sin ; therefore, the first 
sin was the eifect of an unnecessitated and avoidable determi- 
nation of Adam's will. - 

This conclusion having been fairly established, it follows that 
the in variableness of the great law of Determinism is disproved — 
namely, that, in the moral sphere, volitions are always and ne-^ 
cessarily as the moral spontaneity ; that the decisions of the will 
are necessarily or unavoidably determined by the sum of motives 
in the soul. The first sinful volition of the first man furnishes 
that "negative instance," which Lord Bacon says, is, "in estab- 
lishing any true axiom, the most powerful." It overthrows the 
induction proceeding upon a host of affirmatives. The determi- 
nation of the will in the first sin was not necessary, not unavoid- 
ably certain. It negatives the universal conclusion of the Oe- 
terminist. And this is true of the sin Avhich fixed the destiny of 
the race, apart from the supernatural interposition of grace. We 
see clearly, what the Determinist fails to show, that the fixed ex- 
pression of a sinful spontaneity was not original — it is penal. 

The question finally demands our attention — and it is a critical 
one — what is the relation of God's foreknowledge to the first sin 
of Adam ? The ground has been taken by some Calvinistic 
theologians that inasmuch as only that, the futurition of which 
is certain, can be foreknown, and nothing can be certain in the 
future unless it be efficaciously decreed, the divine foreknowledge 
of Adam's sin as a fact certain to take place must have been 
grounded in a decree that it should take place. They seem, in 
addition to a strange oversight of the distinction between efficient 
and permissive decrees, to have been led to adopt this view from 
a failure to observe another obvious distinction — namely, that 
between the sin of one already a sinner and the first sin of one 
previously innocent. They put these two sorts of sin, differently 
conditioned as they are, in the same category, and make them 
the subjects of common predication. For example, they deal with 
Adam's first sin and the crime of our Saviour's crucifixion upon 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 10. 

Si '(I 




I L 



The Freedom of the Will i 




the same principles. Because the Scripture appears to affirm 
that the divine foreknowledge of the crucifixion was grounded in 
the divine decree that it should take place, they infer that the 
same must hold good of i^#ai^'s first sin. Principal Cunning- 
ham,* ascribes to the cotnpileitsj of the Westmrnster Standards 
and the Reformers the beliefv^^fti which he himself evidently con- 
curs, "that God's providence, executing his decrees, was concerned 
in the fall of Adam, in the same sense, and to the same extent, 
to which it is concerned in the sinful actions which men perform 
now." Let us soberly inquire whether this principle is capable- 
of equal application to the first sin of Adam and the crime of the 
crucifixion. It is argued, as by President Edwards, that God, 
in decreeing the death of Christ, also decreed the means by which 
it was to be accomplished. But as those means involved the 
sin of the agents o#his crucifixion, that sin was decreed in the 
sense that it could not but have been committed. Its commis- 
sion was necessitated by the decree; and so, it was an object of 
the divine foreknowledge. Now assuming that this view is cor- 
rect, in so far as the foreordination of the sin efficaciously is con- 
cerned, is there no difference between such a case and that of 
Adam's first sin? Because it is right and just in God judicially 
to shut up malicious sinners to the performance of an act which 
is but the climax of their iniquity, the consummation of their 
desperate wickedness, does it follow that he would appear to be 
equally just ih shutting up an innocent being to the commission 
of a sin which would initiate an endless series of crimes and be 
the key-note of an eternal doom? It cannot be true that the 
relation of God's providence to the two cases is precisely the same, 
nor that Dr. Cunningham has correctly represented the catholic 
doctrine of the Reformers and Westminster divines upon this 
point. But if there be a difference between the cases, then the 
alleged ground of foreknowledge in that of the crucifixion is not 
proved to be the ground of foreknowledge in that of Adam's first 
sin. *In the one, it is assumed that the certainty of the event as 
necessitated by the divine decree was the ground of its being 
foreknown. In the other, there was no such necessitation, as we 

^Historical Theology, Vol. I., p. 579. 


In its Theological Relations. 



liave shown in the previous argument, and consequently no such 
ground of foreknowledge. God most assuredly knew the cer- 
tainty of Adam's first sin, but he did not know its certainty 
because by his decree he had necessitated its occurrence. No 
sublapsarian, at least, can hold that to have been the reason of 
his knowing it. He must admit that, as there was a possibility 
of Adam's standing, he was not necessitated to sin by the divine 
decree. So far as God's positive agency was concerned, he might 
have obeyed, been justified, and have secured eternal life for 
himself and all his seed; otherwise the covenant of works was a 
mockery. To the sublapsarian, therefore, there must have been 
some other ground of God's foreknowledge of the sin of Adam 
than the causal necessitation of decree. 

But admitting that the sin of the crucifixion was rendered neces- 
sary by an efficacious decree, it would not follow that God's 
knowledge of its certainty was grounded in — depended upon — 
the relation between it and the decree. The concurrence of the 
foreknowledge and the necessary result of the decree may be 
conceded, without the admission that the divine foreknowledge 
of the certainty of an event cannot exist without the effectuation 
of that certainty by a decree. The acts of no creature can pass 
into the category of history, without having been necessarily 
objects of the divine knowledge from the very nature of that 
knowledge as infinite. 

And here we must call attention to a distinction which is too 
often overlooked, but which it is necessary to signalise ; namely, 
that between the foreknowledge of the existence of an active being 
as grounded in the divine decree to produce it, and the fore- 
knowledge of the acts of that being. It must be confessed that 
God could not have foreknown the existence of Adam as an actual 
being unless he had decreed to create him, and the certainty that 
he would exist, as depending upon the execution of that decree. 
Otherwise Adam must have remained an object of knowledge 
only as in the category of the possible. But God having decreed 
to create him and therefore having foreknown his existence, the 
question is, how he foreknew the sin of Adam. Now we have 
proved, if argument can prove anything, that God neither decreed 



' -ill 1^1 



' ^^^ 


,' ;' I 




iThe Freedom of the Will 


to produce his sin nor efficaciously to procure its commission. 
But he must have foreknown it, else his knowledge \Vas limited 
and imperfect. That it could not have been, nor can be, for it is 
infinite. The foreknowledge of the sin of Adam was not grounded 
in a decree which necessitated its commission. The explanation 
seems very simple, and the wonder is that it is so often lost sight 
of. It is certain that Adam's sin has taken place. It has passed 
into history. We know it as an historical fact. -But all histori- 
cal facts mu^t be known by the divine mind from eternity by 
virtue of the very nature of his knowledge, however they may 
be produced. He must/ equally know those produced by the 
agency of other beings than himself with those which are the pro- 
ducts of his own causal efficiency. Adam having been known as 
to be produced by a creative act, and to be produced as an active 
being endowed with power to will, all the acts which he would 
put forth must have been also objects of divine knowledge. For 
that knowledge, being commensurate withGod's existence, reaches 
from eternity to eternity. He knows the succession of events, 
^ but there is no succession in his knowledge. It is all as much 
present to him as an object now gazed upon is to us. Having 
determined to create Adam, he knew how he would act, not from 
a sagacious calculation based upon the relation of cause and effect, 
but by intuition. If God had determined to prevent the sin of 
Adam, it could never have occurred. In that case God would 
have known his purpose causally to hinder the commission of the 
sin, and the necessary effect of that purpose — its non-occurrence. 
But he did not please so to determine. Consequently, what he 
knew was Adam's free causality, and the acts proceeding from it. 
He made Adam an active being, and such a being, while in a 
state of activity, must produce some acts. But if so, God must 
know those acts before they actually occur and become historical, 
or his knowledge would be imperfect. What has occurred, what 
occurs now under our observation, is no more certain to us, than 
what will occur is certain to God. But Adam's sin has occurred, 
and it is obvious that God must have known it from eternity 
by virtue of the infinite perfection of his knowledge. In the case 
of the acts of beings whose existence was determined by his effica- 


In its Theological Relations. 


cious decree, there is no need of any eifectuating causality, to 
ground the certainty of his knowledge. He knows, not because 
those acts are made certain by any necessitating influence, but 
because from the very nature of the case, he must know them, if 
they are to be, no matter how produced. If a future event can 
never be known to be certain unless there is the previous knowl- 
edge of a cause which will necessitate its occurrence, then the 
knowledge of the certainty of the event is not immediate and 
intuitive, but mediate and inferential. But God's knowledge is 
immediate and intuitive; and it follows that its relation to a 
future event, no matter what its cause, is not mediated through, 
nor inferred from, the operation of the cause. The event as an 
element of history is as directly known to him as is any occur- 
rence upon which We actually gaze. He knows the operation of 
causes, and he knows their eff'ects, but he does not know the 
eifects because they can only be produced by the causes. He 
knows both alike in the same intuitive act. If any proof were 
needed for this view, it is foundin the consideration that God's 
knowledge must be commensurate with his being. If not, then 
a portion of his being would be characterised by knowledge and 
a portion not; that is, God would be partly ignorant — which is 
contradictory and absurd. But his being is eternal and immense. 
All events occur within his immensity and eternity. He is pres- 
ent in his undivided existence at every point of space and at 
every instant of duration. Wherever and whenever he is, he 
knows. All facts, therefore, whether past, present, or future, in 
the order of their actual occurrence, are matters of present 
knowledge to him. He knows the succession and order of actual 
events as they are developed, but his knowledge of them is not 
developed. As intuitive, perfect, infinite, it is characterised by 
no succession, no development. It is not dependent upon prem- 
ises, whether they be causes which ground existence, or reasons 
which ground conclusions. He knows the relations of cause and 
eifect, but does not depend upon them in order to know; he 
knows how to reason, but is not indebted to reasoning for 

If these views be correct, it follows that God knew Adam's sin 

'■'/'if I 







■ I'-M 





^The Freedom of the Wilt 


from eternity, as he knew it at the time of its actual occurrence, 
and as he knows it now, that it has become an element in human 
history — by intuition. ' " 

Two sorts of error have been maintained by the parties to the 
controversy concerning the relation of knowledge to the certainty 
of events. The first is, that as certainty is a quality predicable 
of events as related to causes, there can be no knowledge of an 
event the certainty of which is not guaranteed by a necessitating 
cause. The other is, that certainty is never a quality of events, 
but only of knowledge. It must be admitted, on the one hand, 
that there may be certainty of knowledge in regard to an event 
where the event is not made certain by necessity — that there may 
be intuitive knowledge without reference to cause; and on the 
other, that there may be certainty in an event owing to the 
necessary operation of cause, apart from the knowledge of the 
event — tl^at the certainty of existence is not the same thing as 
the certainty of knowledge. Allowing, on the one side, that 
certainty may characterise events, we deny that God knows them 
to be certain by a process of inference; and admitting, on the 
other side, that certainty may characterise knowledge, we deny 
that God knows an actual event without its being certain. In 
brief, all actual events are certain, and God certainly knows them 
as certain, not by sagacious calculation, but by an infinite, all- 
embracing, all-perfect intuition. 

It is proper to remark, that in speaking of God's knowledge as 
intuitive, it has not been intended to deny that the term fore- 
knowledge may be legitimately employed under certain relations. 
There is a period of duration during v/hich every event which 
comes to pass had no actual existence. Considered in relation 
to its actual occurrence, God's knowledge of it must^o human 
thought be conceived as foreknowledge; and so the Sbriptures 
employ the term. But considered as to its intrinsic natuVe as 
an energy of the divine being, knowledge is neither before nor 
after events; it is neither prescience nor memory. It is, to 
speak reverently, as presentative as ours is, when an external 
object is in immediate relation to our faculty of perception. 

It may be said, that, as there is an actual succession in the 


In its Theological Relations. 


acts of God's power, the same may be true of his acts of knowl- 
edge. To this it is obvious to reply, that, as power is creative 
and productive, it is necessary, unless all things which it effects 
are sirnultaneou^y brought into being, that there should be suc- 
cession. But no such necessity obtains in the case of knowledge." 
It is not creative and productive, but simply apprehensive. God 
knows in the unity of intuition the successive acts of his power. 
Accordingly, the Scriptures say: "Known unto God are all his 
works from the beginning of the world." And in like manner, 
known unto him from the beginning are all the works of man. 
He does not produce all things at once, but he knows all things 
at once. 

^^^A farther distinction, in order to a complete discussion of [the 
subject, ought to be noted between the contingency of Adam's 
sin, as related to his knowledge, and the certainty of it as related 
to God's. To Adam it was contingent, while he was innocent, 
whether he would sin or not. He had the power to do either. 
He may, or he may not, have sinned. And, of course, his 
knowledge as conditioned upon the exertion of his will, was con- 
tingent and uncertain. But such was not the case with his 
divine Maker. His knowledge of Adam's course was not con- 
ditioned upon the acts of Adam's will, and was, therefore, not 
contingent and uncertain. What was contingent to Adam was 
certain to God. 

From these considerations it appears, that the Divine prescience 
of an event as certain is not grounded in the perception of the 
necessary relation between an efficient cause and its effect, so far 
as acts are concerned. The argument, therefore, founded on 
that assumption in favor of the position, that, as God foreknew 
the sin of Adam, he must have necessitated it, is seen to be desti- 
tute of proof. 

The doctrine for which we have contended in regard to the 
foreknowledge of God, may be supposed by some to be out of 
harmony with the teaching of Calvinistic theologians. The con- 
trary, however, may without difficulty be evinced. It is admitted 
that it is consistently denied by the supralapsarian Calvinists; 
and also that some sublapsarians have, with utter inconsistency, 






: M 



yThe Freedom of the Will 


maintained that God could not foreknow any sin which he did 
not efficiently decree. But we have shown* that the C07isensu8 
of the Reformed Church, as expressed in its formularies, is clearly 
in favor of the view which we have advocated »concerning the 
relation of God's decree to the first sin; and by necessary infer- 
ence we conclude that it could not have grounded the foreknowl- 
edge of that sin in a decretive and causal relation which it denied. 
We refer, further, to a few names, which will be confessed to be 
of great weight, in regard to the question what the doctrine of 
Calvinism is upon the point in hand. ' ' * " wf-,, 

Augustine made the contents of God's foreknowledge wider 
than those of his efficient decree. He taught that " predestination 
could not be without foreknowledge, but that foreknowledge could 
be without predestination;" that "by predestination God fore- 
knew those things which he himself would do; but he is able to 
know those things which he himself does not do."t Here, of 
course, he means not permissive, but efficient decree. 

Calvin, we have seen, drew the distinction between efficient and 
permissive decrees, and between the relation of efficient decree to 
the sin of Adam and to the sins of sinners. He thus clearly 
states the view for which we have contended in regard to the 
nature of God's foreknowledge: J 

"When we attribute prescience to God, we mean that all things 
always were, and ever continue, under his eye; that to his knowledge 
there is no past or future, but all things are present, and indeed so 
present, that it is not merely the idea of Ihem that is before him (as 
those objects are which we retain in our memory), but that he truly 
sees and contemplates them as actually under his immediate inspection. 

* Southern Presbyterian Review, October, 1878. 

t Praedestinatio est, quae sine prajscientia non potest esse; potest autem 
esse sine praedestinatione prasscientia. Praedestinatione quippe Deus ea 
prsescivit quae fuerat ipse facturus: unde dictum est, Fecit^qusB futura 
sunt. Praescire autem potens est etiam quae ipse non facit, sicut quae- 
cumque peccata. De Procdestinatione Sanctorum, Cap. X., ^§ 19, 20. 

Praescientia quippe Dei eos quos sanaturus est, peccatores praBnoscit, 
non facit. Nam si eas animas liberat a peccato quas innocentes et 
mundas implicuit ipse peccato; vulnus sanat quod intulit nobis, non 
quod invenit in nobis. De Anima et ejus Origine, Cap. VIH., I 7. 

J Institutes^ B. iii., C. xxi., ^ 5. . 


In its Theological Relations. 


This prescience extends to the whole circuit of the world and to all 

John Owen also distinguished between efficacious and permis- 
sive decrees; but he was entangled by the attempt to distinguish 
between sin as an entity and as a quality, and with Turrettin 
illogically represented permissive decrees as making their objects 
certain ; that is, that God decreed that some things may be and 
shall be at one and the same time. Like the same great author, 
also, he failed to mark a palpable distinction between making 
and proving a tiling certain. Foreknowledge, from the nature of 
the case, never makes, it only proves, an event infallibly certain. 
It exercises no causal efficiency. Nevertheless, Owen furnishes 
the following just description of the divine foreknowledge, from 
which our conclusion logically flows:* 

"God knows all things as they are, and in that order wherein they 
stand. Things that are past, as to the order of the creatures which he 
has appointed to them, and the works of providence which outwardly 
are of him, he knows as past 5 not by remembrance, as We do, but by 
the same act of knowledge wherewith he knew them from all eternity, 
even before they were. Their existence in time and being, cast by the 
successive motion of things into the number of the things that are past, 
denotes an alteration in them, but not at all in the knowledge of God, 
So it is, also, in respect of things future. God knows them in that esse 
intelligihile which they have, as they may be known and understood. . . , 
He sees and knows them as they ar*, when they have respect upon 
them of being future ; when they lose this respect, by their actual ex- 
istence, he knows them still as before. They are altered ; his knowledge, 
his understanding, is infinite and changeth not. 'In God there is simple 
intuition, by which compound things are viewed simply, variable things, 
invariably, and successive things, simultaneously.' " 

The philosophic John Howe is very express as to the matter 
before us. We give a brief extract from an able discussion by 
him of the question, How it is possible there should be any cer- 
tain knowledge of events yet to come, that depend upon a free 
and self-determining cause : f 

"It must be acknowledged that to whom anything is uncertain, it is 
a contradiction that to him it should be certainly known ; but that 

* Works, Goold's Ed., Vol. xii., p. 127. 
f Living Temple, Pt. i., C. vi., ^8. 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 11. 







■ nl 

■ it 



The Freedom cf the Willi 



such thinocs are uncertain to God needs other proof than I have met 
with. . . . But since we are sure many such things have been certainly 
foretold by God (and of them such as we may be also sure he never 
intended to effect), we have reason enough to be confident that such 
things are not unknowable to himi^^y','s Though he [Strangius] truly 
says that the Scotists' way of expressing how future contingeYits are 
present to God — that is, according to their objective and intentional 
being only — affords us no account why God knows them (for which cause 
he rejects it, and follows that of the Thomists, who will have them to 
be present according to their real and actual existence) ; I should yet 
prefer the deficiency of the former way before the contradictiousness 
and repugnancy of the latter; and conceive those words in the Divine 
Dialogues [More's] as good an explication of the manner of his knowl- 
edge as the case can admit (which, yet, is but the Scotists' sense), 
'That the whole evolution of times and ages is so collectedly and 
presentifickly represented to God at once, as. if all things and actions 
which ever were, are, or shall be, were at this very instant and so 
always really present and existent before him.' Which is no wonder, 
the animadversion and intellectual comprehension of God being absolutely 
infinite, according to the truth of his idea." 

In regard to relation of the divine foreknowledge to the fall of 
Adam, he thus speaks:* • ; ■ .. 

"God's prescience of the event (besides that no man knows what it is 
yet), whatever it is, it is wholly immanent in himself, as also his decrees; 
therefore could have no influence into the event, or be any cause of it ; 
all depended, as hath been shown, on man's own will ; and, therefore, if 
God did foresee that man would fall, yet he knew also, that if he would, he 
might stand." 

The conclusion at which we arrive from this special discussion 
is, that God's foreknowledge of Adam's first sin was not grounded 
in a decree which necessitated its occurrence, or rendered it un- 
avoidably certain, and if so, the proof professedly derived from 
the opposite view in favor of the theory of Determinism as to the 
freedom of the will fails to be established. 

We here finish our examination of the fundamental positions 
of Edwards and his school as to the will, viewed in relation to 
the estate of man in innocence and to the fall. The theory of 
Determinism has been laid upon the anvil of Adam's first sin. 
and struck by the hammers of Scripture, consciousness, and the 

Works, Tegg's Ed., Vol. i., p. 472. 



T>i eYs Theological Relatione. 


fundamental beliefs of the race. Whether it has endured the 
blows the candid thinker must judge. In our humble judgment, 
it has failed to stand the test. We have endeavored to show 
that, theologically, it cannot, in its radical principle, be adjusted 
to the Calvinistic system; and that, philosophically, as well as 
theologically, it fails to answer the grand inquiry, How man's 
present moral condition came to be so determined. Considered 
in relation to man's natural fallen estate, it accounts for self-ex- 
pression, but not for self-determination, and in relation to his 
fall from his estate of innocence, it accounts neither for self- 
expression nor self-determination. We hav^ not written on the 
question as one involving the mere history of opinions, but as a 
living, pressing, supreme, tremendous issue. The agony -and 
sweat of the soul have demanded a reply to the great query: Did 
God determine the present wretched moral condition of man? or 
did man determine it for himself by a free, unnecessitated, avoid- 
able decision of bis will? We inquired at the oracle of Deter- 
minism, and its response deepened our gloom. We inquired at 
the Oracles of God, and they thundered forth the answer: Man, 
by his first sinful volition, himself unnecessarily determined his 
mournful captivity to the law of sin and death. Great New 
Englander! Mighty master of metaphysical argumentation! 
First, spell-bound by his genius, which wielded over us the wand 
of a wizard, we bowed in allegiance to his sceptre, then doubted 
its legitimacy, and then declined subjection to its sway. We 
close with one of his own utterances, by which he appears to us 
indirectly but surely to refute himself:* 

"This is the general notion, not that principles derive their goodness 
from actions, but that actions derive their goodness from the principles 
whence they proceed 5 and so that the act of choosing that vphich is good 
is no further virtuous than it proceeds from a good principle, or virtuous 
disposition of mind. Which supposes that a virtuous disposition of mind 
may be before a virtuous act of choice ; and that, therefore, it is not neces- 
sary that there should first be thought, reflection, and choice, before there 
can he any virtuous disposition. If the choice be first, before a good dis- 
position of heart, what signifies that choice?'' 

Here, then, is the great law of his philosophy as to the will: 
* Original Sin, Pt. ii., C. i., § 1. 







'1 'I. 


A Plea for the Study of Hebrew. 



no velition has any moral value except as it is determined by a 
preceding moral principle or disposition — ^a moral spontaneity ; 
and of course it is applicable to bad as well as good acts of choice. 
Let us then read the foregoing utterance in relation to bad acts 
of choice: This is the general notion, not that principles derive 
their badness from actions, but that actions derive their badness 
from the principles whence they proceed ; and so that the act of 
choosing that which is bad is no further sinful than it proceeds 
from a bad principle, or sinful disposition of mind, which sup- 
poses that, therefore, it is not necessary that there should first be 
thought, reflection, and choice, before there can be any sinful 
disposition. If the choice be first, before the existence of a bad 
disposition of heart, what signifies that choice ? . Now, Edwards 
was maintaining against Taylor that Adam was created in 
righteousness, "with holy principles and dispositions." Whence^ 
then, the sinful principle or disposition which determined thefi,rst 
sinful act of choice'^ And if there was none, what signified that 
choice? We answer: there was no preceding sinful disposition 
which determined it; but, alas, that unnecessitated and avoidable 
act of choice, originated and determined by Adam's will, had a. 
significance which is marked upon the everlasting ages. 

John L. Girardeau. 




It is a well established principle of the Presbyterian Church, 
that her ministry should be educated. This doctrine she holds 
in unison with most of the Reformed Churches. The well known 
arguments, behind which they have entrenched themselves on 
this point, need not be here enumerated. It may be stated, how- 
ever, that the doctrine, if we may so term it, is one that is gain- 
ing ground. Even those evangelical Churches which have hitherto 


A Plea for the Study of ffebrev). 


deemed it of no vital importance, are beginning to turn their 
attention to the matter, and to view it in a more favorable light. 
In consequence of her views upon this subject, consistently sus- 
taining theory by practice, the Presbyterian Church has ever 
been among the foremost in providing for the education of her 
candidates. She strictly binds them to a course of study Iq 
college and seminary that requires at least six years for its suc- 
cessful prosecution. The Church has laid down as many require- 
ments, and been as strict in enforcing them, as we could expect. 
We would not have her go any farther in this direction than she 
has already gone. The field to be cultivated is sufficiently broad. 
The standard which the student is theoretically required to attain 
is sufficiently high ; we would not have it raised. The remarks 
about to be made are not, therefore, to be understood as applying 
to the curriculum of our seminaries. As long as the Church is 
responsible for the candidate's education, she discharges her duty. 
But when the student finally quits the walls of the seminary, the 
point arrives at which the Church ceases to be responsible for the 
direction of his studies, and the responsibility is transferred to_ 
himself. It is to this class that we wish more particularly to 
address the remarks about to be made. We suppose the young 
licentiate to ask the question : "Shall I prosecute my Hebrew 
studies after leaving the seminary, or shall I suifer them to 
drop ?" 

It will hardly be denied that very few of our young ministers 
do prosecute their Hebrew studies after entering upon the active 
work of the ministry. They breathe a sigh of relief, and ex- 
claim : "We are done with Hebrew." The Hebrew Bible is laid 
aside, and soon becomes . / 

"to dumb forgetfulness a prey." 

The dust of months and years accumulates upon it. The undis- 
turbed worm is the sole visitant to its pages. It holds its unmo- 
lested way through leaf and back. You need not ask the owner 
whether he uses it. Open it. The musty smell tells its own 
tale, and that tale is a tale of neglect. 

It was formerly a custom, almost religiously observed in some 
of our colleges, that a copy of the Calculus in use should be 








■ lil 

: 4 



,^ *;- » 



A Plea for the Study of Hebrew. -'■ -r'':^'''^-\^K^.^ 

solemnly buried on the day of graduation. The whole class 
would appear as chief mourners. In solemn array they would 
bear the book to the designated spot, and there bury it out of 
sight, in token that they had forever buried from sight and 
thought its odious equations. This is just what very ihany of 
our ministers practically do to-day with their Hebrew Bibles. - 

When we come to inquire into the causes of this state of things, 
we find that there are several which concur to bring it about. At 
the very outset of his theological course, the student finds the 
opinion prevailing that the Hebrew language is a bore and its 
study a drudgery — a thing to be endured, as the galley slave 
must endure the toiling at the oar, but a thing no more to be en- 
joyed than the galley slave enjoys his irksome task. The force 
of public opinion, strong everywhere, is especially strong in in- 
stitutions of learning. The student immediately falls under its 
influence. A few enthusiastic minds may see beauty in the sim- 
plicity and dignity of one of the oldest languages, and earnestly 
seek to master it ; but they are generally laughed at for their 
pains. The majority will give their strength to other matters, 
and give to Hebrew only the grudging attention that a school- 
boy, eager for his bat and ball, gives to his Xenophon or his 
Caesar. Should they be solicited to pay more attention to this 
study, the question cui bono is asked ; no one appears to answer, 
and the matter is adjudicated against the friendless language. 

When the student comes to leave the seminary, feeling that he 
is just freed from a troublesome task, as far as this study is con- 
cerned, he finds nothing in the opinions or the habits of- the 
ministry to combat, but everything to encourage, his willing 
neglect. He is told that whatever else he may fear, he need en- 
tertain no fears as to the result of his examinations in Hebrew. 
This is in most cases true, and for the very best of reasons. In 
many Presbyteries not a man can be found who is capable of con- 
ducting a Hebrew examination, worthy the name of an examina- 
tion. A few questions are asked, remarkable for nothing except 
their elementary character. But a few moments suffice to show 
that though the candidate's attainments are slim, the attaiments 
of the examiner are yet more hopelessly slim. The whole thing 


A Plea for the Study of Hebrew. 


degenerates into a farce. The impression left upon the minds 
of Presbytery, candidate, and spectators alike, is, that this is a 
mere routine or red tape matter, and may safely be dismissed 
from the minds of all until another candidate appears upon the 
scene, when the farce shall be repeated. Not only, then, is it a 
fact that the ministry neglect this study, but, considering the 
circumstances, it is a fact which was to have been expected. It 
is none the less, however, in the opinion of the writer of this 
plea, a thing to be deplored. 

. ! We proceed now to answer some objections, and to urge some 
reasons. why the study of Hebrew should not be neglected. We 
trust that if our arguments do not prove convincing, they may at 
least be thought worthy of attention. The chief objection urged 
to the continuance of the study is based upon the assumption of 
the inutility of such a course — not an absolute, but a comparative 
inutility. There are so many things, it is said, that mW give a 
better return for the labor spent upon them. Why should we 
spend our strength for naught ? The minister has at best but little 
time for study ; should he not spend that time in cultivating more 
fruitful fields ? By way of answer, it may be remarked that 
this objection has been made against all the higher branches of 
study — against logic and psychology and moral science. It is 
based upon the wide-spread but erroneous doctrine that we should 
confine our attention to what are called practical studies. Were 
this doctrine logically carried out, it would prove fatal to culture 
and progress. Learning itself would commit ^felo de se. Link 
by link the chains of thought would be shortened, until there 
would be none long enough to draw water from the deep wells of 
truth. We must plough deep if we would obtain a vigorous 
growth of ideas. ' ^ ' .- 

Again, let it be remembered that if this argument is lo be 
pressed, it should cut far deeper, and lay a prohibition upon the 
study of the language in the seminary. Are we prepared for 
this which ought legitimately to follow? Let us see, now, what 
may be said in favor of our plea. At the outset we may state 
that we have the judgment of the Church. What is the design 
of that part of the Constitution which enjoins the study of He- 







A Plea for the Study of Hebrew. 


brew? for it is the law of the Church that every candidate under 
her fostering care shall study it — why ? Is it merely as a 
means ? The faithful study of this language, as the faithful 
study of any language, is valuable as giving to the mind exer- 
cise, and thereby strengthening all its powers. This 'was no 
doubt one reason ; but it is not the only one. Was not the 
knowledge of this language, in the opinion of our fathers, at 
least, an end to be desired ? Nav, was not this the chiefest rea- 
son for its study ? The other is merely iiicidental. A rpan may 
obtain the finest kind of exercise hoeing in his garden ; but his 
purpose is not to get exercise, but to raise vegetables. The com- 
pany in which the study is found shows this. The student is 
supposed to have completed his special course of training before 
he reaches the seminary. Here the studies are to be eminently 
practical — such as shall have a direct tendency to fit him for his 
work. Theology, Church History and Government, Biblical 
Interpretation and New Testament Greek, and Archaeology, are 
all studied, because they are directly to fit the student for the 
coming labors of his calling. They are, each, part of his fur- 
nishing and his armament. It was therefore evidently the in- 
tention of the framers of our Constitution to place Hebrew in 
the same category. We have, then, the authority of the Church. 
Shall that be almost a dead letter, and be carelessly contemned 
every year by those who, in other respects, exalt it as a wonder- 
ful compendium of wisdom ? 

But there are special arguments. A student, whenever it is 
practicable, ought to drink at the fountain head. Suppose that 
he may acquire the same knowledge in two ways. He desires, 
for instance, to discover the exact shade of meaning of a passage 
in the Old Testament. To obtain this knowledge, he may con- 
sult a commentary, or he may pursue an original investigation. 
The latter course, when practicable, will be worth far more to 
him than the former. Benefit is derived from the exercise of 
the faculties of the mind. He obtains the gratifying reward of 
industry. The mind is grateful for being trusted, and not merely 
made the porter of other men's thought. A sense of responsi- 
bility is thrown upon the judgment, which tends to strengthen it 


187S.^ A pled fir the Study of Eehreii. 


and make it more careful and trustworthy. That which passes 
through the alembic of one's own mind is in a better condition to 
be used by that mind. Original investigation gives a tone of 
decidedness to our convictions and teachings. 

Again, the majority of our ministers find tha,t, even when 
most actively engaged in pastoral work, they are all the better for 
earnestly pursuing some branch of study; and the question arises/ 
What that study shall be ? The minister will of course give at- 
tention to general science, but here he must confine himself to 
the results obtained by other explorers. The pastor cannot pos- 
sibly plunge into the fathomless depths of investigation that 
geology or chemistry open up. For original study, then, the 
languages aiford him the best opportunity. And here Hebrew 
has an advantage over all others, because, if he studies the He- 
brew in its purity, he must study the Hihle. Greek, besides the 
New Testament, gives him the lofty thought and consummate 
method of Aristotle, the wonderful history of Thucydides, the 
wisdom of Socrates, and the almost inspired common sense of 
Plato, and, above all, the living and life-giving eloquence of the 
ideal orator, Demosthenes. Butr Hebrew takes him to the very 
fountain head of history and bids him marvel at the majestic 
simplicity of Genesis, Joshua, and Judges, opens to him the 
more than Socratic wisdom of Proverbs, and waits till he grasps 
the lofty images of Prophecy, or kindles his enthusiam at the 
fire that burns in the book of Job. If Latin leads him to the 
purity and eloquence of Tully, Hebrew takes him to the sublime 
utterances of Isaiah ; and the Commentaries of Csesar are far 
excelled by the hand that guides us through the rapid conquest 
of Canaan. « -' 

Or look at it from another point of view. The man who cul- 
tivates eloquence, who seeks by every legitimate means to arouse 
men to action, who would express himself in "thoughts that 
breathe and words that burn," must cultivate the imagination, 
must store his mind with striking analogies, must be inspired 
with something of the spirit of poetry. The Hebrew, like all 
Oriental languages, is picturesque and poetical. A striking 
analogy is often found in a single word, and there is the sugges- 

VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 12. 







A Plea for the Study of Hebrew. 


tion of a poem in a line. It may be said that we have all these 
advantages in the English Bible. True, we have many of them, 
and yet who does not know that much of the vividness, the pic* 
turesqueness, and the force of a language is necessarily lost in the 
process of translation. It is well known that no poem especially 
can bear translation without losing something of that delicate 
aroma that lingered around it in its native garden and its native air. 
When you translate it, you strip it of that grace which was born 
with it, amid the throes of genius, and you adjust to it garments 
which often fail to fit. And this lack of fitness must be increased 
when the language vestments belong to different families, widely 
separated ages, and diverse civilisations. Analogies and similes 
are frequently, it is true, transferred, but by common use in our 
every-day language their origin is forgotten and their beauty un- 
appreciated. But when we find them in a new and unfamiliar 
language, they come upon us with all the stimulating vividness of 
a new discovery. We cannot therefore derive the full benefit 
here suggested, unless we go to the old language itself. 
- 'Again, consider that the Hebrew Bible is one of the very best 
and simplest commentaries on the English. To discover the 
original meaning of a word is often like throwing open the win- 
dow of a darkened room. As the light streams in forms hitherto 
dim and shadowy stand forth with the clear and distinct outlines 
of well-known objects. We might give many examples of this, 
but two will suffice for illustration. The word translated sanctify^ 
me^ns, originally, to separate. A sanctified person or thing, 
therefore, was one separated from all others of the same class, 
and set apart to the service of God. See how much this adds to 
the clearness of the concept of which this word is the sign. The 
Old Testament word {or faith comes from a root meaning to make 
steady, thus bringing out the idea of that practical reliance 
which is of the very essence of saving faith, and denoting that 
steadying effect which it exercises, not only over the intellect and 
the heart, but over the whole life. 

Once more : the study of this noble language cannot fail to 
act in some measure as ai^ antidote to the weak and watery style 
which the literature of the day is too well fitted to beget and 

-.•It I 


A Plea for the Study of Hebrew. 


nourish. The infant sometimes draws death from the same 
breast from which it draws life. We must, to a large extent, 
seek our literary pabulum amid the publications of the day, and 
too often the tainted leaven infuses corruption into the ferment- 
ing style of the young. 

The age tends to superficiality ; young men come forth with 
great pretensions and great expectations. Their encyclopedic 
attainments are calculated to startle. And yet too often this is 
illusory. There is the breadth, but not the depth. There is the 
glitter, but not the gold. They lack that sweep of pinion and 
that vigor of stroke that lifts the eagle toward the sun. It avails 
not to have much and varied knowledge in the multiplied 
branches of human investigation, unless there be also depth and 
justness of thought and keenness of vision. Truth lies beneath 
the surface. We must dig for her diamonds, we must dive for 
her pearls. Anything that antagonises the mushroom learning 
of the day must be beneficial. Let us lay the foundations broader 
and deeper with lexicon and grammar. We need to commune 
not only with Augustine and Calvin, with Turrettin and Hodge 
and Dabney, but also with Gesenius and Fuerst, with Davidson 
and Deutsch. Our Southern Church is already widely known 
for her orthodoxy and for her unswerving fidelity to the incom- 
parable symbols of the Presbyterian faith. Let her be equally 
widely known for her scholarship and her ability and determina- 
tion to stand on that high plane of learning on which Melanch- 
thon and Calvin placed the Church of the Reformation. Let her 
do this — not for the pride of learning, or the exulting joy of su- 
periority, but for the glory of her King ; that she may bring to 
his altar a richer sacrifice, and offer there with vows of consecra- 
tion not only the strength and service of her body, but the power 
and service of her mind ; that she may bear her continued testi- 
mony to the value of an educated ministry ; that she may have 
young men upon whose shoulders the mantles of ascending schol- 
aVs may fall, to cover a double portion of their spirits ; and lastly, 
that she may cover her front with that broad and burnished 
shield of learning that shall turn aside from her vitals the poi- 
soned darts of superficiality and ignorance. ' ' ' 

F. W. Lewis. 







flans qf Church Finqnee. 






*V)7ii *tm 





:i:QjMt ' 

At its meeting in Columbia, in October, 1877, the Synod of 
South Carolina appointed John B. Adger and John L. Girardeau, 
Ministers, and Thomas Thomson, Ruling Elder, a Committee 
to report to its "next meeting a plan for improving the contribu- 
tions of our churches." In October, 1878, the Committee re- 
ported to Synod in session at Spartanburg church. It pleased 
that venerable body to express its approbation of the report and 
its desire to have the same spread before the churches. The 
manner of publication it was left with the Committee to deter- 
, ipine. The following paper will set before the reader with suf- 
ficient exactness the views which were presented to the Synod. 

At this late day, after so much has been written and said, it 
would seem that it ought to be admitted by all that giving to the 
Lord of our substance is a mode of worship divinely appointed 
and acceptable ; also that it is not only a duty but a fruit of grace 
and a means of grace and also an evidence of grace, and like- 
wise one of the sweetest privileges Christians can enjoy. Further, 
it would seem that all should admit that this mode of worship is 
to be at regular times, and by every individual, and in proportion 
to each one's ability. Moreover, all would allow, one might well 
suppose, that it is to be perfectly voluntary, and not offered 
grudgingly nor of necessity. And in addition to all these things, 
aH Presbyterians may be expected to agree that, in the conduct of 
this worship, it is orderly and proper to use, as being divinely 
ordaine(^ to this business, the services of the diaconate. 

It has appeared safer to say what it would seem ought to be 
allowed by all, rather than venture to affirm what is admitted by 
all. In fact, it is to be feared that there are numbers in every 
Presbyterian church who do not intelligently and heartily accept 
the idea that Grod can be and must be worshipped with substance, 
and who, therefore, are not prepared to accept all the consequences 
of this view as they have been now set forth. An intelligent and 
considerate observer can hi^rdly fail to be impressed with the 


Plans of Church' ' Finance. 


belief that this doctrine of Scripture needs to be more fully and 
frequently expounded and inculcated in every one of our churchea. 
Should the present examination result in deepening this convic- 
tion in the reader's mind, it will not have been made in vain, 
even though there should be a complete failure to establish any 
other of the positions which may be assumed. 

But whilst the points named already seem to be perfectly indis- 
putable, there are some others bearing on the subject, which are 
not so plain. One of these is the question whether our worship 
by giving is necessarily to be always in secret. Our Lord does, 
indeed say that we must not let our left hand know what our . 
right doeth. But so also, and in the same place, he said, we 
must shut our door when we pray. He was speaking there of 
private prayer and private charity, and not of public worship and 
public offerings in the great congregation. Indeed, elsewhere he 
himself says, "Let your light so shine, that others seeing your 
good wof'ks may glorify your Father who is in heaven." Mani- 
festly, therefore, while ostentation is to be avoided, we are not 
required so to arrange our services of this kind as that absolute 
and perfect secrecy shall be secured in reference to the gifts of 
each person. In so far as it may be necessary for any good 
reason to have it known to the deacons what each person con- 
tributes, there is no sin in giving them this knowledge. *^ , 

Another question is whether the current expenses of a church, 
as the salary of minister or sexton, the cost of fuel, lights, repairs, ? 
etc., ought to be excluded from any connexion with its benevolent, 
givings, and never be provided for on the same plan. This ia . 
the position taken by the Rev. George Harris, of Providence, » 
Rhode Island, in a tract of his, widely and acceptably published. 
But it is not clear that it is absolutely necessary to make two 
distinct kinds of church givings — those of benevolence and thosQ 
for church debts. The items named are indeed of debt by thq 
church ; for the minister's salary, for example, is not due to him 
by individuals. It was the church, as such, which called and 
promised him a support, and to the church he very properly looks 
for the fulfilment of this promise. Yet the church appeals to 
individuals to enable it to discharge this obligation, somewhat ill 







Plana of Church Finance. 


the same way that the Assembly appeals to every individual mem- 
ber for offerings to enable its Executive Committees to discharge 
the Assembly's obligations. It is not clear, therefore, that the 
current expenses of a church must not be provided for in the 
same way precisely as funds for benevolent work. " ^^ - . v,^ 

At the same time there may be churches so situated, in one 
respect or another, as to make it convenient for them to separate 
their current expenses from their benevolent givings, and evi- 
dently they must be allowed to arrange the matter as may suit 
them best. Indeed, it is very certain that some of our churches 
receive no little help in the support of their ministers from per- 
sons outside of the church, who for various reasons are willing 
to contribute to that object and yet are not ready to give money 
for missions or other like church objects. And surely none 
should feel disposed to throw the least obstacle in the way of 
these outside supporters. It is infinitely preferable by every 
warrantable means to attract them to the church, and interest 
them in its support. 

There is a third question : Must the public worship of God 
with our substance necessarily be offered on every Lord's day in 
every church ? 

In answer, many are disposed to insist that this is the only 
right plan. The apostle, say they, gives this to us in 1 Cor. xvi. 
2, as the divine plan, and therefore it is of course universally 
binding. Yet it is not quite clear to all that the inspired writer 
did intend to lay down there a rule for all churches without 
regard to any difference in their circumstances. Paul says to the 
Corinthians, "As I have given order to the churches of Galatia, 
even so do ye;" but he does not say that he gives this inspired 
order to all churches. Had he been laying down a universal 
rule he would hardly have added, "And when I come, whomso- 
ever ye shall approve by your letters, them will I send to bring 
your liberality to Jerusalem. And if it be meet that I go also, 
they shall go with me." Surely in these last words, the apostle 
is referring to the particular case before him ; but if this portion 
of his directions be specific and not universal, it can hardly be' 
insisted that the other portion conveys unquestionably a universal 


Plans of Church Finance. 


and inviolable rule. And indeed, it may. well be asked, Is it 
analogous to the free spirit of the gospel that a rule of this kind 
should be imposed as binding on all churches, whatever their 
circumstances? Were this indeed a binding rule, then when- 
ever any church should neglect to obey it, there would be sin ; and 
no matter what might be its liberality in other modes, it would 
be necessary that that church should be visited in some form ox 
other with the discipline of the Presbytery. 

Now, on the other hand, some hold that the apostles' labors 
naturally were at first given to cities and towns where money is 
apt to be in somewhat plentiful abundance and use. There, even 
the day-laborer as well as the richer man may be expected 
generally to have money in hand, at least at the close of every 
week. Wherever this is the case, the wisdom and eflficiency of 
the apostle's rule are beyond question. But had it been the fact, 
and been known as a fact to the apostle, concerning the rural 
populations of that day — the country churches of other regions 
than Greece and Galatia — that they had no money in current 
circulation and no conveniently merchantable products of their 
labor suitable to offer for church use, can we believe that Paul 
would have laid on them, in such circumstances, the binding rule 
that they must on every Lord's day absolutely settle their accounts 
with' God's good providence, and liberally give of what was not 
in their hand? 

And yet the zeal of many for this as a universal divine rule, 
leads them to insist that somehow or other it must be enforced. 
One excellent minister of our Church writes thus : "Ever since 
I entered the ministry I have believed that all the revenues of 
the kingdom ought to come in from week to week by the free 
gifts of God's people. I have preached it and prayed it and 
practised it. It is God's plan, and with faith and prayer it must 
succeed. It is said (he continues,) that in vsome communities 
men only get money once a year. Very good. As soon as they 
get it let them lay by God's part, and put a portion in each of 
the fifty-two envelopes, and it will be there when the Lord's day 
comes." But one might well ask, if thus portioned out and 
placed inside of fifty-two envelopes to be given in every Lord's 

-:••, (I 

' ''.''I 





Plam of Church Finance. 


day at church, is it quite certain that it would stay there ? Might 
hot sotne of these envelopes be stolen, burnt, or otherwise lost ? 
Would it not be safer and every way better to give to the Lord his 
portion at once ? Is it not really the Lord's as soon as laid by for 
the Lord, and may it not, therefore, be well placed at once in the 
Lord's treasury ? Or, will it be said that it is more acceptable 
to God, given in weekly portions through the coming year, than 
paid over all at once as soon as obtained ? Is there, indeed, arty 
weight or value in the good brother's idea that all the revenues 
bf the kingdom must come in from week to week ? Is that really 
the divine plan and the only acceptable plan ? 

Let us now take up for consideration some of the plans in 
present use, and compare them one with the other. '" 

"" \. There is a plan pursued in many congregations for raising 
the pastor's salary, which we may call 


It usually has in view no other object than the one natnedi 
When a call is about to be made for a minister, a paper is circu- 
lated, and every subscriber promises such a share of the salary 
as he is willing to pay. This plan certainly has some merits. 
But one very great objection to it is that it frequently is under- 
stood as a mere personal promise of the individual and for the 
time. The minister called is (erroneously in all ordinary cases) 
considered as having examined the names and amounts on that 
paper, and as forming his own conclusions as to the goodness^ in 
a financial sense, of each of the subscriptions ; and if he sees 
fit to accept the call fortified by these individual subscriptions he 
does it at his own risk. In the course of time, some die, some 
temove, and some see fit to withdraw from the engagement with 
or without notice given, and some again just neglect or decline 
to pay what they promised. But it is an individual affair; the 
church does not hold itself responsible for the amount stipulated 
in the call or for any definite amount whatever. When indi- 
viduals draw out, it is the preacher's loss, and the church has 
nothing to say or to do in the premises. Thus comes about an 
irregular and insufficient support of the minister^ and a conse- 
quent diversion of time, thought, and effort on the minister's 


Plans of Church Finance. 


part from his proper work of winning souls. And thus comes 
about that most fatal trouble in a church — the getting behind in 
settling with its minister. Who likes to pay for dead horses ? For 
his back services past and gone, who likes to be called upon to 
make up deficiencies in the pastor's salary ? The church that 
gets into debt to its minister is in a bad way, even though it is 
for a small amount and has been only for a short time ; if the 
debt is large and old, the church may be said, in a sense, to be 
on the road to ruin. There is only one way to save it — ^a very 
bad way, but in the noble disinterestedness of our ministry a 
somewhat common way — and that is for the genexous man of God 
to forgive the debt, if his family does have to suffer. 
2. There is 


\t 14. ---.t 

This also is a plan for raising the minister's salary. But as it 
contemplates no other object, let us pass it by. , ■,.^,{'/ .,,,",, ]., 
3. There is the plan of ,r : i 


Many congregations in cities and towns have adopted this plan, 
using the bag or hat or basket passed around. In a great many 
cases it has worked well. We personally know of some where it 
has proved itself in the highest degree efficacious. Sometimes it 
has proved a failure, because of a prejudice with individuals 
against a bag thrusting itself before them at church for money. 
Yet we know of one case in a Southern city, and that immediately 
after the war in the midst of great suffering and distress, where 
this plan was successfully employed, a forenoon collection being 
raised in this way for benevolent or foreign objects, and then an 
afternoon collection for current or home expenses; and both col- 
lections were ample. Let it be observed that the forenoon collec- 
tion, which might well be expected to be the larger one, was 
given to benevolence, the afternoon collection to home objects, 
which illustrated the spirit of the scriptural injunction for every 
man to look not upon his own things, but to regard primarily the 
interests of others. It should be stated that in this case there 
never was employed any urgency of appeals or any pressing 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 13. 

1 1 


r ;, 



Plans of Church Finance, 


application for money ; only the preacher frequently and earnestly 
held forth to the view of the congregation the greatness of Christ's 
sacrifice made for us. Here lies the potent influence which alone 
can draw forth the Church's liberality. In the case of this 
church of poor suffering Confederate people, as in that of the 
Macedonians mentioned by Paul, "in a great trial of affliction, 
the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto 
the riches of their liberality." It was "the joy of the Lord" which 
constituted their "strength," making them richly liberal even in 
deep poverty. It was their being made "to know the grace of 
Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became 
poor, that we through his poverty might be rich " — it was this 
which wrought in them, although in distress and want, an abound- 
ing charity to others. It was an earnest ministry, at once 
enlightening their understanding and stirring their affections, 
which made them forget their own troubles in caring for others 
yet more needy and distressed. It was also the power of the 
littles, and the influence of frequent collections, and the effect of 
letting all have the opportunity at all times to worship the Lord 
with offerings of substance, small perhaps, but numerous and oft 
recurring, and so swelling into a great and ample volume. Great 
is the power of grace, but great also the advantage of good plans 
over bad ones. This is a good plan in many places. It gives 
every one an opportunity to offer. It passes no one by. It comes 
again and again to each person in God's house and accepts from 
every one, great and small, his willing tribute to the King. But 
still, in rural congregations generally this plan can hardly be 
expected to be efficient, because there, very commonly, the people 
have not much money in hand all the year round. They cannot 
all give weekly in proportion as the Lord prospers, because their 
returns are for the most part annual. The plan of weekly collec- 
tions in tbe bag may bring in some little gifts from some of them, 
but to get at such congregations successfully some other plans 
must be substituted for, or at least conjoined with, this plan. 
For it is a demoralising thing in any congregation to see many per- 
sons decline to give — a very demoralising thing it is for this blessed 
ordinance of worshipping God with offerings of money to be visibly 


Plans of Church Finance. 


(though perhaps it may be excusably) dishonored in pew after 
pew as the deacons go round! Yes, a dreadful thing it is for our 
children to grow up habituated every Lord's day to the sight of 
what certainly must look like the Church's trampling on her 
Lord's ordinance! 
4. There is ■'■'- ' ' ■. .-r - '■ '■ • ^^ a-.-t/'' 

; THE PLAN OF ladies' ASSOCIATIONS. f 'kj.^ 

This has been very successful in raising funds for Foreign 
Missions. There are not over one hundred and ninety of these 
in all our nineteen hundred churches — not more than one in 
every ten of our churches. Yet they have given one-fifth of our 
whole Foreign Missionary contributions for the past two years. 
This is a remarkable showing. It was not reasonable to calculate 
that these few women associated together thus would give one- 
tenth of all our whole Church gives, but lo, they give one-fifth 
of the whole sum. And yet perhaps in no case does the Ladies' 
Missionary Association in a church combine the strength of even 
all its female members ! What is the secret of the power of these 
Associations? Multiply their number tenfold, and put one in 
every church of our whole connexion, and the Foreign Missionary 
fund of the bodj would be by them alone doubled immediately. 
And how would this result come about? What is the process by 
which they multiply Missionary funds? There is no mystery 
about it. Systematic giving of a small sum by a number of per- 
sons is the whole secret. It is just the power of the littles. The 
ladies promise each of them a certain sum— and it is usually a 
small one — every month. There needs no machinery — only a 
Treasurer to receive and forward the oiferings. A missionary 
lecture by the pastor is given at the monthly meeting, and thus 
the members learn to know what is doing by the Church through 
missionaries, and also to pray for the spread of the gospel amongst 
the heathen. 

Now what should hinder the uniting of all the members of any 
church and of all our churches, in this kind of systematic giving 
for Missions and learning about Missions and praying in concert 
for their success? There is no charm of course in the union of 
one sex by itself in this blessed work. Why should we need a 



■M Mt— 



Plans of Chureh Finance* 


Ladies' Missionary Association ? Why not all the church mem- 
bers, old and young, male and female, be associated as such in 
this giving of money systematically for Missions? And if for 
Missions, why not for every one of the Church's objects? And 
this done, whether the gifts were large or small, the treasury 
would be full. And this done, all would be accomplished which 
our hearts desire, and the Sacramental Host would march to 
assured and speedy victory. - . > 

5. Some have endeavored to get a contribution from every 
church member for one or more church olyects by using in various 
ways a written pledge. > 

In some churches in New England a card is left at every house 
for each and every member of the family, and the receiver, if will- 
ing, puts down so much pledged by him as a daily contribution, 
from one cent up to any higher figure, and the cards are all sent 
back to the proper person. Then collectors are appointed to go 
and gather the promised amounts every month. We Presbyte- 
rians should do all this through our divinely appointed Diaconate. 
This plan has proved very effective. In country churches who 
work on this plan, it is arranged that those who are farmers may 
pay in any sort of produce at the market price, some merchant 
being selected as receiver, who sells the produce on ihe church's 
account. This is one way of employing the written pledge. 

Here is another: in a little church in South Carolina Presby- 
tery a paper is circulated by the deacon amongst the members, 
which has a column for every one of our Assembly's schemes, 
and for other objects of the individual church, and every person 
is requested to set down in each column such contribution, how- 
ever small, as he or she feels able to pledge. The result is very 
much larger contributions than that little church ever before 
made. The secret of this success is just the power of the littles — 
the mighty influence of systematic and universal giving. 

There is yet another form of written pledge suggested in The 
Missionary for October. It is headed 


Plans of Church Finance. 


Deacons' List of Contributions to Benevolent Objects for the peat 
1S79, in the Presbyterian Church. 

Sustentation, to be paid in January, 
Publication, to be paid in March, 
Foreign ^lissions, to be paid in May, 
Invalid Fund, to be paid in July, 
Evangelistic Fund, to be paid in September, 
Education Fund, to be paid in November, 
Theol. Institute, Tuskaloosa, to be paid in Dec'r, 


It is suggested that about the first of December* a full statement 
be made to the church in regard to these matters and the plans 
of our Assembly;, that two copies of the Deacons' List be fur- 
nished to every member of the church, old and young, male and 
female, both to be filled up, one to be retained and the other given 
back to the deacons; that at the appointed time each collection 
be taken up, the members bringing or else sending in their offer- 
ings, name attached ; that the deacons keep precise accounts and 
inform the congregation statedly through the Session of the 
results attained. ^ 

Now it will be observed that here are three forms of using the 
written pledge, but none of these contemplate weekly collections. 
The New England plan of cards and collectors looks to monthly 
gatherings; and the little South Carolina church plan looks to 
gathering the gifts pledged, at no stated times, which is certainly 
a great defect in that plan; and the plan proposed in our Mis- 
sionary for October looks for payments to be made once in every 
two months. - • ■ ' ' ^ 

6. But we come at length to speak of one form of using the 
written pledge which distinctly contemplates weekly offerings 
and those on the Lord's day, and as a formal act of divine wor- 
ship. It is known as the envelope plan. The Rev. George 
Harris, before mentioned, claims that this plan was introduced 

■"^There is no reason why this plan should not be introduced at any 
period of the year, ^. ,_, . , . ,j,,^ 

|l. :l 




Plana of Church Finance. 


by the Union church of Providence, Rhode Island, which is cer- 
tainly, we think, a mistake. He says that church adopted it in 
1873, while we are confident that we met the envelope system in 
some form before that time in Mr. Spurgeon's Tabernacle, Lon- 
don. Possibly some of the many Americans who saw it there 
used, brought back the idea to this country, or it may have been 
known before in the United States. Mr. Harris says, ''The merit 
of this plan lies in the annual pledge of a weekly offering." As 
he sets forth the plan, cards are left before the beginning of a 
new year* in every pew, stating the objects had in view, and a 
column of figures, from one cent up, representing a weekly offer- 
ing, and each person is requested to cross out the figure which 
represents the sum he pledges to give every week. These cards 
are to be dropped the next Sunday into the boxes at the church, 
and then fifty-two small envelopes are sent to each person pledg- 
ing, and every envelope has printed on it the date of each suc- 
cessive Sunday in the year. The envelopes are numbered each 
several pack with its own particular number, (say sixty or twenty- 
three or some other figure,) and as they come in a check is made 
against their corresponding figure in the Treasurer's books, who 
keeps his accounts with numbers and not names, and so there is 
no parade made of donors' givings. Into one of these envelopes 
every Sunday the amount pledged is to be enclosed, and it is 
dropped into the box as the person enters the church. If he has 
been absent (»ne or more Sundays, his little pack of envelopes 
remind him of it — he sees that some have not been used and he 
encloses the money and drops them in. 

In some churches the envelopes are not dropped into a box, 
but gathered during the service, either whilst the congregation 
sings, or else keeps profound and thoughtful and reverential 
silence. And after the collection is made, the minister in a short 
offertory prayer beseeches the Head to accept and acknowledge 
these gifts with his blessing. In other churches, the practice is 
for this prayer to precede the collection, and then it becomes a 
prayer of special consecration of the offerings about to be made. 

*The New Year having now already begun, there is no difficulty in 
entering on this plan at any subsequent period. 



Plans of Church Finance. 



In sucfj cases the minister prays that the people may give 
thoughtfully and intelligently, and that the Lord's blessing may 
follow what they thus set apart to his service. * No mere formal 
petition is suitable, of course, but a glowing, heartfelt, touching 
prayer, in which every pious heart would join, and which would 
instruct and impress every observer and every hearer. The 
interests involved are unspeakably great — they are connected 
with the extension of the kingdom ; and the gifts are especially 
sacred in many cases, devised by generous, loving hearts, pro- 
cured by toil and self-denial ; and surely, as has been well said, 
very, very tender should be the spirit of the occasion when the 
offering is made. But, it is to be feared that money very often 
is thoughtlessly, nay, perhaps unwillingly, cast into the Lord's 
treasury, no higher promptings moving the giver (as it has been 
well said) than when he tosses a nickel to an organ grinder in 
the street. A consecrating prayer by the minister before the 
collection would surely add not a little to the solemnity and de- 
vout seriousness of our worship with substance. '41! 

The financial success of the envelope system has, in many 
cases, been very decided. In one church it raised the collections 
in one year from $479 to $1,686, and the year after to $2,397; 
in another church in one year from $3,540 to $5,064; in another 
from ^3,600 to $7,674. These churches are all in Providence, 
Rhode Island. In one of them the number of givers was increased 
by the envelope system from sixty- two, which was the largest 
number called on by collectors, to one hundred and eighty-seven 
and then to two hundred and ten ; in another of these churches 
from ninety-five to two hundred and eighty -three. ' -■ '!.'?'^ 

And then there are other advantages of this system: 

1. It is entirely free of all personal solicitation, which is per- 
haps an unmixed evil, for it is fatal to a genuine benevolence to 
give only on persuasion. In fact, there are some who go so far 
as to say that it is a shame to send any person, young or old, 
male or female, upon any begging errand. > ; u 

2. It removes elements of uncertainty : on a rainy Sunday 
one-half the people will not come out, but the envelopes will 
bring their offerings on the next clear day. , >Ji > li^- ■ f it tit 

■- Ml 





K i] 


Plans of Church Finance. 


3. It secures the small gifts which readily swell into a large 
volume. For nine persons in ten, who live in cities or towns, it 
is easier to give twenty-five cents per week than to give thirteen 
dollars once a year — easier to give one dollar a week than fifty- 
two dollars at the end of the year. If fifty-eight persons in a 
city congregation give five cents a week, the amount in one year 
will be $150.80, but if a deacon sets out to collect such an 
amount for any church object whatever, he is very a*pt to feel and 
say, "I do not know where I can rind givers enough to contri- 
bute it." If fifty persons give ten cents a week, the sum total 
will be $260 — -just think of it — two hundred and sixty-jive dol- 
lars in ten cent pieces! If thirty-three persons give each twenty- 
five cents a week together they pile up annually $429.00. And 
these several amounts, contributed in small gifts ranging from 
five cents to twenty-five cents, will count up annually $839.80. 
Great is the power of the Jittles ! Nine-tenths of this amount, 
moreover, is clear gain, for very little of the sum accumulated by 
these small gifts would have been gathered into occasional collec- 
tions. A capital mistake in our collections commonly is, that we 
get from the few but not from the many. The Roman Catholics 
build their grand cathedrals with gifts of laboring men and ser- 
vant girls. Their exactions may sometimes prove oppressive, but 
the principle on which they proceed is the correct one for all 
church-givings — we want the gifts of the many, of all the multi- 
tude, whether large or little, the gifts of the whole body in one, 
and we want these gifts at regular and short intervals. 

4. It invites everyone to give as God hath prospered him, 
that is, according to his or her own ability, whether great or 
small. It invites each to make no account of what others do or 
leave undone. It invites each to deal in this matter personally 
and in a private way directly with the Lord. It invites each to 
pay conscientious worship to him of a kind which he has di- 
rectly appointed. 

5. It trains the children to give systematically and on princi- 
ple. One reason why the members of our churches generally 
give so little is, that they do not know how to give more, and 
that because they were never trained to give. In no one affair of 


Plans of Church Finance. 


human life is the effect of training more manifest than in this 
matter of giving. One Christian or one church will with great 
delight give largely and enjoy it as an unspeakably sweet privi- 
lege; another gives as if it were the drawing of teeth ; and the 
difference between the two is simply a matter of training. Dr. 
Smyth of Charleston, thirty-five years ago had a Juvenile Mis- 
sionary Society in the Second church of that city, and the chil- : 
dren brought in a really large amount of money in the course of 
years for Foreign Missions. But the main point gained was his 
education of these children in the love of Missions by the lec- 
tures with which he constantly enlivened and enlightened their 
meetings, as well as by their individual efforts. He trained those 
children to be zealous for Foreign Missions, and therefore for 
every good work. Those juvenile friends of Missions are now the 
members of the office-bearers of that congregation, and they know 
all about giving and therefore it comes easy to them. Their old 
minister sleeps in his grave there, butyhis living, active influence 

survives. . ■.•' '•■•■■■. ■r.5■■•i^■^.ft■;^>i^,:. -^r^JH:^- ,. 

One of the pastors of the South Carolina Presbytery tells of a 
church member saying in his presence, "Why, I gave ten cents 
for Foreign Missions three times last year!" How much educa- 
tion in giving, think you, had that person enjoyed? But another 
minister of the same Presbytery hearing this statement, remarked 
that there are hundreds of our church members who could not 
boast of giving even that much! Astounding comment on a 
statement which no well-trained Christian could regard otherwise 
than as both surprising and ridiculous, "Why, I gave ten cents 
for Foreign Missions three times last year!" But what will the 
reader think when we tell him that still another minister of the 
same Presbytery spoke on the same occasion of an intelligent and 
generally zealous ruling elder, who said to him, "If all the money 
expended by the Church on missionary work in heathen lands 
had been employed in building railroads amongst them, more 
good would have been accomplished" — which signified, of course, 
that the Lord Jesus (may he graciously forgive the unworthy 
sentiment) should not have said, "Go, preach and teach the 
gospel!" but, " Go, build railroads " ! 

VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 14. 

.'.'>' I 



Plan% of Church Finance. 


The simple truth is, that we must train the next generation to 
be better givers, and, in every other respect, better church mem- 
bers. We need a better article of members, deacons, elders, 
ministers; and the way to get them is by rightly training them 
from the beginning. , ... , » i * ^ .• "r^ 

It should be stated, in explaining the envelope system, that it 
is distinctly expressed on the cards employed that should the 
person pledging discover at any time during the year that his 
offerings are too large for his means, he is to be at perfect liberty 
to make the necessary reduction, only notifying the Treasurer of 
the change. 

It should also be stated, that where contributors make no 
specific apportionment of their offerings, it will be for the Session 
to divide out the same according to its best judgment. , , v 

It should yet further be said, that our Committee of Publica- 
tion at Richmond will, at low prices, furnish any church with 
envelopes and other papers explanatory of their use. — 

Once more, it is to be very especially observed, that all agree 
in recommending the greatest thoroughness of explanation to the 
congregation wherever this system is proposed to be introduced. 
The Rev. Dr. Lane, of our church at Athens, Georgia, before 
entering on the use of this plan in his church, preached several 
sermons on giving as a required act of worship. "I do not think 
(he says) that the plan can successfully be put in operation without 
first thoroughly discussing the whole subject." Another high 
'authority says: "The thoroughness with which the matter is 
presented at first will have influence for years ; and no time, con- 
sideration, or labor should be spared in its inauguration. After 
a proper presentation of it from the pulpit, let the officers of the 
church prepare a careful and ample estimate of the amount neces- 
sary to meet all the working expenses of the church, including the 
Sunday-school, and then convene the congregation and lay it 
before them, that they may act intelligently in providing for these 
expenses, as well as in contributing for the benevolent objects of 
the church." This distinction between the working expenses 
and the benevolent objects of the church is a necessary and proper 
one. There is no benevolence in providing ourselves with a house 


Plans of Church Finance. 


of worship and a minister and sexton, and with fuel and lights, 
nor in carrying on a good Sunday-school for our children ; the 
benevolent work of the church relates to those outside of the 
church, and perhaps far off at the ends of the earth. 

There is one aspect, however, in which objection might be 
urged against this envelope plan, namely, that it seems at first 
sight to be calculated (mly for members of the church, leaving 
all the non-communicants aside, making no application for help 
to them, and using no efforts to interest them in the benevolent 
work of the church. But it does not appear, on more thorough 
consideration, that this neglect of the outsiders is any necessary 
part of the system. We do not see why application for offerings 
to the Lord may not properly and suitably be made to all such 
persons as are diligent in attending upon the "common ordi- 
nances ;" that is, those onlinances which people come together 
to enjoy in common. Let them signify, as the members of the 
church do, what they are willing to pledge of their substance to 
the Lord by the use of the envelopes. It may be that, through 
grace from on high, the giving of their substance may help them 
to give themselves to the Lord. Let us in every proper way 
attract them to the church. 

Thus has been presented to the reader a somewhat full exhibi- 
tion of the envelope system which is now accepted in very many 
churches of cities and towns, as beyond all comparison the best 
plan for their church collections. One eminent minister of our 
Church says : "It is the plan of plans for raising church rev- 
enues." Another commends it as "bringing every believer face 
to face once every week with the Lord, to settle the question, 
How much do I owe him ?" Already one has been quoted who 
says that he "has long been satisfied that all the revenues of the 
kingdom ought to come in from week to week by the free gifts of 
God's people," and that "this is God's plan, and with faith and 
prayer must succeed." And yet, let the impressive words of the 
Rev. George Harris of Rhode Island be recalled to mind, 
who truly says, as already quoted : "The merit of this system 
resides, however, in the annual pledge of a weekly offering." 
It cannot be gainsaid, therefore, that with all its acknowledged 



Plans of Church Finance. 


efficiency, this plan does not literally nor fully comply with the 
apostle's injunction to the Galatians and Corinthians. The lay- 
ing by as God hath prospered each one, the apostle said to those 
churches, must be done on every Lord's day — that is, strictly 
from week to week, with their varying circumstances, all along 
through the whole year. He did not enjoin the pledge at the 
year's beginning, of a fixed amount for each successive week, as 
the admirable and very efficient envelope plan proposes and re- 
quires. The question is therefore raised here again, Is there 
any weight or value in the idea that all the revenues of the king- 
dom must come in from week to week ? Is that really the divine 
plan to the exclusion of all other plans, and are our offerings ac- 
ceptable to God upon no other system ? ^ , . ,, j, 

7. There remains one other plan to be considered. It does not 
literally comply with the apostle's directions to the Galatians and 
Corinthians. It contemplates the formal offering of substance 
to the Lord in worship chiefly once in the year. It is a plan 
suited especially to rural congregations. It proposes that every 
such congregation associate itself under its own deacons in some 
sort of voluntary agreement to raise different kinds of produce 
for the church's objects — each man signing a written agreement 
to cultivate for the service of the church, ten acres, or five, or 
three, or two, or one acre, or a half acre, or a quarter acre, in 
cotton or rice or corn or wheat or barley or oats, as might suit 
him best ; and each woman dedicating, in the same formal and 
solemn way, all she can make by manufacturing a carpet or a 
quilt, or by the care of so many turkeys or geese or ducks or 
hens ; and each child promising what can be produced by a bee- 
hive, or a bed of potatoes in the garden, or a patch of pindars, 
or an apple tree, or a peach tree, or the care and feeding of a 
pig or lamb or kid. On a given day the results might all be 
gathered at some central house in the congregation, or some store 
in the neighboring village, or wherever it could be most conve- 
niently gotten to a market ; or, all these articles being turned by 
each person into money, the proceeds might be brought thus to- 
gether, and then the elders and deacons divide it out between 


Plans of Church Finance. 


their own church's objects and the Assembly's seven schemes. 
Who can doubt that in some such way as this, larger results 
would be attained in our country churches, than their subscrip- 
tions and collections do ever now reach ? And might not other 
advantages accrue to these churches besides this development of 
their financial strength ? More zeal and more devotion to the 
church's interests ; a closer union of the whole body in hearty 
sympathy and mutual good will ; a great deal of pleasure in the 
very cares and labors required ; a great deliverance from the bur- 
den which the collection of money for the church's use now con- 
stitutes and imposes ; an agreeable escape from many disastrous 
failures and break downs in our church financial undertakings ; a 
valuable training of ourselves and our children in working directly 
for the Lord in our daily avocations ; a pious' sense of our da* 
pendance upon him for all success, since without his rain and 
dew and sunshine no crops and no produce are possible — might 
not all these advantages flow to our rural congregations from 
some such plan as this, in addition to the large increase of their 
benevolent contributions ? ; vi«:;'il5 

The ground on which this plan is proposed for the adoption of 
rural congregations, is that for the most part they get their money 
once a year, when their fall crops are sold. If they are to give 
as God has prospered them, they must give out of these annual 
receipts. The money which in small amounts they do frequently 
receive all through the year is not an adequate sum from which 
the Lord's share can be apportioned. But the farmer and planter 
can daily and weekly worship the Lord with their substance and 
their strength, as they cultivate his crop on their consecrated 
ground; and their "God's acres" may thus minister all the sea- 
son through to their increase in faith, and their growth in zeal 
and love. 

It has indeed been suggested by an Oconee farmer, who is a 
ruling elder, that there are two seasons in the year when the ag- 
ricultural class of church members may be successfully called on 
to give money : in the fall, when cotton is sold, the farmer 
has the most money ; but in the spring, also, he generally has 
some wheat or corn or other produce left, which he can sell, 



Plans of Church Mnanee, 


And so this farming elder urges that, as we have two meetings of 
Presbytery in the year, we may make demands before the spring 
meeting for the farmers' offerings for Sustentation and Publica- 
tion, which are the appointed objects for January and March ; 
and then, before the fall meeting of Presbytery, (or at least be- 
fore the Synod's meeting, when Presbytery can always have an 
adjourned meeting,) we can call on him for his offerings on behalf 
of Foreign Missions and the Invalid Fund, the Evangelistic 
Fund, Education, and the Tuskaloosa Institute. 

8. In conclusion, reference may be made to what a young 
brother in the ministry in the North Carolina Synod writes as to 
a plan by which he was enabled to wake up the benevolence of 
one of his churches there, so that their gifts were increased from 
fifty dollars to four hundred and fifty dollars in a comparatively 
short period. He went to the tax records, and ascertained what 
every one paid to the State. Then he found out, by patient in- 
quiry, what each one paid for his own gratification with tobacco 
and cigars. And then he persuaded every one, in a private con- 
versation, to compare with these expenditures for the State and 

for luxury, what he was doing for Christ and the Church. 

J. B. A. 

There may properly be appended to this article the resolutions 
which embodied the action of the Synod after consideration of 
the subject thus presented to it. 

^^Resolved, by the Synod of South Carolina — 

"1. That it be ur^ed on every minister to instruct his people, and every 
evangelist the feeble congren;ations to which he ministers, in the Scripture 
doctrine of the worship of God with substance. On this subject, it i» 
necessary in every one of our churches to give line upon line, precept 
upon precept. And our Sessions and evangelists are called upon to give 
opportunity in the best possible manner, whatever that may be, to all our 
churches, for offering to our adorable Head the worship under consid- 

"2. That for our churches in cities and towns this Synod recommends 
the envelope or some similar plan of weekly collections in order that the 
unquestionable advantages of frequent, systematic, proportionate, and 
universal oflferings may be gained under the guidance of Apostolic 



Plans of Church Finance. 


wisdom in ail those churches where that method can be successfully em- 

"3. That for rural congregations which cannot depend on the envelope 
or any other system of weekly collections, we recommend the combined 
use of several plans. The Synod would favor the trial in such churches 
of the plan of agricultural and such like undertakings as detailed in the 
report just presented. But where persons have a repugnance to such 
plans, it is recommended to our country churches to have them invited 
to employ the written pledge of money. The deacons can make a list of 
all the Assembly's objects, adding to them, if thought advisable, those 
objects which concern immediately the local church, and persons may be 
asked to give a written promise to contribute a certain sum at stated 
periods. The written pledge, in some one or other of the forms sug- 
gested in the report, is very important to be secured in order to give ef- 
ficiency to collections in such churches as cannot follow out Paul's direc- 
tions to the Galatians and Corinthians. The tribute to our King must 
be taken from every one of his liege subjects in proportion to the pros- 
perity vouchsafed by Ilim. 

"4. Regarding associations of ladies and others in efforts to raise 
money for the work of Foreign Missions, in which they have certainly 
been very efficient, it may be said that they simply constitute an attempt 
to unite the churches where they have been established, in systematic 
giving by each and every member for that object, and then going on in 
the same track to interest and unite them in collecting money for every 
other church object. But where such associations exist, or may be 
formed, measures should always be taken to have them come under the 
acknowledged rule of the church, by their submitting regular reports of 
their doings and securing the approbation of the same by the Sessions 5 
because the Synod is properly and rightfully jealous of every plan which 
does not contemplate direct and immediate action by the church as such^ 
and under direct and acknowledged responsibility to the ruling eldership 
as such. Let us call on our churches, in their church capacity to contri- 
bute their offerings at stated times in those ways which seem most prac- 
ticable, instructing them about Foreign Missions and all the other inter- 
ests of the Church, «ind appealing always to that great motive — the love 
which we owe to Him who bought us with His blood." 



Preshyterianism . 




"And as they ministered unto the Lord and fasted the Holy 
Ghost said: Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work where- 
unto I have called them. And when they had prayed and fasted, 
they laid their hands on them and sent them away." This pas- 
sage is a record of fact throwing light incidentally upon the great 
transition period when the Church was passing from one regime 
to another. The period of that transition ran over a space of 
ninety years, including the whole of the New Testament record, 
a period in which the Church of God made its escapement 
from an elaborate system of symbols, some of them specially 
oriental and archaic, and therefore having a special adaptation 
to earlier ages and modes of thought; some of them typical, and 
therefore carrying in them their own limitation of time; some of 
them of apt and universal significance, and therefore, though 
Jewish, of universal application. ^ ' 

We say it without unkindness to any who may differ from us, 
that the Presbyterian Church most truly represents this transition 
period, has brought away whatever was integral to the Church of 
God under the old dispensation and left behind whatever deserved 
desuetude; that her genealogy of Church government, of ordi- 
nances, and of doctrine, runs back to the original constitution of 
the Church, and that she most thoroughly antagonizes the attempt 
now too prevalent in some quarters to underrate the Old Testa- 
ment writings. 

1. The Old Testament Church government was essentially 
Presbyterian. It was a government by elders. The position of 
Moses was that of a medium or agent to inaugurate and set in 
motion. He was not an element of the organic system, just as 
the Apostolate was not an organic element in the New Testament 
revival of Church government. The priesthood was chiefly typi- 
cal of Christ, and therefore fell when he came. The ceremonial, 
being adumbratory mainly, had its bounds set to it beyond which 
it could not pass. But the interior and permanent government 



Presbyterian ism . 


of the Church was hy elders in body. We read everywhere of 
elders of the people, elders in the gate, elders of the city, elders 
of the congregation ; in fact, of elders of Egypt, and elders of the 
tribes before the organisation. He was a most natural and neces- 
sary man, the first formulated idea of organised society, entering 
into the Senate of all nations, the Sheik of the Arabs, and the 
Patrician of the Romans, the original Alderman or Elderman of 
the English. He was a natural growth, and had come down 
from original patriarchal times before the Flood. When the 
Church was organised fully, he was not created^ but appro- 
priated: lifted into a higher position and endorsed; just as cir- 
cumcision and anointing, long known and practised, were lifted 
into the position of Church ordinances. At the Mosaic organisa- 
tion these officers were utilised, were distributed into higher and 
lower courts, and a bench of seventy of them erected into a 
Senate, the highest tribunal of the Church. Then arose the 
famous General Assembly of the Jews, which never died out until 
fifteen hundred years after, when the first General Assembly of 
the apostles and elders met in Jerusalem, A. D. 46. When the 
New Testament record opens, it opens upon the Jewish Church 
in full running order. The "Great Synagogue" of rulers was 
sitting. We read of rulers of the synagogue, elders of the syna- 
gogue in every city. When Paul came to Antioch in Pisidia, 
the elders of the synagogue there gave him permission to preach. 
When Jesus was taken in Nazareth to the brow of the hill, it was 
by the orders of the rulers of the synagogue. Now when the 
Apostles are spoken of as ordaining elders in every church, 
without saying what the business of that officer was, the conclu- 
sion is irresistible that they were, with silent consent, just giving 
to them the same old functionary with whom they were familiar — 
just setting apart to the well known eldership new incumbents of 
that office, in the place of those who were found hostile to the gospel, 
as they usually were. When one of these rulers was converted, 
as in the case of Sosthenes, the chief ruler or moderator of the 
bench of rulers at Ephesus, he probably exercised his office in 
the new church without re-ordination. For the whole record 
seems to speak of the Church order of the time not as a new thing 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 15. 






[Jan. , 

but an institute resuscitated. Converted Jews went to work in 
the old tracks of Church activity. Hence little specific instruc- 
tion is given about Church offices. It would have been a false 
history. It would have implied that the office was not known to 
the people. Of the office of elder little is said, because that office 
was not changed; of his moral and^piritual qualifications much 
is said, because the old officers had lost their spirituality. It is 
for this reason that Church government, in its organic elements, 
is only incidentally taught in the New Testament, since the 
model of Church government had been long before given and had 
been long in use. Now it was this work of putting new life into 
an old frame, of breathing on the same dry bones of the valley, 
that yet had all the articulations and fitnesses for motion when 
again strung with sinews and muscles, that gives to the work of 
the apostolic missionaries so little of the appearance of formality. 
And if this work was essentially a resuscitation of all that was 
valuable or abiding in the Church order of the old Church, and 
if the bench of the ordinary or particular synagogue ran up into 
the great synagogue, the ruling power of the Church lay in the 
ruling elders. Ruling was the trunk from which preaching and 
teaching grew as branches. There was no place for a higher 
order or rank of officers, as bishop is by some understood to imply. 
Nor is there any reason for this opinion, because the terms 
bishop and elde7' are used in the New Testament interchangeably. 
In the church of Philippi a plurality of bishops is expressly men- 
tioned. That could not have been one diocese, much less a 
plurality of them. When you have shown that the ruling elder 
is the generic church officer of the Apostolic Church, you have 
shown that Presbyterianism is the true succession from the old 
to, the new dispensation. 

2. What has been said of Church government as a descent 
from the Jewish economy is equally true of the ordinances of the 
Church. Baptism and the Lord's Supper are lineal descendants 
of the old Church; the paschal lamb being dropped for obvious 
reasons, and the bread and wine of the Jewish supper retained for 
equally obvious reasons; the circumcision and personal ablutions 
of the earlier economy being dropped as having their meaning 


Preshyterianism . 


better expressed in the one Church ordinance in which they all 
culminated, the baptism of sprinkling. Our Baptist friends, in 
all their arguments upon this latter ordinance, proceed on the 
assumption that Christianity is an entirely new movement; that 
as the apostolic record is in a new language, and in speaking of 
the subject of baptism employs a new term, they are warranted 
in breaking the connexion between the old and the new economy. 
They depend upon the surroundings of the transition period for 
their interpretation of the ordinance. It is here that their greatr 
mistake is made. For the New Testament treats the subject 
incidentally in running narrative, without a word of explana- 
tion, precisely as it speaks of elders. It would have been a false 
history to have explained baptism — it being simply one, and the 
simplest and most sacred one, of the purifying ordinances of the 
old Church. Now the fundamental doctrine of this ordinance 
and the doctrine of which the Presbyterian Church is the true 
conservator is: that the Church of God, the kingdom of heaven, 
is a succession from generation to generation, and that its charter, 
"I will be a God unto thee and thv seed after thee," secures this 
succession. In fact, the charter with its privileges was meant 
for the children of believers as their natural successors. Were 
there no heirs to the estate, the covenant would have no perpetu- 
ating quality, and each generation of adults would require for 
the continued existence of the Church a new charter. Consid- 
ered as an estate, there could ,be no natural descent of its fran- 
chises except by the operation of express law. God meant this 
succession to be natural. To this end he adapted the great 
religion to earthly law, that the channel of its transmission might 
be natural rather than extra-natural. For the natural transmis- 
sion is from parent to child: the extra-natural by adult conver- 
sions, which sometimes proves a stumbling-stone to the Church. 
The addition of men to the Church by adult conversions is only 
a secondary and provisional arrangement, for which, as Malachi 
tells us, "God reserved the residue of the spirit." But the pri- 
mary law is through the institute of the family, in which God 
made them one {i. e., the man and his wife,) that, as Malachi tells 
us again, " he might seek a godly seed." Now if we recognise this 






normal and natural law of perpetuation of the kingdom of heaven 
throughout the generations of men, we shall understand that the 
child inherits the franchises guaranteed to his parents. He may 
forfeit them by misconduct, yet by birth he comes into covenant 
possession. He is a part and continuation of the parent in all 
interests, personal, govermental, and religious. Our definition 
of the Church therefore is: that it consists of believing parents 
and their children. The Church is in reality not an aggregation 
of individuals, but of families. And the whole history of the 
introduction of Christianity into countries shows it to be naturally 
an association of families. In the New Testament record this 
doctrine of succession is quietly assumed, and the blessings of the, 
kingdom assured to parents and their children with scarcely any 
reference to the mode by which that assurance is sealed. What- 
ever be the mode, children of believers are by birth entitled to it. 
The family is the integer, and if all the children are adults, yet 
if they are under parental representation they are baptized. But 
the whole New Testament narrative, with all the special cases of 
baptism in it, just quietly assumes that the mode was an element 
of the Jewish ritual, one of its purifications, understood by every- 
body in Judea, and therefore no explanation is anywhere at- 
tempted. It would have been an indirection unworthy of the 
noble indifference of the sacred narrative. That mode, there can 
be no doubt, was the final and most prevalent sanctuary mode, 
baptism by sprinkling^ the mode to which the whole terminology 
of the Bible on related subjects conforms. Now it is the doctrine 
of succession, as most perfectly held by the Presbyterian Church, 
that controls the subject of baptism. As the constitution of the 
Church comes to be more and more understood, the lines will 
close around immersion more and more. It will be understood 
that fanciful arguments drawn from little versatile prepositions 
"into," "out of," etc., still more versatile in Greek than in Eng- 
lish, are frail things on which to build an ordinance of the Church 
of God. It will be understood that the majestic indifference of 
the NcAV Testament narrative as to modes, and that at a juncture 
when the Church of God was making its escape from a system 
of modes, rebukes the absolutism which cannot be satisfied with 
anything short of mode. 



Preshyterianism . 


3. And as we have traced the genealogy of Church government 
and the genealogy of the ordinances to the original institution of 
the Mosaic Church, so might we trace every one of the doctrines 
of the faith to the same source as heing less articulately and 
didactically stated, it is true, but not less really and substantially 
contained in the record. The doctrine of predestination, for 
example, of which the Presbyterian Church has been the chief' 
exponent through all the ages of its history, runs like a strong 
cordon throughout the Old Testament writings, binding together 
its parts and binding indissolubly the Old and New Testaments 
together. The words of Jacob, "The sceptre shall not depart 
from Judah, nor a lawgiver from his feet, till Shiloh come," was 
a veritable predestination that came duly to its maturity. The 
captivity and thraldom of the children of Israel in Egypt four 
hundred and thirty years; their deliverance, their march into 
Canaan; the desolating sweep with which they brought the 
doomed inhabitants to lick the dust; their actual possession of 
the land of milk and honey — was, every step of it, a stern 
predestination. The man who burnt the bones of the priests 
of Jeroboam fulfilled a predestination uttered three tiundred and 
fifty years before by a nameless prophet. Both his deed and his 
name were predestinations. Every promise, and every prophecy, 
every type, every adumbration, and every historical prefigure- 
ment. involved predestination. Everything in the Old Testament 
that looked to futurition in the New was a predestination. It 
has been the special honor of the Presbyterian Church to hold up 
this great but mysterious truth before the world, and to combat 
legions in defence of it. 

4. But not only has the Presbyterian Church conserved what- 
ever was substantive of the Church and doctrine of God through 
the great transition from dispensation to dispensation, but it has 
also the honor of a veritable historical succession from the apos- 
tles down to our own time. The Church of RdYne has long 
claimed such a succession unbroken. The Church of England 
has long claimed it. But Thomas Macaulay, the great historian 
and a member of the Church of England, has demonstrated that 
such a succession cannot be made out. Many of the learned 



Preshyterianisrn . 


divines of that Church have fairly abandoned the claim. We 
know where the Methodist Church as an organisation originated. 
The Baptists also"have claimed a succession. But the late Dr. 
Williams, Professor of Church History in'^Greenville, S. C, says: 
"There can be no doubt in the world that in our so-called his- 
tories of the Baptists, sects are claimed as Baptists, which 
if now reproduced, would not be acknowledged as such; as Nova- 
tians, Paulicians, Donatists." "Those Baptists," says he, "who 
urge our claims on the ground of a historical succession, are doing 
us harm with all intelligent and well read people." Drs. North- 
/rop and Buckland, also of the Baptist Seminaries at Rochester 
and Chicago, unite in saying that a Baptist succession is a sheer 
historical picture. ; „,.,,. .-,....-...,.. 

We have not insisted upon it, being content to find the linea- 
ments of our organisation on the pages of the Bible. Yet the Pres- 
byterian Church has such a succession. One* presentation of the 
argument is found in a little book by Dr. T. V. Moore on the 
Culdee Church. The theory is this: the Celts, the original 
inhabitants of Northern and Western Europe, called by the 
Greeks Keltai, by the Romans Galli, settled a section of Asia 
Minor, which was styled after them Galatia. To this people 
Paul preached and wrote an epistle. Converts from among these 
Asiatic Celts carried the gospel in their trading expeditions, and 
in the movements of the Roman armies across the continent of 
Europe. One line of them through the Roman armies, which 
were invading Britain from A. D. 43 to 80, carried Christianity 
to England, from which sprang the Culdee Church. From these 
a succession can be traced to the present time. Very briefly the 
main facts are these: Tertullian, A. D. 200, says, that "the 
inaccessible parts of Britain are subject to Christ." The inac- 
cessible parts of Britain mean Scotland. Subject to Christ means 
that Christianity was prevalent and had been introduced a good 
many years earlier, while the Apostles were yet preaching, and 
before the invasion of Britain under Claudius A. D. 43. Baro- 
nius says that Christianity was carried to Britain A. D. 35, 
three years after the death of Christ. Greek names, Alexander 
and Andrew, were found in Scotland before the invasion. The 


Presbyterian is m . 


conquest of Britain began A. D. 43, continued to A. D. 80. 
But Scotland was never subdued by the Romans. During that 
campaign of forty years it would have been scarcely possible 
that Christians among the Roman armies should not disseminate 
the story of the cross, and even the Epistles, during the lives of 
the Apostles. Here is Christianity in Scotland, and perhaps 
Ireland, while the Apostles were yet preaching. But where is 
Presbyterian ism? Here: Milman says : " The early Scotch and 
Irish missionaries held an uninterrupted succession of their tradi- 
tion from the Apostles." Mr. Jones says : ''The gospel from its 
first planting by the Apostles was never extinguished from 
Britain." Stillingfleet says : "If we may believe the antiquaries, 
the Church of Scotland was governed by their Culdei^ as they 
called their presbyters or elders, without any bishop over them." 
He uses the word bishop in the sense of prelate. This was Pres* 
byterianism. Joannes Major says : " The Scotch were instructed 
in the faith without any bishop, by priest and monks." He 
speaks from a Romish standpoint, priest^ the only name that a 
Roman Catholic knew for minister and monk^ for a churchman. 
Thus he gives us the preaching and the ruling elder. Here was 
Presbyterianism. Dr. d'Aubign^ says: "Their candidates were 
ordained to the ministry by the laying on of hands of the elders 
after the apostolic manner." Archbishop Ussher says: "St. 
Patrick founded three hundred and sixty-five churches, ordained 
three hundred and sixty -five bishops, and three thousand elders. 
Here was one bishop to about ten elders. This was Presbyte- 
rianism. Now when you remember that a theological seminary 
was established on the Island of lona about A. D. 5(30, which 
sent out its missionaries for a century or more over England, 
Norway, and other countries, long before the Romish Church 
was shaped into Popery, and by what strategy the Romish 
Church finally gained the ascendancy; that when it was estab- 
lished in Scotland, it was the forcible act of the government and 
not the choice of the people ; that when it was established it had 
to be done by an importation of rulers from France ; how from 
the earliest time that people have been characterised by their 
desperate struggles against a foreign religion, and how, when 



Presbyterianism . 



the choice was given them, they flew to their beloved Presbyte- 
rianism again, there seems to be no doabt that through the Scotch 
Church, Presbyterianism is traced by an uninterrupted succession 
up to New Testament days, the same that has been imported to 
these shores and constitutes the American Presbyterian Church. 
As a denomination, we have never insisted on a historical suc- 
cession. Amid the fluctuations of human society many a people 
may drift wide of Bible doctrine and recover Christianity again 
and be as good Christians as if they had a lineal genealogy. The 
Jews had a perfect genealogy from Abraham, a line that took in 
Christ. Yet that Church became so corrupt that God said to the 
pious, "Come out of her, my people." It is the glory of the Pro- 
testant Church that she heard that voice and came out. Yet it 
is one of the honors of the Presbyterian Church that she has not 
been under the necessity of seceding from the Great Apostasy. 
She stood, by a desperate and forlorn struggle, in the valleys of 
Piedmont and of Scotland, successfully against the absorption. 
If there is any Church that can claim a succession through all 
time, through the chasm of fifteen hundred years from Luther to 
Paul, and over the other dismal chasm, from John the Baptist, 
our Great Sprinkler, to Moses, fifteen hundred years more, it is 
the Presbyterian Church. It has fought all the great battles of 
time, and is still holding its way. It has occupied, we may 
proudly and thankfully say, the forefront of the war of time, for 
the great fundamental doctrines of the faith. It has held them 
against statesmen and kings, against philosophers and fanatics, 
against the sword that persecuted unto death. Its names are 
escutcheoned with the many of whom the world was not worthy. 
Its record, its sublime succession, is on high. And yet it has 
never been a Church of dogmatic bigotry. It has never given 
its sympathy to absolutism. It shakes hands with all Christians, 
and counts their institutions valid, if not scriptural. It has always 
accounted substantive doctrine and principle more valuable than 
ritual, and has, therefore, always been patient of the fanaticism 
that wastes itself on modes. It has none of the esprit de corps 
of the zealot, because it has an evangelical sympathy too wide to 
be confined within the limits of a denomination. It is generous 


The Mevised Book of Church Order. 


to a fault. It gives without stint its material to make other com- 
munions, but never compasses sea and land to make one proselyte. 
It blocks out the truth from the quarry, and throws with gener- 
ous hand the pabulum of thought to every people. Popular 
manipulators appropriate and adapt it to their uses. , Still she 
abides by her quarry work, her grand mission to feed the world 
with truth, rejoicing and continuing to rejoice that "nevertheless 
every way Christ is preached." This is noble. But has not the 
time come, when we must train our children and ourselves 
to a more cohesive loyalty to the Presbyterian Church? Has 
not the time about come when we should more perfectly popu- 
larise the two great fundamentals of Presbyterianism, the elder 
and the family^ and take the field as well as abide by the 
foundry ? Nay, the Presbyterian Church in this country owes 
it to Christ and to herself more perfectly to unfurl her banners, 
and instead of a popular literature, to hold up to the world the 
sturdy religion of Knox and of Murray, of Calvin and Coligny, 
of Augustine, and Paul. Let us honor the faith which it is our 
honor to possess. D. E. Frierson. 


The Committee of Publication have, in accordance with in- 
structions of the Assembly of 1878, issued the last revision of 
the Book of Church Order now submitted to the final vote of the 
Presbyteries. It may be neither inappropriate nor untimely to 
make this the occasion for submitting some remarks in historical 
review of this great work, and noting some of the more important 
amendments of our "constitutional rules" contained in it. 

It is now over twenty-one years since, under appointment of 

the Assembly at Lexington, Kentucky, a Committee, composed 

of ecclesiastics so conspicuous as Thorn well, Robert Breckinridge, 

McGill, Hodge, Swift, and Judges Sharswood, Leavitt, and 

VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 16. 



The Revised^ Booh of Church Order. 


Allen, began the second general revision of our rules of Discip- 
line. There had been a previous general revision near forty 
years before, from 1816 to 1821 ; but by reason of the growth 
and development of the Presbyterian Church in that forty years, 
it had become a prevalent conviction among the leading ecclesi- 
astics of the Church, that the Church needed, in the language of 
Dr. Thornwell, "a more articulate and more pronounced exposi- 
tion of our Church Order and Government, as these have been 
elucidated in the discussions and controversies of the last thirty 

After a most laborious consideration of the subject, under the 
lead of Dr. Thornwell, this Committee submitted as the result of 
their labors to the Assembly of 1859, a "Revised Book of Dis- 
cipline" — the basis of that now before our Presbyteries. It was 
pronounced even then, by those who examined it, a work of 
singular merit and worthy the genius of Dr. Thornwell ; though 
it was also vigorously assailed, and called forth the two Essays of 
Dr. Thornwell, in defence of his work in the Southern Pres- 
byterian Review, to be found in his "Works, Vol. IV.," pp. 
300-375. These we would specially commend to the perusal 
of those who may yet be in doubt in regard to the changes in 
the Book of Discipline. After some able discussion, the subject 
was recommitted, and in 1860 additional members were added to 
the Committee, with instructions to suggest modifications of the 
Form of Government also. 

Then followed the war and the division of the Committee. In 
the Northern Assembly of 1863, a report was submitted, and 
that Assembly adopted seven of the twelve chapters of the Book 
of Discipline. But just at that time a movement was initiated 
looking to the reunion of the Old and New School Churches, 
which was consummated in 1868. This movement, naturally 
enough, suspended the work of revision, since it was to be feared 
that the adoption of a new Form of Government and Book of 
Discipline at that time by one of the parties might rear a barrier 
to the contemplated union. After the reunion, the united Churcli 
was so engrossed with the rearrangement of its executive agencies 
and adapting itself to the new order of things, as to be unable 


The Revised Booh of Church Order. 


to prosecute me "work of revision suspended in 1863; and be- 
sides, the New School portion of the body had not been a party 
to the revision, nor had it yet become interested in it. It was 
therefore not until the Assembly of 1878, at Pittsburgh, that 
the work of revision was resumed by giving it in charge to a 
Committee embracing in its numbers the very best ecclesiastical 
ability and experience in the Church. The names of McGill 
and Hatfield, their Permanent and Stated Clerks almost from 
time immemorial ; Moore, the compiler of the New Digest ; West 
and Patton, both conspicuous for the ability with which they had 
conducted celebrated cases ; R. W. Patterson and Judges Strong, 
Allison, Breckinridge, Moore, and Nixon, furnish a sufficient 
guarantee that the work of revision will be ably done. 

The Southern Assembly, in 1861, as soon as organised, evinced 
its sense of the importance of the work of revision which had 
been begun in 1857 and reported in 1859, by adding other mem- 
bers to the Committee with Dr. Thornwell, with instructions to 
continue the revision of the Book of Government and Discipline 
and the Directory for Worship. This Committee was unable to 
meet, owing to the troubles and confusion of the war, before the 
death of Dr. Thornwell. But taking up the work where he had 
left it, they reported to the Assembly of 1866, at Memphis, a 
Revised Book of Church Government and Discipline, which was 
carefully examined by the Assembly and sent down for approval 
by the Presbyteries. Just at that time, however, was opened the 
question of the union of the Synods of Kentucky and Missouri 
with the Southern Assembly, and, in prospect of the immediate 
accession of those Synods, leading members of the Committee of 
revision publicly advised that the Presbyteries should not take 
final action on the subject until the Presbyteries in Kentucky and 
Missouri might have a voice in the modifications to be made. In 
view of this state of the case, very few of the Presbyteries voted 
to approve of the Book. But on the admission of these Synods, 
delegates from the Synod of Kentucky feeling that it was due to 
the other Synods who had suspended the work of revision on 
their account, that the proposal to resume the work should come 
from themselves, it was therefore overtured the Assembly of 1869, 



Tlie Revised Boole of Church Order. 


that the Revised Book be taken up then and tjhere ; and after 
being amended by a Committee of the Assembly, in the light of 
the amendments sent up by the Presbyteries, be sent down to the 
Presbyteries, "that the Presbyteries express their assent to such 
portions thereof as may meet their approval, and send up also to 
the next Assembly objections to any portions they disapprove 
of, with a request that the portions disapproved of be revised by 
that Assembly and sent down to the Presbyteries, with a view to 
final action by the Assembly of 1871. At the Assembly of 1870, 
the report of the Committee on the responses of the Presbyteries 
was, that "of forty-seven Presbyteries reporting, twenty-seven 
favored further revision and the early adoption of the Book ; and 
on the other hand, twelve sent amendments, w^th an expression 
of general approval of the Book ; seven express a wish that, in 
view of the unsettled condition of the present period, the Book 
may not now be pressed upon the Church." The movement 
made in the direction of union with the Nor£h, by the appoint- 
ment of commissioners by the Philadelphia Assembly of 1870, 
to confer with the Louisville Assembly, led to a general concur- 
rence, in the judgment of the seven Presbyteries, that the unset- 
tled state of things rendered it unwise to press revision further 
at that time. The Assembly therefore referred all the amend- 
ments proposed by the various Presbyteries to the original Com- 
mittee on revision, to be incorporated into the New Book, if ap- 
proved by a majority. The unsettled state of things continuing, 
this Committee did not make report till the Assembly of 1872, 
and then only on the Rules of Discipline, which were sent down 
to the Presbyteries. It was reported to the Assembly of 1873, 
that "out of the forty-seven Presbyteries reporting, thirty ap- 
prove of the work of revision and of the Revised Book of Dis- 
cipline. But of this number, ten, on the ground of expediency 
or for other reasons, decline to adopt. Of the remainder, fifteen 
decline to adopt, while three decline to vote either to adopt or 
not." On account of the continued unsettled state of things, 
the Assembly suspended again the work of revision. In the 
Assembly at Savannah, 1876, seeing that the question of our 
relation with the North, with its excitements, had been practi- 


The Revised Booh of Church Order. 


callv settled and the Church almost a unit on the main issue, the 
earliest opportunity was taken to resume a work felt by many to 
be so much needed ; and, with apparently no division of senti- 
ment, that Assembly sent down the Book of Church Order as 
last revised, for the approval or disapproval of the Presbyteries. 
The responses of the Presbyteries indicating that there were cer- 
tain points about which there was more especially difference of 
opinion, the Assembly of 1877 adopted the method of sending 
down to the Presbyteries, that portion both of the Form of Gov- 
ernment and the Rules of Discipline about which there seemed 
to be little difference of opinion, and for a separate vote, some 
eight propositions, two of them alternative propositions, to be 
voted upon separately by the Presbyteries. 

The report of the responses of the Presbyteries to the Assem- 
bly of 1878 at Knoxville, shows a very considerable advance 
toward unity of sentiment. The votes of the Presbyteries on 
seven of the debatable propositions show a very remarkable 
degree of unanimity. Out of sixty-four Presbyteries, fifty-two 
affirm the proposition "of cases without process ;" forty-four 
affirm the revised definition of an offence; forty-three affirm the 
proposition that communicants only shall be electors for pastor; 
thirty-nine affirm the proposition to transfer unconverted com- 
municants to the roll of non communicants ; thirty-nine affirm 
the proposition for inserting the examination rule into the consti- 
tution ; thirty-five affirm the proposition for ecclesiastical com- 
missions ; and twenty-eight against seventeen of the Presby- 
teries that voted at all affirm the proposition for the involuntary 
demission of the ministry, which was also sent with the Assem- 
bly's propositions by the Committee ; while no less than forty- 
seven affirm the proposition for the voluntary demission. The 
vote on adopting "the Book as a whole," as it stood incomplete, 
was but twenty-nine ; but very obviously this came from the mis- 
understanding of the overture sent down to the Presbyteries, 
some being unwilling to adopt the Book as a whole before they 
knew whether the separate propositions would be adopted and 
naade part of the Book. The chairman of the Committee claimed, 
and no doubt justly, that while but twenty-nine Presbyteries voted 





The Revised Book of Church Order. 


to adopt the Book as it stood incomplete, the number in favor of a 
revised Book was really forty -two. The very large majorities 
affirming the separate propositions, about which there has been 
most controversy, indicate a remarkable agreement where there 
seemed at first to be much division of sentiment. It may there- 
fore be fairly inferred that, on a vote to approve the Book, with 
these separate propositions embodied in it, there will be a much 
nearer agreement than on votes taken heretofore. The fact, too, 
that the twenty-nine Presbyteries who have voted to approve the 
Book even in its incomplete state, and most of the separate pro- 
positions, also comprise about one-half of the ministers of the 
Church, and about five-sevenths of the 5,428 ruling elders, and 
the further fact that two-thirds of the Presbyteries voted in favor 
of going on with the work of revision, would seem to indicate a 
growing desire in the Church that the Revised Book be accepted 
as the "constitutional rules" of the Church, in place of the present 

In view of the very cumbrous and inconvenient method in 
which a general revision of our constitutional rules must be car- 
ried on, it is somewhat surprising that the work should have 
reached its present stage with comparatively so little division and 
agitation. The provision of the famous "Barrier Act" of the 
Kirk of Scotland in 1696, embodied in our Constitution, provid- 
ing for the submission of any changes of the constitutional rules 
by the Assembly to the Presbyteries for their sanction, and then 
the enacting of them by the Assembly, contemplated originally 
only the submission of but one, or, at most, a few propositions to 
the Presbyteries. In that case the process is very simple. But 
when it comes to the submission of so many propositions in a 
general revision to be approved or rejected, each one of them by 
sixty-four Presbyteries, it is a different matter. That so general 
an agreement has been reached is of itself proof sufficient that 
the Church is essentially at one on the subject. Indeed, it is 
well known that the chief part of the discussions and divisions 
have arisen on incidental questions of expediency and outside 
issues not involving the real merits of the propositions of the New 
Book. On a test vote in the Knoxville Assembly, on a square 

1879.] The Revised Book of Church Order. 


issue presented by the minority of the Committee in charge of the 
reports from the Presbyteries, whether the revision shall be in- 
definitely postponed, the majority against indefinite postpone- 
ment was not far from 4 to 1 ; and on the vote to send down 
the Book as completed to the Presbyteries, the vote liras nearly 
5 to 1. Both these votes — 96 to 28 in the one case, and 95 to 
20 in the other — indicate a full house on the occasion, and show 
that these are fairly representative expressions of the opinions of 
the Church. 

The correctness of this growing sentiment in favor of a re- 
vision of our Government and Discipline in our Church, as 
evinced by these votes in the Knoxville Assembly, has recently 
received a strong confirmation in the resumption of the work of 
revision by the Northern Assembly after a suspension of fifteen 
years. And it is no less gratifying than surprising to find- the 
leaders of thought in the Northern Church commending without 
stint our Revised Book of Order on its recent issue by the Com- 
mittee of Publication. Even the Presbyterian Banner of Pitts- 
burgh, hitherto so prone to ask concerning every thing South- 
ern, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth ?" in a mas- 
terly article on this subject, after an elaborate history of Revision 
from 1857 to 1863, and of the work in the Southern Church from 
1861 to 1878, speaks in the following generous and intelligent 
terms of the Book now before our Presbyteries: 

"The Southern Book is a more extensive work than the Revised Book 
of 1863. It includes the ' Form of Government' as well as the ' Book of 
Discipline,' and its revisions are not limited merely to verbal corrections 
or occasional new insertions, but make a re-cast and re-arran^rement of 
the whole structure of both these departments. Radical improvements 
are made throughout. The doctrine of Ecclesiastical and other Com- 
missions is developed, electors of Church Officers sharply defined, dif- 
ference between Ecclesiastical and other Offences stated. Judicial and 
Non-Judicial Process distinguished, Common Fame is abolished as an 
accuser, and the Committee of Prosecution erected into an Original party 
with the right of appeal. Every indictment is to begin, *In the name of 
the Presbyterian Church of the United States,' and conclude with the 
words, ' against the peace, unity, and purity of the Church, and the 
honor and majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ as the King and Head 
thereof.' Provision is made for the demission of the ministry, and 

^ I 



The Revised Book of Church Order. 


special discipline for ministers who have turned aside to secular callings. 
It is no copy of the Revised Book of 1863, but a new Book, and rejects 
some of the most important features of this Book. It is Presbyterianism 
of the highest and purest kind, and the logical relations of all the parts 
of the Book, the clear statement of principles and duties, anji the em- 
phasis given to the Covenant of God, rind to Doctrine and Discipline as 
an institute of God, removes it the farthest from the modern liberalism 
that would let everything drift as it pleases, or fly at loose ends in the 
wind. There are some things in it we would prefer to see otherwise ; but 
on the whole, it is far in advance, as a ' Book of Church Order,' of any 
thing that has appeared in this country." 

In the Interior of Chicago, of November 2 1st, we find an 
editorial, evidently from the pen of Dr. Halsey, inspired, we 
doubt not, by the recollection of his noble and manly fight, 
shoulder to shoulder with Dr. Patton, against Swing and his ad- 
herents in the Chicago Presbytery and in the Synod of Illinois, 
which speaks of our Revised Book in such terms as the following : 

"So far as we have examined it, wc can have no hesitation in saying 
that it is a great improvement on the partially accepted Book of 1863, 
even as that was a great improvement on the old Discipline. It sac- 
rifices no single essential principle either of polity or discipline con- 
tained in the old Book, while what it adds or restates, renders the 
old far more intelligible and perfect. If the two stood before us to-day, 
for the first time, to be judged on their own merits, we could not for 
a moment hesitate to accept the new as a vast improvement in ful- 
ness, in clearness of statement, and in logical arrangement. On read- 
ing its lucid definitions, its ampler statement of essential points, and 
its better proportioned chapters, one cannot help wishing that the Pres- 
byterian fathers of 1788, 1789, while they w^ere on the work of revision 
and amendment, had given us a work like this, in place of our excessively 
curt, and sometimes not unobscurc, little treatises. 

"The Book of Church Order is in two parts of equal length, the first 
containinffjfre Form of Government in seven chapters, the second the 
Rules of/Discipline in fifteen chapters. Many of the difficult, perplexing 
questions which perpetually arise in our Church courts, and lead to end- 
less debates, would be at once settled and ended under the sharply de- 
fined and unmistakable statements of this new book. This is especially 
the case with the admirable chapters on Church Officers and Church 
Courts, and with those on Offences, on Jurisdiction, on Original Parties, 
on Election of Church Officers, on Judicial and non-Judicial Process, on 
Appeals, and on Complaints. With scarcely an exception, the book as a 
whole meets our cordial approbation. As to its general tone, through- 


The Revised Book of Church Order. 


out, we can heartily respond to what the Presbyterian Banner says : *It 
is Presbyterianism of the highest and purest kind, in the logical relations 
of the book, the clear statement of principles and duties, and the em- 
phasis given to the Covenant of God, and to Doctrine and Discipline as 
an institute of God.' 

"As in the Confession of Faith and Catechisms, everything is clear, 
logical, and exhaustive — adequately proportioned as to parts, and well 
nigh perfect as a whole. No intelligent reade/can fail to see that the 
compilers of this new Book of Church Order, have reached something of 
the same precision of statement, and perfectness of systemisation. They 
have given to the ecclesiastical standards precisely that clear-cut finish 
of definition and that unmistakable intention as to the import of the law,< 
which have so distinguished our doctrinal standards. It would unques- 
tionably be a great gain, and a great relief from doubtful disputations, 
if our own Church had a book like this ; and the strong probability is 
that the Southern Presbyteries will approve it. The Southern Church is 
proverbial for its conservatism and strong attachment to the past ; but 
it can hardly set aside a work so excellent in itself as this, and at the 
same time so conservative of all the grand essential elements of Presby- 
terianism and so true to the old Westminster Standards." 

This is very strong, and, evidently, very intelligent testimony ; 
and the more confirmatory in that it comes from outside parties 
who cannot be suspected of having become partisans from par- 
ticipating in the discussions of revision during the last twelve 
years. It comes also from men representing the ecclesiastical 
conservatism of the Northern Church. ' ' r ^ ' '^^ 

That our revision is a wise one — wise in practical wisdom — is 
affirmed also, so far as we know, by the ecclesiastical men of the 
Northern Church who have had most experience in the applica- 
tion of the present "constitutional rules" to concrete cases in 
maintaining the Presbyterian doctrine and order. Rev. Drs. 
West and Skinner in the midst of their great struggle for Pres- 
byterian order in the case of McCune, frequently expressed the 
wish that they had our Revised Discipline instead of the present 
Book ; for with that they would have been able to restrain their 
opponents from the raising of side issues, and entangling the 
case in technicalities and special pleadings. Since their triumph 
in the Pittsburgh Assembly, they have repeated their opinion. 
Says Dr. West of our Revised Book, in a letter to a friend : 

"Abating one or two unimportant particulars, I am highly delighted 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 17. 



The Revised Book of Church Order. [Jan., 

•with it. It is superior in every way to any Presbyterian Manual of Dis- 
cipline I have ever seen, and, if adopted by your Church, will unques- 
tionably relieve Church courts of many of the perplexities and improper 
disputes that so constantly arise in cases of judicial and executive admin- 
istration. That it will operate efficiently, if adopted and faithfully carried 
out, to promote the peace, piety, and unity of the Church, no competent 
ecclesiastic- who has studied it can doubt for a moment. I have pondered 
it carefully and frequently, and find that it provides most wisely for the 
most troublesome exigencies that, unforeseen, yet too often arise from^Ke 
very inception to the consummation of our various processes. It is a 
great advance upon the Revised Book reported for the Old School Church 
years ago by the lamented Dr. Thornwell 5 and I could wish no greater 
blessing, in this line, for the Northern Presbyterian Church, than its 
unanimous adoption of the Southern Book as its own, and the constant 
and faithful practice of its provisions by all our courts. Every intelli-. 
gent and sagacious presbyter must admit it is the result of long experi- 
ence, wisdom, and care." ■ r ■ ' 1 - 

This we take to be a very remarkable testimony from confess- 
edly one of the very ablest ecclesiastics of his Church ; and one, 
as is well known, ^ whose prejudices have had no leaning in favor 
of anything Southern in its origin. It is the manly and mag- 
nanimous testimony of an impartial critic entitled by his eminent 
celebrity to express an opinion. 

Dr. Thomas H. Skinner, become justly famous as the leader 
and defender of Presbyterian ism in the McCune case, fully en- 
dorses Dr. West's opinion, saying : 

"I heartily endorse Dr. West's letter. I have not seen the more per- 
fect copy of your Book of Discipline. The one I had was such a marked 
improvement on the old Book that I could not but commend it. I am 
sure that it will greatly serve the interests of religion and order, and 
facilitate the action of the courts of the Church. The defects of our 
present Book are glaring, and it is wide open not only to the captious 
obstructions of accused persons and their friends, but also to honest ob- 
jections which delay justice in our judicatories. I have learned the 
lesson by a painful experience in Presbytery, in Synod, and in the 

We have other similar testimony from the Northern Church,* 

* The testimony of Dr. Francis L. Patton, another member of the 
Northern Committee on Revision, in favor of the New Book of Discip- 
line, might also have been cited here. "The New Book is certainly a 
great improvement on the old, and will make process far simlper and 



The Revised Book of Ohurch Order. 


borne by such as are best qualified to express an opinion, but it 
is needless to multiply witnesses. We fully recognise the fact 
that this is not an issue to be settled by authority. But it cer- 
tainly is legitimate to show for the benefit of those who have 
hesitated about our revision as too radical and revolutionary, that 
disinterested conservative judges and those best qualified to give 
an opinion fully concur with us in sentiment, both as to the 
character and extent of the changes needed. 

The plea has indeed been urged with some plausibility, that 
instead of a "New Book" we need simply amendments inserted 
into the old. That plea will not be pressed by any who have 
actually attempted, as we have, to insert the amendments neces- 
sary into the old book. They will find this to be one of the 
cases in which he that "putteth a piece of new cloth unto an old 
gairment," finds that "the rent is made worse." For not only does 
the want of logical arrangement of the present book render any 
neat patch-work impossible, but the insertion of one important 
amendment involves change in so many other places as would 
make the book a mere confused medley of propositions throughout. 

From what has been said, it will be seen that the steady in- 
crease of opinion in our own Church in favor of the importance 
and the necessity of a revision of our Constitutional Rules ; the 
existence of the same opinion in the Northern Church which has 
recently found expression in the action of the Pittsburgh Assem- 
bly resuming the work of revision suspended in 1863 ; and the 

much less liable to mistake. The points in my mind are (1) The clear 
deiSnition respecting original parties, who they are. (2) The detailed 
method of prescribing the order to be followed. (3) Making all prose- 
cutions run in the name of the Church. (4) The use of a more discrimi- 
nating phraseology throughout." In connexion with some criticism ex- 
pressing his preference for the old Scotch terminology over that in our 
Book borrowed from the civil courts, and suggesting some minor defects, 
Prof. Patton says: "I think the true view should be that the court is 
never a party ; that it is the cause, not the court which goes up to the 
higher courts, that the parties are the original accusers and accused at 
every stage where an appeal is taken." 

Dr. Patton's remarkable experience in the Swing case entitles him to 
ave and to express an opinion on the provisions of a Book of Discipline. 






The Revised Booh of Church Order. 


y testimony above recited of these disinterested judges from the 
outside best qualified to pronounce an opinion to the singular 
excellence of the revision which we have made, all goes to create 
a very strong presumption in favor of the Revised Book anterior 
to any critical examination of the changes made in it in the way 
of improvement. - , - ;>., 

The ordinary lim^fs of such an article as this forbid any exam- 
ination in detail of the provisions of the Book now before the 
Presbyteries. All that will here be attempted is some general 
considerations going to show the benefits that may be expected 
from its adoption as the constitutional rules of the Southern 
Presbyterian Church. 

It is not claimed that the Revised Form of Government has 
introduced any new principle of Church Order not already 
asserted in the standards of the Church. But it is very obvious 
that it has brought the formulas of Government and Discipline 
into more perfect conformity with the utterances of our doctrinal 
standards on the subject of the Church, its government and dis- 
cipline. While it retains every important proposition of the 
present Book, it supplies omissions with statements from the 
recognised standards of Presbyterianism and the interpretations 
of the General Assembly, and by a logical rearrangement of the 
statements, adapts the Book to use in the practical administration 
of the Church. It must have struck every one who has paid any 
attention to the subject, that, aside from many omissions to speak 
where it is proper, there is a striking contrast between the loose 
and full statement of the doctrine of the Church, so far as any 
statement is made, in our present Government and Discipline, 
and the strong, explicit, clear cut statements of the doctrine of 
the Church and its government, as made in our doctrinal stand- 
ards. And there is a very interesting historical reason for this 
contrast. The fathers who originally framed our Form of Gov- 
ernment and Discipline accepted what had come to be considered 
the Church Government and Discipline of the Westminster As- 
sembly. WhereAs, it was not really the Presbyterian order of 
the Westminster Assembly at all, but the order which, in spite 
of that Assembly, the Erastian Parliament had forced upon the 


The Revised Book of Church Order. 


Presbyterianism of Britain. It is a noteworthy fact, that while 
the Parliament accepted the statements of the Westminster As- 
sembly in the Confession of Faith, as to the doctrine of the 
Church and its government^ made during the earlier sessions of 
the Assembly, it would not accept the same principles several 
years later, when embodied in a Form of Government and Dis- 
cipline. This conflict between the Parliament and the Assembly 
forms one of the most remarkable episodes in its history. Find- 
ing themselves in a lean minority in the Assembly, the Erastians 
and Independents adopted the policy of acting against the Pres- 
byterian Assembly through their agents in Parliament, when the 
conclusions of the Assembly were laid before that body for rati- 
fication. By the time the Assembly had reached the subject of 
Church Government, the Scotch had ceased to be so essential to 
the protection of England against its King, and therefore the 
influence of Presbyterians was on the wane. Hence, when the 
Assembly sent up to Parliament its scheme of Government, in- 
volving the jure divino right of Church Government, the record 
is : "Mr. Glynn and Mr. Whitaker (in Parliament) spoke largely 
against the jus divinum of any particular form of government ; 
and when the question was put to the vote, the decision was 
against the proposition of the Assembly ; and instead of deter- 
mining that the government of the Church was of divine au- 
thority, by Congregational, Classical, and Synodical Assemblies, 
their resolution was, that it is lawful and agreeable to the word 
of God that the Church be governed by Congregational, Classical, 
and Synodical Assemblies. The loss of this important question 
in Parliament greatly affected the minds of the Scottish Com- 
missioners and the Presbyterians in the Assembly."* 

A. still more exciting struggle on the question of Jus Divinum 
between the Assembly and the Parliament occurred on the oc- 
casion of the Assembly's sending up its Rules of Discipline, 
providing that the elderships (Sessions) should have power to ex- 
clude the profane from the Lord's Table. The Parliament re- 
fused such power to the elders, and undertook to declare what sins 


Hist, of Westm. Assembly, pp. 113-122, Pres. Board of Publication. 

' > 


The Revised Book of Okurch Order. 


should exclude from the Lord's Table, and after enumerating 
several sins, enacted that commissioners appointed by the civil 
government should decide in cases of sins not enumerated ; thus 
excluding the elders altogether. Thereupon, as we learn from 
the recently discovered "Minutes of the Westminster Assembly," 
at the session of March 20, 1645, Mr. Marshall, referring to 
this Act of Parliament as lying heavy upon the conscience of 
himself and brethren, moved that a committee be appointed to 
prepare a petition to Parliament, which was done. In this peti- 
tion, after pointing out that this appointment of commissioners 
to fence the Lord's Table is contrary to Christ's appointment, 
they proceed to say : "Wherefore, your petitioners, in discharge 
of their fidelity to God, to His Church, and to your Honors, do 
humbly pray that the several elderships may be sufficiently en- 
abled to keep back all such as are notoriously scandalous from 
the sacrament of the Lord's Supper, of which we must, as for- 
merly we have done, say it expressly belongeth unto them by 
divine right and by the will and appointment of Jesus Christ," etc. 
The Parliament aifected great indignation at this petition, and 
after grave deliberation, entered upon their journals "a narrative 
of the matter of fact concerning the breach of the privilege of 
Parliament by the petition of the Assembly of Divines," in 
which they set forth how the Assembly was called to treat of 
such matters as should be proposed to them, and no other; that 
by Act of Parliament, Oct., 1643, they are authorised to treat 
among themselves upon such a Discipline and Government as 
may be most agreeable to God's word ; that the Parliament 
having received their advice on this subject, saying that Jesus 
Christ hath placed in his ministers and elders of his Church the 
power of keeping awjiy scandalous persons from the Lord's 
Table — notwithstanding both houses did ordain that commission- 
ers appointed by law should exercise this power ; that the Assem- 
bly do4;h, under the name of a petition, oppose their judgment as 
an Assembly in relation to a law passed both houses unto the 
judgment of Parliament; that it appears to their consciences to 
be so contrary to that way of government which Christ hath ap- 
pointed in his Church, etc., the House hath resolved and declared 

1879.] The Itemed Book of Ohureh Order. 185 

that this petition thus presented by the Assembly is a breach of 
the privilege of Parliament. 

Thereupon Mr. Samuel Browne, Mr. Fiennes, Sir John Evelyn, 
Sir John Wentworth, Mr. Rouse, and others — twelve in all — are 
appointed a committee "to communicate in a fair manner unto the 
Assembly of Divines the vote of this House upon the breach of 
privilege in their petition ; and are to enlarge themselves upon 
the several heads of this narrative."* 

Accordingly at the session of the Assembly, April 30, 1646, 
the Committee appeared in the Assembly, Sir John Evelyn opened 
a long speech, by informing the Assembly that, in the peti- 
tion, the House "did find things that did strike at the foundation 
and roots of the privileges of Parliament" ; and descanted upon 
the condescension of Parliament in thus sending a committee to 
confer with such offen(JJers. 

Mr. Fiennes told them that "in Parliament resides the power 
of making laws, and, once passed, all are subject to them. Who- 
soev^shall infuse anything to the contrary in the mind of those 
that should obey them, are guilty of a grave offence," and in- 
flicted upon them a terrible rebuke, reminding them all the while 
of the grace of Parliament in condescending to reason with them. 

Mr. Browne made an elaborate historical discourse to prove 
that Parliament is the supreme judicature, spiritual and eccle- 

Sir Benjamin Rudyard declared "this ju8 divinum is of a for- 
midable and tremendous nature. 'Decency and order' are vari- 
able, and therefore, cannot he jure divino. The civil magistrate 
is a Church officer in every Christian commonwealth. "f 

After thus — if one may use an expressive slang term in this 
case — '■ '•bulldozing'' the Assembly, the Committee left the famous 
Nine Questions as to the jure divino of Elderships, Elders, Classi- 
cal and other Assemblies, to be answered by order of the House 
of Commons, and requiring each member to subscribe his name 
to his vote on each proposition,X obviously for the purpose of in- 
timidating them. 

^Minutes of the Assembly of Divines, pp. 456-458. 
fMinutes of West. Ass. pp. 448, 458. ' 

JMinutes West. Ass., pp. 225, 226. 




The Revised Book of Church Order. 


Now, the point of this summary of a long story is, that in the 
matter of Church Government the theory of the Westminster 
Assembly was suppressed, and the system which was forced upon 
the Church was in large measure permeated by the Erastian 
poison of the Parliament, and this was strengthened by the leaven 
of Erastianism in the scheme establishing the Church of Scot- 
land. That the ideas of our fathers who framed our Form of 
Government were derived from the Presbyterian usages that grew 
up under the Acts of Parliament, rather than from the original 
theory of the Westminster Assembly that framed our Confession 
of Faith. And hence the contrast between the bold, clear 
propositions concerning the Church and its jure divino order, and 
the statements of our Form of Government. 

Any thoughtful student will see at a glance that the Revised 
Book contains more nearly the original theory of the Church and 
its government held by the Assembly that framed our Confession 
than any system of Church order constituted since the Westmin- 
ster Assembly. So far, therefore, as the argument from venerable 
antiquity and the fathers of Presbyterianisra goes, it is, doubtless, 
with the Revised Book, rather than with the old Book. 

But, returning to the Book itself and the more important im- 
provements in it: in place of the introductory chapter which is 
in the nature of an apology, all well enough for a Church of 
one hundred and seventy-seven ministers and four hundred 
churches, contributing for religious purposes, outside of current 
expenses, less than one thousand dollars, but surely unnecessary 
for a Church "whose sound has gone forth into all the earth." 
No important truth is set forth in this chapter that is not better 
exhibited elsewhere in our standards. It probably should be 
recited in a historical preface to the Revised Book as an interest- 
ing historic document. But surely its place is better supplied 
with the statement "of the doctrine of Church Government," in 
Chapter I., and that grand old preface from the original West- 
minster Form of Government in Chapter II. of the Revised Book, 
which ought never to have been omitted. The conservatism that 
clings so affectionately to ancient symbols cannot well object to 
the restoration of this venerable preface with the summary of 



The Revised Book of Church Order. 


propositions concerning Christ's kingly relations to the Church, 
v„ote(i at the 76th Session, October 20th, 1643. 

On the other hand, the Revised supplies here a very important 
omission of the old Book, in the statement that the doctrine of 
jure divino government by no means excludes the evangelical 
denominations from a place in the true Church of Christ. That 
"this visible unity of the Church of Christ, though obscured, is 
not destroyed by its division into diiferent denominations," etc.— ^ 
a statement not only important but very timely in the present 
age of the Church. It protects, on the one hand, the principle 
objure divino against the unreasonable charge of "High Church- 
ism," and on the other, silences the clamor of Papists and Carap- 
bellites about the "sects" of evangelical Protestantism. 

Important omissions are supplied in Chapter II. in the state- 
ments concerning "the Nature and Extent of Church Power"; 
"Of the Particular Church"; and in the specific direction for 
"the organisation of a particular Church." The value of all the 
additions in this Chapter will hardly be questioned. While there 
is no new principle introduced, yet the principle on which the 
provisions of the present Book rest are distinctly set forth. 
Indeed, this is one of the great advantages of the Revised Book, 
that it so clearly brings out the doctrinal principle involved in 
the provisions for the administration and government of the 
Church. The shortest and surest method of getting at the mean- 
ing and purpose of a law is to get clearly before the mind the 
principle upon which the law rests. It is a distinguishing mark 
of the Revised Book that it gives prominence to the principle 
in every case. 

Without noting several minor improvements, we may point to 
the clear and definite statement in Chapter IV. of the duties and 
functions of Church ofiicers, in which all must admit the defi- 
ciency of the present Book is glaring, while the Revision is every 
Wiiy admirable. Thus, for instance, how marked the contrast 
between the Revised and the present Book in setting forth the 
official functions of ruling elders and deacons. Who can distinctly 
define the duties of either under the vague incidental allusion to the 
subject in the present Book? Where is the ruling elder who can 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 18. 

i ^ 

i . ,i 




Tlie Revised Book of Church Order. 


find out from this Book what his place is in the Church, and 
what the functions of his office? One would suppose that a com- 
parison on this single point would constrain every such elder in 
the Church to accept the Revised Book gladly, unless he should 
find something elsewhere in the Book which opposed insuperable 
objections to it. With the provisions of this paragraph in our Book 
formulating so distinctly the duties of the office which is the dis- 
tingushing feature of our system, if the eldership can be brought 
up to it as the measure of their duty, the Church will be practi- 
cally revolutionised within five years. With the blessing of God 
upon the labors of such ruling elders, the Presbyterian Church will 
stand forth "clear as the sun, fair as the moon, and terrible as an 
army with banners." The lamentable failure of our churches in so 
many instances to reach the masses of the people is largely due to 
the fact that the eldership at present is so truly representative of 
Chapter V. of our present Book, which asserts simply the pro- 
priety of an eldership, without any definition of the functions of 
the office beyond their joint power of jurisdiction as members of 
the Session. It makes no suggestion of their duties as set in the 
Church, to have oversight of the flock, to watch over the people, 
to admonish them of their duties, to guard them against errors, 
to visit the sick, comfort the mourning, cherish the children — 
keeping the pastor fully advised of the state of the congregation, 
upholding his hands, and pointing out to him where his special 
attention is needed. We are persuaded that if the attention of 
the ruling elders can be fixed upon this Section 3 of Chapter IV., 
their voice will be nearly unanimous for the Revised Book. 

The Chapter, "Of Church Courts," embracing about one-third 
of the Revised Book of Government, is essentially the same with 
Chapters VIII. to XII. of the present Form of Government, ex- 
cept that several important omissions are supplied from what has 
become accepted usage or declared by the General Assembly to 
be the meaning, by implication, of the present Book. The chief 
improvement in this chapter is its setting forth distinctly the 
"jurisdiction of church courts," for the instruction of office- 
bearers in regard to the principles which underlie the action of 
these tribunals. 'I'he question so much controverted, heretofore, 


The Revised Booh of Church Order. 


as to a quorum of Presbytery, is settled b}'^ requiring the presence 
of at least one ruling elder in Presbytery and three in the Synod 
tp constitute a quorum. Provision is made also for a formal sub- 
scription to the formula assented to at ordination; for receiving 
ministers of other denominations and churches of other denomi- 
nations into our connexion — none of which will probably be 
challenged as unwise or improper. , ,, 

The Section, "Of Ecclesiastical Commissions," especially 
that part of it relating to commissions of the Synod and Gen- 
eral Assembly to try appeals, we confess is less satisfactory to us 
than any other portion of the Revised Book. That such commis- 
sion shall be authoris^ed only in case of "appeal" — not in cases 
of "complaint" — and then " only by consent of parties" — seems 
so to restrict the power of acting by commission as to render the 
provision, practically, almost inoperative. Yet, when it is con- 
sidered that for half a century there has been so decided a differ- 
ence of judgment on the subject of commissions among the ablest 
ecclesiastical leaders of the Church, this limited provision for^ 
commissions is probably all that can be expected at present. If 
it shall be found, on fair trial, that the scheme works well and 
saves much time and trouble, at no sacrifice of truth and justice, 
the limiting clause will probably be stricken out. Besides, the 
adoption of theRevised Discipline would relieve the courts of so 
many of the difficulties attending judicial trials as to render the 
commission less needful. It will be the part of wisdom for those 
who, like ourselves, find some things in the Revised Book that 
we would rather have otherwise, to accept cheerfully what we can 
get, rather than what we want, in view of the vast advantages of 
the improvements of the Book in other and vastly more impor- 
tant matters. 

x\s to Chapter VI., "Of Church Order" — its two sections 
concerning "the doctrine of vocation" and "the doctrine of ordi- 
nation," though they contain additions to the present Book in 
the way of supplying omissions, yet they are really but an ex- 
planatory preface to what follows concerning the election and 
ordination of Church officers. This brief definition of terms and 
exhibit of the principles underlying vocation and ordination, for 



The Revised Book of Church Order. 


the benefit of both' the office-bearers and the people who have 
occasion to take part in the solemn proceedings afterwards de- 
scribed, is manifestly a most valuable provision, and in full accord 
with the spirit of our system. Of ijie improvement in Section 3, 
defining explicitly the qualifications of the electors in the choice 
of pastor, and confining the right of suffrage to communicants, it 
is needless to speak, since the voice of two-thirds of the Presby- 
teries has already decreed in favor of the revised provision. 

The remaining four Sections of this Chapter, covering the 
same ground as Chapters XIII. to XVII. inclusive, of the present 
Book, are substantially the same as the present Book, and are 
therefore passed over without notice. 

Since these are the more important changes proposed in the 
Form of Government, it will be perceived that they are not in 
their character revolutionary, introducing any new principles, 
but simply supply from sources already recognised as law the 
defects and omissions of the present Form of Government. Nay. 
in all the criticisms of twenty years no one has, at least to our 
knowledge, seriously challenged these amendments as wrong, 
unwise, or contrary td the spirit of our standards. The chief 
arguments against the Revised Form of Government have been 
directed, not against its intrinsic provisions, but chiefly against 
the expediency of adopting so thorough a revision in times of 

Of the revision of the Book of Discipline there is space here 
for only a brief comment on a few of the proposed amendments. 
This portion of the revision is chiefly the work of Dr. Thornwell, 
but his work has been much improved by the varied criticisms of 
the Presbyteries since 1859. The claim set up for the Revision 
by Dr. Thornwell in 1859 is still valid in every particular: 

" It has pruned away redundancies and supplied many important omis- 
sions; removed incongruities and contradictions to the general tenor of 
our system ; extended privileges which experience has shown to be im- 
portant ; cleared up ambiguities, and reduced our discipline to a logical 
completeness which it did not possess before; it has simplified the pro- 
cess of appellate jurisdiction and cleared away a highway for our upper 
courts where all before was rocks and thorns." 

A careful comparison of the Revised with the present Discip- 


The Revised Book of Ohurck Order. 


line will show that this is no extravagant "claim in any of itp 
several particulars. The chief improvements in the Revised Book 
relate to the definition of an offence, how oifences shall come 
before the courts, how the prosecution of offences shall be car- 
ried on through the series of courts, or dealt with in certain cases 
without process. 

Of the revised definition of an offence it is unnecessary to say 
anything further, since the Presbyteries, by a vote of more than 
two-thirds, have accepted the Revision in this particular. Of 
the manner in which offence^ shall come before the courts and be 
prosecuted — in regard to which the present Book is singularly 
obscure, ambiguous, and erroneous in principle — the Revised 
Book, as it seems to us, is singularly felicitious in clearing up the 
difficulties which environ the provisions of the present Book, by 
two brief paragraphs (Chap. V, 3, 4) declaring the original and 
only parties in a case of process are the Church, the accuser, 
whose honor and purity are to be maintained, and the accused; 
and the prosecutor, whether voluntary or involuntary, is always 
the representative of the Church, and has all its rights in 
the case." 

It will be perceived that this simple, clear-cut statement at 
once sweeps away all the disputes about "common fame," and all 
questions about who are the original parties, those chronic troubles 
in almost every case of judicial process. It sets forth so clearly 
the principle that underlies judicial process that none can well 
fail to comprehend it. And. more important still, it rids the 
Church of the error of throwing the protection of the Christian 
commonwealth upon individuals, and thereby making the trial of 
offences a personal conflict between the prosecutor and the 
accused and his friends. It is no doubt largely on account of 
this glaring error in our present Book that discipline in the 
Church is becoming almost obsolete. Nor is it to be wondered 
at, that church sessions should hesitate about encouraging persons 
to prosecute offences, in view of the fact that the prosecution is 
likely to engender personal feuds in the Church, the end of which 
no one can foresee. And, indeed, how shall it be expected 
that a person in the Church will volunteer to assume the position 




The Revised Book of Church Order. 


of prosecutor and thereby subject himself to the odium of affect- 
ing to be more scrupulous of conscience and more concerned for 
the name of the Church than his brethren who seem to consent 
to let the offence pass Avithout notice, rather than become involved 
in a personal quarrel? . . -. , -,- „ • . -,,. .. v- --. * -v ■ 

Another great improvement in the Revised Book relates to the 
method of appeals. Under our present Book we have the strange 
incongruity of carrying up the lower court as a party with the 
case itself to the higher court, to be judged for having given a 
certain decision. As Dr. Thornwell very aptly puts it, "'The 
appellant appears not only to represent the merits of the case to 
which he was an original party, but to expose the demerits of the 
court that refused him justice. He is at once a suitor and a 
prosecutor. Both issues are tried at the same time and so blended 
that they constitute but one apparent case. . . To try at the 
same time the question of individual right and the question of 
the integrity of a judge, is an outrage upon common sense, and 
yet this is what the Old Book does." Surely it is but right 
reason and common sense that the purpose of an appeal should 
be simply to transfer the case — the identical case on which the 
lower court decided, and that the higher court should have before 
it precisely what the lower court had — the same issue, the same 
testimony, the same circumstances. It is owing to this singular 
incongruity that we have in almost every case which comes to the 
higher courts, the never-failing dispute to begin with, as to who 
are the parties before the court, and the confusion and entangle- 
ments of side issues that renders it impossible to have an intelli- 
gent final decision. 

The provision of the Revised Book for "Cases without pro- 
cess" — that is, not requiring the formalities of a judicial process — 
has already been endorsed by the Presbyteries by the extraor- 
dinary vote of fifty -two out of sixty-three Presbyteries, and 
therefore needs no discussion here. It is worthy of note, how- 
ever, that this chapter "Of cases without process" contains the 
propositions so much controverted in former times, that a commu- 
nicant confessing an unregenerate heartpbuf otherwise having 
been guilty of no offence, may, at the discretion of the Session, 


The Revised Book of Church Order. 


be transferred to the list of non-corarnunicants; also, tliat a 
minister who may conclude that he was mistaken, and that God 
has not called him to the ministry, may be divested of his office 
without censure. The large vote for these propositions is one 
of great significance, as showing how the diverse views of the 
Church have gradually come together, and that therefore the 
adoption of the Revised Book will leave no great questions of 
controversy to be agitated among us. 

Of the minor improvements in the Book of Discipline it is not 
important to speak here. These are for the most part only the 
necessary result in carrying out the important changes already 
noticed. It is, however, no unimportant change that has been 
effected by the re-arrangement of the whole, both in the Form 
of Government and in the Book of Discipline. In the constitu- 
tional rules, both of government and discipline, the chief aim 
should obviously be a book of definitions, fornre, and rules, and 
these in the most compressed form consistent with clearness. 
Our B<|ok of Government and Discipline should be so arranged 
as to adapt it to the purposes of a text-book for students in our 
Theological Seminaries, so that the professor may connect his 
instructions in the doctrine and order of the Church directly with 
the propositions of the Book which is to become their manual in all 
their future professional life. Beyond doubt, the generally ad- 
mitted deficiency of our younger ministry in knowledge of the law 
which they are called upon to administer comes from the ill' 
adaptedness of our present Book as a text-book of instruction. 
It will hardly be disputed either that the present Book of Gov- 
ernment and Discipline is sadly deficient in this respect, or on 
the other hand, that the Revised Book is eminent in the excel- 
lence of its logical arrangement, and its direct and clear expres- 
sion of what it means. In short, as Dr. Halsey expresses it, 
"They have given to the ecclesiastical standards precisely that 
clear-cut finish of definition and that unmistakeahle intention as 
to the import of the law which have so distinguished our doctrinal 

We contemplate this Book of Church Order now, in its com- 
pleteness, with singular pleasure. That such a work has been 





The Reiyised Book of Church Order. 


accomplished by the Church of our love, the Southern Presbyte- 
rian Church — leading the Presbyterian Churches of the world in 
exhibiting our glorious scriptural system in its simplicity and 
beauty, without any trace of the collar which usurping civil gov- 
ernments put upon the neck of Presbyterianism in the days of 
our martyr fathers — we confess stirs our pride somewhat. As 
we read the admirable judgments of the most capable judges of the 
Northern Church — men entitled to have and to express an opin- 
ion, and who cannot be suspected of partiality- — confirming our 
own judgment, that we have at last worked out a formula of Pres- 
byterian Church order "far in advance of anything that has 
appeared in this country," we feel a glow of high satisfaction. 
We feel disposed to say, all honor to the men that have labored 
and toiled in the accomplishment of a task so honorable to our 
Church. From the immortal Thornwell, who "being dead yet 
speaketh" in the work he projected, on through the list of the 
living men who have so laboriously built it up — Adger and E. T. 
Baird, and Palmer and Armstrong, who have figured m#re con- 
spicuously in it, with scores of equally earnest though less con- 
spicuous fellow- laborers in the great enterprise — these men have 
our gratitude and our homage. 

There may still be things in the book to which many will have 
objection. But these points should be yielded now. Our ear- 
nest hope is that the Presbyteries will accept this Revision with 
the same unanimity with which they have approved some of the 
separate propositions of the Book. A good degree of unanimity 
will secure the more ready application of its important provisions, 
without jar or friction, to the administrative and disciplinary work 
of the Church. While there may still be differences of opinion 
in regard to matters of detail, let us thank God that we have 
been able to accomplish so much and go forward with one heart 
and "one step" to the work of spreading our pure Presbyterian 
Church order and pure gospel doctrine. It needs no gift of 
prophecy to foresee that within ten years or less it will become a 
matter of wonder that the Presbyterian Church endured these 
deficiencies in her constitutional rules so long. And following 
our lead, other Presbyterian bodies will make a similar revision. 

Stuart Robinson. 

1879.] : 

Ethics of the Fathers, 






A Tracidte of the Mishna, with the Commentary of Maimomdes 
thereon. Translated and annotated by Alexander Mbyro- 
wiTZ, M. A., Ph. D., Professor of Hebrew and Semitic Lan-, 
guages and Ancient History in the University of Missouri. 

...,.,...,.... r>.. :..,.,.> Preface. 

The following work is a translation of the best and most in- 
structive part of the Jewish literature called Mishna. The 
Mishna is the text of the Talmud. The word Mishna means 
repetition; and, according to the Jewish belief, it is the only true 
commentary on the Pentateuch, imparted by God himself to 
Moses after imparting to him the text. This commentary Moses 

* The Reverend Dr. S. S. Laws, President of the State University of 
Missouri, has done us and the readers of the Review a favor in procuring 
us this article from the learned translator, Dr. Meyrowitz, now a devout 
Protestant Christian, but a Jew by blood, who is master of both biblical 
and rabbinical Hebrew. He has doubtless given us a most accurate version 
of this specimen of the Talmud. Archaeologists tell us that this compila- 
tion of Jewish traditions, the Talmud, consists of two parts : the Mishna, 
or text, and the Gemara, or commentary thereon. But the portion of the 
Mishna given here has no Gemara of the earlier Rabbis. Dr. Meyrowitz 
gives us, instead, the exposition of Maimonides, a learned Jew, who lived 
six centuries after the Talmud was compiled. Our author also adds some 
explanations of his own, which are placed as notes in the margin, en- 
closed in brackets, thus, [ ], and also signed Tr. (translator), ij--- '-f! < 

The strange literature of the Talmud formerly received much attention 
from some learned Christians, such as Lighfoot. But their works are 
rare, costly, and voluminous, and inaccessible to most Presbyterians. 
We therefore present our readers this specimen ; in which rabbinical 
ideas are as exactly reproduced as an English dress will permit; that we 
may have some actual knowledge of the modes of Jewish thought, and may 
be able to appreciate our Saviour's verdict on the " traditions of the 
elders." The triviality and error of many of their rules are no measure 
of the value of this knowledge to us, and of the article which presents it. 
The reader will not fail to notice the progress of error in uninspired 
tradition. Maimonides is worse than the Mishna. 

[Editors Southern Presbyterian Review. 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 19. 





Ethics of the Fathers. 


is said to have delivered to Joshua, and Joshua to the Elders, 
and the Elders to the prophets, as the reader will find in the first 
section of the following article. The Mishna was at first oral, 
but the corapilatn^n of it was made by Rabbi Jehuda, the holy, 
about one hundred years before Christ; whilst the commentary 
on it, which passed under the name of Gemara, i. e., completion 
or complement, was not finished till the end of the fifth century. 
The Mishna is certainly the oldest part 55f uninspired Jewish 
literature; its language is purer than that of the Gemara, and it 
is, in a literary point of view, next to the later prophets. Let it 
here be remarked, that the simple study of the Old Testament, 
the Mishna, and the Gemara, is considered by the Jews the most 
pleasing act in God's sight. The Talmud says: "Whosoever is 
occupied with the study of the Law" — and under the word Law 
they understand all the three above-mentioned compositions — "is 
released from observing any other of God's commandments." 
Yet, in their perverse pride, they say (Baba Mezia, fol. 33, col. 1): 
*' Whosoever studies the written word of God possesses virtue, but 
receives no reward; whosoever studies the Mishna possesses 
virtue and receives reward; but there is nothing higher than the 
study of the Gemara."* 

By keeping these Talraudistical notions in mind, many a pas- 
sage which occurs in the Mishna will be better understood. The 
commentary on this Tract of the Mishna, here translated, is 
composeci by Rabbi Moses, son of Maimon, generally called 
Maimonides. He w^as born at Cordova in Spain A. D. 1131. 
The early part of his education was under his father, the later 
under Rabbi Joseph, son of Mages, and also under the learned 
Arabian, Iben Thophail and Averroes. Maimonides was perfect 
master of the Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic, Turkish, and Greek 
languages; was a very great admirer of Aristotle; and made 
himself familiar with all the branches of philosophy and mathe- 
matics written in those languages. He was also well informed in 
Jewish divinity and jurisprudence. His extraordinary accom- 
plishments excited the envy and ill-will of some of his own nation 

* How true the words of Christ : " Thus ye have made the command- 
ment of God of none effect by your traditions" (Mark vii. 13). 


JEthics of the Fathers. 


in Cordova ; hence, before he was yet of the age of thirty, he left 
Cordova for Egypt. His great medical skill caused him to be 
appointed chief physician to Saladin, Sultan of Egypt; and he 
died in Egypt A. D. 1205. When the Jews speak of him now, 
they use the proverbial saying, " From Moses to Moses, there 
arose none like Moses," — i. e., from Moses, son of Amram, to 
Moses, son of Mairaon. The first of his productions, in order of 
time, was his commentary on the Mishna. It was originally 
written, like most of his works, in Arabic, and translated into 
Hebrew by Rabbi Jehuda Aben Tiben. Our Tract, like many 
others, has no Gemara. Let, now, the indulgent reader, if he 
can, imagine the difficulty of translating a translation of an 
Oriental work into our Occidental English. It is quite an im- 
possibility to render Maimonides's commentary literally into 
English. The Hebrew phraseology is so ornamental, that the 
English idiom cannot bear it, and its literal rendering would 
be quite unintelligible to the English reader. The translator 
was, therefore, sometimes, forced either to omit or to add, so as 
to give faithfully the full meaning of the commentator. In som e 
places of this Mishna, where its sense seemed to have been quite 
plain to the commentator, but rather obscure to the English 
reader, I have given my own explanations, marked Tr. [i. e., 

Should this translation find favor with the literati of my adopted 
country, and add but the least to the great knowlege of its savanSy 
I shall feel myself greatly gratified, as an instrument in the hand 
of the Lord, who wills, for the sake of his righteousness, to 
magnify the law and make it honorable (Isaiah xlii. 21). 

Alexander Meyrowitz. 

Columbia, Mo.^ Aprils 1878. 




Ethics of the Fathers, 



Part I. Mishna, .!; -^ 

■,'■'• l,U3 • u; 1., 

Mishna 1, Moses received the Law on Mount Sinai, and de- 
livered it to Joshua, Joshua to the Elders, the Elders to the 
prophets, the prophets to the Great Assembly.* They said three 
sayings: Be slow in passing judgment (a); make many disciples; 
and make a hedge to the law (6). ■ ■ -■ : 

(a.) Be slow in judgment, lest you find out, after having passed 
sentence, something you did not know before. ' 

(6) You shall hedge around the law of God with other laws, so 
that it will be impoesible to transgress it lightly. 

Mishna 2. Simeon the Just was one of the last of the Great 
Assembly. He used to say: Upon three things does the world 
depend, viz. : upon learning (a); upon sacrifice (^) ; and upon 

Commentary. — {a) Learning, i. e., a thorough study of the law 
of Moses, so as to know what is right and what is wrong. 

{h) Sacrifices make man's peace with God. But now, when 
there is no temple, the reading of the ordinances of sacrifices is 
acceptably in its place, as it is written (Hosea xiv. 3). [And let 
us repay the bullocks with (the prayers of) our lips. — Tr.] 

Mishna 3. Antigonus of Socho received (the oral tradition) 
from Simeon the Just. He said: Be not like servants who serve 
their lord in order to receive favor ^'nS («), but like servants 

who expect no favor; and let the fear of God be before you {b). 

Commentary. — (a) The word OIS? which is here used, is pro- 
perly the Chaldee word for the Hebrew nn5)Di a present, and is 
quite distinct from ^DtiJ, reward. Rabbi Antigonus means to 

say: Man can never expect reward, as he never can do more than 
what he is obliged to do ; but in this case only can there be re- 
ward.| 'All that God will ever give to those who fear him, will 

* According to the Talmud, the H^I^Sin ^1053 Congregatio magna, 

was established by Ezra, in which were Daniel, Neheiniah, etc., and 
consisted of seventy persons, in imitation of the seventy elders under 
Moses. — Tr. 


JUtMcs vf the Fathers. 


be but favor, and those who serve him should not even do it for 
this favor's sake. Two of this Rabbi's disciples, Zadok and 
Boethos, when they heard this saying, went nway from his school 
in great displeasure; for they supposed the Rabbi taught, there 
is nothing to be expected in the future life. The followers of 
Zadok are called Zaducees in the Talmud, and Karaites at pres- 
ent; and those of Boethos are called Boethussim. Both sects 
deny the traditions of the Rabbis, and accept the books of the 
Old Testament only literally. .':.tnMm"i(k't. 

(b) The fear of God is commanded (Deut. vi. 13). The Lord 
thy God thou shalt fear. Serve thy God out of love, or out of fear. 

Mishna Jf,. Jose, son of Joezer, of Zereda, and Jose, son of 
Jochanan. of Jerusalem, learned from them. Jose, son of Joezer, 
says: Let thy house be a meeting-house for wise men (a), and be 
covered with the dust of their feet ; and drink their words like a 
thirsty man. . > .,,,;;■, t^; 

Commentary. — (a) When one rabbi asks the other. Where shall 
we meet? let the answer be, At thy house. ; ? ;?;^;^?''rr'ij 

Mishna 6. Jose, son of Jochanan, of Jerusalem, says : Let thy 
house be wide open (a), and let the poor be of thy household (6). 
Do not talk too much with thy wife. If that is the rule to be 
observed with one's own wife, how much more is it applicable to 
his neighbor's wife? [e) Hence said the wise men: Whenever 
a man talks much with a woman, he brings evil upon himself, is 
hindered in his study, and ultimately gets his inheritance in hell. 

Commentary. — (a) *'Wide open," that they may have easy 
access, and every hungry and thirsty traveller may find relief in 
thy house. ,:>,,;- 

(b) Instead of having many servants, let the poor and needy 
serve thee, and find themselves at home in thy house. 

(c) Talk with woman tends only to inflame man's passion. It 
keeps him back from study, while he spends his time in foolish 
chat; and ultimately hell becomes his portion. 

Mishna 6. Joshua, son of Perachia, and Nitai, the Arbelite, 
received the tradition from them. Joshua says: Make to thyself 
a teacher (a), and acquire a fellow-student (6), and judge every 
one for the best (c). . ■'^^'' 



Ethics of the Fathers. 


, Oommentary.—{a) Even if thou thinkest thou hast no need of 
a teacher, it is nevertheless better to have one; that thou mayest 
be sure thou goest the right way in what thou studiest. " 

• •: (h) A companion thou must acquire; for it is written (Eccl. iv. 9): 
"Two are better than one; because they will have a good reward 
for their toil." .. : . . . .; 

(c) When thou seest any one whom thou dost not know, doing 
or saying something which can be taken either for good or for 
bad, judge it for good, and do not suspect him because thou dost 
not know him. But if thou dost know him to be a wicked man, 
and seest him doing or saying something which may be considered 
as good, judge for the worst, for of such a one it is written 
(Proverbs xxvi. 25): "Though he make his sound ever so 
graciously, believe him not." Only as to an unknown person, 
judge always that he does for the best. - 

Mishna 7. Nitai, the Arbelite, says : Avoid an evil neighbor (a); 
do not join thyself to a wicked man (6); and do not despair of 
punishment {c). 

Commentary. — (a) If you join yourself to an evil neighbor, you 
will be sure to learn his evil habits; for, bad company corrupts 
good manners. 

. (b) For in doing so, you will forego the blessings of the good 
man, who does not walk in the way of the ungodly. 

(c) When you see the wicked prosper, do not suppose that God 
will hold him guiltless; even if he goes out of this world un- 
punished, he is sure to get his punishment in the world to come. 

Mishna 8. Jehuda, son of Tabai, and Simeon, son of Sotach, 
received the traditions from them. Jehuda, son of Tabai, says: 
Be not (if thou art a judge) like a pleading attorney (a). And 
when the litigants are before thee, consider them both as guilty; 
but when they depart, accepting the verdict, consider them both 
as worthy of good. 

Commentary. — {a) The judge must not speak for one party in 
his favor, or put words in his mouth, thus acting the part of an 
attorney; but his decision is to be clear and positive, according 
to what he hears from the litigants. 

Mishna 9. Simeon, son of Shotach, says: Examine diligently 


Ethics of the Fathers. 


the witness, and take care of what you speak ; that the witness 
may not learn from your words to tell a lie. Shmaya and Ab- 
talion received from them. Shmaya says: Love to work, and 
hate to rule, and do not seek friendship with (the heathen) 
government. • 

Mishna 10. Abtalion says: Wise men, take care of what you 
say ! (a) lest you may be exiled, and come to a place where there 
is bad water (ft), and your disciples who come after you will drinkj 
of it, and thus God's name will be profaned. • 

(Commentary. — {a) The disciples of Antigonus, Zadok and 
Boethes, because they misunderstood the saying of their Rabbi, 
separated themselves from the traditional doctrines, and became 
heretics; let, therefore, every teacher take care that his teaching 
may not be misunderstood. 

(ft) Bad water is a figurative expression for heresy. 

Mishna 11. Hillel and Shamai received from them. Hillel 
says: Be of the followers of Aaron (a), loving peace and pursuing 
peace, loving men and bringing them to God's law. He used to 
say : He that blasphemes God's name, let his name perish ; he 
that does not add (to his learning), let (his life) be diminished; 
he that does not learn at all is worthy of death; and he that 
makes use of the crown (ft), let him depart from life. ' '''"'■ 

Commentary. — {a) Tradition tells, that Aaron, when he ob- 
served a man of bad character, used to visit him and converse 
with him, so that the man, supposing that Aaron did not know 
of his wickedness, became ashamed of his life and became better. 
This tradition is based on the words of the prophet (Mai. ii. 6): 
"In peace and in equity he walked with me, and many did he 
turn away from iniqiiity." . . r« " . i -^ • 

(ft) "Crown" is used for the law of God; the meaning is: He 
that tries to gain honor and wealth by the law, is not worthy 
to live. 

Mishna 12. He (Hillel) used to say: If I am not for myself, 
who is for me? (a) And when I am for myself, what am I? (ft) 
And if not now, when? (c) : , v . , . - v ,, . 

Commentary. — (a) If I do not stir up myself to learn some- 
thing, and to do what is best, who should stir me up? Man must 




Ethics of the Fathers. 


exert his own energy, if he is to become a good and a useful, 
member of society. 

(5) But if I possess in myself the energies of directing myself 
in the right way, what am I? Am I a perfect being, so that my 
energies are adequate to lead me in the good way? ' = * ' 

(c) And if not now, i. e., while I am young and capable of re- 
ceiving any impression, when? Surely not when I grow old, and 
the bad habits have become rooted into my nature. The wisest 
of men said (Proverbs xxii. 6): "Train up the lad in accordance 
with his course; even when he groweth old he will not depart 
from it." 

^rMishna IS. Shamai says: Make your study the chief mat- 
ter (a) ; say little and do much (b); and receive everybody wiib 
iriendliness. /.:-'. 

Commentary. — (a) Your study must be the root of all your 
actions; and private business must be done when you find time 
after study. 

(b) Say little, i. e., like Abraham, when the three visited him; 
he said: *'I will fetch a morsel of bread" (Gen. xviii. 5). But 
when he came to do, Abraham ran unto the herd, and fetched a 
calf, tender and good. The ungodly say much, but do little, like 
Ephron, who offered to Abraham much, and at last did not relax 
even one penny. 

Mishna 14- Rabbi Gamaliel says : Get thee a rabbi, and avoid 
doubt (a). And do not pay tithe by conjecture. 
• Commentary. — (a) The getting of the rabbi is not for instruc- 
tion, but for decision, that you may lean on him in giving judg- 
tnent; for it is always better to have some one's aid in deciding 
a matter. So in the case of paying tithe, it should not be done 
by conjecture. 

Mishna IS. Simeon, his son, says: All my days have I spent 
among wise men, and have not found anything better for a man 
than silence (a). The learning is not the chief matter, but the 
acting ; and any one who speaks much cannot avoid sin. 

Commentary/. — (a) Solomon said (Proverbs x. , 19) : "In a 
multitude of words transgression cannot be avoided." And the 
«ign of a wise man is silence, but much talking is the sign of a 


Ethics of the Fathers. 


fool. It is told of a wise man who talked very little, that when 
he was asked for the reason of his constant silence, he answered : 
"Talk may be divided into four parts: (I) Talk useless to one's 
self, but completely injurious to others; (2) Partly good and 
partly injurious, e. g.^ praising one's neighbor, which will provoke 
his enemies; (3) Indifferent talk, e. g.^ about buildings and the 
weather; (4) Scientific, and the most necessary household talk. 
We see, therefore, that only the fourth part of usual talk is useful. 
I can, therefore, talk only the fourth part of others." 

Mishna 16. Rabbi Simeon, the son of Gamaliel, says: The 
world exists by three things, viz. : Justice, Truth, and Peace (a). 
As it is written (Zech. viii. 16): "Truth, judgment, and peace 
judge ye in your gates." 

Commentary. — (a) No community can exist without these three 
governing powers. Truth is necessary in family life, justice in 
life's intercourse, and peace for the security at large. , ' - 

Part II. Mishna. y . i -^ 

Mishna 1. The Rabbi says : Which is the best way (of life) 
that a man is to choose? That one which is most beautiful for 
himself, and is most beautiful in the sight of others. Be diligent 
in observing the smallest commandment, as in the greatest, for 
thou dost not know their reward («). Reckon the loss which 
thou sufferest by observing the commandment, against its reward; 
and the gain of committing a sin, against the punishment for it. 
Consider, also, three things, and thou wilt not be enticed to sin, 
viz. : above thee is (1) an eye that sees, (2) an ear that hears, and 
(3) all thy doings are recorded in a book ih). ' '■ ' ^ 

Commentary. — {<i) The law of God has specified certain punish- 
ments for certain transgressions; which are: for the greatest 
sins, (1) stoning, (2) burning, (3) decapitation by sword, (4) 
strangling, (5) unnatural death, (6) excommunication, (7) stripes, 
forty save one. By these degrees of punishments, we know how 
to estimate the greatness of the sins ; but no gradations of rewards 
have been specified for fulfilling God's commandments; therefore, 
if thou art engaged in observing one commandment, do not leave 
it off" to do another. . - " 

VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 20. 




Ethies of the Fathers. 


{h) The language of Scripture uses the anthropomorphic figure 
of recording in a book, for anything known to God. As 
in Malachi iii. 16, "And there was written a book of remembrance 
before him." 

Mishna 2. Rabbi Gamaliel, son of Rabbi Jehuda the Nassi, 
says: Study is good when connected with business; for the ex- 
ertion in both makes man to avoid sin. And study which is not 
accompanied by some work is at the end useless, and causes 
sin {a). And all w^ho work for the community should work for 
God's sake. For the virtue of their forefathers helps them, and 
their righteousness is of eternal value. God will greatly reward 
you, as if you had done his work (6). 

Commentary. — [a] Study, with the Rabbis, had no temporal 
advantage. No teacher was allowed to receive payment; and 
those who studied had to support themselves. Hence, if a student 
had no wealth, he was obliged to live on the wealth of others, 
which is robbery. 

(6) The time which you spend in working for the community 
you will not be able to employ in doing something else for which 
you might expect good reward; therefore, he says: God will re- 
ward you, for this time, as if you had done some other thing, for 
which you could expect a great reward. 

Mishna 3. He (Gamaliel) used to say: Direct thy will accord- 
ing to his (God's) will, that he may direct the will of others ac- 
cording to thy will. Give up thy will because of his will, that 
he may make others give up their will because of thy will. Hillel 
says: Do not separate thyself from the community. Put no faith 
in thyself until thy last day. Do not judge thy neighbor until 
thou be in the same situation. Do not say anything which is 
unintelligible, though it be understood at last (a). And do not 
say. When I shall have time I will learn ; perhaps thou wilt 
have no time. 

Oommentary. — [a) When you teach, do not use language which 
is unintelligible, and requires much explanation to make it in- 
telligible at last. 

Mishna 6. He used to say: No ignoramus can fear sin, nor 
can the unlearned be pious, nor the bashful learned, nor the 

' ii 


Ethics of the Fath-ers. 


irascible teachers. And not every one, who engages greatly in 
business, becomes wise. And where there is a want of (good) 
men, try diligently to be a man. 

Mishna 6. He saw also a soul swimming upon the water, and 
said: Because thou madest another to swim, they made thee to 
swim. But at last those who made thee to swim, will also swim (a). 

Commentary. — {a) In the original there is a paronomasia. 
The meaning is, that with the measure one measures it is measured 
unto him. The Rabbi, seeing a man who was probably drowned 
by some one, concluded that this one must have previously 
drowned somebody, but predicted that those who drowned him 
should also get their reward. 

Mishna 7. He used to say: He that accumulates flesh (on his 
body) accumulates worms; he that accumulates possessions ac- 
cumulates cares ; he who multiplies wives multiplies sorcery;* 
he who multiplies handmaids multiplies whoredom ; he who 
multiplies men-servants multiplies robbery ; he who increases 
learning in the law prolongs his life ; he who increases classes (of 
students) increases wisdom ; he who takes many counsels increases 
in understanding ; he that gives much alms increases peace. Has 
one acquired a good name ? he acquired it for himself; and has 
he made the law of God his own ? he has acquired the life to 
come. He used to say : If thou hast learned much, be not proud 
of it ; as for this hast thou been created. 

Mishna 8. Rabbi Jochanan, son of Zakai, had five disciples : 
they were, Rabbi Eliezer, son of Hircanos; Rabbi Joshua, son 
of Chananya ; Rabbi Jose the priest ; Rabbi Simeon, son of 
Nathaniel ; and Rabbi Eliezer, son of Aroch. He told their good 
qualities. Rabbi Eliezer, son of Hircanos, is like a plastered pit, 
which does not lose even a drop ;t Rabbi Simeon, son of Nathaniel, 
fears to sin [a) ; Rabbi Joshua, blessed be his mother! (6) Rabbi 
Jose is pious (c?); Rabbi Eliezer, son of Aroch, is like a fountain 
continually increasing [d). 

* The Talmudical idea is, that sorcery is mostly practised by women. 
And in Tractate Sanhedrin, page 67, it is said: "Sorcery is mostly to be 
found with women." — Tr. 

t lie retained whatever he learned, without forgetting one word. — Tr. 



Mhics of the Fathers. 


Commentary. — (a) He occupied himself always with doing 
good, for fear of doing soniething wrong and sinful, 

(h) He was of so lovely a character, that every one praised and 
blessed the mother of such a child.* - t-.^ *\5' 

(c) His learning went over into actions; he practised what he 
.learned. * u , ■, •, ■ ':.■:,.■>.?■ ■.'...v.?:- •...' .„. i^;p>"*-.-,; 

(<i) Rabbi Ehezer was of such great wisdom, that /there was 
nothing too difficult for him, and his wisdom continually iWcreasing. 

Mishna 9. He used to say : If all the wise men of Israel were 
in one scale of the balance, and Rabbi Eliezer, son of Hircanos, 
in the opposite one, he would outweigh all of them. Abba Saul 
said in his name: If all the wise men of Israel, together with 
Rabbi Eliezer, son of Hircanos, were in one scale, and Rabbi 
Eliezer, son of Aroch, was in the other scale, he would weigh 
more than all of them. He (Rabbi Jochanan) said to them : Go 
and consider, which is the best that man should choose? Rabbi 
Eliezer said, A good eye {a) ; Rabbi Joshua said, A good com- 
panion (h)\ Rabbi Simeon said, To behold the future {c)\ Rabbi 
Eliezer, son of Aroch, said, A good heart; Rabbi Jose said, A 
good neighbor {d). Then said their Rabbi : I consider the words 
of Rabbi Eliezer, son of Aroch, the best, for yours are included 
in his.f Then he said to them : Go and consider, which is the 
bad way which man must avoid? Rabbi Eliezer said. An evil 
eye; Rabbi Joshua said, An evil companion; Rabbi Jose said, 
An evil neighbor; Rabbi Simeon said, To borrow and not pay, 
for to borrow of men is like borrowing of God, as it is written 
(Psalm xxxvii. 21), "The wicked borroweth and repayeth not;" 
Rabbi Eliezer, son of Aroch, said, A bad heart. Then said their 
Rabbi: I consider the words of Rabbi Eliezer, son of Aroch, the 
best, for your words are contained in his. 

Commentary. — [a) A good eye means, contentment with what 
one possesses. 

*See Luke ii. 34, where the same expression is used of Christ. — Tr. 

t A good heart is the thing most necessary for going in the right way ; 
for it is written (Prov. iv. 23), "Above all that is to be guarded, keep thy 
heart; for out of it are the issues of life." And, therefore, their Kabbi 
judged that all they found to be good, is included in the words of his 
fifth disciple. — Tr. 

1879.] MMos of the Fathers. 157 

(J; A good companion is to be chosen; because one can learn 
of him what is best. 

(e) To behold the future, i. «., to foresee the consequence of 
his actions, is certainly the best means of going in the right way. 

(c?) A good neighbor is more constant than a good companion. 

Mishna 10. They (the last mentioned five disciples) said each 
three things. Rabbi Eliezer said : Let the honor of thy com- 
panion be as dear to thee as thine own. Do not be easily pro- 
voked to anger (a), and repent one day before thy death (6). And 
warm thyself at the flame of the wise men (c), but take care that 
thou dost not burn thyself by their coals ; for their bite is the 
biting of the fox,* their sting the sting of the scorpion, their 
hissing the hissing of a serpent, and all their words are like 
fiery coals. 

Commentary. — (a) Anger is considered to be equal to idolatry. 
Tractate Sabbath, 105. ^ - -j. -: 

(h) But does any one know when he will die? Therefore, one 
ought to repent every day of his life, as though the next day 
were to be his last. ^ .. ■ jfc:- iiiL^^... 

,(6*) Warm thyself by the flame, i. e., do not mix with them 
freely, but approach them only by their permission ; else thou 
mayest oflend them and suffer by it, just as one who warms him- 
self by the fire does not approach too close to the fire. Their 
honor is to be kept sacred. 

Mishna 11. Rabbi Joshua said: An evil eye (a), evil nature,t 
and misanthropy (5), shorten a man's life. , 

Commentary. — (a) An evil eye means a greedy eye and dis- 
content. '. 

(6) Misanthropy induces man to avoid his fellow-man, and live 
in desert places, which kills him before his time. 

*The bite of the fox was supposed to be incurable. — Tr. 

t Evil nature; the original has ^^^H ^lljS''' which is generally under- 
stood to represent an evil spirit, which accompanies every man and 
seduces him to every bad action. The orthodox Jews believe two spirits 
accompany every man — a good one on his right, and an evil one on his 
left; the good genius solicits him to and rejoices in his doing good ; the 
evil genius seduces him to and rejoices in his doing evil. — Tr. 


■t :'■'. 


Ethics of the Fathers. 


Mishna 12. Rabbi Jose said : Let the money of thy companion 
be dear unto thee as thine own ; and make thyself fit for the study 
of the law ; for it is not thine as an inheritance. And whatever 
thou doest, be it done for God's sake, ^j? ;;^ ^^^ -m . ;^^ 

Mishna 13. Rabbi Simeon said : Take care to read Sh'ma, 
^)2X5^ and prayer.* And when thou dost pray, do not perform 

it as an obligation, but as a supplication for mercy before God ; 
for it is written (Joel ii. 13): "Gracious and merciful is he, long- 
suffering and of great kindness, and he bethinketh himself of the 
evil." And do not consider thyself too wicked (a). 

Commentary. — [a) When a man considers himself wicked, no 
sin is then of any importance in his eyes. 

Mishna H,. Rabbi Eliezer says : Be diligent in learning the 
law. And know what thou shouldst answer to an Epicurean (a). 
Know also before whom thou workest, for faithful is thy master 
to pay thee the wages of thy work. 

Commentary. — (a) The word ''Epicurean " is used by the 
Rabbis for heretic, i. e., any one who denies anything of the 
written or traditional law. The believing Jew is here commanded 
to be able to give an account of his faith to any unbeliever. 

Mishna 15. Rabbi Tarphon says : The day is short, the work 
is great,t the workers are lazy, the reward is great, and the 
master urges. 

Mishna 16. He used to say : Thou art not bound to finish the 
work (of obedience to God), neither is it allowed thee to preter- 
mit it wholly. Hast thou learned much, thou wilt receive much 
reward. And thy master is faithful to repay thee the wages of 
thy work. But know, that the reward of the righteous is in the 
world to come. 

* Every Jew is obliged to read twice a day, morning and evening, the 
portion of Scriptures written (Deut. vi. 4-10) which begins with the word 

5?^tp- The prayer consists of eighteen blessings ; and no Jew must 

taste anything or go to work in the morning before the reading of Sh'ma 
and performing the prayer of the eighteen blessings. — Tr. 
t The Latin poet says : '"''Ars longa, Vita brevis.^^ — Tr. 


Ethics of the Fathers. 
Part III. Mishna. 


Mishna 1. Akabia, son of Mahallallel, says: Contemplate 
three things, and thou wilt not be induced to sin : (1) Whence 
dost thou come ? (2) Whither dost thou go V and ( 3) Before whom 
wilt thou give an account? Whence comest thou? From a fetid 
drop. Whither goest thou? To a place of worms and rottenness. 
And before whom art thou to give an account? Before the King 
of kings, the Holy One ; blessed be his name ! 

Mishna 2. Rabbi Chanina, leader of the priests, said : Pray 
for the peace of government ; for were it not for the fear of it, 
each man would have swallowed the other alive. Rabbi Chanina, 
son of Tradion, said : When two are sitting together and do not 
speak about the law of God, it is the seat of scorners, of which 
it is written (Psalm i. 1), "And sitteth not in the seat of the 
scorners." But where two sit together, and converse about the 
law of God, there is the presence of the Shechina,* as it is writ- 
ten (Malachi iii. 16): "Then conversed they that feared the 
Lord one with another ; and the Lord listened and heard it, and 
there was a record written in a book of remembrance before him 
for those who fear the Lord, and for those who respect his name." 
Here I learn of two sitting together ; but how do I know that 
when one is occupied with the study of God's law, God rewards 
him ? For it is written (Lament, iii. 28): "That he sitteth in 
solitude and is silent, because He has laid it upon him." (a) 

Commentary. — [a) The relevancy of this verse depends, not 
on the usual sense given to it, but on quite a different one, which 
the Rabbi understood, and read thus: "When he sits alone and 
murmurs (p'T^') in the law), it is as if God had laid upon him 
(the whole law)." 

Mishna 3. Rabbi Simeon says : When three are eating to- 
gether and do not converse about the law, they are as if they 
had eaten of the sacrifices to idols ; and of them it is said 

* ThVi Rabbis never use the name of God as given in Scriptures, but 

« • • 

use either H 5*^3 ID? tD'^)3'©) ^^ QtDtl > and wherever the reader finds 

in this translation the word God, it is either added by the translator for 
the better understanding, or a translation of one of the above given 
words. — Tr. 


!; if 




Ethics of the Fathers* 


(Isaiah xxviii. 8): "For all tables are full of vomit of filthiness." 
But when three are sitting together at the table, and converse of 
the law, they are as if they had eaten at God's table (i. e., the 
altar), as it is written (Ezekiel xli. 22): "And he spoke unto 
me, This is the table that is before God."* -..::.■..r.,■,^^■:^rT^^„.■.>.--^.■, ^^ 

Mishna Jf,. Rabbi Chanina, son of Chakinai, says: Whosoever 
is awake at night, or travels singly on a road, and thinks of non- 
sense, has forfeited his life. Rabbi Nechemia, son of Canna, 
says: Whosoever accepts the yoke of the law, providence takes 
off from him the yoke of government (a) and the yoke of business ; 
but he that removes from himself the yoke of the law, upon him 
is placed the yoke of government and business. 

Commentary. — [a) The yoke of the law means diligent study, 
and the removal of the yoke means denying that the law is from 
God, and therefore neglecting it. In Tractate Erubin, page 54, 
column 1, it is said: There is no such free man as he who studies 
the law, for it is written (Exod. xxxii 16): "Engraved tl^lH 

upon the table." Do not read tl^'irij engraved, but tl^'inr 

T •• 

freedom, ^. e., the study of the tables brings freedom. 

Mishna 6. Rabbi Chalafta, from the village Chanania, says: 
Where ten sit and study the law, the Shechina is among them, 
for it is written (Psalm Ixxxii. I): "God stands in the congrega- 
tion." [a) Whence do I know, when even five? For it is writ- 
ten (Amos ix. 6): "And has founded his bundle {h) upon the 
earth." Whence even two? For it is written (Malachi iii. 16): 
"Then conversed they that feared the Lord one with another." 
Whence even one? For it is written (Exod. xx. 21): "In every 
place where I shall permit my name to be mentioned, I will come 
to thee and bless thee." 

Commentary' — {a) A congregation is no less than ten, and ten 
make a congregation. 

(h) A bundle is as much as one can hold with five fingers. 

Mishna 6. Rabbi Eliezer Bartotho says: Give Him of His, 
for thou thyself and thine are His. And thus says David 

^The Talmud explains it more fully in another place; it says : '''The 
verse begins with the Altar and iBnishes with the Table ; that teaches us^ 
that our table is a substitute for the altar." — Tr. 


Ethics of the Fathers. 


(1 Chron. xxix. 14) : "For from thee is everything, and out of 
thine own have we given unto thee." Rabbi Simeon says : When 
one studies* while he is travelling, and interrupts himself and 
says. How beautiful is this tree ! or landscape ! the Scripture 
considers him to have forfeited his life. Rabbi Dostoe, son of 
Janay, said, in the name of Rabbi Meir : Any one who forgets 
a part of what he has learned, has forfeited his life, for it is writ- 
ten (Deut. iv. 9) : "Only take heed to thyself, and guard thy 
soul diligently, that thou do not forget the thing which thine 
eyes have seen." Wouldst thou say that this is the case, even 
when what he has learned is too difficult to be remembered ? 
Therefore it is written [ibid.): "And that they depart not from 
thine heart all the days of thy life." That means to say, that he 
willingly forgets them. Rabbi Chanina, son of Dossa, says : 
When a man first fears sin and then learns wisdom, f his wisdono 
will avail him.; but he who learns wisdom before he has learned 
to fear sin, will not be profited of his wisdom. > , ^ v 

Mishna 7. He used to say : When one's works are more than 
his learning, his learning has stability ; but when his learning 
surpasses his good works, his learning has no stability. He said 
also : Whomsoever people like, him does God like ; and with 
whomsoever people are displeased", with that one God is also 
displeased. Rabbi Dossa, son of Hircanos, says : Sleeping ^ 
late in the morning, drinking wine at noon, chatting with chil- 
dren, and sitting in the company of ignorant people, shorten a 
man's life. 

Mishna 8. Rabbi Eliezer the Modai says : He that profanes 
the holy sacrifices, despises the feasts, makes white his friend's 
face publicly (a), makes naught the covenant of our fiither Abra- 
ham (6), and gives a false explanation of God's law (c), though 
he has learned much and performed good works, he has no part 
in the world to come. 

' "'i 

* No other study than that of the law is considered a study. — Tr. 

t The meaning is, when one's character is firmly fixed, then the wisdom 
he acquires by learning will help him to direct his actions ; but if one 
believes that learning will give him a good character, he may be greatly 
mistaken. — Tr. 

VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 21. 



EtJiies of the Fathers. 


Commentary. — [a) To make one's face white means, to put him 
to shame. 

(b) Covenant of Abraham is circumcision. So, when one does 
not circumcise the child which he is commanded to circumcise. 

(c) A wrong explanation means, doing contrary to what the 
law commands. But this is only the case when one, who did 
these things, died without repentance; in which case, though the 
pains of death blot owt many other sins, it cannot blot out the 
above three mentioned sins ; but if he exercised repentance, no 
sin can remain, as repentance blots out any and every sin. 

Mishna 9. Rabbi Ishmael says : Be humble before a head (a); 
deport thyself easily before a black-haired head (6) ; and meet 
every one with a friendly face (c). 

Commentary. — (a) A head means, any person more honorable 
than thyself. One who, when in company, will be its head. 

{b) A black-haired means a young man whose hair is yet black. 
Do not urge thy company on him. 

{a) Yet even one below thee receive in a friendly way. 
..i^Mishna 10. Rabbi Akiba says: Laughter and light minded- 
ness induce a man to shameful doings. The Masorah* is a hedge 
for the law. Tithes are a hedge for riches. Vows are a hedge 
for self-control {a). The hedge for wisdom is silence.f 

Commentary. — {a) Vows, when they are made and performed, 
will by experience teach the man to refrain from making them. 

Mishna 11. lie used to say : Beloved is man, for he was 
created in the image (of God.) He is peculiarly beloved, because 
he was declared to have been created in (God's) image, as it is 
written (Genesis ix. 6): "For in the image of God made he 
man." Israel is beloved, for he is called the child of God. 

* Masorah, is either to l>e understood Tradition, and then its meanin<]i; 
would be. the commandments of the law of Moses are so hedged around 
hy traditional laws, that no law can be broken hefore all its 8urroundin<i; 
laws are viohited ; or, hy Masorah is to be understood that the traditional 
reading of the text of the holy written Scriptures is its hedge, so that the 
text cannot be corrupted, and its true meaning is thus preserved. — Tr. 

t Silence certainly withholds a man from folly. Solomon said 
(Proverbs xvii. 28) : "Even a fool, when he keepeth silence, is counted 

Wise. — iR. 


Mhics of the Fathers. 


They are peculiarly beloved, because they have been told that they 
are called the children of God (a), as it is written (Deut. xiv. 1) : 
''Ye are children of the Lord your God." Israel is beloved, be- 
cause God gave him a delightful vessel {i. e., the law). They 
are peculiarly beloved, because it was told them that there was 
given them such a delightful vessel, as it is written (Prov. iv. 2^: 
"For good information do I give you, ray teaching must ye 
not forget." - , 

Commentary. — [a) The telling one of a favor is here supposed 
to increase the favor, as an unknown favor may not be regarded. 

Mishna 12. Everything is seen (by God), and freedom is 
granted (to man). The world is well judged, and all according 
to the multitude (a) of the works done. 

Commentary. — [a) Here the Ral^bi solves the great problem of 
fore-knowledge and free-will. He says: "Everything is seen in 
the present tense. Man lives in time; with him all is either past 
or future, for time is transient; but God lives in eternity, where 
there is neither past nor future, but all is present. So, God sees 
everything as it is done, and his seeing does not necessitate the 
action, but freedom is granted to every man to do as he wills." 
"According to the multitude," i. ^., God rewards man for each 
action separately; e. g.\ one gives to one poor man one hundred 
florins, God rewards him as for one action ; another gives one 
hundred florins to one hundred poor men, and God rewards him 
for one hundred actions. The reward is not according to the 
greatness of the act, but according to the number. 

Mishna 13. He used to say: All is given, but on a pledge; 
and a net is spread out upon all who live. The store is open, 
the master of the store lends out with care(rt), the ledger is open, 
and the hand writes down. Whosoever will borrow, let him come 
and borrow. But the executors (5) come daily to exact payment, 
whether the debtor will or not, or have anything on which they 
can rely. The judgment is a true judgment, and all is prepared 
for the entertainment (c). 

Commentary. — {a) With care, i. e., though some may suppose 
their debts are forgotten ; for the wicked may long prosper, yet 
the act is recorded, and care is taken, of it. 



Ethics of the fathers. 


(h) The executors, i e., death and other bodily pains, from 
which no mortal is exempted. . 

[c) "The entertainment," the life to come is represented in 
this figure. >..'. ;. j .-t-vy;-;?-" 

Mishna 14- Rabbi Eliezer, son of Azaria, says: If there is no 
study, tliere can be no good behavior ; and if there is no good 
behavior, there can be no study. If there is no fear of the law, 
there can be no wisdom ; and if there be no wisdom, there can 
be no fear of the law. If there is no understanding, there is no 
knowledge ; and if there is no knowledge, there is no under- 
standing (a). If there is no flour (bread), there is no learning; 
and if there is no learning, there is no flour. 

Commentary. — (a) The Rabbi makes each of the two objects de- 
pendent on the other. Under knowledge he implies the posses- 
sion of various sciences, which depend on the capacity of the 
human mind to grasp them, which he calls understanding. 

Mishna IS. He used to say : lie whose wisdom surpasses his 
good actions is like a tree whose branches are many, but whose 
roots are very few ; the wind comes, uproots, and overthrows it. 
Of him it is written (Jerem. xvii. 6): "And he shall be like a 
lonely tree in the desert, which feels not when good comes, but 
abides in the parched place, in the wilderness, in a salty land 
which cannot be inhabited." But any one whose good works 
surpass his wisdom, is like a tree whose branches are few, but his 
roots are many ; so that, though all the winds may blow at hira, 
they will not move him from his place. Of such a one it is 
written (Jerem. xvii. 8): "And he shall be like a tree that is 
planted by the waters, and by a stream spreads out its roots, 
which feels not vrhen the heat comes, but its leaf remains green, 
and in a year of drought it is undisturbed by care, and ceases 
not from yielding fruit." 

Mishna 16. Rabbi Eliezer, son of Chismo, says : The law con- 
cerning the birds which a woman has to offer after the birth of 
a child,* and the laws concerning her purification, ai'e the bodies 

* It may be curious to the English reader that this entire clause is ex- 
pressed by one Hebrew word, l"'P"'p — Tr. 


Ethics of the Fathers* 


of the laws {i. «., most important). But astronomy and geometry* 
are like the dessert of a banquet.f 

Part IV. Mishna. 

Mlshna 1. Ben Zoma says : Who is wise ? He that learns 
from everybody, as it is written (Psalm cxix. 99), "I became 
wise from all my teachers." Who is a hero? He that can 
conquer his own lusts, as it is written (Prov. xvi. 32), "One that 
is slow to anger is better than a hero, and he that rules his spirit 
than the conqueror of a city." Who is rich? He who is con- 
tent with .his portion, as it is written (Psalm cxxviii. 2), "When 
thou eatest the labor of thy hands, thou wilt be happy and it 
shall be well with thee." Thou wilt be happy in this world, and 
it Avill be well with thee in the world to come. Who is honored? 
He that honors others; as it is written (1 Sam. ii. 30), "For 
those that honor me I will honor, and those that despise me shall 
be lightly esteemed." •;:,;? 

Mishna 2. The son of Azai says : Run to do a small command- 
ment, as to do a great one («) ; and flee from sin. For one good 
action follows another, and one sin brings with it another. The 
reward of one good deed is another good deed, and the reward of 
one sin is another sin. 

Commentanj. — [a) The Rabbis say : That when Moses ap- 
pointed the three cities of refuge this side of the Jordan, he knew 
that they could be of no use until the other three cities of refuge 
on the other side were established, for it is written (Num. xxxv. 13), 
"Six cities shall be unto you." Nevertheless, Moses said. 
Though I can fulfil but half of the commandment, I will not 
neglect it. 

Mishna 3. He used to say : Despise not any man, and contemn 
no thing, for every man has his time, and everything its place. 

* The Tiihnud seems to have no word to express /geometry, and uses 
the Greek Teufierpla with the Hebrew plural, tll2j^'''ltp)2'^5' ^^j for the 
word dessert, it uses tlliSllSIsS' i- €., ;} nepiipopa^ and many other Greek 
words will be found. — Tu. 

t The whole Mishna mefins, that the lest important scriptural law is 
more important than the greatest scientific laws. — Tr. 



Etliics of the Fathers. 


Mishna 4- Rabbi Levitas from Jabne says : Be very, very 
meek ! (a) For all that a man can hope for is to be consumed 
by worms. 

Commentary. — {a) Meekness is the best quality that man can 
possess. In Tractate Meggilah, page 31, we find: Rabbi 
Jochanan said : Wherever thou findest described the greatness of 
God, there thou findest described his meekness. This is written 
in the law, repeated in the prophets, and also in the Hagiography. 
In the law (Deut. x. 17, 18): "For the Lord your God is the 
God of gods, and the Lord of lords. , . . Who executes judgment 
for the fatherless and widow." In the prophets (Isaiah Ivii. 15): 
"Thus says the Lord, the high and lofty One, ... I dwell with 
the humble." In the Hagiography (Psalm Ixviii. 5, 6): Extol 
Him who rides upon the heaven, ... "a father of the fiitherless, 
and a judge of the widows." The greatest encomium that was 
given to Moses was: "The man Moses was very meek" (Num- 
bers xii. 3). 

Mishna 6. Rabbi Jochanan, son of Beroka, says: Any one 
who profanes God's name in secret is punished publicly, be the 
profanation [committed] willingly or unwillingly {a). 

Commentary. — (a) That is to say, if it was done willingly, the 
punishment in accordance with it will be visited upon the perpe- 
trator publicly; and when it was done unawares, the punishment 
in accordance with it will happen publicly. 

Mishna 6. Rabbi Ishmael says : He that learns for the sake 
of learning, is helped (from above) to learn and to teach. But 
he who learns for the sake of doing (what he learns), is helped 
to learn and to teach, to observe and to do. Rabbi Zadok says : 
Do not make (thy learning) a crown, in order to become great 
by it, nor a mattock, to dig with.* And thus said Hillel : "He 

* Maiinonides jj;ives here a large homily aorainst those who try to live 
at the expense of others, whilst engaged in study. To understand his 
rebuke, it must be stated that it was already the custom of many Jews in 
the eleventh century to emigrate to Jerusalem for the purpose of studying 
the Talmud there, and to depend for their subsistence on the alms sent 
them from Jewish congregations in various quarters of the globe. Mai- 
monides, in his integrity, despised such an idle life; and he quotes many 
instances of the great Rabbis who showed their aversion to such dealings. 


Ethics of the Fathers. 


that makes use of the crown should die." Hence thou canst 
learn, that whosoever iiiake§ any gain by the word of God has 
already taken the reward which he might have expected in the 
world to come. 

Mishna 7. Rabbi Josi says : Whosoever honors the law, he 
himself is honored by men ; but whosoever profanes the law, he 
himself is profaned by men (a). 

Commentary. — (a) The honor of the law consists in observing 
it, and honoring the learned and their writings. 

Mishna 8. Rabbi Ishmael says: He that withdraws himself 
from being a judge avoids hatred, robbery, and false swearing ; 
but he who gives decision with a proud heart is a fool, a wicked 
man, and possesses a proud spirit.* 

Mishna 9. He used to say : Do not give a verdict when thou 
art the only judge; for to judge singly is only permitted to the 
only One {i. e., God). And do not say. Take my opinion ; for 
they are allowed, and not thou (a). 

Commentary. — (a) When thou nrt sitting with other judges, 
who differ from thee, thou canst not force upon them thy opinions, 
for they, being the majority, are allowed to sustain their opinions, 
but thou art not allowed to coerce them. 

Mishna 10. Rabbi Jonathan says : Whosoever occupies him- 
self with the law w^hen he is poor, will occupy himself with it, 
even when he becomes rich. But whosoever neglects the law 
when he is rich, wMll neglect it when poor (a). 

The first is the great Rabbi Ilillel, who lived in abject poverty, and had 
to support himself by cuttinu; wood whilst he attended the teachino; of 
Sheinaia and Abtalion. Secondly, Rabbi Chanina, of whom a voice from 
heaven said: "The whole world is sustained for the sake of Chanina my 
son, and Chanina himself lives on a measure of St. John's bread (Carob) 
from one Friday to another." In a year of famine Rabbi Jehuda tho 
holy opened his granary to the poor and said : "Let any one who is 
learned partake of it." The learned Rabbi Jonathan came for some help, 
whereupon he was asked: "Hast thou learned anythin<;?" He answered, 
"No." "But," asked Rabbi Jehudah, "wherefore shall I help thee?" 
Rabbi Jonathan answered : "Feed me, as God feeds the do^ or the raven." 
So great was their aversion to receive any favor as learners. — Tr. 

* According to the Jewish jurisprudence, he who deprives one of the 
litigants even of one penny to the profit of the other, by giving a wrong 
judgment, though unwillingly, is a robber and a perjurer. — Tr. 



Ethics of the Fathers. 


Commentary. — («) If poverty and the trouble of gaining his 
livelihood will not prevent a man from studying the law, a com- 
fortable life will certainly not do it. But if the comforts of riches 
will prevent one from study, much more the caros of poverty. 

• Mishna 11. Rabbi Meir says: Do less business, and take time 
for studying the law, and be humble before every man (a). Wilt 
thou neglect the study of the law? So wilt thou find many, things 
which will make thee neglect it. But if thou art diligent in its 
study, there is great reward to be given to thee. 

Commentary. — (a) "Before every man." Not only before one 
who is greater than thou art, but even before thine equal, or one 
less than thyself. 

Mishna 12. Rabbi Eliezer, son of Jacob, says: He that fulfils 
one commandment acquires an- advocate, and he that commits a 
sin acquires an accuser.* Repentance and good works are like 
a shield against punishment (a). 

Commentary. — (a) Repentance and good works — i. e., either 
repentance after committing sin, or good works at the beginning, 
will save a man from hell. Every good action will speak for 
man's acquittal, and every bad action will ask his condemnation. 

Mishna 13. Rabbi Jochanan, the shoemaker, says : Every 
assembly which assembles for God's sake will have stability. But 
if it is not for God's sake, it will have no stability. Rabbi 
Eliezer, son of Sliamua, says: Let the honor of thy pupil be dear 
unto thee as thine own, and the honor of thy companion as the 
reverence for thy teacher; and the reverence for thy teacher as 
the fear of God. Rabbi Juda says : Take care of thyself when 
thou art learned, for the error of the learned is presumption. | 
Rabbi Simeon says : There are three crowns — the crown of the 
law, the crown of priesthood, and the crown of royalty. But the 
crown of a good name overtops them all {a). 

Commentary. — {a) God crowned Israel with three crowns. To 

* The orijrinal has for the -yv^ord advocate t^'^bpIS? UapaK^.r^rog, and 

for the word accuser, l^t^'^tOpj llaHj-yopog. The first corresponds to the 

Hebrew ^^\)2- the latter to the Hebrew I'Dtl? — Tr. 

f A wronji; act committed by a learned man, thoup;h done in ignorance, 
people will suppose to be done in presumption. — Tr. 


Ethics of the Fathers. 


Aaron be gave the crown of priesthood, to David the crown of 
royalty. The crown of the law is left for any one who will take 
it up; but in the law the other two crowns are contained, as it is 
written (Prov. viii. 15): "Through me (learning) do princes rule 
and nobles decree justice." The crown of a good name gotten 
by learning surpasses them all. 

Mishna 16. Rabbi Neharbi says : Go thou to the place of 
learning, but do not think that the learning will come to thee, or 
that thy friends will bring it to thee. And do not rely on thy 

Mishna 16. Rabbi Janai says : We possess neither the peace 
of the ungodly nor the sufferings of the righteous. Rabbi Mathya, 
son of Charash, says : Greet everybody first. And be rather the 
tail of a lion than the head of a fox (a). 

Commentary. — (a) That is, be rather a pupil of some great 
Rabbi than a teacher to some one less than thyself. For in the 
first case thou wilt always learn more, while in the latter thou 
wilt forget. -v^*;, .■ _*^. .;-v;,. *;;,.,■■ .'^ •;....- r^ 

Mishna 17. Rabbi Jacob says : This world is like the entry 
hall to the world to come.* Prepare thyself in the entrance hall, 
that thou mayest be allowed to enter the dining room. 

Mishna 18. He used to say : One hour spent in repentance 
and good works in this world is better than all the life to come (a); 
and one hour of a cool spirit in the world to come is better than 
all the life in this world. .. , .,, 

Commentary. — (a) The world to come is only the consequence 
of this world ; he that has prepared here can enjoy there. "For 
there is no work nor, experience nor knowledge nor wisdom in 
the world whither thou goest" (Eccles. ix. 10). Therefore, one 
can gain in one hour in this world what it is impossible for him 
to gain in the whole life of the world to come. 

Mishna 19. Rabbi Simeon, son of Eliezer, says: Do not try 
to reconcile thy friend whilst he is angry ; do not comfort him 
whilst his dead lies before him ; do not question him whilst he is 

* The original has here for entry-hall, "mTTlB) npdaodog^ and for the 
word dining-room, *l'^^p'^^p» TpUhvov, triclinium. — Tr. 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 22. 



Ethics of the Fathers. 


making his vow ; and do not try to see him whilst in the middle 
of affliction. ,_.,,,,,. _ ,^, . 

Mishna 20. Samuel, the little one, says : At the fall of thy 
■ enemy do not rejoice ; and at his stumbling let not thy heart be 
glad; "lest the Lord see it, and it be displeasing in his eyes, and 
he turn away from him his wrath" (Proverbs xxiv. 17, 18). 

Mishna 21. Elisha, son of Abuya, says : He that teaches the 
yonns^is like one who writes with ink upon new paper; but he 
who/ceaohes the old is as one who writes with ink upon old paper, 
from which writing has been erased. 

. Mishna 22. Rabbi Josi, son of Juda, from the Babylonic vil- 
lage, says: He who learns from the young is like one who eats 
unripe grapes, and drinks out of his wine-press. But he who 
learns from the old is like one who eats ripe grapes and drinks 
old wine. The Rabbi says: Do not regard the flask, but its con- 
tents. There is a new flask full of old wine, and there is an old 
flask wherein there is not even new wine. 

Mishna 28. Rabbi Eliezer, the Capor (?), says : Envy, lust, 
and vain glory shorten a man's life * 

rUrMishva 2^,. Housed to say: Those who are born must die, 
and those who nre dead will revive, and all living will be judged. 
To know, make known and take knowledge (a), that He is the 
mighty, the One who forms, the Creator, and the future Judge. 
Blessed be he ! before whom there is no perversion of judgment, 
no forgetfulness, no respect of persons, no bribery; for all is his. 
And know, that all will be by reckoning. Let thy imagination 
not persuade thee that the grave is a place of refuge. f Thou art 
formed without thy consent, unknowingly thou art born, without 
thy will thou livest, against thy will thou diest, and constrained (h) 
wilt thou have to give reckoning and account before the King of 
kings the Holy One, whose name be blessed. 

* There is nothin<^ which makes a man's life more miserable than envy, 
because all that makes others happy conspires to make him most miser- 
able. He is the enemy of all mankind. Lust weakens man's natural 
constitution. Vain-glory is an object of continual pursuit, which yet is 
never attained. — Tr. . .' ' 

t Both the punishment and the reward of an action is given, according 
to the Talmud, in this world. — Tr. ■ . ■ 


Ethics of the Fathers. 


. I 

Commentary. — (a) To know, make known, and take knowl- 
edge, refers to the three divisions of mankind: those not yet 
born, those who are born, and those who will rise after death ; of 
the first he is the .former, of the second the judge^ and of the third 
he wiJl be the judge. "No respect of persons," i. «., if any one 
has done ever so many good actions, and committed but one sin, 
that sin will be punished. On the contrary, the wicked who per- 
form only one good action will be rewarded for it. 

{b) Here the Rabbi would say, that all natural accidents hap- 
pen to man without man's will, but that the doing of good or bad 
lies in man's own will : and, therefore, though unwilling, man 
must nevertheless give an account of all his doings while in 
the body. ., ,,,., ^ 

• Part V. Mishna. 

Mishna 1. With ten sayings (a) did God create the universe ; 
and does this teach us? Could he not create it with one saying? 
Yes, but he speaks thus to show, with emphasis, that he will 
punish the wicked who destroy a world which was created with 
ten sayings, and reward the righteous who establish a world 
which was created with ten sayings. 

Commentary. — (a) Nine times are repeated the words, ^'•and 
he said.''' *)72Sli*'l) ^^ the six days of creation, and the word 
n^tpiJ^llil makes ten. ' '"^I- 

Mishna 2. Ten generations passed from Adam until Noah, to 
teach thee how long-suffering God is ; in that all these genera- 
tions were continually provoking him to anger, until he brought 
upon them the deluge. There were ten generations from Noah 
to Abraham, to show thee how long-suffering God is; for all these 
generations continually provoked him, till Abraham came and 
received the reward which they might have had. 

Mishna 3. With ten trials {a) was Abraham tried, and re- 
mained steadfast ; to show how great our father Abraham's love 
to God was. 

Commentary. — (a) The first trial was, leaving his country ; 
2d, the famine in Canaan ; 3d, Pharaoh's taking Sarah ; 4th, 
Abraham's war with the four kings ; 5th, taking Hagar as his 
wife while despairing of a son from Sarah ; 6th, circumcision in 



Ethics of the Fathers^ 


old age ; 7th, the taking away of Sarah by Abimelech, king of 
. Gherar; 8th, the driving away of Hagar; 9th, the sending away 
of Ishnaael ; 10th, the offering up of Isaac on Mount Moriah. 

M'ishna 4- Ten miracles were done to onr fathers in Egypt (a), 
and ten at the Red Sea (b). Ten times did our fathers tempt 
Grod in the wilderness (c); as it is written (Numbers xiv. 22), 
"And they tempted me these ten times, and did not hearken to 
my voice." .' ' '' ■' '■"- ^^■'^' ff^twAvi-i, ;;...- -. .„..♦.; v'-f. -. 

Commentary. •^:=-^) The ten miracles in Egypt were the ten 
plagues, from which the Israelites were exempted. 

ib) The ten miracles at the Red Sea were: Ist, the dividing 
of the waters ; 2d, that the water formed itself into a roof; 3d, 
that the ground became hard for easy walking ; 4th, that the 
road on which the Egyptians walked was sticky clay ; 5th, that 
the water was divided into twelve separate roads for the twelve 
tribes; 6th, that the water became hard like stone; 7th, that the 
water was in separate layers like bricks; 8th, that hardened 
water was transparent; 9th, that the hardened water yielded 
sweet drinking water ; and, 10th, that as soon as the sweet water 
was used, what was left hardened.* 

ic) The ten temptations were: 1st, at the Red Sea; 2d, at 
Marah, asking for water; 3d, before the giving of the manna; 
4th, seeking the manna on the Sabbath ; 6th, at Rephidim ; 
7th, making the golden calf; 8th, at Taverah ; 9th, at Kibhroth 
ha Taara, asking flesh ; 10th, in sending the twelve spies. 

Mishna 5- Ten miracles were done to our fathers in the holy 
temple, viz.: (1) No woman miscarried from the smell of the holy 
flesh (sacrifice) ; (2) The holy flesh never became corrupt; (3) No 
fly ever appeared in the slaughter-house; (4) No high priest ever 
became self polluted on the day of atonement; (5) The rain never 
extinguished the fire on the altar (a); (6) The wind never blew 
away the pillar of smoke (6); (7) There was never found anything 
wrong in the sheaf, the two loaves,t and the shew-bread; (8) The 

* Every item of this statement, is sustained by an ingenious sentence 
from the Scriptures. — Tr, 

t The sheaf was that which was brought on the second day of Easter, 
and lifted up before the Lord (Leviticus xxiii. 10-15). The two loaves 
are those which were to be offered on Pentecost. — Tr. 


^^ ■■-■.■7 X 

Ethics of the Fathers, 


worshippers in the temple stood in very limited space, but when 
they fell down to worship they had space enough ;* (9) No ser- 
pent or scorpion ever did any harm in Jerusalem ; (10) No 
Israelite ever said, "There is no place for me to lodge in 


Commentary. — (a) The altar stood in the fore-court, where 

there was no covering, and yet the fire burnt continually. 

(h) The pillar of smoke, which was caused by the burning of 
sacrifices, was never disturbed by the wind. 

Mishna 6. Ten things were created on the evening before 
Sabbath, in the twilight (a): (1) the mouth of the earth; (2) the 
mouth of the well ; (3) the mouth of the ass ; (4) the rainbow ; 
(5) the manna; (6) the staff; (7) the Shamir ; (8) the written ; 
(9) the writing; and (10) the tables. Some say, also, the demons 
and the grave of Moses, and the oak of our father Abraham. 
Others say, even the tongs by which the first tongs was made. 

Commentary. — (a) All things mentioned here, though they 
appeared to occur at different tinies, were nevertheless caused by 
the same God, and it was fixed and appointed at the time of 
creation when they should take place. (1) The mouth of the 
earth to swallow Korah ; (2) the mouth of the well, ^. e.^ the 
opening of the rock to give water ; (3) the raouth of the ass, of 
Balaam ;t (6) the staff, i. g., the rod of Moses ;t (7) the Shamir, 
i. e., a kind of animal which splits any hard substance over which 
it is thrown. Solomon in building the temple was not allowed 
to cut the stones by iron, and employed this Shamir to split the 
stones; (8) the written, ^. ^., the written tables; (9) the writing 
on the tables ; (10) the tables of stone, which were, according to 
tradition, large precious diamonds. " 

Mishna 7 . There are seven properties in a wise man, and 
seven in an idiot. A wise man will not talk before any one who 

^' Literally, stood swimming, and worshipped commodiously. — Tr. 

t Maimonides in his Ductor perplexorum regards this and the visit of 
the three angels to Abraham as a dream. — Tr. 

X The Jewish tradition is, that Adam took it with him from Paradise, 
gave it to Shem, Shem to Abraham, Abraham to Jacob — or Shem to 
Jacob — Jacob who brought it to Egypt, Jethro stole it and planted it in 
his garden, where Moses found it and performed by it his miracles. — Tr. 



Ethics of the Fathers. 


is his superior in wisdom and age; he will not interrupt another's 
speech ; he will not be hasty in answering any question ; he will 
ask properly, and answer to the point ; he takes up any matter 
in proper order ; he will confess his ignorance, and give in to 
the truth. The contrary in each of these cases is true of the idiot. 

Mishna 8. Seven kinds of punishments come upon the world 
for seven kinds of sins. When some give tithe and some not, 
then comes a famine of drought; so that some are filled and some 
do hunger. Do they not give tithe at all ? tnere comes a famine 
of war and of drought. When they do not ^ive the first cake of 
the dough to the priest, a universal famine comes (a). '' : • 

Commentary. — (a) The difference between these three kinds 
of famine is, that the famine of drought is only partial, some 
fields get rain and some do not; the war famine is by reasoi of 
the people's not having time to sow their fields; the universal 
famine is by reason of no rain at all. 

Mishna 9. Pestilence- comes upon the world because the four 
punishments of death are not executed by the law courts, and be^- 
cause the fruits of the Sabbath year are eaten. The sword (war) 
comes upon the world because justice is delayed and perverted. 

Mishna 10. Wild beasts destroy the world, because people 
swear falsely and profane God's name. The punishment of exile 
is visited upon the world, because of idolatry, fornication, murder, 
and the neglect of releasing the field (in the Sabbath year). At 
four times does the pestilence increase: in the fourth year, in the 
seventh year, and at the end of the seventh year, and at the end 
of every feast in the year. In the fourth year, because of the 
neglect of giving the poor tithe in the third year; in the seventh 
year, because of the neglect to give the poor tithe in the sixth 
year ; at the end of the seventh year, because of the fruits of the 
Sabbath year;* and after every feast, because the poor were 
robbed of the gifts due to them at every feast. 

* The private consumption of the fruits of the seventh year, which 
were common property. It will be easily perceived that the purport 
of Mishna 8, 9, and 10 is to teach the well-established doctrine of the 
Talmud: that the world exists only for the sake of Israel-, and that 
all calamities of the world come also in consequence solely of Israel's 
sins. — iR. 


Ethics of the Fathers. 


Mishna 11. Men possess four kinds of characters (literally 
measures). Mine is mine, and thine is thine; that is middling. 
Some say, it is the character of the Sodomites. Mine is thine 
and thine is mine, that is common. Mine is thine and thine thine 
own, that is piety. Mine is mine and thine is mine, that is the 
character of the wicked. 

Mishna 12. Men posses four kinds of natures (literally meas- 
ure). One is quick to become angry, and easy to be reconciled ; his 
reward counterbalances his loss. Another is difficult to become 
angry, and difficult to be reconciled; his loss counterbalances his 
reward. A third is difficult to become angry, and easy to be 
reconciled; that is piety. A fourth is quick to become angry, 
but difficult to be reconciled ; that is wicked. 

Mishna IS. There are to be found four properties (literally 
measures) in students. Quick to comprehend and quick to forget; 
his gain is equal to his loss. Difficult to comprehend and difficult 
to forget; his loss equals his gain. Quick of comprehension and 
slow in forgetting ; that is a good portion. Slow in comprehension 
and quick in forgetting; that is an evil portion. 

Mishna llf,. There are four properties (literally measures) in 
men giving alms. (1) One gives himself willingly, but does not 
like that others shall give; his eye is evil as to the property of 
others. (2) Another likes that others shall give, but does not 
hke to give himself; he has an evil eye as to his own. (3") A 
third gives, and likes that others shall also give; he is pious. 
(4) Neither does he give, nor does he like others to give; that is 
wicked.* ' ' - 

Mishna 16. There are four qualities (literally measures) in 
those who go to study. He goes, but does not study ; he has the 
reward of his going. He studies, but does not go; he has the 
reward of his study. He goes and studies; that is the pious one. 
He does not go nor study ; that a wicked one. 

Mishna 16. There are four qualities (literally measures) in 
those who attend the teaching of the wise. A Sponge, a funnel, 
a filter, and a sieve. The quality of a sponge is his who sucks 

*Ca8es 1 and 3 are oases of alms-j2;ivinji;, but 2 and 4 only pertain to it. 
Similar discrepancy will be observed in the next Mishna. — Tr. 


Ethics of the Fathers^. 


up everything ; of a funnel, who receives what he hears in one ear 
and dismisses it through the other ear; of a filter, who ejects the 
best and retains the worst; of a sieve, which lets go the fine flour 
and retains the coarse flour.* 

, Mishna 17. Whenever love depends on something that will 
cease, as soon as the thing ceases this love ceases; but when it 
does not depend on a transient matter, it never ceases (a). What 
kind of love is it that depends on a things that cease? The 
love of Araon and Thamar (2 Samuel xiii. 1-15). And what 
kind of love does not depend on passing things? The love of 
David and Jonathan (2 Samuel xviii. 1). "■■" f' 

Qommentary. — (a) The thought of the Mishna is, that all ma- 
terial objects must ultimately cease, and if man's aff'ections are 
set on such objects they must cease, but the spiritual is of 
eternal duration. , .- ,,. , ... . 

;f^ Mishna 18. Every dispute which is for God's sake will endure; 
but every dispute which is not for God's sake will not endure. 
What kind of dispute is for God's sake? That of Hillel and 
Shamai.f And what kind of dispute is not for God's sake? 

'*' *The word tr^O is understood bv lexicoo;rapher8, like Gesenius, ta 

mean j^ne flour. Maiinonidea, however, means that it denotes the coarse 
flour, else the idea of the Mishna would be altogether wrong. The Mishna 
gives preference to the sieve, and it agrees with the doctrine of our pres- 
ent science, that coarse flour is more nourishing than fine. — Tr. 

tHillel and Shamai were two presidents of two great schools. Rabbi 
Hillel is said to have been of a very patient and mild temper, and was 
very popular, because he always favored making things as easy as pos- 
sible; while Rabbi Shamai was of a contrary temper. In regard to what 
is allowed or not allowed, what is to be considered clean or unclean, these 
two schools always differed. The dispute went to such a height, that 
once, when both parties were together in one room, and the disciples of 
Shamai outnumbered those of Hillel, they stuck a sword into the ground 
and threatened to kill any one who should leave the room ; and thus 
having gained the majority, fixed eighteen laws. The most curious part, 
perhaps, of this scene is, that when a certain Rabbi met Elias, who, ac- 
cording to Talmudical tradition, was a frequent visitor of the Rabbinical 
schools, and asked him: Which of these two schools is in the right? 
Elias answered him. The words of the one as well as the other (which 
perfectly contradict each other) are the words of the living God. — Tr. 


Ethics of the Fathers, 


That of Korab and his assembly. He who makes others virtuous 
will not sin ; but whosoever makes others to sin will not be per- 
mitted to repent. Moses was virtuous and led others to virtue; 
the virtue of those others is ascribed to him, as it is written (Deut. 
xxxiii. 21), "He executed the justice of the Lord, and his judg- 
ments with Israel." Jeroboam sinned and made many others to 
sin; the sins of those others are ascribed to him, as it is written 
(1 Kings xiv. 16), "Who did sin and who induced Israel to sin." 

Mishna 19. Whosoever possesses the following three properties 
is one of the disciples of our father Abraham; and whosoever . 
possesses three other properties is a disciple of the wicked Ba- 
laam. He who has a good eye (a), a humble spirit, and a mag- 
nanimous soul, is a disciple of our father Abraham. But whoso- 
ever has a bad eye, a proud spirit, and a pusillanimous soul, is a 
disciple of the wicked Balaam. What is the difference between 
the disciples of our father Abraham and the disciples of the wicked 
Balaam? The disciples of our father Abraham enjoy this life and 
inherit the world to come, as it is written (Proverbs viii. 21), "That 
I may cause those that love me to inherit a lasting possession ; and ' 
their treasures I will fill." But the disciples of the wicked Balaam 
inherit Gehenna, and descend to the pit of destruction, as it is 
written (Psalm Iv. 24), "But thou, God, thou wilt bring them 
<lown into the pit of destruction : let the men of blood and deceit 
not live out half of their days: but I will trust in thee." 

Commentary. — {a) A good eye means one who is not greedy, 
but content with what he has. As for instance, Abraham refused 
to receive anything out of the hands of the king of Sodom. An 
evil eye is one which has never enough, as Balaam who said, 
"If Balak gave me his house full of gold and silver." 

Mishna W. Jehudah son of Thoma says : Be fierce as a leopard, 
light as an eagle, swift as a roe, and strong as a lion, to do the 
will of thy Father who is in heaven. He used to say: The impu- 
dent belong to hell, and the bashful belong to Paradise.* Let 
thy will be, Lord our God, that thy city be quickly built in 
our days, and let our portion be in thy law. 

*The Rabbi supposes that the Israelites are mostly bashful, whilst the 
heathen are frenerally bold and impudent. — Tr. 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 23. 




Ethics of the Fathers. 


Mishna 'Bl. He used to say: At the age of five years one is 
to learn the holy writ; at the age of ten the Mishna; at the age 
of thirteen one is obliged to keep God's commandments;* at the 
age of fifteen one is to study the Geniara; at the age of eighteen 
one must marry ;f at the age of twenty one must pursue (busi- 
ness) ; at the age of thirty he possesses strength ; at the age of 
forty understanding ; at the age of fifty he can counsel; at the 
age of sixty he is an old man ; at seventy he is a hoary man ; at 
eighty he must possess vigor (to arrive to that age) ; at ninety 
he can only meditate ; at a hundred years he is like one dead, 
and no more regarded in this world. The son of Bagbag says : 
Turn, and turn again in it {i. e., in the law), for you find all in 
it; contemplate it, and become old, and finish thy existence over 
it, but do not remove thyself from it, for there is nothing better 
than the law. The son of Hehe says : As the pains, so the 

♦According to the Jewish jurisprudence, a child before the age of thir- 
teen is not commanded to keep God's commandments. Women, slave?, 
and little ones, says the Talmud, are released from obeying the law. It 
is, therefore, the usage that when a male child becomes thirteen years 
old, he is called up to read a portion of the law in the synagogue publicly, 
and the father says then, "Blessed art thou, Lord! who hast relieved me 
from this punishment." — Tr. 

fEarly marriag;e is a bounden duty with the Israelites. The Talmud 
says: Till man arrives at the age of twenty God waits for him to marry; 
after that time God curses him for diminishing the people of Israel. — Tr. 



Critical Notices. 



Sylhhus and Notes of the Course of Systematic and Polemic 

' Theology, taught in Union Theological Seminary, Virginia. 

By R. L. Dabney, D. D., LL.D. Second Edition. St. Louis, 

1878. 903 pp., large octavo. 


Dr. Dabney, in the publication of this book, has done the sci- 
ence of Theology a service at once most valuable and most season- 
able. A one-sided development of Calvinism, too exclusively 
forensic, has had the public ear and held the public sway in the 
Calvinistic world for more than a third of a century. WWlst this 
development was taking form and scientifically arranging its re- 
sults, there were more than occasional murmurs from old-time 
theologians against the new thoughts that had been thrust into 
the old statements on vital points. Now that the structure is 
complete, and stands forth in the full dimensions and proportions 
to which its "idea" has all along tended, it is time to enter a 
formal protest against the authority it assumes. Dr. Dabney has 
had the eminent privilege and honor to rearticulate the ancient 
Calvinism in the forms of modern scientific thought; and well 
has he done the work. He deserves the most careful study, and, 
if worth can win its due, will receive it from theologians of all 

'schools. ' ■•. - V' . ::'■< n'^i.-j -, ',? 

The ethical Reason instinctively assumes that there must be 
some nearer approach between "the subjective and the objective," 
the real and the forensic, than the so-called Princeton-school can 
admit. It is this felt need which makes the now most popular 
and current Calvinism seem defective and artificial, and has driven 
some of its ablest defenders to seek a remedy in the untenable dogma 
of a substantive generic humanity. The reader of«this neo-Calvin- 
ism is quite conscious that he is in the hands of a system whose 
spirit, point of view, and practical results, are strangely different 
from those of Calvin's Institutes. Especially is this the fact in 
reference to the two great all-controlling subjects, the Fall in 
Adam and the Restoration in Christ.. In reading the "Course of 



Critical Notices. 


Theology" under review, one feels that he is led back to the old 
pastures — food for the soul — in which the needs of the moral 
instincts are not sacrificed to the demands of a factitious sym- 
metry determined by the constructive imagination. We con- 
sider that this return to the postulate "that God's judgments 
are according to the truth," and not merely according to a "con- 
cept," is the all-conditioning characteristic of these lectures, and 
stamps them with a personality and significance altogether their 
own. If now Dr. Dabney would prepare, and publish a practical 
work, like "Hodge's Way of Life," they would be tests clearly 
revealing to the intelligent untheological layman the animus of 
each system. Of this much we are sure : Dabney 's book would 
have much more need of the sinfulness of human nature and the 
work of the Holy Spirit than, strange to say, there is room for 
in "The Way of Life." The "Sensualistic Philosophy," the 
"Syllabus and Notes," and the future "Guide to Life," would 
form a complete series. ' 

The form of the book is determined to a great extent by the 
wants of the class-room. Hence, each lecture is prefaced with a 
syllabus to guide the student in his reading. In this prescrip- 
tion, however, Dr. Dabney evidently intends to plan a full course 
of study for the post-graduate in after-life. In the immense 
claim that is made upon every professional man for keeping up 
with his science, he has imperative need of a qualified "professor" 
to point out what is worth the time and labor of reading ; and 
Dr. Dabney has done this Avith unexceptionable wisdom for the 
theologian. The curriculum is not too much for average dili- 
gence to accomplish, and yet, at the same time, gives a complete 
view of theological science. No better guide for study or for a 
library is known to the writer, who, as he often looked back with 
pain upon his own weary and useless reading, has equally often 
tried to save his younger brethren from the same mistake. 

The lectures themselves are gems. We know nothing in the 
realm of theological literature with which they can be compared 
for luminous excellence except the sixteen published lectures of 
Dr. Thornwell. Indeed, excepting the peculiar charm of that 
brilliant man's style, they are equal to these in all substantial 


Critical Notiees. 


merits, and superior to them in patient, sober thought. In read- 
ing Thornwell, one feels that the author is in danger of being led 
astray and leading the hearer astray by his own powers of gen- 
eralisation. On the contrary, in reading Dabney, he feels himself 
under the guide of a safe and cautious leader, who examines with 
inexorable analysis the contents of his statements. The wisdom, 
moderation, conservatism, balance, and symmetry of these lectures, 
as well as their extensive learning, are above all praise. The 
march of their logic is a most salutary and delightful exercise. 
Evidently they are not intended to exhaust their subjects, but to 
teach the way in which the reader may safely explore all the ter- 
ritory for himself. Thus, in less than nine hundred pages we 
have more and better theology than is often found in as many 
thousands. We find in the book no fruitful tendency to absurd 
deductions and generalisations offensive to that rational and moral 
nature of man to which alone a revelation can be given or a 
theology be intelligible or possible. The educating power of 
these lectures is wonderful. The ex-pupils of Dr. Dabney are 
accustomed to give expression to a most enthusiastic admiration 
of their former teacher. In the light of these didactics and po- 
lemics, this enthusiara is altogether comprehensible. If there 
are pleasure and benefit in having one's own mind aroused, 
stimulated, and guided to its most vigorous action, then surely 
that pleasure and profit await the reader of the "Course of Theo- 
logy taught in Union Theological Seminary, Virginia." We have 
no hesitation in saying that it is the best book with which we are 
acquainted, to put into the hands of students, ministers, and in- 
telligent laymen. ^-^ wv tiirjv .-^i, t»j^j*...Ti.,j, 
The plan of the work is substantially that of our standards ; 
and, if the author had followed their order more exactly, he 
would perhaps have done quite as well, if not better. It is 
scarcely an advantage to put the discussion of ihe moral law im- 
mediately after the lectures on original sin. It does not appear 
that the plan of the Westminster standards is capable of im- 
provement. This order assigns the law its most logical place 
in a system of Christian theology — its .place as the rule of Chris- 
tian living. To be sure, the pedagogic office of the law is logi- 



Critical Notices. 


cally in place as a preparation far the reception of grace ; and, 
without doubt, thia view was the one that determined its place 
before ''the covenant of grace"^ in "the Syllabus and Notes/' 
Perhaps, to be perfectly true to the facts of experience, it ought 
to be in both places, and may therefore properly appear in either. 

It is manifest that Dr. Dabney intends his "Sensualistic Phi- 
losophy" to be the companion and fore-runner of his Theology. 
These two books are a most noble pair of brothers. They have 
the same characteristic traits of great learning, ability, fairness, 
logic, and thorough research. It is right, too, that the philosophy 
should be introductory to the theology. Our standards begin at 
the beginning, and therefore set out from the fundamental fact of 
man's conscious existence. Hence, a just and adequate knowl- 
edge of one's self with his laws of thought is a necessary pre- 
requisite of all theology ; and especially so, as the belief in God's 
existence is dependent on a belief in the laws under which the 
human mind exists. Dr. Dabney has indeed done well in incor- 
porating parts of his philosophy, as they were needed, in his 
course of theology ; but the whole of his psychology and meta- 
physics is a necessary preparation for a just appreciation of 
the man and of his work for the defence of divine truth. • 

The reviewer is aware that he is speaking almost too much as 
a judge, and discarding the good example of Dr. Dabney, in 
giving, at every step, the ground of the faith that is in him. The 
impossibility of exhibiting, in this short notice, the proofs and 
examples of the excellent traits and individual character which 
distinguish this new theological work, is his only excuse. At 
some future time he hopes to deal with it in more detail, "objec- 
tively and relatively considered," whilst he now declares only 
the effect of its presence upon his own mind and heart. 

Before finishing, however, the writer wishes to put on record 
his dissent in two particulars. The points to be criticised, how- 
ever, are independent of its general drift, and do not depreciate 
its value as a whole. They can be exscinded and leave a com- 
plete and unique volume behind. First, on pages 95, 96, Dr. 
Dabney argues that a logical judgment — -the conclusion of a just 
syllogism — is truly and properly intuitive. We deem this a 


Critical Notice9. 


grave error in psychology. True, there is no practical use made 
of this generalisation in the progress of the lectures; but, as all 
error tends to practical vice, and unforeseen consequences may 
flow from any error in the analysis of our mental powers, we 
enter our dissent. - The author here seems to be misled by his 
own trope, and to halt in his usual accuracy. Is it to be ex- 
plained by the fact that he had no use for the generalisation 
after he had made it ? If useless, is it correct ? 

He says : "Whether the object of bodily sight be immediate or 
reflective, an object or its spectrum^ it is equally true that the 
eye only sees by looking — looking immediately. So the mind 
only sees by looking ; and all its looking is intuition ; if not im- 
mediate, it is not its own ; it is naught." We reply that the eye 
is not the only organ of sense-perception, nor intuition our only 
faculty of spiritual cognition ; that the eye by looking can see 
only a visible object, and intuition only an immediate truth. The 
percipient does 7iof SEE a valid deduction, but only its validity. 
Certainly all knowledge, once attained, is immediate, is the 
mind's own ; or is nothing ; but the truths known are as dis- 
parate as the energies by which they are known. It is an over- 
sight to transfer the popular use of "to 8ee"=="to know" into 
the realm of mental science ; and, unless Dr. Dabney is willing 
to affirm that the mind knows onlyhj seeing, and that all knowl- 
edge is intuitive or naught, his labor has been lost. If the eye 
be the analogue of the intuitive faculty, then the legs are the 
analogue of the discursive faculty, whereby we pass (discurrere) 
from thought to thought. Their actions are as different as vision 
and locomotion ; their products, as color and place. Conscious- 
ness reports Discourse as specifically different from Intuition, 
whether we consider them as faculties, functions, or products. If 
any perspicuity could be gained by extending the definition of 
intuition, — the faculty of knowing without any discursive pro- 
cess, — we would not object. We thoroughly agree, for instance, 
with Dr. Dabney in accepting the substantial oneness of Inducr 
tion and Deduction. In both these there is the same conscious- 
ness of passing from one notion to another ; but the unity of 
Intuition with either is of a different kind. This unity consists : 



Critical Notices. 


(a) in' the subjective fact, that they are faculties and exercises of 
one and the self-same ego ; and (Jb) in the objective fact, that In- 
tuition guides Discourse, as vision directs locomotion, and Dis- 
course bears Intuition to new fields of vision, as locomotion 
transports the eye to new places in space ; and {c) in the singular 
relative fact, that Intuition endorses the trustworthiness of De- 
duction, just as we are compelled to think of place as colored ; 
and (d) in the absolute fact, that the results of both are knowl- 
edge. This extended statement is here made, because we are 
convinced that it is nothing less than a movement towards intel- 
lectual chaos to substantially identify intuerl with di.scurrere ; 
as if we might say that, in some sense, we intuit a deduction or 
infer an intuition. The writer is not more sure that to him the 
knowledge that Lord Beaconsfield is the leader of the British 
government, is not an intuition than any "good and necessary in- 
ference" he has ever drawn. We do heartily wish that the word 
see were banished from psychology. It is misleading to the last 
degree, by the furtive ease with which it glides from its specific 
to a general sense, and then scatters itself into numberless spe- 
cific meanings, remotely analogical, until at last we discover that 
a blind man may go to see his friends, i. e., see them, by hearing, 
touching, tasting, and smelling them. 

The second point marked for criticism, is Dr. Dabney's great 
argument from "traits of naturalness," against the conclusions of 
current sceptical geologists. If the position is valid, he can of 
course silence them, whenever he chooses to say, "Thus far and 
no farther." But then he also shuts the eye of Reason, which 
refuses to consider creation as merely an object of God's omnipo- 
tence unlimited by His moral attributes ; and stops the logical 
faculty, which always struggles to move along in the presence of 
Reason. Indeed, on this point, Dr. Dabney reminds one of Sir 
Wm. Hamilton with his "law of Parcimony," a sword that he 
always kept ready, holdjng it in terrorem over his opponents, but 
never could prevent it from hurting himself 

In Lecture XXIIL, Dr. Dabney argues {a) that the six days 
of creation are days of twenty-four hours, — a point of exegesis 
on which we may join issue in the future; (6) that "the first of 


Critical Noticed, 


each species must have received from the supernatural, creative 
hand, every trait of naturalness; else it could not have fulfille(i 
the end for which it was made, — to be the parent of a species." 
This allegation does not appear to be either an intuition, or a 
valid induction or deduction, or established by "parole- witness." 
In repeating the proposition, the author undoubtedly enunciates 
a valid induction, when he says : "The parent of a natural 
species, while supernatural in origin, must have been thoroughly 
natural in all essential traits.'' The italicized words call atten- 
tion to the difference in the statements ; yet the whole force of 
the argument proceeds on the assumption that all the natural 
traits of the individual are identical with all the essential traits of 
the species. Now, the natural traits of the individual are pre- 
cisely those that Nature communicates ; that is to say, the essen- 
tial traits of the species, plus the marks of propagation. The 
traits of the original parent are the same minus the marks of 
propagation. By an irresistible impulse of human nature, it is 
authoritatively affirmed, that wherever the signatures of embry- 
onic or foetal life are found, the record is "parole-testimony" to 
ihe truth, and overrides all other hypotheses. Now, what are 
the marks of growth^ is a physiological question ; but, whatever 
they are, they were not impressed by the act of creation. It is 
unscientific, nay, impossible, to believe that the method by which 
a creature comes into being does not, from the necessity of the 
case, make its own record. If it had "every trait of natural- 
ness," its origin was natural : if not, then not. For instance : 
believing that Adam was created, we believe that he was also 
destitute of the marks which foetal life invariably necessitates. 
This "estate of creation" neither helps nor hinders his propa- 
gation of children after his own kind, who will bear oh their 
bodies and souls the marks of their derived origin. The parent 
trees of every species were created without the marks of growth, 
whilst their descendants have necessarily recorded in their own 
structure the history of their progress from germ to maturity. 
Of these signatures of a natural origin, the writer is acquainted 
with only two or three, but feels impelled to conjecture that they 
will be revealed in vastly greater number, as science improves 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1—24. 



Critical Noticea. 


her instruments and observations. Perhaps the time may come 
when even "a bone of Adam" would reveal in a language of its 
OAvn that it did not grow^ but was made. Creation is unlike pro- 
pagation : their effects must be unlike to an equal degree. We 
object to this postulate, however, chiefly because of its ten- 
dency towards what Dr. Dabney happily names "the eternity of 
naturalism," and the dreadful abyss beyond. The a priori con- 
ception of Nature, which underlies the proposition that the origi- 
nal parents of every species were created with all the traits of 
naturalness found in the offspring, is that of a cycle; so that, at 
whatever point the Creator introduces Nature, she will necessa- 
rily appear as if she had passed through the previous stages. 
There is certainly a wonderful fascination in this transcendental 
construction, but what is its logical tendency ? To the Chris- 
tian, who believes the revealed word, it is at best utterly barren 
of results, if indeed devoid of positive evils. To the sceptic, it 
only confirms doubts as to the reality of a creation in time ex 
nihilo. If the supposed anterior ideal stage had such an energy 
as to project the traits of a natural origin into the realities of its 
immediate successor, it must have been a cause ; and, if a cause, 
must it not be assumed to be real ? Can an ideal cause be one 
at all ? Thus we have at once a regressus into a past eternity, 
and with it the eternity of Nature. Indeed, the most charming 
and acute metaphysician we have ever read yields exactly to this, 
the legitimate, result of such a conception of Nature's cycle. In 
his "Introduction to Metaphysic," on page 214, C. M. Ingleby, 
M. A., LL.D., of Trinity College, Cambridge, says: "Let us 
then understand by the term nature, the world limited by time 
and space and the law of causality. Of this world it is infallibly 
true that there is not, nor can be, any origination in its own 
order. Every event, whether state or act, is the product of a co- 
existing ol" antecedent event, and is, in its turn, the co-efficient of 
others: so that in this series there is no first cause or last effect. 
We believe this complex was created; and we deny that the as- 
sumption of its eternity, backwards and forwards, is repugnant 
to this belief But if it was created in time, it was created with 
all the evidences of its preexistence inscribed on its surface." . . . 


Critical N^oticei. 


"If we conceive God to start the cycle, we must conceive Him as 
starting it at some point in the cycle. . . . And since there is no 
necessity in the case determining us to a blind belief that so it 
was, the case supposed is incredible.'' Here, then, we have an 
eternal creature without a first or a final cause ! How different 
from Dr. Dabney's doctrine on Creation ! And yet we deem it 
the only logical result from the assumed datum. "The cycle of 
Nature" is "limited by time, space, and causation," — is a work 
of creation ; — but there is not one moment of time or point of 
space in the whole cycle where causation can be supposed to 
begin rather than any other ! The doctrine and the thing are 
bewilderingly circular. 

We could wish that Sir Wm. Hamilton's "law of parcimony" 
and Dr. Ingleby's "Cosmothetic Idealism" were buried in the 
same grave with this doctrine of "Nature's Cycle." And yet, 
for our philosophy, we are indebted chiefly to Hamilton ; and for 
most important corrections thereof, to Dr. Ingleby ; even as for 
our theology we are mainly indebted to Dr. Chas. Hodge ; and 
for most valuable corrections thereof to Dr. Dabney. 

"""" J. A. L. 

Discussions in Church Polity. By Charles Hodge, D. D. 
Selected and arranged by the Rev. W. Durant, with a pre- 
face by A. A. Hodge, D. D. New York : Chas. Scribner's 
Sons. Pp. 532. 


These "discussions" have been selected from the Princeton 
Review., sometimes in the form of whole articles, sometimes in 
the form of excerpts more or less full, from articles contributed 
by the industrious pen of Dr. Hodge. Many of these contribu- 
tions were in the form of a review of the proceedings of the 
General Assembly. Annual articles of this sort were written by 
Dr. Hodge for thirty years, beginning with 1885. They con- 
sisted of "brief narratives of the proceedings of that court, and of 
discussions of the doctrinal and ecclesiastical principles involved." 
" They therefore contain an exposition of the author's views of 
the fundamental principles underlying the constitution of the 
Church and its administration." Another class of articles in 




Critical Notices. 


^^he Review were substantially identical with lectures delivered to 
his classes in the Seminary from 1845 to 1857 on the subject of 

' Ecclesiology as one branch of Dogmatic Theology. The book is 
Veil printed; has a full table of contents, and a copious index. 
■We are sorry to say that the foolish custom has been followed 
in this instance of leaving out the date of publication on the 

.title page. .--■,...., -,.;.-....::;:.,'?...-„>..-..-... .:I- ..,,... . _ 

The contents of the volume may be distributed under two general 
heads: 1. The Church and its doctrine as a department of Theo- 
logy. 2. The principles and features belonging to the Presby- 
terian Church, in contrast with other denominations, specially 
the forms of Independency and Papacy. Under neither of these 
heads can the discussions be considered as satisfactory by those 
who ha^ve been trained in the school of Dr. Mason or of Dr. 
Thornwell. " * ■ -- • • '' " 

1. As to the first. Dr. Hodge gives such prominence in his 
'"Idea of the Church" to "the true Church" (the ^''vera ecclesia' 
t)f the Reformers) as to lose sight of the Church visible almost 
entirely, and to seem to deny the doctrine of the Westminster 
Confession of Faith in Chap. XXV., Sec. 2. His notion seems 
to be that of the Donatists, Anabaptists, and Novatians, that the 
Church consists only of holy people; and he uses expressions, 
in some passages, which seem to imply that the members of the 
true Church may be discerned by men to be such ; in other words, 
that the invisible Church is visible. In other passages, indeed, 
he makes concessions which are inconsistent with these views; 
but we think that the impression which would be left on the 
minds of his readers, upon the whole, is what we have just de- 
scribed. The author was led, no doubt, to take this extreme 
view, by keeping the Papal and Prelatical view too much in his 
eye. His doctrine is unquestionably less objectionable than that 
of the Papists, whose definition of the Church practically denies 
the invisible Church'; but both the doctrines are extremes. The 
truth in this as in so many other cases, lies in the middle. 

Again, we cannot help considering his derivation of the out- 
ward form of the Church from its inward life or nature as very 
unhappy, or at least as very unhappily expressed. His idea 



Critical Notices. 


seems to be that the form of the Church is the result of its life in 
much the same sense as the cocoon of the silk-worm is the result 
of its life.,, Hence there is room for diverse forms and polities of 
the Church, all of which may be equally legitimate and normal. 
Within whatever range of aberrations from the type the life may 
still preserve its essential nature, within the same range may the 
outward forms vary legitimately. If this be his view, he must 
deny t\\QJus divinum of the Presbyterian polity, in any exclusive 
sense. It has the same divine right, and no other, with the other 
forms. We are not sure that Dr. Hodge would not have been 
willing to take the position of Melanchthon, at a memorable crisis 
in the history of the Reformation, and to acknowledge the Pope 
as, in a certain sense, a legitimate officer of the Church. 

Now. we admit that there is a correspondence between the life 
and the form, and that without such a correspondence, the life 
cannot be fully manifested and developed. The soul of a man in 
the body of an ox would have a very sorry chance of development. 
We admit, further, that when any serious change occurs in the 
character of the life, it tends to work a change in the outward 
form, and, without hindrances, will in time work such a change; 
as the forms of the Roman Republic gave way at last to the forms 
of the Empire, and as the forms of the Church gave way at last 
to the hierarchy, after the time of Constantine. But we hold 
that, as in the beginning God created the body of the man as 
well as the soul which was to animate it and did not leave the 
soul to make a body for itself, so he created a body for the Church 
in entire correspondence with the nature of its life. No other 
differences in outward form are legitimate, than those which are 
analogous to the varieties which we find in the human form. Dr. 
Hodge himself uses this illustration, but it makes rather against 
than for his position. It would hardly be contended that a crea- 
ture whose body was different, in its organic frame-work, from 
the human body, was a man. 

2. As to the 'second head under which the contents of this 
volume have been distributed, our remarks must be briefer than 
they were upon the first. The author states " the fundamental 
principles of our Presbyterian system" thus: (a) " The parity of 




Critical Notices, 


the clergy" (by "clergy" he means the ministers of the word — 
our standards never use the word), (h) " The right of the 
people to a substantive part in the government of the Church." 
(c) "The unity of the Church." 

In reference to the first of these principles, it is very obvious 
that while it is a fundameTital principle, it is not a distinctive 
one. It merely gives us the genus to which Presbyterianisra 
belongs; and the same may be said of the thirds "the oinity of 
the Church." We must have the differentia in order to get a 
specific idea of Presbyterianism. Dr. Hodge finds it in "the 
right of the people to a substantive part in the government of 
the Church." This process of defining is very much like that 
of undertaking to define a raan by saying that he is an animal, 
and then that he is a biped; and when it is objected that there 
are other animals and other bipeds, to add, in order to give the 
species, that he is -a, feathered biped. That is, in defining Pres- 
byterianism, our author has stated as the specific difference some- 
thing which does not belong to Presbyterianism at all, and, if it 
did, would belong to it in common with Congregationalism. His 
idea was that the ruling elder is only the deputy or proxy of the 
people, appearing in the church-courts simply because it is impos- 
sible or exceedingly inconvenient for the people to appear there. 
It differs from the Congregational theory only as a representa- 
tive democracy differs from a simple or pure democracy. The 
"clergy" are present as a sort of prelates, not representing the 
people, but keeping them straight, and, in their turn, kept in 
check by the people. A portentous mixture this of Congrega- 
tionalism and Prelacy! Dr. Thornwell and Dr. Cunningham 
have shown, after Ames and the old writers, that it is not Pres- 
byterianism — this right of the people to a substantive part in the 
government of the Church. It may be true, it may be just, it 
may be scriptural, but it is not Presbyterianism; and we venture 
to predict the ruin of that form of church polity, when this view 
of its theory shall have been generally received and acted on as 
the true one. 

Such being the theory of the Church in general, and of Pres- 
byterianism in particular, held by our author, we need not be 


Critical Notices. 


surprised at certain conclusions which he reached in regard to 
the nature of the Church's mission, and in regard to the rights 
of ruling elders. We will mention a few of them as specimens. 

(1). A body which is authorised to make a form and polity for 
itself cannot be expected to make the Bible the rule of faith and 
practice in the sense of the sixth section of the first chapter of 
the Westminster Confession. Its discretionary power must needs 
be very large, so large, indeed, as to be limited only by the pro- 
hibitions of the Bible. We confess ourselves unable to see any 
difference in principle between th'e position of our author upon 
this point and the position of the anti-Puritan party in the Church 
of England in the reign of Elizabeth. 

(2). If the ruling elder be what Princeton said he is, then 
doubtless he has no right to lay on hands in the ordination of a 
minister; and it is difficult to see what right is left to him, 
except that of informing the "clergy" what the wishes of the 
people are. ■■;-.■,.;.-■ ....^i..v^-,-',^,v:'-:::;;-;«^(,-.'..:. . « 

But we are engaged in an ungracious task, and hasten to con- 
clude. We have a great veneration for the memory of Dr. Hodge 
as a noble champion of that truth which lies nearest to the salva- 
tion of a sinner. His name deserves to be held in everlasting 
remembrance in the Presbyterian Church as a theologian. And 
we sincerely regret that we cannot respect him as highly as an 
Ecclesiologist. But, non possumus omnia. T. E. P. 

Some Elements of Religion: Lent Lectures^ 1879. By H. P. 
Ltddon, D. D., Canon of St. Paul's. Second Edition. Riv- 
ingtons: London, Oxford, and Cambridge. 1873. 

Since his famous Bampton Lectures on the Divinity of our 
Lord, the name of Canon Liddon is known wherever English is 
read and the Redeemer honored. At home he is equally cele- 
brated as the London preacher who in the estimation of many 
most admirably combines weight of matter with impressiveness of 
delivery. It was therefore with strong expectations of what Plato 
calls a banquet of reason that we betook ourselves to the perusal 
of this neat volume: nor were those expectations wholly disap- 
pointed. These Lectures were delivered in St. James's church, 




Oritical Notices. 


Piccadilly, during the Lent services of 1870. This accounts for 

the fact that they are in form, and to a certain extent also in 

substance, of a popular rather than a scientific character. They 

are moreover published in the midst of pressing cares without 

material revision, under the judgment that they had already 

proved useful in the shape first given them, and that . ■ 

-;v-'' .; \- '"Un sou, quand il est assure, ' n^i . 

. ' • ' ■ •' *r' " Vaut inieux que cinq en esperance." ;<•'.•- - , 

There are six Lectures, one for each of the six Sundays in 
Lent, ^he first is on the Idea of Religion; the second on God, 
considered as the Object of Religion; the third on the Subject of 
Religion — the Soul; ihQ fourth on the Obstacle to Religion — ■ 
Sin; the ^15^ on Prayer, regarded as the Characteristic Action 
of Religion; and the sixth on the Mediator, contemplated as the 
Guarantee of Religious Life. The foot-notes are as interesting 
and valuable as the text. These may be said to be select rather 
than numerous, and to be discerning and apposite rather than 
remote in their reference to the matter in hand. They are rich 
in apt quotation and pondered learning, and bring the scattered 
rays of many cross-lights to bear upon the subject that in the 
given case happens to be under treatment. In the first Lecture 
the author emphasizes the significant fact that religion to-day 
more than ever before is a matter of general scrutiny. This is 
all the more remarkable as religion, though never before so univer- 
sally safeguarded as an idea, was perhaps never before more 
widely opposed and denounced as a reality. Where are we to 
look for the explanation of this fact? Is it that this period in 
which we live is one of transition? "Is it that as of old, barba- 
rian invaders, who will without scruple devastate the precincts 
and sack the interior of the temple, are pausing involuntarily, 
spell-bound, almost terrified, upon the threshold of the sacred 
shrine?" Is it due to the aesthetic feeling? Is the present 
notice that is taken of religion, even by a godless world, at bot- 
tom owing to social, to political, to selfish, or instinctive causes? 
Allowing as he does some force to these and other secondary 
influences. Canon Liddon finds a deeper reason for the phenome- 
non in the wider conviction that religion is an indispensable part 




Critical Notices. 


of man's moral and mental outfit. Two causes have deepened 
this conviction in modem times: first, the subjective spirit of the 
age, following the leading of the German idealists, and especially 
of Schleiermacher, which has been carried, indeed, so far by 
Feuerbach as to have conceived of all existing religions as but 
the creations of human thought ; and second, a profounder study 
of history. These causes special to the time we live in, do, how- 
ever, only reinforce the reasons for the sway of religious reflection 
which are always operative. One of these is the certainty that 
every one of us must die. From this the Lecturer presently 
comes up to the question, "What is religion ?" This he answers 
by showing that it is not a mere form (though the highest and 
purest) of feeling. This was the view of Schleiermacher, and he 
might have added of Morell. Neither is religion a mere form 
of knowledge. This too is evinced and illustrated. This (or 
something near it) was the view of the Gnostics and of such recent 
thinkers as Hegel. Nor is it enough to say that the essential 
thing in religion is morality. This was the view of Kant. The 
true answer is then given. It is that religious life is more than 
feeling, more than knowledge, more than obedience to a moral 
code, and yet it involves all these. "Religion is feeling; it is 
mental illumination; it is especially moral effort; because it is 
that which implies, and comprehends, and combines them all. 
It is the sacred bond, freely accepted, generously, enthusiastically, 
persistently welcomed, whereby the soul engages to make a con- 
tinuous expenditure of its highest powers in attaching itself to 
the personal source and object of its being." • 

Dr. Liddon refers to the notion of Cicero that religion is that 
anxious habit of mind which cons over and over again what 
relates to the divine. He himself evidently inclines more to the 
notion of Lactantius, who connects religion with the idea of an 
obligation by which man is bound to God. This, as he points 
out, is in substantial harmony with the phraseology of Scripture. 
Religion is a covenant and at the same time a communion. But 
what are the characteristics of a true religion? It must be mys- 
terious. It must be definite. There are weighty arguments and 
fine remarks under this head. The definiteness of the New Tes- 
VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 25. 



Critical Notices. 


tament is strikingly signalized. It must be positive. The un- 
fruitfulness of religious negations is well brought oiit, while it is 
cheerfully admitted that even a true religion has important nega- 
tive aspects. It must furthermore be absolute. Would any sane 
man die for what was only "relatively true," in the sense of the 
sceptic? Yet religion is not absolute in the sense of Theodore 
Parker, and precisely because Christianity is not relative in the 
sense of a partial, merely preparatory system, but a universal 
and perfect one. 

This is a crude statement of the main drift of the first Lecture. 
It takes no note of the amplification of the points of the delicate 
nuances^ of the rich dress in which the thought is clothed. An 
interesting testimony to the importance of religion is given from 
the lips of Sir Robert Peel. Dr. Tholuck is reported as saying 
to Dr. Pusey that the higher criticism having done away with 
Christianity was just then earnestly insisting upon the necessity 
of taking regular exercise. 

We cannot analyse the remaining Lectures minutely. The 
fiours thirst, our author proceeds to show, cannot be satisfied by 
heathenism, or by materialism. The human mind recoils from 
Atheism. The thought of God is latent in the breast of man. 
The cosraological and teleological arguments are carefully stated. 
The Lecturer then goes on to point out how God is banished from 
the world by Deism, and buried in the world by Pantheism, and how 
Pantheism relapses back into Materialism. This part of the 
book is especially able and impressive. A noble passage, that 
has been often cited, is quoted both in English and Latin from 
the Confessions of Augustine. It is the one in which that father 
tells us why nature was to him so beautiful, by telling us how 
nature had led him up to God. God is more than the highest 
intelligence; being an inference also of the practical reason. 
There is a discussion of conscience, which is proved to be not a 
product of education. God is a postulate of conscience; and the 
identity of the God of conscience and the God of nature is certi- 
fied by miracle. It is conclusively demonstrated that the dignity 
of God is not compromised by miracles which attest his morality. 
Man is next considered; the sense of personalty; the spiritual 



Critical Notices. 



nature of the soul; the estimate that the Lord puts on the out- 
ward and inward elements of human nature. The. theory of the 
soul's preexistence is fully presented and refuted. The rival 
theories of Traducianisra and Creationism are exhibited with 
unusual clearness, and we know not where to find a better account 
of the matter in English from the view-point of a creationist. 
The destiny of the soul, immortality, the resurrection, are dis- 
cussed in a manner worthy of the theme. There is considerable 
space devoted to a philosophic examination of the subject of 
suicide. Our business is to save our souls. There is therefore 
an awfulness no less than a blessedness in life. Then our author 
treats of sin. He follows the traces of its recognition in Judaism 
and heathendom, in the melancholy of Werther, and in the 
Pessimism of Schopenhauer, as well as in the threnody of Paul 
over creation's anguish, who,* however, alone sees light on the 
distant horizon. The awful problem is then dealt with of the 
origin of moral evil, of which the reverend Lecturer says: "Our 
path lies between the temptation to extenuate the idea of evil, 
and the temptation to tamper with the idea of God." The falsity 
and worthlessness of Spinoza's theory is made evident. The 
theory of Dualism is then admirably discussed, and is rejected. 
Sin is tracked to its lair in evil desire and the selfishness that 
originates in a corrupt heart. It is further shown that sin con- 
tradicts eternal law, lifts itself in opposition against the self- 
existent nature of the infinite lawgiver, and abuses the generosity 
of a boundless and divine benefactor. There is a valuable analysis 
in the notes of the Hebrew words for sin. Paul and Augustine 
are shown to be in harmony in what they say about the reasons 
for the permission of sin. It is religion's task to grapple with 
sin. The "philosophies" vainly ignore or belittle it. Jesus 
teaches what sin is and what it leads to, and is himself the only 
atonement for it, the only victor over it. There is a thorough 
discussion of prayer, as the characteristic action of religion. 
Serious prayer, it is argued, so far from being "sentimental." is 
a form of hard work. This view is perhaps pushed a little too 
far, and might seem to squint towards monachism. There is 
little if anything, however, to except to in the author's language. 



Critical Notices. 


Prayer implies and teaches that "God is really alive." Prayer 
is far more than mere petition, yet in the lower sense is shown to 
be reconcilable with the principles of enlightened reason and the 
mandates of natural law. The author leans towards the possi- 
bility of a miraculous intervention. This is virtually the position 
of Mozley. This is a grand chapter. The most attractive of all 
the Lectures is the last. • ' .i ^ v H. C. A. 

A Blow at the Root of Modern Infidelity and Scepticism ; or, 
Huxleyism Analysed and Criticised. By Thomas Morkow, 
J. B. Lippincott & Co. : Philadelphia. 1878. Pp.60. 

Mr. Morrow is engaged in a most important work. This pam- 
phlet, he informs us, is the condensation "of a more elaborate 
and more extensive work,"* and is designed to give a summary 
view of the alleged discoveries of men of science, such as Darwin, 
Tyndall, and others of less note, but especially of Prof. Huxley, 
whose name he introduces, as represented by "Huxleyism" in 
the title of the pamphlet, because he embraces nearly all the 
"suppositions and theories of scientific scepticism." Mr. Morrow 
proposes to show, in his larger work, now ready for the press, in 
fuller discussion, what he here summarily sets forth, "that the 
arguments of the Professor (Huxley) and others in favor of Evolu- 
tion are utter failures;" that "all the suppositions, hypotheses 
and theories of scientists, biologists, and geologists, in opposition 
to the Bible, have their ultimate and only foundation in the 
supposed c\iYono\og\Q'A\ records of geological strata;" that "by 
their own statements, the existence of such chronological records 
in geological strata is a fivefold impossibility," and that "Prof. 
Huxley himself admits, and repeats with emphasis, that there is 
not the slightest proof of the age of strata." 

These are bold and confident words. We do not profess to 
enter into that minute and careful examination of this little work, 
by which we might give a positive endorsement of Mr. Morrow's 
views. Yet we have no doubt of the entire honesty and fair dealing 

*Morrow'8 Thesaurus : ContaininG; a collection of Facts on Geology, 
Darwinism, the Bible, and Modern Scepticism, with Appendices A, B, 
C, D. 


Critical Notices. 


with which he raafces his quotations from Prof. Huxley and other 
scientific writers ; ami we can see no reason to doubt the correctness 
of his inferences, as/ne states them. We have been especially 
impressed with his \" recapitulation" on page 59, in which he 
sustains his "five impossibilities" in the way of forming a chro- 
nological record of geological strata, by the statements of scientific 
men themselves, especially of Prof. Huxley. 

It has not been our custom to criticise "pamphlets," but in 
view of the intrinsic importance of the subject, we bring this 
production to the attention or our readers with the hope that 
they will procure a copy of it, and so be led to patronise his 
enterprise in publishing the larger work. But this is not all. 
While not proposing any close examination of Mr. Morrow's 
views or of those whose "theories" and "suppositions" he com- 
bats so earnestly, we embrace the occasion to offer some 
suggestions touching the great importance of proper discussions 
of the sceptical views which have been set forth by some men, 
eminent in scientific attainments, whose views must exert great 
influence on minds capable of appreciating the conclusions pre- 
sented, even if incompetent to form intelligent apprehensions on 
the facts, real or supposititious, on which those views are alleged 
to rest. 

Scepticism and infidelity are by no means the legitimate off- 
spring of true science. Of two things we have an abiding con- 
viction: (1) That the teachings "of the things that are made" 
respecting God's "eternal power and Godhead" and all involved 
in that comprehensive phrase, must, rightly read and understood, 
confirm and sustain the teachings of that book which has been 
given to lead us to the knowledge of "what we are to believe 
concerning God and what duty he requires of us;" (2) And that, 
after the Bible has passed successfully through such crucial tests 
as those to which for eighteen centuries it has been subjected, 
both the credibility of its history, on which so much of its other 
teachings rest, and the divine authority, including the strict in^ 
spiration of God, of the entire volume, are and must remain 
indefeasible. ' 

Still we are not insensible to the force of the considerations by 



Critical Notices. 


which Mr. Morrow informs us he has been induced to undertake 
the elaborate and extensive discussions, of which we have before 
us this condensed presentation. 

', To some thinking minds in our day, the Christian faith has 
appeared to be threatened with an "eclipse." True, it is not 
supposed that such will be final. Nay more, the calculations on 
which such an eclipse are apprehended are probably not well 
founded. Still, to drop our figure, there is much in the course 
of thought extensively prevalent, to justify fears lest the ''faith 
of some be overthrown." The credibility of the Pentateuch and 
the historical books of the Old Testament has been openly and 
persistently impeached, and the wonderful narrative of the Crea- 
tion, Fall, Flood, and Dispersion declared to be myths or legends 
of no more authenticity than the fabulous accounts of the origin 
of the world set forth in Oriental tales; or the founding and 
rise of the Roman Empire, as given in the iEnead of Virgil, and 
the traditions of the birth and lives of Romulus and Remus. 
Before the stern canons of what has been called " Historical 
Criticism," the myths and legends of the earliest profane writings 
melted, and now the Biblical historical criticism has been brought 
to bear on the venerable records, which from our childhood we 
have been accustomed to receive as not only credible and authentic, 
but written by "holy men of God, who spake as they were moved 
by the Holy Ghost." The result of the processes of criticism to 
which the Old Testament Scriptures have been subjected, if 
accepted, must be to sap the foundations of the revealed principles 
of faith and practice, and leave us to the surmises and hypotheses 
of the "advanced thought of the nineteenth century." There is 
great danger that the uncontradicted and unanswered systems of 
teaching advanced by the abettors of modern scepticism, have 
already exercised a pernicious influence on the minds of many. 
For these teachings are no longer confined to strictly scientific 
works, nor to the essays and other papers read in associations of 
scientific men, and published under the auspices of such associa- 
tions. They have been to a great extent incorporated in com- 
mentaries on the Bible, set forth as well-established principles 
in articles in quarterly reviews, monthly magazines, and weekly 


Critic al Noticen . 


or daily newspapers. In all such periodicals we encounter dis- 
cussions by sceptical writers respecting the Mosaic or other his- 
torical writings of the Old Testament. They find place in popular 
school-books in Christian schools. Mere hypotheses or illogical 
corollaries from alleged discoveries in geology and kindred topics, 
are postulated as authentic declarations of science ; and the insti- 
tutions, as well as historical statements of the Old Testament, 
are sumnnarily dismissed as the productions of a barbarous age, 
the interpolations of conceited Jews, or the dreams of visionary 
enthusiasts; all of which, we are told, might be tolerated cen- 
turies ago by uncultivated men, but to the "advanced thought," 
are idle tales and immature fancies. The names of German and 
English Biblical critics are heralded to readers among English- 
speaking people as the discoverers and teachers of " more excellent 
ways" in unfolding to us the history and the interpretation of the 
Bible. Bishop Colenso, a "Right Reverend Father in God," of 
the Anglican Churcli, Davidson, author of an Introduction to the 
Old Testament, and Block, a German writer on the same topic, 
have classified, condensed, and combined with their own views 
those of such men as DeWette, Kalisch, Von Bohlen, Knobel, 
Graff, Riehm, Koster, Noldeke and others. Under the guise of 
defenders and expounders of the volume, of whose religious 
system they are professed and liberally remunerated teachers 
in Christian communions, and occupants of professorial chairs in 
nominally Christian institutions, these men have presented to the 
world the teachings of scepticism, consisting in part of their own 
deductions from the theories of physical science, and in part of 
their speculations in historical criticism. They arraign not only 
the credibility of the historians, but of the history, the wisdom 
not only of the lawgiver Moses, but of Moses' God; and essay 
to be infallible judges, both of the best method of making the 
world and peopling its continents, and of governing the whole 
physical and moral universe. 

Meanwhile there has arisen an unexpected difficulty in the way 
of pressing the principles of "Historical Criticism" (confidently 
asserted to be so successful in the attacks on the Old Testament), 
with any measure of success in attacking the New. The stale 



Critical Notices. 


old argument, that the Jews were serai-barbarians, and the age 
of the writers of the Old Testament one of darkness, fails as to 
the New Testament, both respecting the people for whom its 
authors wrote and their age. It would be a bold attempt to 
make such allegations respecting the advanced civilisation, both 
material and intellectual, of the Christian era. The histories and 
didactic teachings of the writers of the New Testament were ad- 
dressed to men, both Jews and Greeks, who fully understood 
what was written, and whose appreciation of such situation, 
whether in rejecting or accepting its ideas, is a matter of well 
authenticated history, both by those who favored and those who 
rejected. . / , 

But "dripping water wears away rock." If we allow semi- 
infidel views respecting the Bible, whether taught first hand by 
men of eminence in physical science or Biblical criticism, or 
second hand by text-books and teachers in our literary institu- 
tions, to be continued unchecked, we may look forward to a 
coming generation prepared to sneer at the faith of th^ir fathers 
and abjure the obligations of the divine word. For we must 
remember that these sceptical views, as Universalism, and other 
forms of error, find ready reception in the carnal mind, which is 
enmity to God and his law, by nature. Natural men need no 
conversion to unbelief. i ,. • - 

And yet it is encouraging to believe, that though absolutely 
more prevalent than formerly, sceptical views are relatively less 
prevalent. In our age, the knowledge and reception of the 
Bible is more extensive than in the early part of this century. 
Still, though less prevalent relatively, the facilities for publishing 
everything and increased means of reaching the popular mind, 
render the advocates of sceptical views more loud and peremptory, 
as well as more articulate. Hence the great need, under every 
aspect, for endeavoring to bring intelligent expositions of truth 
face to face with destructive error. B. M. S. 


Critical NoticeB, 


A Popular Commentary on the New Testament. By English 
and American scholars of various denominations, with illustra- 
tions and maps. Edited by Philip Schaff, D. D., LL.D. 
In four volumes. Vol. I., large 8vo., pp. 508, containing 
Introduction and Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Chas. Scribner's 
Sons: New York. ■'^■;; ;"■:-■""■"•• r-'-^^^H^' 

The editor states ^hat the object of this new exposition of the 
New Testament is to provide a commentary suitable for intelli- 
gent laymen. Hence it does not compete with the voluminous 
and learned commentary in twenty-one volumes, edited in Ger- 
many by Lange, and in this country by Schaff. The names of 
the contributors to the whole of the four intended volumes are 
given to the public. They are confined to Great Britain and the 
Northeastern States of the United States, and are chosen from 
among Presbyterians, evangelical Episcopalians, and Congrega- 
tionalists. Among the names whose aid is promised, are many 
which are already known to students, such as those of Dean 
Howson and Dr. Oswald Dykes ; and also of some who are only 
beginning to be known to American readers. This first volume 
is the joint work of Dr. Schaff himself and Prof. Matt. B. Riddle 
of Hartford, Conn. 

First, as to the material part of the book: the paper and print 
are excellent, neat, and substantial, and the binding the usual 
flimsy muslin. The illustrations consist of eleven engravings (or 
maps) representing to us important cities or scenes in Palestine, 
each of which is of the full size of a page ; and of a number of 
smaller cuts representing natural or architectural objects in Bible 
lands. It is our opinion that these illustrations may be accepted 
by the reader with confidence, because they are either copied from 
photographs carefully taken on the spot, or have been criticised 
by careful eye-witnesses from Syria. The maps are corrected by 
Dr. Arnold Guyot of Princeton. The general impression on the 
eye is that the volume is too much of a picture-book for its serious 
purpose. This impression is confirmed by our observing that 
many cuts are introduced, which, even to the ordinary reader of 
Sabbath-school publications, have no novelty or new merit what- 
ever, and which seem to be put in merely to fill space. It is 
voti. XXX., NO. 1 — 26. 



Critical Notices. 


palliated by the real interest and utility of a part of the pictorial 

Secondly, as to the contehts of the work: their plan is to 
give a brief, compact, and plain expositionof the text, presenting 
the results of criticism rather than the criticism itself. The 
extent of the comments may be conceived from the fact that they 
do not usually cover more than twice as much space as the text. 
The work opens with a brief, and in the main, judicious, intro- 
duction to the New Testament as a whole, to the Gospels as his- 
tories of Christ's life and works, and to each of the four specially. 
The text of the Gospels, which is printed in large and beautiful 
type, is accompanied with marginal references, with suggestions 
of emendations in the received text of the Greek, and with a 
multitude of corrections in the English version. The concern of 
the learned editor with the "revision movement" which is now 
in progress, suggests the probability that in these proposed 
changes of translation, which as yet, in this exposition, are kept 
in the place of notes at the foot of the page, are foreshadowings 
of the work of revision to be disclosed to the public in future, 
as a part of the English Scriptures. Should this surmise prove 
correct, the prediction and warning uttered by the Southern 
Pkesbyterian Review as to the revision movement, will be 
proved timely: that the Revisers will attempt to change too 
many things. In the newly suggested translations of this expo- 
sition, we find a number valuable as expressing the force of the 
Greek more exactly, the most of them correct and scholarly, and 
many of them unnecessary. That is to say : in many cases it is 
proposed to change our version, when the only difference is a 
more exact expression of the force of a Greek word or idiom in 
some minute respect, where the present version does not contain 
the slightest shade of error, and no addition of clearness is gained. 
We submit, for instance, then when. Matt. iv. 18, the words of 
our version for ■&dXaa(rav T^g TahXaiag, " sca of Galilee," are changed 
into 'Hake' of Galilee; and il/xova rbv Aeydjuevov nhpov, "Simon 
called Peter," into Simon "who is called," etc., there is no atom 
of gain in correctness or expressiveness, justifying the change of 
our venerable translation. The Notes also seem objectionable to 



Critical Notiee%. 


us, in proposing too many excisions and emendations of the 
Textus Receptus. The remark recurs too often: "According to 
the best authorities this word (or clause) should be omitted;" or, 
"should be read thus." The exposition professes to be written 
for lay readers. There is reason to fear lest these frequent 
indications of mistrust as to the text shall produce some of the 
sceptical results which came from the too slashing criticism of 
Griesbach. Not having become converts to all the canons of 
criticism enunciated by those who are claimed as "best authori- 
ties," we have not yet felt any conscientious obligation to surren- 
der so much of the received text. Hence we naturally deprecate 
so much cutting and pruning. 

The exposition seems usually orthodox, just, and sober. The 
liberties which used to be taken by Neologian expositors find no 
countenance in the reverent comments of our authors. As the 
work is designed, in a certain sense, for a catholic use, the doc- 
trinal peculiarities of neither of the denominations represented 
are sharply deduced. On the whole, we can recommend the 
work, as beautiful for typography, replete with useful information, 
and valuable to all who have not the time and means for extended 
and critical study of the New Testament. _ H. L. D. 

",{ t'*!-Vf^7,,.; ff 

The Christian. By William S. Plumer. D. D. Philadelphia: 
J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1878. Pp. 146, 12mo. 

This little work discusses the Christian's Name, Profession, 
Life, Doctrine, Character, Simplicity, Way, Temptations, Views 
of Sin, Faith, Hope, and Trust. It speaks of his Enemies, his 
Shepherd, and his Advocate, his Joy and his Sorrow, his hatred 
of Error and his glorious Riches. It presents to us some musings 
of an old Christian, a letter to an aged Christian, and an account 
of the death of an old Disciple, also some account of Two Great 
and Good Men — the Rev. Dr. Thomas Smyth of Charleston and 
the Rev. Dr. Thomas DeWitt of New York. 

Our readers are familiar with the writings of the author. This 
book has all their usual characteristics. It is adapted to be 
useful to many, both in the Church and out of it. We had no 
sooner read it than the determination was formed to send our 



Critical Notices, 


copy to an aged man in our neighborhood, who may or may not 
be worthy to bear the name given to this volume, but who cannot 
fail, with God's blessing, to be profited by its perusal. A large 
class of readers, old and young, will be interested in this account 
of "the Christian," and all interested must be profited. ■, i;. 

The last topic discussed is PosMmwzows Usefulness. Abel's 
case is referred to, of whom the Scripture said four thousand 
yeafs after his time: " He being dead yet speaketh" The ven- 
erable author expresses the hope of his own usefulness in this 
world after death as well as of glory, honor, and immortality in 
the world to come. It is a natural and an honorable wish, which 
in his case is not likely to be disappointed. He says the virtue 
and the value of a good song or saying or book ever depended on 
the truth taught by the spirit breathed into it, and so it may long 
survive the man who made it. We agree with him that "such 
things invest life with the deepest solemnity," and "should 
encourage us to zeal in the Master's service." J. B. A. 

An Examination of the Alleged Discrepancies of the Bible. 
By John W. Haley, M. A. With an Introduction by Alvah 
HovEY, D. D., Professor in the Newton Theological Institu- 
tion. Andover: Warren F. Draper. Boston: Estes & Lau- 
riat. 1875. Pp. 473, 12mo. 

This author did not propose a discussion of all the diflScult 
questions which arise in studying the Bible, but only an examin- 
tion of so-called "discrepancies" in the statements or njarratives 
of the sacred volume. Of these he has treated nearly nine hun- 
dred^ and in a clear and forcible style, vigorously, directly, and 
without unnecessary circumlocution. We may not be able always 
to accept the solution given by Mr. Haley, but he appears to be 
a sober and careful wwter, and to have mastered the literature of 
his subject in various languages. But he says that he knows 
of "no work, ancient or modern, which covers the whole ground, 
treating the subject comprehensively yet concisely, and which is 
at the same time adapted to general circulation." And to 
supply this lack is the aim of this book. He claims little 
originality or literary merit, and designs his book not so much 



Critical Notices. ' 



for scholars and critics as the coramon people. And he begs the 
reader to bear in mind that the Bible is neither dependent upon 
nor affected by the success or the failure of his endeavors. 

The plan of the book is to present in Part I. the Origin of the 
Discrepancies, the Design of the Discrepancies, and the Results 
of the Discrepancies, each of these being discussed very fully and 
ably in a separate chapter ; and then in Part II. we have three 
other chapters presenting Doctrinal Discrepancies, Ethical Dis- 
crepancies, and Historical Discrepancies. These are followed by 
a Bibliographical Appendix, an Index of Scripture Citations, 
and a full General Index, all of which add of course very much 
to the value of the work. 

We quote the last few sentences of this naodest author: 

' ' i ■ ■^\ 

*' When we consider the long interval of time — from eighteen to thirty- 
three centuries — which has elapsed since the several Books of Scripture 
were written ; and that during all but four centuries of this time they 
have been circulated and transmitted in manuscript ; and the additional 
fact that our knowledge of antiquity is exceedingly limited ^^nd imper- 
fect — many minute and sometimes important circumstances pertaining 
to every event having passed irrecoverably from the raem'ory of man- 
kind — where these disadvantages which attend the investigation of the 
subject, are tal^en into account, it surely cannot be tbo much to believe, 
that, if in any instance the explanation adduced should seem inadequate, a 
knowledge o^ all the circumstances of the case would supply the missing 
link and solve the supposed discrepancy to the (jomplete satisfaction of 
every reasonable minjl." J. B. A. 





Recent JPuhlications. 







There is certainly not more than the ordinary degree of interest 
attaching to the last quarter's instalment of now books. From 
the days of Sir William Jones to the present time, increasing at- 
tention has been paid to the subjects of ethnography and com- 
parative grammar and thelogy. During this entire period the 
Parsees* have continued to attract a special notice. We have 
here a new claimant to the eminence in the hard science of values.^ 
It is a mistake to suppose that the Chinese can boast no litera- 
ture.* By way of example, we saw a cultivated Japanese this 
summer reading an extended Chinese poem of the ninth century 
before Christ. After the elaborate article in the Quarterly, little 
need be said at present about [in]"glorious John."^ That paper 
hardly does full justice to two other names'' ^ which appear in close 
succession after his at the bottom 6f this page. As to the re- 
maining name, it is sufficient to remember that he has restored 
the lost Paradise. What would John Wilson have said to the 
new American primer?'' Books of reference are always useful, 

^Essays on the Sacred Language. Writings, and Religion of the Parsees. 
By Martin Haug, Ph.D. Edited by E. W. West, Ph.D. Vol. XI. in the 
"English and Foreign Philosophical Library." Second edition. 8vo., 
xvi., 427 pp., cloth, $4.50. Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston. 

'^The Political Economy of Great Britain, the United States, and France, 
in the Use of Money : A New Science of Production and Exchange. By 
J. B. Howe. 8vo., ix., 592 pp., $3.50. Ibid. 

^The Dhammapada. Translated from the Chinese by the Rev. Samuel 
Beat, B. A. Vol. xii. of the "English and Foreign Philosophical Library." 
8vo., viii., 176 pp., $2.50. Ibid. 

*Dryden'8 Poetical Works. 2 vols. Crown 8vo., cloth, $3.50. Riverside 
edition. Ibid. 

^Prior's Poetical Works. Crown Svo., cloth, $1.75. Riverside edition. 

^Poetical Works of Milton and Marvell. Complete in two volumes. 
With Memoirs and Portraits. Crown Svo., gilt top, $3.50. Riverside 
edition. Ibid. 

'A Primer of American Literature. By Charles F. Richardson. ISmc, 
117 pp., cloth, 50 cents. Ibid. 


Recent Publicationd. 


but seldom require pictures.^ Who wants to study Russian?^ If 
any. the opportunity has arrived. We should sooner think of 
studying Basque or Coptic.^ 

Masson in his biography of John Milton has taught us how 
much the author of "the Paradise" owed to the author of the 
Faery Queen.* The question now agitated is, To what extent was 
the courtly Elizabethan a benefactor also to the Bedford Tinker? 
Sir Walter Scott was a passionate admirer of Edmund Spenser. 
Of his great poem, it may be said that it is "linked sweetness 
long drawn out." Those who prefer (as we do, unhesitatingly) 
the breezy charm of bluff old Chaucer may now (under good 
guidance, too) begin with him and only end with the Portuguese 
Sonnets.* We are half inclined to forgive the sweet Quaker poet 
the false but pretty nonsense about Barbara Freitchie out of 
consideration of the Vaudois Teacher.^ A new volume from such 
a writer is always to be welcomed — until, as may chance, it must 
be condemned. Like Dryden, Southey was as successful in prose 
as in verse.^ Unlike Dryden, he was far more so. Southey 's 
verse and Dryden's prose are now read by few. Yet there is a 

' ' ■ ■ . -LV.- ■■■■ ■ 

^The Dickens Dictionary. By Gilbert A. Pierce and William A. 
Wheelor. With many illustrations. Uniform with "Illustrated Library 
Edition of Dickens." Price reduced to $2. Houghton, Osgood & Co., 

'^How to Learn Russian : A Manual for Students of Russian. Based 
on the Ollendorffian System of Teaching Languages, and adapted for 
self-instruction. By Henry Riola, Teacher of the Russian Language. 
With a Preface by W. R. S. Ralston. 12mo., 567 pp., $3. Ibid. 

'Key to the Exercises of the Manual for Students of Russian, By Henry 
Riola. 12mo., 125pp., $1.25. Ibid. . : >. 

*Poetical Works of Edmund Spenser. Riverside Edition. 3 vols. 
Crown 8vo., cloth, gilt, $5.25. Ibid. 

^The Family Library of British Poetry, from Chaucer to the Present 
Time (1350-1878). Edited by James T. Fields and Edwin P.Whipple. 
With heliotype portraits of Chaucer, Spenser, Shakespeare, Milton, Pope, 
Ooldsmith, Burns, Wordsworth, Scott, Byron, Tennyson, and Mrs. 
Browning. Royal 8vo., xxx., 1,998 pp., $6.50. Ibid. 

*The Vision of Echard, and other Poems. By John G. Whittier. 
16mo., $1.25. Ibid. 

^Poetical Works of Robert Southey.. ''Riverside Edition of the British 
Puets." 5 vols. Crown 8vo., $8.75, Ibid. 



Recent Puhlications, 


Bpecies of ponderous merit in the cantos which sing "How happily 
the days of Thalaba went by." 

Calvin wisely forebore to comment on the last book in the New 
Testament. Much light has since been shed upon its transcen- 
dant symbols by Hengstenberg, Auberlen, Fairbairn, Waldegrave, 
and Ramsey. We may, not improbably, find ourselves once more 
on this account indebted to a German pastor.^ Luthardt's^ fame 
as an exegete is settled ; but there are grave drawbacks. Lampe 
and Godet are esteemed the best books on the Fourth Gospel. 
Much of what is finest in modern literature takes its rise in the 
chansons of the Troubadours;^ and their romantic story never 
grows wearisome to the student of history and language. Others 
besides fishermen are enthusiasts in their love for one who is at 
once the prince among angling scribblers and a delightful old- 
fashioned fireside companion.^ The Oxford Lecturer's* is a high 
name in a difficult and profitable field of thought. Mr. HowelF 
is a rising man in the same department. What may be the rea- 
son-of-being of another history of the Peninsular Waj^ after 
Napier's grave but splendid and seemingly exhaustive treatment 
of that subject passes our wit. "Insatiate archer, will not one 
suffice"? This, however, is the day of duodecimos ! 

^The Doctrine of the Apocalypse, and its Relation to the Doctrine of 
the Gospel and Epistles of John. By Pastor Hermann Gebhardt. Trans- 
lated from the German by the Rev. John Jefferson. 8vo., cloth, $3. 
Scribner & Welford, New York. 

'St. John's Gospel Described and Explained accordino; to its Peculiar 
Character. Vol. iii. By C. E. Luthardt. 8vo., cloth, $3. Ibid. 

'The Troubadours : A History of Provencal Life and Literature in 
the Middle Afi;es. By Francis Hueffer. 8vo., cloth, $5. Ibid. 

*The Complete Anf>;ler. By Isaak Walton and Charles Cotton. A 
new illustrated edition, with Notes, by George Chri«topl\er Davies. 
12mo., 470 pp'. "The Chandos Library Edition," cloth, gilt, $1; "The 
Chatidos Classics Edition," paper, 75 cents. Ibid. 

^Chapters on Political Economy : Being the Substance of Lectures 
Delivered in the University of Oxford. By Bonaxiiy Price. 12nio.. 
cloth, $5. Ibid. 

®The Conflicts of Capital and Labor, Historically and Economically 
Considered. By George Howell. 12mo., cloth, .|3. Ibid. 

■^The War in the Peninsula. By H. R. Clinton. "Chandos Library." 
With maps and plans. 12mo., cloth, $1.50. Ibid. 


, Recent Publications. 


;- All continental travellers will hail with joy the appearance of 
Baedeker's London.^ There is nothing to conripare to these guides, 
considered as a series. Galignani is the book for Paris. Hare's 
books on Italy and London are of inestimable richness, but are 
far above the level of mere travelling guides, and are not portable. 
The eulogiura of Edmund Burke in his Reflections on the Revo- 
lution in France has seemed to us to be extravagant ; but 
^'■L' Esprit des Lois' is one of the works that marks an epoch.^ 
The treatment of the subject is one of startling novelty. The 
characteristic features of the several forms of government are 
given with a delusive air of precision and accuracy. There is 
much that is superficial and fanciful in the book, and much that 
has endured the test of ages. ^We are more partial to the manner 
of Hallara or DeTocqueville. Agnosticism had better be insulated 
than conducted.^ The island meant in this case is an imaginary 
one and not England. The author is a clever writer. The 
Latinity of Desiderius "Erasmzus" is probably the best since that 
of Cicero, and his lambent satire has never been successfully 
imitated.^ The other one (Francis William), we are glad to see, 
has taken to literary subjects. The physic of the late Henry 
Rogers was too much for his "spiritual" constitution. His 
brother, the Oxford priest, is one of the great masters of English 
and of Romish dialectics and exegesis.'* Is not Mr. Brassey the 

'London and its Environs : Including Excursions to the Isle of Wight. 
Handbook for Travellers. By K. Baedeker. 16mo., cloth, $2.50. Scribner 
& Welford, New York. 

'^The Spirit of Laws. By M. de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu. 
With D'Alembert's Analysis of the Work. Translated from the French 
by Thomas Nugent, LL.D. A new edition, revised, with additional 
Notes, and a new Memoir from the latest French editions. By J. V. 
Prichard. 2 vols., $2.80. Ibid. 

^The New Paul and Virginia ; or, Positivism on an Island. By W. H. 
Mallock. Uniform in type and binding with "The New Republic.'' $1. 
/ bid. 

^Colloquies of Erasmus. Translated by N.Bailey. Edited, with Notes, 
by the Rev. E. Johnson, M. A. 2 vols. 8vo., cloth, $7. Ibid. 

^An Essay on the Development of-Christian Doctrine. By John Henry 
Newman. 12mo., cloth, $3. Ibid. 

VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 27. 



Recent Publications. 


member Avho navigates so many vessels ?^ The Bampton Lec- 
tures on Miracles^ are masterly, but concede much. 

Whatever may be thought of the prime minister's eye-brow and 
curl, there is no doubt of his genius or of the figure he will make 
in English history.^ Right or wrong in his treatment of Peel, 
he has realised the early dream of Tancred and Coningsby, and 
raised England from a second-rate to a first-rate power. Yet the 
ides are not over. John Leech is probably the cleverest carica- 
turist that ever lived, and but for John Tenniel Punch would 
hardly have survived him. The historian of the Crimean War 
had already made his fame by a literary tour de force., which 
atoned for his silence in the House of Commons.^ By a happy 
coincidence, John Morley, the editor of the Fortnightly Review, 
is whitening the sepulchres of Rousseau* and Voltaire^ at the very 
time that Dennis Kearney and Robert Ingersoll are rattling the 
dishonored bones of Tom Paine. Morley is a learned but heavy 
critic, a refined scholar, and a bitter opponent of Christianity. 
We know nothing of this volume,^ but just such a handy-book on 
England as a whole has been in request among tourists. Murray 
twaddles; and demands a shelf for his district-guide. A friend 
once remarked to us of Kane's book, ''There is but one idea in 
it!" "What is that ?" we asked. "Ice!" was the reply. This 
is another book on the same thrilling, but also chilling topic.^ 

'^Lectures on the Labor Question. By Thomas Brassey, M. P. Third 
edition. London, 1878. 8vo., cloth, ^3. Scribner & Welford, New York. 

'^Eight Lectures on the Miracles. By J. B. Mozley. (Bampton Lectures.) 
12mo., cloth, $2. Ibid. '■' 

^Benjamin Disraeli, in upwards of One Hundred Cartoons, from the 
Collection of "Mr. Punch." Drawn by John Leech and John Tenniel. 
4*0., paper, $1.25; cloth, $2. Ibid. 

*Eothen. By W. A. Kinglake. New edition. 12mo., cloth, $3. Ibid. 

^Rousseau. ' Vol. I. of the "Now Uniform Edition of John Morley's 
Works." Complete in one volume, $2.50. Ibid. 

^Voltaire. Vol. II. of the "New Uniform Edition of John Morley's 
Works." Complete in one volume, $1.75. Ibid. 

''Handbook for England and Wales. Alphabetically arranged for the 
use of Travellers. With an outline map. 12mo., cloth, $4. Ibid. 

^The Great Frozen Sea : A Personal Nari-ative of the Voyage of the 
"Alert" during the Arctic Expedition of 1875-6. By Captain Albert 
Hastings Markham. With numerous illustrations. 8vo., cloth, $9. Ibid. 




Recent Publications, 



There is more glow, if not more glitter, about the royal coffers 
we come next to open.^ The great Surrey pastor writes as well 
as he preaches ; and take him for all in all, where shall we find 
his equal as an expounder of the Scriptures for the multitude? 

^'Verdant Green" and "Tom Brown at Oxford" give us capital 
glimpses of certain aspects of Oxford life. Bristed's autobio- 
graphic sketches find criticisms still left something to be done of 
the kind now attempted by Mr. Stedraan.^ The popularity of 
the Jewish historian,^ though not everywhere as great as it was 
in Edinburgh in the boyish days of Robert Chambers, is as steady 
as it is wide-spread. The Tiibingen critics mention him with the 
awe reserved by believers for inspired authors. Yet we should 
not for that or any other reason undervalue the services of this 
honest and able writer, who is often our chief and sometimes our 
only dependence. We once perused an essay on "Ham and 
Eggs," lamenting the apparently indissoluble nature of the tie 
that uniformly connects them in the same dish. It is with some- 
what of the same feeling of regret, not unmingled with apprehen- 
sion, that we approach the uncut leaves of Mr. Urwick's lexicon.* 
The grammar is easily distanced by the dictionary in the .arena of 
dogmatic disputation. Notwithstanding, this may be and is likely 
to be (as from a second edition in Germany) a work of some 
mark. A good idea.^ Mr. Morley^ is judged toihave come off 
better Avith his narrative than with his critical estimate of the 

^The Treasury of David. Vol. V. By C. H. Spur^reon. Svc, cloth, $4. 
Scribner & Welford, New York. 

'^Oxford : Its Social and Intellectual Life. With Remarks and Hints 
on Expenses and Examinations, the Selection of Books, etc. By Algernon 
M. M. Stedman. 12mo., cloth, $3.75. Ibid. 

^Josephus's Complete Works. By William Muston. New edition. 
12mo., cloth, $1.75. Ibid. 

''Biblico-Theolofijical Lexicon of New Testament, Greek. Translated 
from the German of the second edition. With ad'^itional matter and cor- 
rections by the author. By William Urwick. 4to., cloth, $10. Ibid. 

^Selected Essays, Chiefly from Contributions to the Edinburgh and 
Quarterly Reviews. By A. Hayward, Q, C. 2 vols. Crown 8vo. Ibid. 

^Diderot and the Encyclopaedists. Vol. III. of the "Uniform Edition 
of Morley's Biographies." By John Morley. Crown 8vo., cloth, $2.50. 



Recent Puhlieations. 


^clopaedists. A question of such momentous importance as 
the one supposed to have been set at rest by Diderot, D'Holbach, 
and ihoxv co7ifreres^ could not be fairly dealt with by so prejudiced 
a court as that of the Fortnightly. Nobody has pretended to 
more knowledge about Russia than Mr. Eugene Schuyler/ who 
here puts Count Tolstoy into English form. The rage for this 
class of works has, however, subsided for a while ; though there 
are symptoms of its early revival. On the whole, let us hope 
that the peace of Europe, \i not of Asia, has been secured. The 
effect of music^ on the human soul is one of the things that 
materialism fails to account for. Such a theme^ by such a writer 
will make many mouths water. "0 si sic omnes." But the Arch- 
bishop^ is not a man to follow blindfold. Neither, for the matter 
of that, was John Calvin. Professor Perry's book^ was as lively 
as it was sound, but apparently written in some haste. The 
chapter on currency, for instance, had not been perfectly analysed. 
It is a work of rare merit. Dunlop and Long and Mommsen, and 
now Crutwell.^ The theme is inexhaustible. May the day be 
distant when the portcullis of Merton shall give way under the 
pressure of the men who know not Tully. •:-,..; 

Whatever Dr. Shedd'' writes for the press is sure to be valuable 
and interesting. The robust literature of theology and history is 

^The Cossacks. Translated by Eu/j;eno Schuyler from the Russian of 
Count Tolstoy. Small 12mo., 310 pp., cloth, $1.25. Charles Scribners 
Sons, New York. 

'^A Concise History of Music, from the Commencement of the Christian 
Era to the Present Time. By H. G. B. Hunt, B. Mus. For the use of 
students. 12mo., 200 pp., cloth, $1. Ibid. 

'Lectures on Mediaeval Church History. By R. C. Trench, D. D., 
Archbishop of Dublin. 8vo., 454 pp., cloth, |3. Ibid. &, 

^Elements of Political Economy. By Professor A. L. Perry. New 
edition, revised and enlarged. Crown 8vo., 621 pp., cloth, $2.50. Ibid. 

^A History of Roman Literature: From the Earliest Period to the 
Death of Marcus Aurelius. By Charles Thomas Crutwell, M. A., Fellow 
and Tutor of Merton College, Oxford. With chronolo<i!;ical tables, etc. 
Crown 8vo., 520 pp., cloth, $2.50. Ibid. 

^Literary Essays. By the Rev. Wm. G. T. Shedd, D. D., Professor 
of Systematic Theology in Union Theological Seminary, New York. 
With a new portrait of Dr. Shedd, engraved on steel by Mr. Ritchie. 
8vo., 377 pp., cloth, |2.50. Ibid. . 





Recent Publications. 



not the only literature with which the learned professor is richly 
acquainted. The time should have come for a new synthesis, by 
one who is not only a competent scholar but a competent artist, 
of so much of the early Roman story as has resisted the acid of 
sober criticism.^ We boldly avow the opinion, that nothing has 
been written in the vernacular since Junius that has so keen an 
edge as these papers on the career of Disraeli.^ They are cur-' 
rently attributed to the editor of the Daily News. They are 
certainly the work of a consummate master of language, of allu- 
sion, of the subtlest as well as the broadest irony, as well as an 
expert in the cunning fence of political debate and in the treat- 
ment of political affairs. This little volume of recollections^ has 
the finest aroma for the lovers of Charles Lamb and of refined 
literary gossip. The gentle authors were held in deserved esti- 
mation by some of the most famous wits and poets of the past 
generation. ''The Speaker's Commentary"* has already been 
noticed in these pages. It is in some important respects the 
most satisfactory commentary we yet have on the Old Testament. 
It strikes the golden mean betwixt books of a popular and de- 
votional nature, and works of a severely critical character. It 
presents in an intelligible form the results of the recent anti- 
quarian research. It nevertheless has serious defects and' 
blemishes. It often lacks the vigor of the older and more prac- 
tical school of exegetes, whilst it is not critical enough to meet 
the demands of the more thoughtful student. It is somewhat 

^Early Rome : From the Foundation of the City to its Destruction by 
the Gauls. By W. Ihne, Ph.D., Professor at the tJniversity of Heidel- 
berg. With map. 16mo., 238 pp., cloth, |1. Charles Scribner's Sons, 
New York. 

^Political Adventures of Lord Beaconsfield. 192 pp., paper, forty 
cents. Ibid. 

^Recollections of Writers. By Charles and Mary Oowden Clarke. With 
letters of Charles Lamb, Leigh Hunt, Douglas Jerrold, and Charles 
Dickens. 12mo., 3.55 pp., cloth, $1.75. Ihid. 

*The Bible Commentary : The Speaker's Commentary, Explanatory 
and Critical, with a Revision of the Translation. By Bishops and 
Clergy of the Anglican Church. Edited by F. C. Cook, M. A., Canon 
of Exeter, Preacher at Lincoln's Inn, and Chaplain in ordinary to the 
Queen. Ibid. 


i- , 


Recent PiihUcatiom. 


tainted, too, with what may be justly described as Semi-Rational- 
ism. These Letters^ of the German Chancellor are vastly diverting, 
and have modified, and yet in some things confirmed, the view we 
had of him before we read them — or rather read some of them. 
The Prince comes out emphatically and impetuously on the side 
of religion. A stern sense of dutv to God, he tells us, is all that 
keeps him at the helm of State. It appears he is as good a cook 
as a diplomatist. The glimpses of autobiography and of con- 
temporary history are of special interest and sometimes of great 
value. The Yale President^ discusses of American education as 
few others can do. We warm to him just now (and forgive his 
chapter on "System" in "The Human Intellect"), because of the 
remorseless castigation he has just administered to Mr. Tyndall 
for his late address on man regarded as a machine. The great 
reply to Farrar^ is that of Dr. McElhinny of the Alexandria 
Seminary. A good subject.* All questions are reopened now- 
a-days.* The question about Agnosticism^ is a question only with 
the sceptic. Theism is no longer in question, except among 
infidels, but "in proof!" The evidence is unassailable. 

If the "Young Folk's History of Germany/"^ by Charlotte 
Yonge, has the charm of the Child's History of England by Charles 
Dickens, it is a good book. "England's Worthies,"^ "forgotten" 

^Prince Bismarck's Letters to his Wife, his Sister, and Others, from 
1844 to 1870. Translated from the German by Fitzh. Moxse. 12mo., 
269 pp., cloth, $1. Charles Scribner's Sons, New York. 

'^The American Colleges and the American Public, with After-Thoughts 
on College and School Education. A new, revised, and enlarged edition. 
By President Noah Porter, D. D. 12mo., 408 pp., cloth, $1.50. Ibid. 

^"What is the Eternal Hope of Canon Farrar?" Being a Review and 
Reply to his Book. Cloth, 75 cents. Pott, Young & Co., New York. 

^Sketches of Church History. By the Rev. J. C. Robertson. 12mo., 
130 pp., cloth, $1. Ibid. 

^What is Natural Theology? By the Rev. Alfred Barry. 12mo., 
327 pp., cloth, $1.25. Ibid. 

^Theism or Agnosticism. By Rev. B. Maitland. 12mo., 239 pp., 
cloth, 75 cents. IMd. 

'Young Folk s History of Germany. By Charlotte M. Yonge. Map 
and eighty-one illustrations. I). Lothrop & Co., Boston. 

^Men of Mark; or, Heroes of English History. By William Mai'- 
shall, D. D. 12mo., cloth, $1.25. Ibid. 


fitecent Puhlieations. 


and unforgotten, stand high on the scroll of Viri Tdustrissimi ; 
and deserve better at the hands of Massachusetts than to be rapt 
from the repose of antique vellum and stately folio to the poor 
apotheosis of flimsy cloth and twelve times folded rags. We have 
lately said our say of the author^ of the '"Holy War" and "The 
Jerusalem Sinner Saved." With possibly one exception, he was 
the strongest imaginative genius of the century. Over and above ' 
all this, he was one of the soundest of exegetical and practical 
theologians, and the most popular of theologians, whether sound 
or unsound. Then, too, he has given to the world one of the 
noblest models in existence of English style. We ought to be 
sincerely grateful to the venerable scholar and ex-president for 
the guidance he here offers to the untitled and the immature.^ 
America owes a debt to the old •' Grecian " and interpreter of the 
classics and the Bible that cannot be otherwise than ^'■forcibly re- 
adjusted." At last the rarely gifted Virginian^ has obtained the 
recognition of both hemispheres. His present biographer tells 
the sad story calmly and well, though not without a dash of par- 
donable bitterness. There has been no more original poet in our 
time. His fault is in pushing the mysterious too far in the direc- 
tion of obscurity and horror. Yet, in his verse, his "every idea 
will to melody run." The recent prevalence of yellow fever in 
unaccustomed places makes Dr. Logan's book* a timely one. 

The greatest of modern historians in the ancient acceptation of 
the ttrm.^ The author of "The Decline and Fall" followed the 
French in his idiom and his irreligion. The amplitude, the 
honesty, and the worth of his citations have never been contested. 

^The Pilgrim's Progress. By John Bunyan. With illustrations by 
Stothard, and vicinette title engraved by Marsh. New edition. $1.25. 
D. Lothrop & Co., Boston. 

fllelpfiil Thou^dits for Young Men. By Ex-President Woolsey, of Yale 
College. New edition. 12mo., cloth, 75 cents. Ihid. 

«The Life of Edgar A. Poc. By William F. Gill. Fourth edition, re- 
vised and enlarged. l2mo., 347 pp., cloth, $1.75. W. & J. Widdleton, 
New York. 

^Physics of the Infectious Diseases. By C. A. Logan, A. M., M. D. 
12mo., 212 pp., cloth, $1.50. Jansen, McClnrg & Co., Chicago. 

^Gibl)on. By J. C. Morison. "English Men of Letters." 12njo., ' 
cloth, 75 cents. Harper & Bros., New York. 


Recent PuhUcations. 


The accomplished editor of the Spectator \\^9 rewritten for us the 
life of Scott.^ The work is thought to be well done, and contains 
many suggestive remarks and novel judgments. The student's 
vade mecum in extra-biblical Church history — we mean the well 
known work of Philip Smith^ — is chiefly defective because of the 
enormous multitude of the facts to be epitomised. The man wlio 
suggested the steamboat lived a life that was worthy of record.* 
The best works that have been put forth of late years on the 
Atonement are those of Professor A. A. Hodge and Hugh Martin. 
We know)nothing of this treatise by Dr. Samson^ except what is 
told us on the title page. We are free to own that we do not ad- 
mire the style of the title. The two wizards'^ ^ are here placed 
side by side. Andersen has more poetic genius, Grimm more 
homely variety and better plots. Of the two, Andersen loses far 
the most by translation even into kindred tongues. 

The two gentlemen who have undertaken the biography of the 
statesman and orator of Georgia^ are singularly qualified, one 
should say, to do so, on the score of their talents, their acquire- 
ments, and their experience. Since it has been found out that 
Democritus and Lucretius have forestalled the egotistic science 
of the nineteenth century, they have been more- run after than 

^Sir Walter Scott. By R. H. Hutton. 12rno., cloth, 75 cents. Harper 

& Bros., New York. 

'^Student's Ecclesiastical History. By Philip Smith. 12mo., cloth, 

$2.75. Ibid. 

^The Life of John Fitch, the Inventor of the Steamboat. By Thompson 

Westcott. With illustrations. New edition. 12nio., cloth, $1.25. J. B. 

Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia. 

*The Atonement: Viewed as Assumed Divine Responsibility; Traced 
as the Fact Attested in Divine Revelation ; Shown to be the Truth Har- 
monising Christian Theories ; and Recof]i;nised as the Grace Realised in 
Human Experience. By G. W, Samson, D. D. 12mo., cloth extra, $1. Ibid. 

^Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales, A new translation by Mrs. H. B. Paull. 
Especially adapted and arranged for young people. With original illus- 
trations. 672 pp., cloth, black and gold, $1.25. Ibid. 

^Grimm's Fairy Tales. A new translation by Mrs. H. B. Paull. Especi- 
ally adapted, etc. Uniform with "Andersen's Fairy Tales. 16mo., 
nearly 600 pp., $1.25. Ibid. 

^Life of Alexander H. Stephens. By Richard Malcolm Johnston and 
William Hand Browne. 8vo., cloth extra, $3. Ibid. 



Recent Publications. 


ever.^ "The Southern Household Companion"^ gives a compre- 
hensive and captivating account of itself. The " People's Edition " 
of the Waverley series^ is one of the cheapest forms in which 
these delightful and in^j^^ensable volumes can be had. The 
editor of the Portfolio^ (an art journal) is a marvel of versatility. 
Nothing will content him but he must enter the lists with M. 
Taine. With a sudden transition, presto we change to the quaint 
and memorable pages of the titled and pious English doctor.^ 
For some odd reason we always associate in our mind with the 
"Religio Medici" of Browne the "Utopia" of Thomas More. 
They are in reality as unlike as the "Utopia" and the "New 
Atlantis" are like one another. 

No one writes more pointed papers than the active pastor of 
Brooklyn.^ They are always as terse and racy as they are evan- 
gelical. The eighth volume of this series^ crowns the historical 
labors of the pictorial chronicler and brave defender of the Refor- 
mation. This is already the approved narrative of the labors of 
Calvin and his coadjutors. The old paths of catechetic prolonga- 
tion are by M. T. S.,® abridged and beautified, and thus converted 
into "primrose paths" of easy household chat. The character 

^Lucretius. By W. II. Mallock. Vol. VIII. of the supplemental series 
of "Ancient Classics for English Readers." Edited by the Rev. W. Lucas 
Collins, M. A. ]2mo., cloth, $1. J. B. Lippincott & Co., Philadelphia. 

'^The Southern Household Companion : Containing valuable informa- 
tion on all subjects connected with Domestic and Rural Affairs, Gardening, 
Cookery, Beverages, Dairy, Medical, Veterinary, and Miscellaneous. By 
Mrs. Mary L. Edgeworth. 12mo., cloth extra, $1.25. Ihid. 

^Waverley Novels. "People's Edition." New edition illustrated. 
12 vols., crown 8vo., fine cloth, in neat box, $12. Ihid. 

*Modern Frenchmen. By P. G. tlamerton. Square 12mo., cloth, $2. 
6. P. Putnam's Sons, New York. 

^Rcligio Medici and Miscellaneous Writings of Sir Thomas Browne. 
16mo., cloth, $1.25. Roberts Brothers, Boston. 

"Pointed Papers on the Christian Life. By the Rev. T. L. Cuyler. 
12mo., 360 pp., cloth, $1.50. Robert Carter & Bros., New York. 

''^D'Aubigne's History of the Reformation in the Time of Calvin. 
Vol. VIII., completing the work. With full Index to set. 12mo., $2; 
the set, eight volumes, $16. Ihid. 

^Ilome Lessons on the Old Paths ; or, Conversations on the Assembly's 
Shorter Catechism. By M. T. S. 16mo., $1.25. Ihid. 

VOL. XXX., NO. 1 — 28. 



Recent Publications. 

and the writings of John^ are as pure and unfathomable as the 
unsullied and luminous blue sky. Robert Hall used to read two 
chapters in Matthew Henry^ every day. Macduff^ is felicitous 
and full of unction. "Outlines of Theology"^ occupies a place 
by itself and a place of high merit. The Bath clergyman^ is in 
general a safe interpreter of Scripture, and a writer of tact and 

The miraculous and parabolic elements in the Old Testament 
afford abundant scope to gifted sermon isers.^ The honored names 
of Dr. Browne and Bishop Ellicott seem to guarantee the sound- 
ness of this little book on inspiration.^ The father of political 
economy^ once more advances to the front, and takes up a question 
of which it may be said, '•''Nodm vindice dignus.'' The last book 
on our list^ is evidently a compilation, but the subject is one of 
unusual interest. We notice the omission in the title page of 
Taney and Binney. H, C. A. 

^John, Whom Jesus Loved. By Dr. Culross. 12mo., $1.25. Robert 
Carter & Bros., New York. 

^Henry's Commentary on the Bible. 5 vols. 4to., oloth, $15. Ihid. ■ 

^Brighter than the Sun. By the Rev. Dr. Macduff. New edition. $2. Ibid. 

^Hodge's Outlines of Theology. New edition, rewritten and en- 
larged. Ibid. 

^Ilelp Heavenward. By Octavius Winslow, D. D. l8mo., 75 cents. Ibid, 

^Outlines of Sermons on the Miracles and Parables of the Old Testa- 
ment. Original and selected. By a London Clergyman. 12mo., cloth, $2. 
T. Whitaker, New York. 

■^The Inspiration of Holy Scripture. By the Rt. Rev. E. Harold 
Browne, D. D., and C. J. Ellicott, D. D. Square 18mo., cloth, 75 cents. Ibid. 

8The Wealth of Nations. By Adam Smith. 12mo., 780 pp., cloth, ^ 
SI. 25, Ibid. 

^Short Studies of Great Lawyers: Containing a Brief Biography and 
Critical Estimate of the Character and Career of the Leading English and 
American Lawyers and Judges, including Coke, Mansfield, Kenyon, 
Thurlow, Loughsborough, Ellenborough, Erskine, Eldori, Romilly, 
Abinger, Brougham, Parsons, Kent, Marshall, Pinckney, Wirt, Rikcr, 
Story, Webster, Walworth, and Choate. By Irvi^fig Browne. 12mo., 
386 pp., $2. Weed, Parsons & Co., Albany, N. Y. 







■M^' ^:.''-'v' 


■ ■ ^ft&ii|:' 

. ;v';-5'^1??^f>'- 

u i' -'f 4 





VOL. XXX.— NO. 2. 

« ^ * 


ARTICLE I. , . :; / 


/. UUmana Reformers before the Reformation. Translated by 
Rev. Robert Menzies. Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark. 

2. The History and Life of the Rev. Dr. John Tauler^ with 
twenty-five of his Sermons. Translated by Susanna Wink- 
worth; Preface by Rev. Charles Kinqsley; Introduction 
by Rev. Roswell D. Hitchcock, D. D., Washburn Pro- 
fessor of Ecclesiastical History in the Union Theological Sem- 
inary (New York). New York : Wiley & Halsted. 

S. Madame G-uyon and Fenelon. By Thos. C. Upham, Pro- 
fessor in Bowdoin College. Harper & Bros., New York. 

what mysticism is. 

Difficult indeed would be the task of defining the undefinalde. 
Mysticism is not like the sun, the moon, the planets, all which 
give the telescopic observer a sharp-edged disk ; not even like 
the fixed stars which present glittering points, or at least approxi- 
mations thereto; but like the zodiacal light stretching back 
from the sun just after nightfall in long vagueness of splendor; 
or the nebula in Andromeda shining yonder from age to age, an 
undefined luminosity. Like the nebula, it is, however, a reality; 
it has a central aggregation from which on all sides it passes 
away gradually into utter faintness. 



Mediaeval and 3Iodern Mystics, 


We take this nucleus to be an aspiru-tioii after an intuition; a 
longing for immediate communion Avith the Greatest and the Best. 
Ullman says of John Wessel that he "lias also a mystical ele- 
ment He strives, like the mystics, to break through the 

limits of the finite, to blend himself in love and longing with God» 
and, as the principal means of union with him, employs contem- 
plation and prayer." Dr. Hitchcock characterises the mystics 
as "inordinately bent on hiding their lives in God." Kingsley 
says they are "all inclined to claim some illumination, intuition, 
or direct vision of eternal truth, eternal good, eternal beauty, 
even of that eternal Father in whom all live and move and have 
their being." 


A phenomenon which has appeared and re-appeared so often 
in the Church, must find something within man to "which it ap- 
peals. We might almost say a man is a born mystic, or else he 
never becomes one ; nascitm\ non fit. To be more exact, there 
are some persons, who, like Geor«.';e Fox, spontaneously develope 
into mystics; others, like the excellent Penn, easily absorb the 
infection; then after every conceivable degree of liability to con- 
tract the disease, we arrive at mental constitutions so robust as 
to repel its most powerful attacks. 

So far as the intellect is concerned, we apprehend the differ- 
ences between men in this respect to be closely allied to the 
different proportions in which the intuitive and the discursive 
faculties are comprehended in each individual. Every man has 
both of these faculties, and it must be owned that the discursive 
is ultimately for the intuitive, and not the intuitive for the dis- 
cursive. But there may be a just balance of these powers; or 
the discursive may so predominate as to make the man a mere 
mathematician, or metaphysician, or dialectician; or the intuitive 
may be so overshadowing as to produce a dreamer, a theosophist, 
a mystic. 

The common way of expressing this difference in men is to say 
that the one is a Platonist, the other an Aristotelian. There is 
a modicum of truth in this statement; only a modicum, for Plato 


Mediceval and Modern Mystws. 


was a powerful dialectician. He could hardly have been so long 
under the influence of that cogent and subtle reasoner, Socrates, 
without cultivating his own discursive faculty to the last degree 
of which it was susceptible.* On the other hand. Aristotle in- 
sists in his Organum upon the absolute prior need of first truths, 
if we would reason at all. Yet we cannot but suspect that the 
intuitive was paramount in Plato's mental constitution and the 
discursive in Aristotle's, and that this will explain Dr. Shedd's 
result (History of Christian Doctrine, Vol. I., p. 60) : *'In this 
way, Platonism, under the treatment of the New-Platonics, degen- 
erated into an imaginative theosophy; and Aristotelianism, in the 
handling of the later schoolmen, became mere hair-splitting." The 
trouble in both- cases arose, he says, *'from an exaggeration of one 
particular element in each, and its sole employment in philosophis- 
ing upon Christianity to the neglect of the remaining elements of 
the system." This, however, could scarcely have happened as it 
did, unless Plato and Aristotle had differed in their own leanings. 

Another phraseology discriminates the Pauline from the Jo- 
hannean type. Forceful, but inexact concretion of thought, 
doing injustice to Paul, who was a man of rare intellectual bal- 
ance. Yet, again, the discursive minds of the Church turn to 
Paul's writings, and tho mystically inclined find refreshment in 
those of the beloved disciple. The born dialectician will hardly 
become a mystic. No, their ranks must be recruited from men 
of imagination, from contemplatists, and from dreamers. 

Leaving the intellect now, and seeking for the roots of mysti- 
cism, in the domain of the sensibilities, we find in all men more 
or less, in some men a very ardent, longing for repose. The 
coveted boon may be a rest from the accusations of a guilty con- 
science and a sense of tho just indignation of God. Our Luthers 
and Bunyans are types of this class, which, however, is not very 
productive of mystics. 


'The poetical essays of his [Plato's] youth were discontinued after 

he became more intimately acquainted with Socrates A 

young man, endowed with a luxuriant fancy, he received the logical dis- 
cipline to which Socrates subjected him as a kindness worthy of all 
gratitude." Ueberweg's History of Philosophy, Vol. I., p. 101. 



Mediaeval and Modern Mystics. 


A second class seek for rest from intellectual toil. They are 
disinclined to research, to laborious comparison of scripture with 
scripture, to wearisome deduction of one truth from another. It 
is so much easier to say, "God has revealed this or that truth to 
me," either as an exposition of scripture or as a strictly new 
'evelation. We speak now not as before of the intellectual ability 
too-eason, but of the slothful aversion to ratiocination; of the 
desire to grasp the wealth of knowledge without paying the 
divilnely appointed price of labor. 

third class long for rest from the struggle against sin. 
They would by one coup de main of the will, one so-called act of 
consecration, terminate the battle. They would by one eagle 
wing-flap soar above the smoke, dust, and din of the Church 

A fourth, and it is our last class, are the invalid corps of the 
Church; the worn, the disappointed, the sick, the aged, the 
recluses of constraint or of choice, ^he trumpet no longer sum- 
mons them to battle. Pseans of victory do not, as once, burst 
from their lips. Their daily monody is 

"I long, oh! I long to be there I" " ' ' 

The gentle mystics come largely from this class. Let us be very 
tender to them, even as the Shepherd of Israel bears them in 
his arms. 

From this pathology it will appear that objective mysticism is 
an exaggeration, a want of balance, resulting psychologically 
from a one-aidedness of original constitution or of development, 
and admitting of a boundless variety of degree and modification — 
as a ship may go directly with the wind and thus keep its decks 
level ; or may sail across the wind at various angles and careen 
accordingly ; or may be struck at right angles to its length by a 
sudden and violent squall throwing it on its beam-ends, and, if it 
be ill ballasted, causing it to founder in mid ocean. 


Dr. Shedd subdivides into these three classes: 1. Mystic 
Scholastics. 2. Heretical Mystics. 8. Latitudinarian Mystics. 
"The Mystic Scholastics were those who held the hereditary or- 


Mediaeval and Modern Mystics. 


thodoxy of the Church, and sought to reach the meaning of the old 
symbols and doctrines by a contemplative and practical method; 
yet not to the entire exclusion of the speculative and scientific. 
Such men were Bernard (f 1153), Hugh St. Victor (f 1141), 
Richard St. Victor (f 1173), William of Champeaux (f 1113), 
Bonaventura (f 1274)." EisL Chr. Doct., i., 79. 

Christ announced himself as the Truth and the Life. We may 
fail to render unto the Truth the things which belong unto the 
Truth; or, on the other hand, to render unto the Life the things 
that belong to the Life. . The former of these is the error of the 
mystic; the latter, at least a prominent error of many of the 
scholastics. A man might be both a scholastic and a mystic in 
one sense of the terms, i. e., by rendering their dues to both the 
Truth and the Life. But this was an unusual phenomenon. 
Pronounced mysticism and pronounced scholasticism seem to us 
to have been natural enemies. 

MWman says (Book XIV,, Oh. S): 

"It is an error to suppose mysticism as the perpetual antagonist of 
scholasticism ; the mystics were often severe logicians : the scholastics 
had all the passion of mystics. Nor were the scholastics always Aristo- 
telians and nominalists, or the mystics realists and Platonists. The 
logic was often that of Aristotle, the philosophy that of Plato." 

Yet in the same connexion he tells us that 


" From the hard and arid system of Peter the Lombard the profound 

devotion of the Middle Ages took refuge in mysticism Hugo and 

Richard de St. Victor (the Abbey of St. Victor at Paris) w^ere the great 
mystics of this period. The mysticism of Hugo de St. Victor withdrew 
the contemplator altogether from the outward to the inner world — from 
God in the works of nature to God in his workingaion the soul of man. 
This contemplation of God, the consummate perfection of man, is imme- 
diate, not mediate. Through the angels and the celestial hierarchy of 
the Areopagitc, it aspires to one God, not in his theophany, but in his 
inmost essence. All ideas and forms of things are latent in the human 
sou], as in God ; only they are manifested' to the soul by its own activity, 

its meditative power Thus the silent, solemn cloister was as it 

were constantly balancing the noisy and pugnacious school. The system 
of the St. Victors is the contemplative philosophy of deep-thinking minds 
in their profound seclusion, not of intellectual gladiators." (Latin Chris., 
Vol. VIIL, p. 240-1.) 
If by a scholastic we mean merely a man who spent his life in 


Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 


reading and writing theology, it is manifest that a scholastic 
might readily be a mystic. But if Ave mean by the term one who 
discussed theology in a scientific way, using a logical method, 
answering all objectors, thrusting and parrying, we cannot well 
see how such a man could have been a St. Victor. St. Augus- 
tine with his vast territory of intellect may have been a combina- 
tion of the consummate logician and the profond mystic ; but St. 
Augustines are rare phenomena. Jonatlian Edwards, in more 
recent times, furnishes an instance of subtle ratiocination and 
ecstatic fervor. 

Taking the terms, then, in their very best sense, we deem the 
scholastic mystics the highest style of theologians. Their path- 
way lies along the lofty summit of a ridge from which there is 
a too easy descent on eitlier side. Such men never give in to 
the heresy that the pursuit of truth is better than its possession. 
They are not guilty of the solecism of pursuing the pursuit of 
truth. Truth and holiness; truth in order to holiness ; holiness by 
means of the truth ; truth sought in order that it may be gained, 
and when gained, may sanctify: this, in brief, is the purpose 
and the method of a true theology. This would have preserved 
the scholastics from their enormous waste of subtlety and logical 
power on trivial questions. Supplemented by just views of the 
right methods of acquiring knowledge, it would have spared the 
Church the evils of mysticism.* 

■"^We have followed Dr. Shedd's classification, although it does not suit 
our purposes as well as it did his. In giving; a history of Christian doc- 
trine one would naturally make orthodoxy the standard, and differentiate 
heresies and heterodoxies from it by the amount of their divergence from 
the truth — as though they were so many variations of the needle from 
the true meridian. Neither is it easy to make a more satisfixctory classi- 
fication on any plan other than Dr. Shedd's. We suggest the following: 
Our emotional and intellectual natures are so closely related, and the 
impossibility of experiencing an emotion without a preceding intellection 
is so uUer, that the myotics themselves have been unable to invert or 
wholly ignore the mental process. Then we may select as the principle 
of the division, the source of the intellection. When it is derived from 
the Scripture by a claimed but imaginary illumination of the Holy Spirit, 
the result may be a sense of measureless repose or of jubilant delight. 
When the mystic deems himself the recipient of a new revelation, it is a 


Mediaeval and Modern Myatics. 


;"ii'i '/It »•»*■■!' • . tt. ■ ■ f-*^ 



It would have been better at once to call these the Pantheistic 
mystics- Pantheism seems at first sight the most absurd of all 
imaginable theories of the universe. It emerges, however, in 
the speculations of the ancient Hindus and Greeks; it has largely 
influenced the thinkers of Germany ; practical, cummercial New 
England has not escaped the malaria.' Dr. Emmons unwittingly 
maintained it; and the Church has had to cry out i - 

"Quo tantum mihi dexter abis?" ' " < -i. V/ 

even to the astute and most evangelical Jonathan Edwards. ^' ':■ 

JOI^N ERIGENA SCOTUS (f 880). i .j; i^>^,::]- 

This remarkable man was educated in one of the famous Irish 
schools, and found a patron in Charles the Bald, King of France. 
He read not only the Latin, but also the Greek Fathers, and 
thus fell under the influence of the New-Platonists. The works 
ofthepseudo Dionysius which had appeared first about A. D. 
682 were sent by the Greek Emperor to the Emperor Louis the 
Pious in A. D. 824. They were translated into Latin by the 
Abbot Hilduin, and again at the instance of Charles the Bald 
by Scotus. If such a thing be possible, Scotus was both a theist 
and a pantheist. He prays devoutly to God and to Christ; yet 
at other times utters pure pantheism. Speaking of God, he 
says : " Himself alone is truly per sg, and everything which is 
truly said to be in those things which are, is himself alone. . . . 
He is the end of all things, which seek him that they may rest 
in him eternally and unchangeably." God, truly speaking (ac- 
cording to Scotus), neither creates nor is created. The creature 

case of enthusiasm, properly so called. When the mind evolves from its 
own depths a consciousness of essential union with the Absolute of which 
it is only a transient iiidividualisation ; when it derives nothing from the 
Scriptures except some wretched perversions of the mystical and living 
union of Christ with the Father and with the Church, the phenomenon is 
Pantheism. Hence using a subordinate principle in subdividing the first 
into two classes, we have, 1. The Mysticism of Quietism ; 2. That of 
Ecstasy ; 3. Of Enthusiasm ; 4. Of Pantheism. More than one of these, 
however, might be found in a single mystic. The Quietist might be an 
Enthusiast, or even a Pantheist. 



Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 


subsists in God. In the creature God is created in a wonderful 
and ineiFable manner. Tiie Invisible manifests himself as visible, 
the Incomprehensible as comprehensible, the Infinite as finite. 
With other pantheists, he denied the real objective existence of 
sin. God was all in all, and even the semblance of evil should 
finally be driven from the universe of creation which was the 
manifestation form of God. 

It is interesting, though not wonderful, that whenever and 
wherever pantheism appears, the original principle is devel- 
oped into the same forms. Even the phraseology and the poetical 
similitudes are strikingly alike. Shedd justly remarks that pan- 
theism may be reached by two routes, the cold dialectic, or "the 
rejection of all logical methods, and the substitution of mere 
feelings and intuitions for clear discriminations and conceptions." 
(P. 80.) The speculative reason finds it hard to explain the 
nexus of the Infinite with the finite, and the immanence of sec- 
ond causes, while yet "all things consist" in God. This, apart 
from any professed belief of the Scriptures. But there are pas- 
sages in the inspired documents of our religion which can be and 
have been wrested from their proper meaning, as for instance 
Matt. X. 20: "It is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your 
Father which speaketh in you." This was twisted into a pan- 
theistic sense by Scotus. So also of course the saying of Paul : 
"In Him we live, move, and have our being." 

This loose kind of exposition was in all likelihood fostered by 
Origen, with whose writings Scotus seems to have been acquainted. 
Of the second route by which pantheism has been reached, we 
shall have an example presently ; but with regard to this first 
we may well echo the thought of Neander, that dialecticism and 
mysticism form "a strange mixture." 


Eckhart was at one time a Professor in the Dominican Convent 
of St. Jacques in Paris. This was about the end of the thirteenth 
century ; for in 1304 he was appointed Provincial of the Domini- 
can Order in Saxony. He was esteemed " the most learned man 
of his day in the Aristotelian philosophy.*' In him we find^again 


Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 


inconsistencies such as must always arise when a man tries to be 

a Christian in religion and a pantheist in philosophy. Eckhart 

longed for peace. - ,: . , 

"Dost thou ask me what was the purpose of the Creator when he 
made the creatures? I answer, Repose. Dost thou ask a<j;ain what 
all creiuures seek in their spontaneous aspiration? I answer ac;ain, Re- 
pose. Dost thou ask a third time what the soul seeks in all her mo- 
tions? I answer, Repose That word I AM none truly speak but 

God alone lie has the substance of all things in himself. 

All things are in God, and all things are God Simple people 

conceive that we are to see God as if he stood on that side and we on this. 
It is not so: God and I are one in the act of my perceiving him." 

These quotations sufficiently exhibit his views. 

Prof. Schmidt savs: - '....•,; a .;.» 

"Regarding Neo-Platonism as by no means incompatible with Chris- 
tianity, his philosophical views resemble, in their general tendency, those 
of Dionysius Areopagitica, combining with them the mystical elements 

contained in the writings of St. Augustine With Plato himself he 

is not unacquainted, but cites him several times, calling 'the Great Par- 
son' [Der Grosse Pfaffe). Scotus Erigena, the translator of the Platon- 
ising Dionysius, though not named in his writings, must be regarded as 
furnishing the starting point for his theories. Of the other mystics of 
the Middle Ages, he only names St. Bernard. But he has not rested 
within the systems advanced by any of the philosophies he studied; he 
made all the ideas that he may have derived from them his own, and 
gave them a further development, so that his position is that of a 
thoroughly original thinker." 

Eckhart is interesting also on account of his influence upon 
John Tauler, who belongs to Dr. Shedd's third class. 


These, says Dr. Shedd, "agreed with the Mystic Scholastics 
in holding the Church orthodoxy in honor, but from the neglect 
of scientific investigation lost sight of some parts of the catholic 
system. The piacular work of Christ, and the doctrine of jus- 
tification in particular, were misconceived and sometimes over- 
looked. The best representatives of this class are Von Colin 
(t 1329), Tauler (f 1361), Suso (f 1365), Gerson (f 1429), 
Thomas 4 Kempis (f 1471), and the author of the work which 
goes under the title of 'Theologia Germanica.' " 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 2. 



Mediaeval and Modern Mystics. 


JOHN OF RUYSBROEK (t 1384). v.^ 

Ruysbroek's proper place is here, and not, where Dr. Shedd 
puts him, among the pantheistical mystics. He was born in Bel- 
gium, not far from Brussels, about 1293; was educated in part 
in that city, and in due time was appointed vicar of the church 
of St. Gudule. He zealously discharged the duties of a secular 
priest up to his sixtieth year, and then retired into the Augus- 
tinian Monastery of Groenendael, two miles from Brussels, in a 
vast beech forest which extends to Waterloo. Ullman gives 1381 
as the date of his death, instead of 1384, as above, from Shedd. 
A life-long trait of Ruyshroek was a love for solitude and con- 
templation. In his later days he would plunge into the depths 
of the forest to meditate and to write on his waxen tablet. He 
was visited by multitudes of people, among others by Gerhard 
Groot and John Tauler ; but he retained his humility and mod- 
esty to the last. Among his writings are the Commentaries on 
the Tabernacle of the Covenant, The Mirror of Eternal Salva- 
tion, and treatises On the Adornment of the Spiritual Nuptials, 
On the Progress of Religious (i. e., monks). On the Seven De- 
grees of Love, On the Four Temptations, On True Contempla- 
tion. In the absurd legends of his time, he is said to have been 
haunted by the devil in the form of a hideous monster; but also to 
have been visited by Christ, who on one occasion, in the presence 
of the Virgin Mary appearing as the Regina Coeli, and of all the 
saints, said to him, Thou art my beloved son, in whom I am well 
pleased. We take these stories of course to have been posthu- 
mous. Ruysbroek believed in the Trinity of persons in the one 
divine essence, and repeatedly taught that God never became 
the creature and the creature never became God. He held to 
the true objective reality of sin, and the obligation of the law 
even over the most advanced earthly saints. 

He lays down three great steps toward unity with God, viz., 
the active, the inward, and the contemplative life. The active 
life consists in abstinence, penitence, good morals, holy actions, 
denying ourselves, and taking up the cross, even as Christ did 
for us. The inward life is one of love, of dissatisfaction with our 
attainments in spirituality, of longing, of aspiration. Nothing 


Mediceval and Modern Mi/stios. 


but God pleases us. "This oneness with a perpetual hunger and 
intense desire, consumes the object of its love, and constantly 
gives birth to a new fervor, in which the spirit offers her highest 
sacrifice." (Quoted by Ullman from Engelhardt's Monograph.) 
The contemplative life consists in going out of ourselves and be- 
coming one spirit with God. He abides in us and we in him. 
Our contemplation of him is not unreasonable, but it transcends 
reason in its mode, and also in its object, which is the absolute. 
There is a lower stage of this, wherein God flashes like lightning 
into the heart that has been opened to him, and floods it with an 
ineffable joy. But in the highest stage there is no mental action, 
only a pure rest in God, the soul no longer conscious of its own 
existence, forgetting itself, forgetting all things in the calm repose 
of celestial love. 

Some of Ruysbroek's expressions bordered so nearly on pan- 
theism that even Gerson, himself a mystic, directly charged him 
with that heresy. His theory of the spirit of man's existing 
eternally in God, being an image of God, as the image of a natural 
object is reflected from a mirror, approaches closely to pantheism, 
particularly because he uses the same figure to express the Son's 
relation to the Father in the Godhead. "The spirit becomes the 
very truth which it apprehends : God is apprehended by God. 
We become one with the same light with which we see, and which 
is both the medium and the object of our vision." 

No theist ought to use such phrases, for their most natural 
interpretation is pantheistic. But Ruysbroek avows over and 
again that God and the creature never can become the same. 

No fitter place may occur for the remark that the rhapsodies 
of many mystics often fail to cohere with their everyday, sober 
declarations. They revel in ambigious, overwrought, easily mis- 
understood, and self-contradictory expressions. John of Schoen- 
hoefen, an admirer of Ruysbroek, and a canon of Groenendael, it 
seems defended the great mystic so successfully that Gerson sub- 
stantially withdrew his accusation. 

We must not omit to state that for all his mysticism, Ruys- 
broek was an energetic reformer of morals, and chastised the 
sloth, the dancing, the gluttony, and the debauchery of convent 



Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 


and nunnery with an unsparing hand. He does not exempt pre- 
lates and Popes if they are worldly-minded and covetous. A 
pure, good, humble, and holy man, this priest and monk of the 
Netherlands. • 

GERHARD GROOT (1340-84). 

Among those who personally knew, admired, loved, and were 
profoundly affected by Ruysbroek, was Gerhard Groot. Born in 
1340 in Deventer, educated there first, and afterwards at the 
University of Paris, and again at Cologne, where he became a 
Professor; next receiving high preferments at home, rich, tal- 
ented, fashionable, he stands one day lookjng at some public 
game. An unnamed person regards him with interest and says 
to him, "Why do you stand here intent on vanities? You must 
become another man!" 

Moreover, an old friend of the former years at Paris, Henry 
Aeger, now prior of a Carthusian monastery, subsequently ad- 
monishes him of the vanity of earthly things, of death, of eternity, 
of the chief good. From that hour Groot is a transformed man. 
One trait of the mystics is a peculiar impressibility, as we shall 
note again. They have all the ordinary traits of mankind, but 
some almost obliterated, others exaggerated greatly. 

Gerhard fears to take orders as a priest, but he becomes an 
eloquent preacher, being first licensed by the Bishop of Utrecht, 
as the day of Lay Evangelism had hardly dawned then. His 
ease, his copiousness, his eloquence, above all, his heartfelt love 
for souls, made him a power wherever he preached. 

Owing, it is said, to his attacks on the vices of the clergy, 
complaint was lodged against him with the bishop, who withdrew 
the license he had given him to preach in his diocese. Gerhard 
then became a teacher in his native city of Deventer. He em- 
ployed clerks to copy the Scriptures and the ancient fathers. 
One of his intimate friends, Florentius, then vicar at Deventer, 
said to him, on a day, " Dear Master, what harm would it do 
were I and these clerks who are here copying, to put our weekly 
earnings into a common fund and live together?" 

"Live together? — the mendicant monks would never permit 
it; they would do their worst to prevent us." 


Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 


''But what," said Florentius. "is to prevent our making the 
trial? Perhaps God would give us success." 

'^Wetll, then," said Gerhard, "in God's name commence. I 
will be your advocate and faithfully defend you against all who 
rise up against you." 

Thus arose the society of the Brethren of the Common Lot. 
It spread far and wide and became a powerful instrument for 
good. The Brethren were not monks, took no monastic vow, 
could quit the Brotherhood if they desired, did not segregate 
themselves from the world, except that they lived in Brother 
Houses; yet they maintained a community of goods, lived accord- 
ing to rule, and "for God's sake" yielded an unconditional obe- 
dience to their superiors. 

Gerhard having some knowledge of medicine, hastened to the 
help of a friend who had been struck with the plague. He con- 
tracted the disease himself, and died in Deventer August 20, 
1384, aged forty-four. He was cheerful, affable, modest, prudent, 
and sagacious; had a vein of humor; dressed in grey, with great 
plainness; was an exceeding lover of books; and left behind him 
a few old articles of furniture, his library, a fur mantle, and a 
haircloth shirt; "an example to the devout," says good Thomas k 
Kempis, who wrote his life, "and a holy memorial to posterity." 

His " Rules of Life" and " Moral Sayings" are mildly flavored 
with mysticism. He exhorts to turn away the heart even with 
violence from the creatures, that we may conquer ourselves and 
point our minds continually to God; to be humble, chiejfly within, 
in the heart; never to show yourself off as very pious or very 
learned; and never to study, write, journey, or labor to extend 
your fame, to obtain promotion or gratitude, or to leave a memo- 
rial behind you among men. His spiritual kinship to k Kempis 
is thus very apparent. He evidently was a link between k Kem- 
pis and Ruysbroek. 

JOHN TAULER (1290-1361). 

Another man who was somewhat influenced by Ruysbroek was 
the celebrated John Tauler ; born at Strasburg, of independent 
worldly estate, becoming a Dominican monk probably in the year 



Medioeval and Modern Mystics, 


1308, a student of theology in the Dominican College of St. 
Jacques in Paris, and a famous preacher in Strasburg. In the 
troublous times resulting from the conflicts between the Pope and 
the Emperor, Tauler did the work of an evangelist at Cologne, 
Basle, and the regions along the Rhine. 

He was an earnest, useful preacher of the gospel in Strasburg 
in the prime of his powers, when ho attracted the attention of a 
layman who was destined to affect him profoundly. We have 
the singular advantage here of an autobiographical account of the 
matter, which was confided in manuscript by Tauler himself to the 
layman. The existence of this manuscript has been known to a 
few learned persons for some time, but it has been brought into 
publicity quite lately by Prof. Schmidt. A large folio volume 
also has been discovered in the archives of Strasburg. It for- 
merly belonged to the Convent of the Knights of St. John, and 
its existence was a secret intrusted to only a few, as it contained 
some private papers. Among other things it contains a manu- 
script called The Book of the Five Men, which gives an account 
of the layman and his four friends; so that, as the translator of 
Tauler's Life, etc., remarks, we know more of these worthies now, 
after the lapse of five hundred years, than was known to their 
contemporaries. Ullman quotes from the autobiographical sketch, 
but it is extremely gratifying to have the sketch itself in our own 
hs^nds. Isaac Taylor says that more Church History is to be 
learned from a single original tractate than by a far larger amount 
at second hand. The quaint style, the illuminated initials, the 
antique head and tail pieces, and the marginal notes, transport 
.us into the past. 

''In the year of our Lord 1340 it came to pass," so the account 
begins, "that a master in Holy Scripture preached ofttimes in a 
certain city." A layman was warned three times in his sleep to 
go and hear him. He went and heard him five times; sought 
him personally; made confession to him and received the Lord's 
Body from him. He next, that is twelve weeks after his arrival 
in Strasburg, said to the Master: "I beg you for God's sake to 
preach us a sermon, showing us how a man may attain to the 
highest and utmost point it is given to us to reach in this present 



Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 


time." Tauler complied with the request, and took for a text 
John i. 47: "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile." 
The sermon, as given by Tauler, is short, but is divided into 
no less than twenty-four heads or articles, as he denominates 
them. It inculcates submission to God's will, a single eye to 
God's glory, humility, and the imitation of Christ. The layman 
heard it, returned to his lodgings, and from memory wrote out 
the whole discourse with surprising exactitude. He told Tauler 
that it was a "good lesson," but moreover charged him with not 
living up to his own preaching. "Your vessel is unclean and 
much lees are cleaving to it. . . . You are indeed able to under- 
stand the letter, but have not yet tasted the sweetness of the 
Holy Ghost; and withal you are yet a Pharisee." 

Tauler replied that he had never before been spoken to in this 
way. "The man said. Where is your preaching now? . . . You 
are in truth guilty of all that I have said. ..." He went on, 
however, to explain that he did not mean by "Pharisee" a hypo- 
crite, but one who loved and sought himself in all things, and not 
the glory of God. He then, at Tauler's request, gave a short 
history of God's dealings with him. "The first thing that helped 
me was, that God found in me a sincere and utterly self-surren- 
dering humility." He practised austerities until he was brought 
to death's door. He sank into a sleep, and seemed to hear a 
voice upbraiding him for following his own or "the devil's coun- 
sel. When I heard speak of the devil, I awoke in a great fright, 
rose, up, and walked out into a wood nigh to the town." He con- 
sulted a well known old hermit, who advised him to give up his 
austere practices and yield himself entirely to God. One morn- 
ing at 3 o'clock he was saying his matins, when "an ardent 
longing came over me, so that I said, eternal and merciful 
God, that it were thy will to give me to discover something that 
should be above all our sensual reason." He was sorely affrighted 
at the thought of having offered such a petition when so unworthy. 
He confessed his sinfulness, and then punished his body for his 
sin. "With that I threw off my garments and scourged myself 

till the blood ran down my shoulders And in that same ' 

hour I was deprived of all my natural reason ; but the time seemed 






Mediaeval and Modern Mystics. 




all too short to me. And when I was left to myself again, I saw 
a supernatural mighty wonder and sign, insomuch that I could 
have cried with St. Peter, 'Lord, it is good for me to be here.' 
Now know, clear sir, that in that self-same short hour I received 
more truth and more illumination in my understanding than all 
the teachers could ever teach me, from now till the Judgment 
Day by word of mouth, and with all their natural learning and 

Time would fail to recount the whole history. Suffice it to say 
that the layman took the learned and eloquent Dr. Tauler under 
his instruction ; urged him to follow Christ's example, to spend 
much time in mcditatipn and Contemplation, and to abstain for 
some time from preaching. Tauler suffered greatly for t'wo years 
and fell into poverty; lay sick in his cell and meditated on our 
Lord's sufferings; heard a wondrous voice and was straightway 
healed in body and mind; sent for the layman, who rejoiced 
much that the master had been enlightened of the Holy Ghost, 
and counselled him to preach again. He agreed to do so, and on 
the appointed day a large audience assembled to hear him; but 
when he attempted to speak from the pulpit, ''his eyes overflowed 
with tears of tenderness, and this lasted so long that the people 
grew angry. At last a man spoke out of the crowd, 'Sir, how 
long are we to stand hcJre? It is getting late: if you do not 
naean to preach, let us go home.' " In the end he found himself 
so overcome with weeping that he was compelled to dismiss the 
congregation. "This tale was spread abroad and resounded 
through the whole city, so that he became a public laughing 
stock, despised by all ; and the people said, 'Now we all see 
that he is a downright fool.'" 

But he did preach again, and his words produced an impression 
not unlike what was witnessed in our own land in the Revival of 
1800. A man hearing him speak of the joy the Bride (the Church) 
has with the Bridegroom (Christ), cried out with a loud voice, "It 
is true!" and fell down as if he were dead. It is certain that from 
this time onward he preached with new unction, and with the 
greatest acceptance. 

Tauler was evidently a man of very tender feelings, and quite 


Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 



impressible from without. He was fond of spiritualising upon 
a text, which is always attended with more or less danger. As 
we are not making history, but writing it, we have given a picture 
of the times as they were. There was much in these men that 
the Church of the present day would look very askance upon, 
and justly so. Yet Tauler truly loved, devoutly worshipped, and 
most faithfully and courageously served the divine Redeemer. 
With a leaning towards mysticism, and with the idea of 
following Christ in his poverty and humiliation as well as his 
holiness, he yet was violently hostile to the pantheism of the 
Beghards of his time. Witness an extract from one of his ser- 
mons: "From these two errors proceedeth the third, which is 
the worst of all ; the persons who are entangled therein call thera- 
$elves beholders of God, and they known through the 
carnal peace which they have through their emptiness. They 
think that they are free from sin, and are united to God without 
any means whatsoever, and that they have got above all subjec- 
tion to the Church, and above the commandments of God, and 
above all works of virtue." He proceeds to speak of their desire 
to be free, and obedient to none, neither the Pope, nor the bishop, 
nor the pastor. The fourth error he characterises as that of those 
who think themselves "empty of all works, and tools of God, by 
whom God works whatsoever he will, and they merely suffer hira 

without working themselves Inwardly they are passive, 

and live without care for anything In this they are false 

that they hold everything whereunto they are inwardly impelled, 
whether good or bad, to proceed from the Holy Spirit." These 
notions of the pantheistical Beghards may be compared with 
some things heard at the present time. 

While Tauler was a monk, he did not carry his monachism to 
as great an extreme as some. In his sermons we find much of 
self-renunciation, even the Hopkinsian sentiment of being 
willing to be damned for the glory of God, as in the remark with 
which he ends his story of the young maiden who "resigned her- 
self humbly to the will of God, content to bear an eternity of 
pain in hell, if God in his righteousness saw fit to condemn her 
thereunto." (Sermon for the second Sunday in Lent, p. 314.) 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 3. 



Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 


But there appears little of the swallowing up of the soul in an 
ecstasy of immediate communion with the Infinite Spirit. In his 
sermon for the fourth Sunday after Trinity this passage occurs: 
" It flows back into its source without channel or means, and loses 
itself altogether; will, knowledge, love, perception, are all swal- 
lowed up and lost in God, and become one with him." This, 
however, should be taken in connexion with what follows, where 
he says that the gush and outflowing of this love gives a 
man a yearning desire for the salvation of sinners. Tauler's 
favorite authors would seem, from his quotations to have been 
Augustine and Bernard; and on the whole he was — if a mystic 
at all — one of the mildest and hQ^X,.^,,:-/^;^^^!-! :^,. ■)'../. 'ir^-'^-^'-X^-. ■ rr- 

In the year 1361, after a painful illness of twenty weeks, in which 
he was cared for by his aged sister, who was a nun, he felt that death 
was approaching, and sent for the Layman, who lived a consider- 
able distance away. The Layman was glad to find him still alive, 
and said, "Dear Master, how fares it with thee ?" Then said the 
Master, "Dear son, I believe the time is near when God is minded 
to take me from this world; therefore, dear son, it is a great 
comfort to me that thou shouldst be here at my departure." He 
then gave him some papers on which he had preserved the account 
of their interviews twenty years before, and asked him to make a 
little book of them, but by all means conceal both their names, 
substituting the Master and the Man. For eleven days longer 
Tauler lived, and had much discourse with the Layman; then, on 
the 16th of June, 1361, he yielded up hi? spirit to God. 


After great research. Prof. Schmidt has succeeded in identify- 
ing the Layman with Nicholas of Basle, a man of considerable 
wealth, fair education, and good abilities, but not very notable 
save for an intense consecration to Christ. He became the head 
of a society of Gottesfreunde or Friends of God, which was not 
a sect, but an association of devout men in the fourteenth cen- 
tury. Did space permit we would give some details of his life. 
It is enough to say that in extreme old age he received the crown 
of martyrdom at the hands of the Inquisition in the diocese of 


Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 


Poictiers. Johann Niederus writes that he publicly avowed to 
the inquisitors that Christ was in him actually (actu) and he in 
Christ. This would appear to have been taken in a pantheistic 
sense by his stupid judges. Nieder winds up the recital by say- 
ing, "secularium potestati juste traditus est, qui eum incinera- 

■iv ^^r^ *i->-afw* 


1 :>'il':n 

runt," i. e., burnt him to ashes! . - 

THOMAS A KEMPIS (1380-1471). 

It is remarkable that so much obscurity has rested upon the 
authorship of '*The Imitation of Christ." Dr. Ullman and his 
English translator, Rev. Robert Menzies, have thrown all needful 
light upon both authorship and author. 

Thomas Hammerken (in Latin Malleolus^ a diminutive of Ham- 
mer), was a native of Kempen or Kampen, a small town not far 
from Cologne, and in the valley of the Rhine. His father was 
a mechanic, and a good workman , his mother of humble family, 
but very pious. As the Brethren of the Common Lot established 
schools everywhere and aided the indigent, Thomas was sent at 
the age of thirteen to the famous academy at Deventer. He was 
filled with admiration at the sight of the piety of the Brethren, 
and in due time entered the order. His time was occupied in 
devotion, in reading, and in copying the Scriptures. The super- 
intendent of a monastery at Windesheim in connexion with the 
Society of the Common Lot, was Florentius, a very kindly, ven- 
erable man, whose influence on Thomas was great and happy. 
Thomas afterwards wrote a grateful, loving Life of Florentius. 
This excellent man advised him to enter the order of the Canons 
of St. Augustine, instituted by Gerhard Groot. They had lately 
erected two colleges, and to one of these, the Convent of St. 
Agnes, near the town of Zwolle, young Thomas went. Here he 
passed his long life, industriously copying the Bible, and some of 
St. Bernard's works, and writing various devotional books, of 
which his "Imitation of Christ" is considered the best. He was 
for a while steward, but the duties were found to take too much 
time from his hours of meditation and authorship, and he resumed 
his former position of sub-prior. Thomas was one of those who 
long for tranquillity; he avoided great and honorable men ; he 



Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 


loved solitude and meditation; he usually wore a placid exterior, 
but would warm into eloquence in speaking of heavenly things. 
It is to be regretted that he used the scourge upon himself while 
singing the hymn Stetit Jesus. In person he was rather small, but 
shapely, and had eyes of piercing brightness, that never needed 
the aid of spectacles. His pen was not idle; he wrote large 
biographies of Gerhard and Florentius, and smaller ones of sev- 
eral less noted Brethren of the Common Lot; Sermons to Novices 
and Discources to Conventual Brethren ; the Soliloquy of the 
Soul, the Garden of Roses, the Valley of Lilies, or a tract on the 
Three Tabernacles, and some minor pieces, part of which are 
poetical. !^ r 

.^.iM\:\-Hii. 'i.>. 

'.»'»>l"'f M,*Ki3*.' 


After a laborious life, passed largely in his cell, he died at the 
age of ninety-one. His bones were exhumed in 1672 and re- 
interred in Zwolle. 

Thomas k Kempis is usually classed among the mystics. Most 
of his works are inaccessible to the American student, but so far 
as we can judge from his Imitation of Christ, and from LHlman's 
copious citations from his other writings, he was far more of an 
ascetic than a mystic. While he did not, like Florentius and 
Gerhard, injure himself by fastings and vigils, or indeed by his 
weekly scourgings, yet he always advocates the strictest obedience 
to conventual superiors, the most total self-abnegation, and the 
uttermost humility. Give up the world Avas his maxim; for 
truth, freedom, peace, and blessedness are to be sought in God 
alone. He only can quiet the longing of the heart, and give it 
perfect tranquillity. Quicquid Deus non est^ nihil est. What- 
ever is not God is nothing. That man will long remain little 
and grovelling himself who esteems anything great save the one 
infinite and eternal good. His whole rule was condensed into the 
aphorism, "Part with all, and thou wilt find all." Forsake thy- 
self, and thou shalt find God. Die to thyself, and thou shalt live 
to God. Whosoever loves himself will never find God. 

All this is monachism, though in its longing for peace and 
tranquillity it touches upon mysticism. A monk could well be a 
mystic too, and was certainly in danger of becoming one, if he 
were not so when he entered the cloister. i 


Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 


Bodily penances have a double outlook: they maybe intended 
as the punishment of sin, in order to justification; or as the sub- 
jugation of the flesh, in order to sanctification. In the latter of 
these, as we conceive, they partake of a mystical character. The 
mystic seeks for holiness in an unscriptural manner. Thomas 
seems not to have laid special weight on these personal chastise- 
ments as means of grace. For instance, he says that Florentius 
too rigorously chastised himself with fasting and vigils. But 
according to the Gnostic dualism, which entered so largely into 
mysticism, the greater the chastisement the higher the attained de- 
gree of holiness. Otherwise, he insists on resisting sensuality, and 
therefore guarding all the avenues of temptation. An excess of 
this is ascetic rather than mystic. 

Again, his directions to the monks favor our view. He pre- 
scribes solitude, silence, fasting, prayer, copying the Scriptures 
and other good books, submission to the superior, self-examina- 
tion, recollection of God, eternity, heaven and hell, and unre- 
mitted bodily or mental occupation from the earliest to the latest 
hour ot the day. In addition, attendance on public worship, a 
zealous observance of sacred rites and seasons, the faithful adora- 
tion of Mary and the saints, and a frequent partaking of the Holy 
Supper. " Rise early, watch, pray, labor, read, write, be silent, 
sigh, and bravely endure all adversity." In his "Vita boni 
Monachi," which is in rhyme, these lines occur — 

*' Sustine vim patiens. 

Tace, ut sis sapiens. 

Mores rege, aures tege. 

Saepe era, saepe lege. 

Omni die, omni hora, 

Te resigna sine mora." 

In all which there is hardly an allusion to any rapt intuition 
of Deity. In fiict, he dissuades from metaphysical and transcen- 
dental inquiries into the nature of God, but advises to know God 
as he is in us. 

If prolonged contemplation on the divine word and works be 
mysticism, then all the higher attainments in religion should be 
called mystical. The piety of the present day needs just this 
contemplative cast. Not less action, but more meditation; 



Mediceval and Modern Mystics, 


spiritual moantain-tops of prayer amid the calm of nightly seclu- 
sion. We need to be more with God, that from this holy com- 
munion we may go forth to faith's battles and victories. •' 

We must not omit one feature in Thomas : he did not expect 
to become holy by any one act, or in a single hour. "Not by a 
sudden conversion," says he of the Apostles, "nor in one day 
only, did they rise to so great perfection." "Little by little a 
man advances, and that by daily exercises." The conflict is a life 
long one. "A man should extirpate a vice every year." 
Quamdiu in hoe mundo sum^ mundus non sum. So that he 
cannot be claimed very strongly by the mystics of our day. 
' Yet after all, there is a tinge of mysticism in Thomas, as when 
he speaks of our being at length wholly dissolved and swallowed 
up in the divine love, and of God's being one and all. His atten- 
tion is withdrawn too much from Christ's work for us, and our 
appropriation thereof by faith; to the Spirit's work in us, and to 
our responsive love to God. Sanctification rather than justifica- 
tion; love rather than faith. This is a mystical leaning, and 
we shall find Madame Guyon following closely in his footsteps. 

. U*" 

•:i'. ,',:-'vy i^=,^!:|r':? |/-^,;^^S■■■J ■.-tj.T-v'V 


HENRY SUSO (f 1365). 

This poetical mystic was a Swabian by birth, and of the family 
of the Bergers or de Berg. He took his mother's name of Suess 
or Seuss, Latinised into Suso. From his mother he derived an 
ardor in religious matters; from his father a chivalrous turn. 
He entered the Dominican Convent at Constance as a pupil at 
the age of thirteen. In his eighteenth year he was strongly 
drawn to a spiritual life. Eternal wisdom appeared to his impas- 
sioned mind as a beautiful female. "She flioated high above him 
in the vaulted choir, she shone like the morning star, and seemed 
as the sun sporting in the dawn. Her crown was eternity, her 

robe was bliss She accosted him affectionately, and gently 

said, Give me thy heart, my child! He knelt at her feet and 
thanked her from his inmost heart, and in deep humility. Such 
was his vision, and none greater could he have received." 

Suso went to the University of Cologne,, studied the scholastic 
theology and philosophy, and became specially acquainted with 


Mediceval and Modern MysticB. 


Aristotle. He also fell under the influence of Eckhart, and from 
some rapt expressions would appear to have adopted his pan- 
theistic views. For instance: "Thus man is exalted to spiritual 
perfection, is made free by the son and is the son. Above time 
and space, and in close and loving vision, he has vanished into 
God." Again he makes God say, "I will embrace them so 
closely and lovingly that they and I, I and they, and all of us to- 
gether, shall continue a single unit forever and ever." Once 
more: "The dying of the spirit consists in this, that in its transi- 
tion into the Godhead, it perceives no distinction in the proper 
essence." No one who is not a pantheist should express himself 
in this way. It will have, we suppose, to be charged to mystico- 
poetic license. Elsewhere he- avows distinctly that in all this 
there is no transmutation of the human into the divine ; everything 
continues to be what it is in its natural being; the spirit is a real 
existence created out of nothing. -^ i.ij-v'i .; 

Suso was an exceedingly attractive man, very sympathetic, 
very kind to the afflicted, who regularly sought his counsel; a 
truly g^)od man and an eloquent preacher. From his eighteenth 
to his fortieth year he was extremely rigorous in his penances; 
so much so indeed that he was forced to desist or die. Ullman 
claims him as a Reformer before the Reformation, partly because 
he " instituted fellowships among godly people, which inevitably 
led to their disconnecting themselves from the Church and the 
control which she exercised in all spiritual affairs" — -the italics 
are our own — partly because he resolutely attacked the sins of 
the clergy and the laity. 

MADAME GUYON (1648-1717). 

This remarkable woman, whose life no one can read without 
being aroused to the desire of greater holiness, was born at Mon- 
targis in France, about fifty miles south of Paris. Her maiden 
name was Jeanne Marie Bouvier de la Mothe. She was tal- 
ented, beautiful, charming in conversation, an heiress, and mar- 
ried early in life to M. Jacques Guyon, a gentleman of rank and 
great wealth. She was educated as well as women of her rank 
usually were, chiefly in a convent of the Benedictines, but 




Mediceval and Modern Mystia 


for some months also in a Dominican convent. Her favorite 
religious authors seem to have been A Kempis, Molinos, and 
Francis de Sales. The influence of A Kempis is very marked, 
although she did not adopt the ascetic rigor at all, and, in fact, 
considered outward penances comparatively unimportant. Of 
Francis de Sales it will be sufficient to state that he was a Bishop 
of Geneva, and died in 1622, He strongly urged the renuncia- 
tion of human will. 

At the age of twenty-two she was seized with small-pox, which 
disfigured her for life — the more so, as from a false notion of 
duty she refused to employ the means offered to diminish the 
marks of the disease. At twenty-eight she was left a widow, and 
after settling her husband's estate, and placing her children at 
school, she began, in 1681, her travels and more extended spiritual 
labors in France, Switzerland, and Italy. She at length returned 
to Paris, fell under the displeasure of Bossuet, but seems to have 
affected powerfully the religious opinions and career of Fenelon. 
She was imprisoned twice by order of Louis XIV., the last time in 
the Bastile and for four years. In 1703 she was banished to 
Blois, a city on the Loire, one hundred miles southwest from 
Paris, where she died in great peace in June, 1717. 

Madame Guyon's mind was of a susceptible and imaginative 
type; not of the exact and the systematic. The salient features 
of her system were the annihilation of self, the losing of our will 
in that of God, uncomplaining resignation, absorbing love to God, 
and Christian perfection. 

As to her impressibility — she consulted at her father's house a 
devout Franciscan monk, who after remaining silent for some 
time in inward prayer and meditation, said, *'Your efforts have 
been unsuccessful, madame, because you have sought without 
what you can only find within. Accustom yourself to seek God 
in your heart, and you will not fail to find him." She says these 
words were to her like the stroke of a dart, which pierced her 
heart asunder. "I felt at this instant deeply wounded with the 
love of God — a wound so delightful that I desired it never might 
be healed." . > ^ 

She often speaks of her soul being "absorbed in God," but 


Mediceval and Modern Mystics, 


never seems to have thought of pantheism. So to lose our will 
in God's as to be wholly passive in his hands, and to move only 
as we are moved upon by him, was a favorite thought with her. 
If it verged upon a denial of second causes and contained a germ 
of pantheism, she does not appear to have been aware of it. She 
advocated a high communion with God in which both intellect 
and desire were in abeyance. This she denominated the "Prayer 
of Silence," in which the soul no longer desired aught, because 
it possessed all things in God. We imagine that perception or 
intuition was allowed to remain in action, that is, in a calm ap- 
propriation of God, but that the ratiocinative faculty was to be 
wholly inert. 

In the office of love in religious experience, she closely fol- 
lows A Kempis. In her external activity, she is like Tauler, 
combining her spiritual elevations with honest toil in the vine- 
yard. We need not therefore speak particularly of these points, 
but will confine our attention to her views of Christian Perfec- 
tion, the more so as they are making a stir in our own day. 
But to give these views from her own writings would be a difficult 
task. Prof. Upham says (Vol. II., p. 371-2): "It is often 
necessary to compare one passage with another, and sometimes 
to modify the expressions in order to reach the true meaning." 

Fortunately we have the subject of the inner life, or as it would 
be styled to-day, the Higher Life, treated by Fenelon, the Arch- 
bishop of Cambray, but most widely known in America as the 
author of Telemaque. Fenelon become acquainted with Madame 
Guyon's character and writings during his mission in Poitou, 
1685-8. He then met her for the first time at the country resi- 
dence of the Duchess of Charost, not far from Versailles. They 
had several conversations with each other and exchanged a 
number of letters. Under date of August 11, 1689, he draws 
out in a number of particulars the way to the inward life. The 
first step after conversion is to bring our natural appetites and 
propensities under subjection. The second, to cease to rest on 
the pleasures of inward sensibility. The struggle here is more 
severe and prolonged than in the first step. Third, an entire 
crucifixion to any reliance upon our own virtues ; to become dead 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 4. 



Mediaeval and Modern Mystics. 


not to the practice of the virtues, hut to a secret satisfaction in them, 
as if they were self-originated. Fourth, a death to our aversions, 
a kissing of the divine hand that smites us. Fifth, the New Life, 
not merely the beginning of a new life, but a new life in the higher 
sense of the terras. God smites all that joy and prosperity which 
the creature has in anything out of himself, that the soul may be 
brought into perfect union and communion with God. The soul 
has this new life by ceasing from its own action, that is to say, 
from all action except that which is in coiiperation with God, and 
letting God live and act in it. Sixth, this life becomes a truly 
transformed life. The soul now acts or suffers, acts or is inactive, 
just as God would have it to be. It does this without the trouble 
of first overcoming contrary dispositions. All selfishness and all 
tendency thereto is taken away. But this transformed soul does 
not cease to advance in holiness ; its life is love, all love, but the 
capacity of its love continually increases. 

In this statement we have given almost verbatim Fenelon's 
understanding of Mme. Guyon's views. He adopted them with 
a few unimportant explanations. Upham says that at this time 
Fenelon had not much acquaintance with A Kempis, Tauler, 
Ruysbroek, and other mystical writers, but learned these les- 
sons in the inward life from Mme. Guyon. Possibly so. 

Meanwhile Bossuet, the Bishop of Meaux, spent some eight 
months in carefully reading up the whole subject, and finally 
produced his very able work, "Instructions sur les Etats d'Orai- 
son" (Instructions on the States of Prayer). He regarded Mme. 
Guyon's views as heretical on two points mainly, the needless- 
ness of the austerities and mortifications of the Church, and the 
possibility or even actuality of attaining on earth to a life with- 
out sin. Having prepared his MS. thus laboriously, Bossuet 
submitted it to a number of distinguished men for their approba- 
tion; among others to Fenelon, who declined to approve and was 
dragged into the controversy. "The Maxims of the Saints" 
published by Fenelon in January, 1697, professed to be drawn 
from previous devout minds of the Church. The synopsis of this 
work, given in the second volume of Prof. Upham's "Mme. Guy- 
on and Fenelon" (pp. 209-253), contains probably as guarded 


Mediceval and Modern Myatics. 


and strong a defence of Perfectionism as can be found in any 
language. It defines three stages of love to Clod. 1st. The 
mercenary or selfish, originating in an exclusive and sole regard 
to our own happiness. This is described in the language of St. 
Francis de Sales as "sacrilegious and impious." 2d. Mixed 
love, involving a regard to our own happiness, and also a regard 
to God's glory as its chief element. It is loving God as he ought 
to be loved, and ourselves no more than we ought. 3d. Pure 
love. In this our own happiness becomes so small and so re- 
cedes from our view as to be practically annihilated. Our own 
happiness and all that regards ourselves is entirely lost sight of 
in a simple and fixed look to God's will and God's glory. 

We are to advance to this high state step by step. Love is 
not the only virtue, but it is the fountain of all others, as tem- 
perance, chastity, truth, justice. The perfect in love desire their 
own salvation chiefly because it is God's pleasure that they shall 
be saved, and because he is glorified thereby. If it should be 
his pleasure to separate them forever from the enjoyments of his 
presence, their language is, ''Not ray will, but thine be done." 

Fenelon accepts the Arininian view of universal grace. "To 
every one under the new dispensation, the covenant founded in 
the blood of the Cross, God gives grace." 

We love ourselves and our neighbor in and for God. Self- 
love is innocent when kept in due bounds. When it goes beyond 
these bounds it becomes selfishness, which was the sin of the first 
angel. The perfect in love, forgetting the nothingness of the 
creature in the infinitude of the Creator, love God for his own 
^lory alone. 

In the prayer of silence we have God. What else can we 
have? What else can we ask for? In this state the soul is so 
occupied with God as to be hardly conscious of its own existence. 
It does not stop to think and reason; it looks and loves. In the 
contemplative state we find ourselves incapable of profitably era- 
ploying our rainds in meditative and discursive acts. All our 
time cannot be spent in this contemplative state, but much may 
and ought to be. Having God, the soul has everything and rests 
there. Dionysius the Areopagite is quoted in favor of the view 



Mediceval and Modern Mysticti, 


that in the exalted state of contemplation, the holy soul is occu- 
pied with the pure or spiritual Divinity; with God, and not with 
any sensible image or conception of him. Fenelon adds that the 
soul is not satisfied with the attributes of God, but seeks and 
unites itself with the God of the attributes. Persons arrived at 
the state of divine union are made one with Christ in God; they 
no longer seem to put forth distinct inward acts, but their state 
appears to be characterised by a deep and divine repose. Hence 
St. Francis of Assisi and others have said that souls in this 
state are no longer able to perform distinct acts. The highest 
state is not characterised by excitements, raptures, ecstasies, 
hut by peace. Holy souls are allowed a familiarity with God, 
not deficient, however, in reverence, like that of a child with a 
parent, like that of a bride with a bridegroom. 

The perfect in love do not sin deliberately and knowingly, but 
can still say, "Forgive us our trespasses;" for their former state 
of sin can never be forgotten. . . . There are sins, properly 
80 called, and there are mere venal transgressions which are 
termed faults (such as imperfections of manner, errors of judg- 
ment, an unintentional wrong word, and the like). . . When 
devout writers speak of an essential and substantial union with 
God, they mean not a literal union of essence or substance, but 
only a firm, established union. 

This a very brief rSsumS of the Maxims of the Saints. It will 
be observed that the precise nature of the impeccability sought 
is not very fully defined. A few extracts from other parts of the 
Memoir will make it plainer. 

The new creature may love God without selfishness and with 
entire purity, yea. with all the heart. The voice has gone forth : 
Put away all sin; Be like Christ; Be ye holy. Beginners in 
the Christian life, Mme. Guyon conceived it to be her mission to 
lead into what might perhaps be called a perfect conversion. 
"My soul, as it seems to me, is united to God in such a manner, 
that my own will is entirely lost in the divine will.. . . The 
creature is nothing (I speak now of myself j; God is all." "So 
easy, so natural, so prompt, are the decisions of the sanctified 
soul on all moral and religious subjects, that it seems to reach its 


Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 


conclusions intuitively. And if such a person is asked for the 
reason of the opinion which he gives, it is not always easy for 
him to analyse his mental operations and to give it. At the same 
time, he retains great confidence in the opinion itself, as being 
the true voice of God in the soul, although it may not be an au- 
dible one." The love of the sanctified one may become stronger, 
but not purer ; its increased exercise will be the result exclu- 
sively of its increased capacity ; it will not render him more ac- 
ceptable to God, who requires from us according to what we have, 
and not according to what we have not. . . . My state 
has become simple and without any variations. It is a profound 
annihilation. I find nothing in myself to which I can give a 
name." The holy are free from the mixed life of faith and doubt, 
of love and aversion. Is it our destiny to be always sinning and 
always repenting? Is there really no hope of deliverance from 
transgression till we find it in the grave? No; amid all the 
temptations of this world we may live wholly to God, and in some 
true sense an entire surrender, not excluding, however, a con- 
stant sense of demerit and of dependence upon God, and the con- 
stant need of the application of Christ's blood, is in reality not 
less practicable than it is obligatory. We are to receive Christ 
as a Saviour, moment by moment, from sin. Here on earth, at 
least, we must rest, so far as rest is given us, with our armor on. 

From the above it will be seen that perfect sanctification was, 
and again was not, claimed by the older advocates of the Higher 
Life. If we have been able to frame un intelligible statement 
from their inconsistent ones, it would be that the principle of sin 
was not wholly eradicated from their natures, but its manifesta- 
tion, or natural fruit, was kept down so far that they did not 
knowingly or willingly commit actual transgressions. 

Let us see now how this state of holiness is to be reached. Not 
exactly at a leap ; not by springing across a line that separates 
two states. Yet the trouble with most Christians is that while 
they desire^ they do not will to be holy; the will is wanting, 
therefore the man is wanting. They are not willing to die the 
second deaths so as to be truly sanctified. They do not make an 
act of consecration, and thus place themselves so that God can 






Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 


consistently and effectually operate upon them by his Holy 
Spirit, and complete the great work. Fenelon urges the thought 
that no one should lightly conceive himself to have attained the 
"fixed" or "transformed" estate. "Strive after it; but do not 
too readily or easily believe that you have attained to it." 

There is at least a touch of sobriety in this, as compared with 
the recent extravaganza of seizing upon the Higher Life by one 
vigorous clutch, and of indubitably and at once believing that 
you have it. : 

We have stated Mme. Guyon's views partly in her own lan- 
guage, partly in that of Fenelon, and partly in that of Upham. 
Our object in adhering so closely to their words, and introducing 
so few of our own, is that the readers of this article may be able 
to compare the phraseology of earlier mystics with those of our 
own day. Verily there is nothing new under the sun. 

Before passing on, let us make a few remarks on Mme. Guyon 
and her system. 

1. The fundamental error is that all sin consists in selfishness. 
This heresy in morals is always detrimental to religious experience. 

2. While the conception of justice is not entirely wanting in 
this system, it is obscured. We become just — so they say— by 
loving. Hence little or no place is left for justice pure and simple. 

3. While admiring beyond expression the zeal and almost 

superhuman resignation of Mme. Guyon, we cannot regard with 

any satisfaction her extreme consciousness of spiritual elevation. 

Read the following quotations. 

"The fervency of my love allowed me no intermission. . . . The 
taste of God was so great, so pure, unblended and uninterrupted, that it 
drew and absorbed the powers of the soul into a profound recollection, a 
state of confiding: and affectionate rest in God. . . . This immersion 

in God absorbed all thinffs. 

A lady of rank 

said that 

she observed in me something extraordinary and uncommon. My im- 
pression is that my spiritual taste reacted upon my physical nature, and 
that the inward attraction of my soul appeared on my very countenance. 
... A f^entleman of fashion one day said to my husband's aunt, 
'I saw the lady your niece, and it is very visible that she lives in the 
presence of God,' . . . She wops surJDrised at my expressing things to her 
so much above Vhat is considered the ordinary range of woman's capacity' 




Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 



. . . It was God who gave me the gift of perception and utter- 
ance for her sake. . . . That heart (her own) where I had for- 
merly detected in their secret places so many evil motives, was now, 
so fsir as I was enabled to perceive, made pure. I did all sorts of 
good, as it were by a new and imperative law, written in my heart, 
naturally, easily, without premeditation, as it was without selfishness. 

. . . I no longer felt myself obliged to say, 'When I would do 
good, evil is present with me.' . . . How could such a soul (as 
her own) have other than a deep peace. . . . One characteristic 
of this higher degree of experience Was a sense of inward purity. My 
mind had such a oneness with God, such a unity with the divine na- 
ture, that nothing seemed to have power to soil it and to diminish its 
purity. . . . The dark and impure mud does not defile the sun- 
beams that shine upon it. . . The person who is truly pure, may see 
sinful acts, may hear impure and sinful conversation, or may otherwise 
be brought providentially and in the discharge of duty into connection 
with impurities, without contracting any stain from them. . *;^ ' . "I 
did not practise the virtues as virtues. That is to say, I did not . . 
endeavor to practise them as a person generally does in the beginnings 
of a Christian life. . . . The effort, if I had made one, would have 
been to do otherwise." And so on. 

4. Some psycliological errors might be expected in an un- 
trained thinker; such as exalting the will, exclusive of the affec- 
tions, into a controller of the whole man. The will in this sense 
is itself controlled by the affections and desires. 

5. Her imaginative and poetical temperament did not fit her, 
to be an expositor of the prose parts of Scripture. Neither did 
her ignorance of Greek and Hebrew. 

6. The duty of loving the God of the attributes rather than 
the attributes of God is either a truism or an absurdity. Love 
always terminates upon an entity as its object, but never on an 
entity abstracted from its qualities or attributes. 

7. All of which goes to show that real godliness can live and 
be fruitful in the midst of some very unpropitious surroundings. 
Yet we must say that imitators are in peril of copying the worst 
parts of a model. 

GEORGE FOX. (1624-1691.) 

This famous founder of the Society of Friends or Quakers was 
born in Leicestershire, England; was the son of a pious weaver ; 




Mediaeval and Modern Mystics. [April 

was apprenticed to a grazier ; had a natural turn for mysticism ; 
gave up laboring for a support at the age of nineteen, as he con- 
ceived that he was called of God to devote himself exclusively 
to a religious life; commenced preaching in 1648; visited Amer- 
ica in 1671 and remained here two years; twice visited the con- 
tinent of Europe: was persecuted; was discharged from custody 
by Oliver Cromwell, who seems to have had somewhat of a liking 
to him ; and at last ended his days in 1691. From this brief 
rSsumS, it is seen that he appeared in a stormy period of English 
history, his life extending from the last year of James I., through 
the reign of Charles I., the Commonwealth, the reigns of 
Charles XL, James II., and to the third year of William and 
Mary. It was also the era of the large proprietary settlements 
in America. Wm. Penn introduced his views into Pennsylvania; 
and as the Quakers organised themselves without disregarding 
family ties into societies, and have recognised all the local socie- 
ties as constituting a general Society, they have not frittered 
away like the Beghards, Beguins, Lollards, Friends of God, 
Brethren of the Common Lot, and other loosely constructed sodali- 
ties of the Middle Ages. Beside a powerful political friend in 
Wm. Penn, Quakerism found a learned expositor and apologist in 
Robert Barclay (1648-1690), a native of Gordonstown, Scotland, 
educated at a Scotch college in Paris, where he became a Roman 
Catholic, but after his return home followed his father into Qua- 
kerism. His celebrated "Apology for the True Christian Divin- 
ity, being an Explanation and Vindication of the Principles and 
Doctrines of the People called Quakers," is said on the title-page 
of my copy to have been "Written in Latin and English by Ro- 
bert Barclay and since translated into High Dutch, Low Dutch, 
French, and Spanish, for the information of Strangers." A rather 
sonorous title. 

Barclay lays down in the beginning Fifteen Propositions, which 
hej then takes up seriatim and maintains, citing and responding 
to objections, and quoting Church Fathers from Polycarp down, 
Bellarmine and the Council of Trent, Luther, Calvin, Carlstadt, 
and Osiander, besides various other Councils and several Confes- 
From these Propositions we select what is to our purpose. 



Mediceval and Modern Mysticn. 


"The testimony of the Spirit is that alone by which the true knowledge 
of God hath been, is, and can be only revealed. . . . These divine 
inward revelations which we make absolutely necessary for the building 
up of true faith neither do nor can ever contradict the outward testimony 
of the Scriptures, or right and sound reason. Yet from hence it will not 
follow that these divine revelations are to be subjected to the examina- 
tion either of the outward testimony of the Scriptures, or of the natural 
reason of man, as to a more noble or certain rule or touchstone." ..uc 

Hence, he holds that every man is or at least may be as truly 
inspired as the apostles and the prophets. -^ -• 

Of the Scriptures he says, " Nevertheless because they are 
onlv a declaration of the fountain, and not the fountain itself, 
therefore they are not to be esteemed the principal ground of all 
truth and knowledge, nor yet the adequate primary rule of faith 
and manners. Nevertheless as that which giveth a true and 
faithful testimony of the first foundation, they are and may be 
esteemed a secondary rule, subordinate to the Spirit, from which 
they have all their excellency and certainty." He holds also a 
"saving and spiritual light wherewith every man is enlightened." 

Under the 10th proposition as expounded p. 287, we find — 

"There may be members therefore of this catholic Church both among 
heathens, Turks, Jews, and all the several sects of Christians, men and 
women of integrity and simplicity of heart, who though blinded in some 
things in their understanding and perhaps burdened with the supersti- 
tions and formality of the several sects in which they are ingrossed, yet 
being upright in their hearts before the Lord, chiefly aiming and labor- 
ing to be delivered from iniquity, and loving to follow righteousness, are 
by the secret touches of this holy light in their souls enlivened and 
quickened, thereby secretly united to God, and therethrough become 
true members of this catholic Church." 

By the catholic or universal Church he means the invisible 
Church, including the Church triumphant. So that our old 
friend Haroun Al Raschid may have been a spiritual Christian, 
or at least a living member of Christ's body, without knowing it. 

"By this gift or light of God , . every true minister of 
the gospel is ordained, prepared, and supplied in the work of the 
ministry. . . . /Moreover, those who have this authority, 
may and ought to preach the gospel, though without human com- 
mission or literature." The sacraments of Baptism and the 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2—5. 



Mediaeval and Modern Mystics. 


Lord's Supper are to be taken only in a spiritual sense, there 
being no need of the outward ordinances, which are, accordingly, 
not in use among the rriends. /^ 

Touching a learned ministry he says : "As for letter learning, 
we judge it not so much necessary to the well-being of one, 
though accidentally sometimes in some respects it may concur, 
but more frequently it is hurtful than helpful, as appeared in the 
example of Taulerus, who being a learned man, and who could 
make an eloquent preaching, needed nevertheless to be instructed 
in the way of the Lord by a poor laick," He commends the 
knowledge of languages and schools, but "the Spirit is the tru- 
est interpreter of the Scriptures, whether from the original 
languages or without them. ... A poor shoemaker that 
could not read, refuted a professor of divinity's false assertions 
of Scripture. . . . If ye would make a man a fool to 
purpose, that is not very wise, do but teach him logic and 
philosophy." "Natural logic" howevei* was "useful. 
Ethics is not so necessary to Christians. . . Physics and the 
metaphysics make no preachers of the truth. The school divin- 
ity is a monster,'* j'nd ruined Origen and Arius. Satan invent- 
ed it. "The devil may be as good and able a minister as the 
best of them ; for he has better skill in languages, and more logic, 
philosophy, and school divinity than any of them, and knows the 
truth in the notion better than they all, and can talk more elo- 
quently than all those preachers." Ordination is solely by the 
Spirit. "When they assemble together to wait upon God, and 
to worship and adore him, then such as the Spirit sets apart for 
the ministry, by its divine power and influence opening their 
mouths, and giving them to exhort, reprove, and instruct with 
virtue and power — these are thus ordained of God, and admitted 
into the ministry, and their brethren cannot but hear them, 
receive them, and also honor them for their work's sake. 
. It is left to the free gift of God to choose any whom he 
seeth meet thereunto, whether rich or poor, servant or master, 
young or old, yea, male or female. . . . The distinction of 
clergy and laity is not to be found in the Scripture. . . When 
God moved by his Spirit in a woman, we judge it no ways unlaw- 


Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 


ful for her to preach in the assemblies of God's people." Minis- 
ters may receive free gifts, but not salaries, for thnt makes them 
hirelings. Tithes are specially abominable. " T knoAV myself a 
poor widow, that for the tithes of her geese, which amounted not 
to five shillings, was about four years kept in prison, thirty miles 
from her house." " .; • '» : r;* . , ^..,*»y>? ,■; 

The 8th Proposition of the Apology is one "Concerning Per- 



"In whom this pure and holy birth is fully broujijht forth, the body of 
death and sin comes to be crucified and removed, and their hearts united 
and subjected to the truth ; so as not to obey any sugo;e8tion8 or tempta- 
tions of the evil one, but to be free from actual sinning and transjjjress- 
ing of the law of God, and in that respect perfect; yet doth this perfec- 
tion still admit of a f!;rowth ; and there remaineth always in some part 
a possibility of sinninfi;, when the mind doth not most dili^jently and 
watchfully attend unto the Lord." i ■-<. -r.. -r.'r. 

Barclay published this Apology when he was twenty-seven 
years of age. His youth and the times in which he lived may 
be pleaded in extenuation of some harsh expressions. Moreover 
the Quakers in England (and in America too) in the seventeenth 
century were horribly maltreated. 

The benevolence, the quaint simplicity of manners, the style 
of dress, not invented by them but only retained from the time of 
Fox and Penn, the straightforwardness, and the unaffected piety 
of the Friends are too well known to require either proof or de- 
lineation. But it is not a little surprising to see so many of their 
minor doctrinal crotchets adopted by religionists far removed 
from the Quakers in other respects, and apparently in no wise 
acquainted with the writings of honest Robert Barclay. 


1. It would be Utopian to hope to purge out Mysticism abso- 
lutely and forever from the Church. Sobriety in doctrine and 
practice is a great desideratum, but we must not become dis- 
heartened if it be not attained as fully as we could wish. The 
Church still lives, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against 
her. Of all the millions of the human race, only a few would be 
pronounced by life insurance examiners physically sound from 



Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 


head to foot; yet meagre Calvins somehow live on as well as stal- 
wart Lathers, and accomplish much for God and his truth. The 
gracious Head of the Church works in and oy Prelatists and In- 
dependents as well as more scriptural Presbyterians; yea, might- 
ily in and by evangelical Arminians, as well as true-blue Calvin- 
ists- We would that they were all of them not only almost but 
altogether Presbyterian in church order, and Augustinian in 

So with the Mystics: in spite of all the miserable errors re- 
cited in the foregoing pages, how much worth, spirituality, and 
tender yearning for souls have we found in them ! Of course we 
exclude Neo-Platonists like Plotinus, and Pantheists like Spinoza, 
as enemies of Christ. But Tauler may well put our sluggishness 
to shame, and the one-sided, ascetic, Romish A Kempis may soothe 
and cheer, when we note the gradual approach of death. 

2. Some of the most extravagant features of Mysticism are out 
of keeping with the spirit of the age. The author of the Natural 
History of Enthusiasm has adverted to the boldness and brillian- 
cy of the speculations of the first few centuries after Christ. The 
cause alleged by him is that Greek was then a spoken language, 
and the healthful toil of linguistic labor was not needed by the 
expositor; hence restless Thought ventured into the unreal do- 
main of Speculation, and Gnosticism, Manicheeism, and Arian- 
ism dazzled and confounded the world. We deem this a cause, 
possibly, but, compressing all the external causes into one phrase, 
would say that those glittering heresies were due to the spirit of 
the age. The same formula will sufficiently express the ground 
of our conviction that the Pseudo-Dionysius, Scotus Erigena, and 
Master Eckhart will never'again deeply affect, much less dominate, 
the philosophy of the Church. 

3. Some of the elements or frequent concomitants of mysti- 
ism are to be feared in our own day; as 

* "Altogether Augustinian in faith" will of course be understood as re- 
ferring to the general system of doctrine styled Augustinian. As to 
adopting all the opinions of that great man and profound thinker, no 
Westminsterian could for a moment think of doing so, after the most 
cursory perusal of the Confessions of St. Augustine or of Wigger's Au- 
gustinism and Pelagianism. 




Mediaeval and Modern Mystics. 


(a) Unchurchliness ; the disorganising spirit; fostered by Ply- 
rnouthism; not a necessary element of mysticism, for Bernard, if 
he may be called a mystic, and A Kempis, were, after the Romish 
style, strictly churchly. Still mysticism, as Ullman has well 
shown, is in its own nature introversive and egoistic. The 
mystic who at all goes to the length of his principles, is occupied 
with his own mental states; he does not greatly feel the need of 
external forms and sacraments, but soars into his immediate com- 
munion with Deity without the felt cooperation or even the joint 
presence of a fellow-worshipper. He does not in spirit mingle 
his adorations with those of the Church militant and the Church 
triumphant; his voice does not rise together; with the voices of 
the hundred and forty and four thousand. No, the true mystic 
longs to be alone with God. This solitariness of ecstasy tells 
upon his practical life. A brotherhood or society is enough for 
him. He does not consciouslv need a church. But if he be in 
outward union with a church, he gives his best affections to a 
sodality within the Church, — or the Churches. 

[b) As closely connected with this, we have reason to appre- 
hend antagonism to an ordained ministry; resistance to all au- 
thority in the Church ; an undervaluing, if not a blatant decry- 
ing of human learning in the clergy; perhaps an intrusting of 
the administration of the sacraments to the laity. 

(c) A wild spiritualising of Scripture; a deriving of strange 
lessons from the historical parts of the Old Testament, and from 
colors, buttons, shovels, or what not accessories of the tabernacle 
in the wilderness; opening thus a flood-gate to extravaganzas in 
doctrine and worship. 

[d) Enthusiasm, i. e., a belief that God makes revelations to 
us, or at least lets us into the meaning of isolated passages of 
Scripture, so that we need not disturb ourselves or our interpre- 
tations by the fact that studious and learned and also truly pious 
men dissent strongly from those interpretations. So that, indeed, 
we can look down from the height of superior spiritual illumina- 
tion, and smile at arguments that we cannot answer, saying, "We 
are not logicians, or scholars, but God has revealed thus and so 
to us." Neither shall we be moved by ascertaining that the dif- 





Medicevat and Modern Mystics. 


ferent parts of our creed will in no wise cohere. If this enthusi- 
asm should turn acrid and become fanaticism, the student of 
church history will not be surprised. -^ •• ''-'■■ '"■" 

[e) In our day the old doctrine of Christian Perfection, newly 
dubbed the Higher Life, threatens the Northern Methodist 
Church, to a less degree the Southern Methodist, and to some 
extent the Presbyterian bodies. We fear that it is of a more vio- 
lent type than it has hitherto assumed since the time of the Styl- 
ites; that it is fuller of spiritual pride and irreverence. Why 
should not those who approach so near to the Unseen One in- 
dulge in a little familiarity? Meanwhile a truly reverential soul, 
prostrate before the throne, but hearing man speak thus, may 
inwardly ask, "Is this the house of God, and the gate of heaven ?" 

4. How shall we guard against mysticism? We must begin 
with the education of our ministry ; and here we have not so 
much to suggest anything new as to commend the wisdom of the 

Let our theological students be well drilled in Greek and He- 
brew for sundry weighty reasons. They can form independent 
opinions as to the real meaning of a passage by examining the 
originals. This alone will preserve them from numberless false 
interpretations. Winer has said that many blunders in theology 
are in truth and at bottom blunders in grammar. This study of 
language requires and promotes a healthful use of our faculties, 
and habituates the mind to sobriety. 

But of course mere grammar and lexicon work is not all. The 
mind that utilises the grammar and the word is itself more than 
the grammatical word. Calvin does not seem to have been at 
the head of the grammarians, but he stands amazingly near the 
head of the interpreters. Why ? Because he discovered so acute- 
ly and held with such tenacity the logical thread of his text. 

Then theology, systematic iheology, must be stated, proved, 
and defended. Above all, Westminster theology.* The man 

*For instance, the Higher Life vagary of the present day can never 
live in the atmosphere of sound Presbyterian theology 5 except perhaps 
a short sickly life. It is an excrescence which Arminianism or Semi- 
Pelagianisni may foster, but genuine Calvinism rejects and destroys. A 



Mediceval and Modern Mystics. 


who has ever really understood and embraced this system will 
never become a mystic — unless he was born one; and the born 
mystic not once in a myriad of times ever can be made an Old 
School Westminsterian in theology. 

In the department of Church History, the rise, progress, plau- 
sibility, error, and evil of mysticism will present a very interest- 
ing and a most profitable theme. It is well to teach our young 
ministry that this or that apparently new experiment is no nov- 
elty at all, but has been tried and demonstrated to be a failure 
by the slow but unerring instructor — Time. 

Then as to the pulpit, let us have logical preaching both expo- 
sitory and doctrinal. Be the scabbard gilt, and the handle jew- 
elled, if need be, but oh, let the blade be steel ! Dr. Nathan 
Rice said in his later days that congregations would listen longer 
to logic, e. g., argumentative preaching, than to anything else. A 
church trained to think, to compare scripture with scripture, and 
to connect doctrine with doctrine, will not be easily blown about. 
The intellectual habits of the preacher, too, will be reproduced 
in the people. „ . ;. . . ...i . 

We say nothing against eloquence, /f^ ytvoiro ; but let it fit the 
definition given by Lyman Beecher, "Logic set on fire!" such 
as some time fell from the lips of Thorn well. ' ' 

Last of all be it said, in the pastoral treatment of the mystic, 
use gentleness. For mysticism, though absurd and hurtful, is 
an aspiration heavenward, to be guided and purified rather than 
sternly repressed. It is an infirmity of noble spirits, a weakness 
of warm and often of generous hearts. Oh for its warmth, its 
generosity, its aspiration, without its extravagance and its spirit- 
ual pride ! * L. G. Barbour. 

deep Auguatinian sense of the spirituality of the law, of the hidden evil 
of the heart lyinji; below the reach of consciousness, and of the sinful- 
ness of emotions as well as desires and purposes, will leave no room for 
that self-complacency which is so odious to God and man. 

* Our limits forbid a discussion of Swedenborgianism, which alone 
would require a monograph. 



Non- Scholastic Theology. 


,:( 'rt : ^'' 

■:■■:,;■ '■' ' ■'■" '.:■'[':-,'■■: ARTICLE II. ^,: ,,..,,.., .;.,.. .,.:.^^^^^^^^ :,,. 


No man by searching, can find out God. If this statement 
were not found in Holy Writ, the fact would still be apparent, as 
an axiomatic principle. The whole is greater than any one of 
its parts; and even upon the theory of the ancient philosophy 
which made God the soul of the universe, no fragment of this 
vast frame of nature could be equal to the central force that 
vitalised the whole. 

But if there is really a God, who is Creator, Governor, Giver, 
and Judge, then the relations sustained by creatures, subjects, 
recipients, and criminals, make it necessary that men should 
know something about God. Indeed the Scriptures assert that 
God reveals himself to the unreached heathen, making his eter- 
nal power and godhead known to them by all the outward works 
of his hands, "so that they are without excuse," when they fail 
to render thankful adoration to the Giver of good. And so much 
of a true knowledge of God is involved in this revelation, that 
Paul affirms "that which may be known of God, is manifest to 
them, for God hath shewed it unto them." And this, without 
any other revelation than the orderly courses of nature. While 
it is true, therefore, that man, being only a part of this grand 
system of nature, cannot equal the Creator of Nature in wisdom 
and knowledge, and cannot know the Almighty unto perfection; 
it is also true that man is so constituted as to know his eternal 
power and godhead by the evidence of his senses, by instinctive 
perception, and by the clear deductions of logic. 

The argument of the apostle does not end here. He distinctly 
announces (Romans i. 19-32.) that the hideous catalogue of evils 
that have cursed the race are the legitimate consequences of the 
loss of this natural knowledge of God. And he concludes by 
charging all the members of the race with the same guilty igno- 
rance. "Therefore thou art inexcusable, man, whosoever 
thou art." 

Added to this natural obligation, there is the distinct announce- 



Non- Scholastic Theology. 


merit of the ever-incumbent duty to search the Scriptures for 
higher attainments in the same knowledge of God. And the 
culmination of human history is summed up in the short sen- 
tence: "then shall we know even as we are known." When 
mfln attains perfection, it will be a perfection in the knowledge 
of God, and the Scriptures clearly enjoin the steadfast cultivation 
of this knowledge from day to day. The sinner is specially re- 
huked because he does not retain *'God in all his thoughts," that 
is, in the totality of his thoughts. As a matter of invitation, of 
exhortation, and of definite command, the cultivation or acquisi- 
tion of this knowledge of God is spread all over the Scriptures. 

These statements will probably meet with no opposition from 
Christian thinkers. As statements of general truth, they would 
probably pass in the most orthodox assemblages. The example 
of Enoch, whose character was so sublimated by his constant 
intercourse with God, is frequently quoted to enforce the general 
duty. All the exhortations to frequent prayer, meditation, praise, 
and study of the Divine word proceed upon this basis. Man, who 
was created in the image of God, is bound by every consideration 
to press on toward the mark for the prize of perfection in knowl- 
edge. There are insurmountable limits to this knowledge, of 
course, but these limitations are the natural barriers that separate 
the finite from the infinite. All that Gabriel may know of God, 
and probably far more, is lawfully within the scope of human 
attainment. Because God did not make Gabriel in his own 
image and likeness. Yet it is patent that Gabriel knows more 
of God to-day than the most holy and wise of the incarnate sons 
of men. His experience is far wider than that of Enoch, because 
he has lived longer; but it is probable that Enoch has far out- 
stripped the seraph, because Enoch was endowed with far nobler 
attributes. And the common experience of the two Intelligences, 
through the long centuries since Enoch ''was not," has probably 
resulted in higher attainments in knowledge to the glorified man 
than angelic powers could compass. ' 

The question is here suggested, How shall man know God? 
If you are saved, you must know two things: you must know 
that God is; you must know that God is the rewarder of them 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 6. 

■ >^ 


Non- ScKolastie Theology. 



that diligently seek him. And so far from being the limitations 
of possible human knowledge, these two truths are at the thresh- 
old. "He that cometh to God" must come thus far furnished. 
There is far more to learn. If you are endowed with the ordinary 
wisdom of your race, you will know yourself a sinner, and you 
will need to know how God can be just and yet justify you. If 
you say, you know this by faith, that you are justified by faith, 
this is very true. But faith is not a blind reliance upon dogmatic 
formulae. You must be able to give a reason for the faith that 
is in you. If God had not said so, it would still be true, be- 
cause you are made in the image of God, and you are compelled 
by the very constitution of your nature to know in whom you 
have believed, -i l.:,:;;: 

i^'v^&Ju'^rft'f'' -^ 


First, then, shall you reach the knowledge of God by the 
evidence of your senses ? There are teachers in the world who 
have earned a wide reputation for wisdom, who do not hesi- 
tate to affirm that man can know nothing except by sense per- 
ception. And as men do not see God, or hear his voice, or touch 
him with their hands, there is no God. This is the sum of their 
philosophy. If you say Peter and James and John did see hira 
and talk with him, and that these witnesses laid special stress 
upon "that which our eyes have seen, our ears heard, and our 
hands handled, " the reply will be that the followers of Mahomet 
can present precisely similar arguments. If you say Moses talked 
with God face to face, the answer will be, that events occurring 
three or four thousand years ago cannot be authenticated now, 
and that the proof of the existence of such a man as Moses is by 
no means satisfactory, or at least conclusive. And after all, the 
world has no better evidence than the mere word of Moses, who 
might have been either a deceiver or himself deceived. There 
will ever be, lying back of all the accepted declarations of Holy 
Writ, the demand for something analogous to inherent probability. 

Such evidence of the existence and goodness of God as may be 
presented to sense perception, is not underrated in this statement. 
It would apparently accord with the highest philosophy to ascribe 
the multitudinous adaptations in Nature to the wisdom and benefi- 
cence of Nature's God. There is a large degree of unmixed 


N on- Scholastic Theology. 


effrontery in the scholastic arguments of Evolutionism, for ex- 
ample. It is fashionable to give a patient hearing and to return 
a courteous reply to such vagaries, but it still remains true that 
the vast majority of educated thinkers in the world have a pro- 
found contempt for such schools and a profound pity for such 
scholars. Because man, made in the image of God, is endowed 
with a substratum of hard sense, which enforces the cognition of 
a Designer when confronted with the tokens of design. And as 
the organs of sense were constructed by God, they do continually 
discover the Worker in His works. It is possible to befool the 
thinker, to confuse his mind by the use of scholastic technicalities, 
and to make the ready answer to atheistic theories very difficult; 
but the underlying conviction abides in every human heart that 
somehow, God is true, though every man be a liar. And deep 
down in the consciousness of all men, there is the cognition of a 
possible God, wherever the wide sweep of the ocean tempest or 
the appalling force of the thunderbolt in the land storm attest 
his presence and power. These tokens appeal to the sense per- 
ception, and they tell of God. 

But, secondly, does man obtain a knowledge of God by in- 
stinctive apprehension? It is no part of the present purpose to 
attempt the analysis of metaphysical science. It is no part of 
this purpose to intrude into those misty solitudes where the few 
guide-posts are inscribed with directions that were incompre- 
hensible to the men who erected them. Here, again, the honest 
thinker and searcher after truth is easily bewildered and easily 
silenced. Among those who profess to have threaded these laby- 
rinths there are here and there trustworthy witnesses whose testi- 
mony would be valuable if it could be made intelligible. But 
having dwelt in Ashdod, they speak with the Ashdodian accent, 
and the enormous majority of their instructors in that unhappy 
region have written their theses upon brazen tablets. The com- 
mon sense of the world refuses brass. And the common sense of 
the world has already pronounced its verdict upon Mill, Huxley, 
Spencer, Darwin, and a host of others like them, whose only 
capital was composed of technical fluency and unlimited effron- 
tery and pretension. 




Non- Scholastic Theology. 


This second question does not invade the charmed circle, how- 
ever. You are asked only to examine your own mental exercises, 
and to determine whether intuitive perception discovers God. It 
is not easy to discriminate between this exercise of the mind and 
the deductions of logic. But there is less difficulty in making 
this distinction when it is remembered that intuition is that act 
of the mind which cognises prerequisites sine qua nan. Intuition 
does not come by experience, and cannot be strengthened or dis- 
turbed by logical disputation. That which is known intuitively 
is so known, because it needs must be. Does the knowledge of 
God come under this category? ;;: i i -u ,- f ■ :■ r "|t \ 

The quotation from the tenth Psalm already given, "God is 
not in all his thoughts," has been variously paraphrased.* In a 
late revision, published by Eyre and Spottiswoode of London, 
the phrase is rendered: "All the thoughts of the wicked are — 
No God!" As if the Psalmist should say : "The sura of wicked 
thinking is atheism." The same sentiment occurs three timt'S 
in the Psalms: "The fool hath said in his heart, No God." 
(Psalm xiv. and Psalm liii.) In all these places the implication 
seems plain, that the "fool" or the "wicked" has reached this 
conclusion by the violent contradiction of his instinctive appre- 
hension ; or, as Thornwell states the case: "Man cannot think 
rightly without thinking — God!" Herein is no reference to 
logical thinking, but to the instinctive apprehension, which cog- 
nises God, as the natural eye cognises light. The infant of days 

* Is there not in this expression of the Psalmist a very coininon 
Hebrew idiom which is to be met with even in the New Testament? 
"Yea. hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the jrarden ?" — 
that is, of any tree? The wicked su^^estion is : "Has God been so hard 
on you as to forbid the use of any tree?" The woman's answer tits this 
view: "We may. eat of the trees generally, and only one is forbidden.'' 
But the mischief was done when she for one moment entertained a ques- 
tion of the Creator's fjoodness. And the adversary then boldly presses 
his advantaf^e : "Ye shall not die, for God doth know," etc. So Paul : 
"Without all contradiction" — that is, without any contradiction. So here 
the Psalmist: "God is not in all his thoughts" — that is, in any of his 
thoughts. This would still be an assertion of the practical atheism of all 
wickedness. — Editors Southern Presbyterian Review. 


Non-Scholastic Theology. 


sees the light and rejoices in it. When he reaches the full 
maturity of his powers under rare cultivation, he will not see the 
light, but certain vibrations or undulations in the ether that may 
be measured by mechanical appliances, and described in techni- 
cal phraseology. Because— scholastically — no matter is cognis* 
able by the senses. The senses cognise the 'phenomena of matter, 
but the substance eludes human scrutiny. i 

And here is suggested the point of the present argument. The 
cognition of God by the normal power of the human organism is 
of the nature of inevitable necessity, if God exists, and if God 
made man. The Being who was able to make you with your 
marvellous mental endowments could not hide himself from you. 
The first tiling Adam saw, when he opened his eye-lids just 
formed, was — God! And it was a personal God who touched 
him in every nerve of his organism, mental, moral, and physical. 
And he will see him again and hear him again when the normal 
organism in its exquisite perfectness is restored to him and his 
redeemed progeny. He has never seen God since he saw the 
glitter of the flaming sword at the eastern gate of Eden.^ = 

But there is some remnant of the normal power which is re- 
vivified by the touch of grace, and brought back to its pristine 
vigor by the long processes of grace; so that the saved sinner 
may say: "Though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet 
in my flesh shall I see God!" It was not to be the creation of 
a new faculty. It was only the restoration of lost power. "Open 
thou mine eves, and I shall behold!" And it does not militate 
against this argument to affirm the necessity for Divine power to 
effect the restoration. Only the Power that created these now 
shattered faculties can repair the damages of sin. And the illus- 
tration of the cognition of light by the eye of infancy is applicable 
here. Because the simplicity of childhood is the very analogy 
employed in Scripture; as the unmixed faith of the infant in 
parental love is the type of the highest exercise of faith in a 
covenant-keeping God, who is also a father. 

The peculiarity of original sin is to manifest itself more and 
more as the native powers of its victims mature. It does not 
show itself in the infant of days, when the native disposition of 




r ' 






Non- Scholastic Theology. 


the child is unfolding. For example: 5i child may manifest an 
inherited independence of character, which is restive under re- 
straint. He derides all assumptions of authority, excepting the 
recognised authority of the parent, which is something more than 
the dread of penalty. There is some psychological faculty by 
which the child learns obedience, before the law of obedience can 
be formulated; and the same occult power detects the lack of 
authority in fellow-subjects. Now the resistance to unlawful 
authority is not sinful in the child. If you have watched the de- 
velopment of mental powers you will have seen numberless 
examples of this sort,j,and if you have learned how much of roy- 
alty there is in this prompt rebellion, you will be able to discrim- 
inate between the normal intuition, which is rights and the 
prompt display of evil temper under the provocation, which is 
wrong. And you may also learn to allot a due proportion of 
your condemnation to the provocation. No amount of culture 
will render the direct power of the Holy Ghost unnecessary in 
regeneration. But there are no statistics that shew a contradic- 
tion to the affirmation of Holy Writ: "Train up a child in the 
■way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." 
And you have this sure foundation to start upon: the earliest 
mental exercises of the child may include the instinctive cognition 
of God, and a large part of your labors will be expended in clear- 
ing away or in preventing the accumulation of rubbish that 
obscures the normal faculty. 

One other question remains : Can man know God by his 
logical powers? 

It is precisely upon this wide plateau that all the battles be- 
tween atheism and theism have been fought. " The argument 
from design" is the precise thing that evoked Evolution on one 
hand, and materialistic systems like that of Mr. Tyndall on the 
other. And this portion of the argument, though touching the 
borders of temporal scholasticism, does not invade the domain 
of theological scholasticism. It is therefore an open ground for 
discussion, even by non-scholastic thinkers. 

It is probable that all resolute, systematic thinking upon any 
allowed topic of human interest, breeds in the mind of the thinker 


Non- Scholastic Theology. 


more or less restiveness and impatience under the restraints of 
scholastic formulae. And it is not improbable that the reason 
for this growing restiveness may be found in the detection of 
weak links in the chain of accepted formulae. Take for example 
a case of this sort. The common faith of Christendom, twenty- 
five years ago, accepted the Mosaic cosmogony, as set forth in 
formal shape in the Westminster Catechism: "The work of 
creation is that wherein God did in the beginning, by the word 
of his power, make of nothing, the world and all things therein 
for Himself, within the space of six days, and all very good." 
(Larger Catechism; Question 15.) Now there are four statements 
in this sentence, that all science known or knowable can never 
contradict or disprove. First, God made. Second, God made 
by his powerful word. Third, God made — absolutely — not re- 
formed — but created. Fourth, God made all for himself No 
system of philosophy can be constructed that subverts any one of 
these four points, except atheistical philosophy. No philosophy 
that has the necessary existence of God for its primal postulate, 
can escape these four conclusions. And atheistical philosophy is 
a misnomer. It is always literally true that the "fool says, No 
God." The wise man may say he does not know there is a 
God, but he can never say he knows there is no God. If Chris- 
tian scholars would only investigate the doctrines of infidel 
scholars, they would infallibly detect the cold-blooded effrontery 
that supports all their systems. And if they would not allow 
their politeness to obscure their common sense, they would coolly 
kick these miserable vagaries out in the cold, with the exposure 
of the one weak link in the chain of causation. 

But when you reach the fifth statement — "within the space of 
six days" — you are confronted with something more formidable 
than infidel philosophy. You find the indubitable evidence that 
huge mammals existed on the pre- Adamite earth, and that in the 
coal formations of pre-Adamic eras there are the ring marks, 
indicating years of growth. Therefore you are compelled to say 
that God made the mammals that never brought forth and gave 
suck to their young; and that he builded these vast storehouses 
of fuel with sham time-marks engraved upon them; or, that the 



Kon-Scholasiid Theology/. 


literal, civil day of the Westminster Catechism is a faulty trans- 
lation of the statement given by Moses. How readily then do 
you accept the statement in Hebrews i. 2: "His Son, by whom 
he constituted the Beons," that is the "time-worlds," before he 
entered into his rest after the culminating creation — man! And 
if you venture into the domain of scholastic theology you will 
find that Moses uses the exact word, "day" (Hebrew, yom)^ in 
Genesis ii. 4, as including the entire toeek of creation. So the 
time-honored students of the Westminster Assembly can safely 
afford to accept the amendment: "all in the space of six ages, 
and all very good." Now, supposing all Hebraists to admit the 
accuracy of this rendering — behold how great a stumbling-block 
melts away, and how God's revelation in his Word and his other 
revelation in his Work, are found to be in exact accordance, each 
with the other. And the mind of the non-scholastic thinker 
returns to its rest, because the defective link in the chain is 
taken away. 

So, recurring to the question, "Can man know God logically?" 
the foregoing illustration comes prominently forward. Because 
the logical faculty would never disclose a God, infinite in truth, 
who made sham mammals. But, beginning with the inevitable 
cognition of the distinction between ego and non-ego^ the logical 
faculty cannot escape the cognition of God. And if you have the 
courage to throw off the shackles of scholastic formulae, you may 
see that God is revealed to you by a succession of syllogisms, if 
you have the patience to construct them. Give nihilism and 
pantheism both to the moles and bats — they are both essentially 
silly — and try the mental processes by which a God of some sort 
must be disclosed. 

It is not an easy task to construct an original argument upon 
this theme ; because the present age is distinguished from all 
preceding times by its vast flood of formal disputation from all 
quarters, and upon all phases of this topic. That which the 
learned few knew in past generations has been largely diluted 
and given to the world in copious streams. All the rehgious 
periodicals, of all evangelical sects, have more or less of this 
fragmentary scholarship scattered over their pages. You will 


Non- Scholastic Theology. 


be met by the most unlettered unbelievers, with quotations from 
some famous atheistical formula; or you will receive from some 
humble gospel hearer, a clear statement of Christian doctrine in 
syllogistic form, which cannot be found in the books of a past 
generation. The age is far wiser than past ages. ,The lecturer 
who presumes upon the possible ignorance of his audience to-day 
always makes a mistake. . . , ■ > ; 

But, beginning with the apprehension of one's identity, you see 
the sun blazing in the heavens day after day, and all the plane- 
tary systems pursuing their courses with unerring regularity. 
The common school books tell of the laws that control all these 
movements, and your first conviction is, that these things exist 
around you, outside of you, independently of you in every sense, 
while you still have so enormous an interest in them that your 
own existence is involved in these orderly recurrences. The solar 
system to which the earth belongs hangs upon the central sun. 
And if, so to speak, some accident should happen to the sun, to 
relax or weaken his hold upon his system (including your own 
dwelling place — the earth), you feel that the banded universe 
may be dislocated in a moment by a thousand chances. If you 
are learned in chemical lore, for example, you will know how 
small a change in the elements would make the atmosphere of 
the earth inflammable. If you are learned in geological science, 
you will know there was a time when the surface of this planet 
could not sustain organic life, and that the present cosmical 
arrangement of this surface came from chaotic disarray. The 
story is written all over the globe, in the thick strata that support 
field and forest and city. 

In the presence of all these overwhelming realities, w^iat is 
your estimate of your identity ? Because you are concerned only 
with ego and non-ego, and ego stands on one side — and all the 
universe on the other. ^ 

Well — the answer comes from all philosophy in all ages — the 
individual man is a mere speck of dust, a mere mote floating in a 
chance sunbeam. He may have lived a thousand years, but he 
is nothing; or he may be hurried into instant annihilation, and is 
he is nothing. Because the individual is swallowed up and lost in 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 7. 



No n- Scholastic i Theology. 


the millions that people the earth, and yet all these millions hy com- 
bining their powers, could not make the sun rise one second early 
or one second late. And the earth itself is a mere speck in 
space, and for aught that man can know, it might be rent asunder 
by internal convulsions and scattered into. a thousand fragments, 
like the asteroids that revolve between Mars and Jupiter, and 
still produce no perceptible eifect upon the cosmos. This is the 
sum of all possible philosophy. Ego is a very small thing. 

Now what is the precise thought in the mind of every man 
who thinks at all? What is the bottom conviction that controls 
all his powers? Is it this conclusion? Verily no! 

Because each man feels, acts, lives his entire life upon the 
theory that ego is everything and all else nothing! And when 
the man is enlightened by divine light and made a partaker in the 
divine inheritance, it is still true that his own personal salvation 
is the first, chiefest, overmastering interest. If you investigate 
man in his noblest relations, as husband and father, where the 
most unselfish manifestations of character appear, you will still 
discover that self gives emphasis to his purest affections. It is 
because the woman to whom he devotes his life is his wife, and 
the children for whom he spends all his energies are his children, 
that this special display of unselfish beneficence is common. The 
patriot who dies for the country does so because it is his country, 
and not a strange land. Everywhere ego dominates the earth, 
and the most disinterested exhibition of charity reveals upon 
analysis the same foundation. Because God hath made of one 
blood all nations to dwell upon the earth, man gives kindly aid 
and succor to his brother man. It is the controlling law of human 
existence. In a certain sense, all the hopes, desires, and pur- 
poses that make the activities of life, have their origin in each 
segregated heart of each actor, and all terminate upon self 

If the most splendid illustrations of unmixed benevolence that 
ever beautified humanity be examined, the same inevitable ten- 
dency appears. There once lived a man of wonderful native 
gifts, of high cultivation, and of most spotless Christian reputa- 
tion. His history, as recorded by himself, in sober sentences 
thus suras up the events of his life: "I have fought the good 



Non- Scholastic Theology. 


fight. I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me 
a crown of righteousness." He was "more abundant" in all 
ministerial labors because, to use his own words, "Wo is me if I 
preach not the gospel." ..^^ ,,,•;, , 

Now this selfhood is the common heritage of the race. Each 
man is so certainly separated in his egoism that all the powers of 
men and devils combined cannot invade the citadel of his soul. 
It is coexistent with the most sublime thinkable form of unselfish 
philosophy. It is far diff'erent from the "selfishness" that animates 
the miser, who, failing to apprehend the ego^ has allowed his 
affections to fasten upon so mean a god as gold. It is widely 
removed from the emotions of the cruel man, whose faculties are 
so blunted and brutalised that he cannot adequately measure 
cruelties under which he suffers himself, and therefore cannot 
estimate the effect of cruelties upon others. In his normal con- 
dition, and with his sensitive organism perfect, man recoils with 
horror from the bare sight of suffering. To venture once more into 
the dominions of theology, the formal statement accords with 
this patent fact. Suffering is the penalty of sin, and sin is ab^ 
normal. God made man upright, and, so to speak, did not pro- 
vide him with attributes for the enjoyment of sin or its fruits. 
When he tastes the "pleasures of sin," it is "for a season" only, 
and the poison is always hidden under the transient sweet. So, 
when man violates the least commandment, and covets unlawfully, 
and when he violates the greatest commandment, and proceeds to 
the overt act of harm, he dethrones the ego. To do this is to 
attempt the dethronement of God, because man is made in the 
image of God. 

This intense selfhood has been perfectly visible to philosophy 
throughout the ages. And the systems of the old heathen would 
have been more symmetrical if these ancient instructors had 
not mistaken the caricature for the original, and thus expended 
their powers in the analysis of sefishness instead of selfhood. 
The study of human character in all ages has been hampered by 
the fatal fact that humanity w^as in ruins; and the race has fur- 
nished no perfect specimen in its original symmetry excepting 



Non- Scholastic Theology. 


the One Man, who being also in the form of God, thought it no 
robbery to be equal with God. The life of this Man, upon the 
earth, began long after tbe ancient systems of philosophy had 
been formulated. And none of these made provision for the 
exercise of the normal powers in a future state of existence, be- 
cause none of them recognised the remnants of the lost faculties 
in fallen humanity. The Jews had sacred books and sacred tra- 
ditions, but all the rest of the world was lying in ignorance. 
When, therefore, Jesus of Nazareth appeared among men, to 
take his place in the annals of the race, he did not appear for the 
purpose of exhibiting these native excellences, but for the pur- 
pose of establishing a system of philosophy against which the 
gates of hell could not prevail. His human life was ipso facto 
exemplary; yet no doctrine is more clearly, announced in evan- 
gelical standards than that of the inability of any mere man since 
the fall to keep the law of God perfectly. And Jesus kept this 
law perfectly. This is another most fundamcDial doctrine of all 
creeds that contain his revered name. But this is anticipating. 
The present point relates to the knowledge of God, independently 
of revelation, and therefore independently of any doctrine founded 
upon revelation. 

The old philosophers were confronted by the selfhood of the 
individual. A uniform law requires a certain supply of oxygen 
to the human lungs as the invariable condition of life. Without 
it, the physical organism dies. Another law, just as inflexible, 
requires the mental organism to demand the "How" of all phe- 
nomena. As man cannot breathe without air, so man cannot 
think without reason. The most ignorant of the children of 
Adam has, by the necessity of his constitution, a theory of some 
sort to account for all the phenomena he cognises. And this 
inflexible necessity has peopled the air with such agencies as 
chance and luck whenever the sequences of cause and eff"ect are 
hidden. Without the revelation of a God of providence no other 
conclusion was possible. Therefore the primal maxim of old 
assumed definite shape: "All things come from chance." 

But the sacres could not rest under this conclusion when an 


Non- Scholastic Theology. 


could not make 


invariable law came into view. Char 

selfhood. Look fpr a moment at the result of a life of thinking, 

in the case of Epicurus. ^ 

It was no small advance upon the previous philosophy for this 
man to begin with the assertion that "nothing could come from 
the non-existent." It was a marvellous advance from this point 
to affirm that "nothing which exists can pass into non-existence." 
And so he constructs the universe from " atoms and space" which 
were eternal. Thus far his physics. One would expect from 
such a thinker something better in his ethical system than blank 
egoism. Yet this is the sum and substance of his philosophy, 
"The highest good is happiness," individual happiness of course, 
"and happiness and pleasure, synonymous terms, are the natural 
objects for which man must seek. Virtue is commendable only 
because it is the only possible, and the perfectly sure way to 
happiness." (Ueberweg, Vol. L, p. 208, 209.) It is not easy 
to find a more utterly selfish conclusion in any known system of 

From these brief suggestions, the drift of the argument upon 
this head may be seen. The eternal domination of self, visible 
upon every page of human history, would seem to suggest to the 
thinker this conclusion. All men belong to the same race. 
Among the earliest diversities there is an ever-present identity, 
and this universal selfhood is one of the characteristics that pro- 
claim the brotherhood. And if all the sons of men are in fact 
the progeny of a common ancestor, (which would be the infallible 
deduction of reason if the thinker did not hate God,) then this 
ancestor must have transmitted this self-love, just as he trans- 
mitted any other distinguishing attributes. 

The second thought would seem to follow: that this universal 
instinct must be essentially right. Because all the orderly courses 
of nature are beneficent, and the Lord of nature could not be the 
one exception to the uniftmn rule. It has been seen that man 
did not make nature, or enact the laws that govern nature. He 
is at best only a part of one grand system, though he be at the 
head of it. And the Force that made nature stamped this self- 
hood indelibly upon the character of the dominating intelligence. 



Non- ScTiolastie Tlieology. 


It is of the nature of a uniform law, a beneficent law, a right- 
eous law. :,:'' .'■■- ' "'---■.'-'.-■ .,',/■;.■■■■,"■ ^ ■■:■ :.:-'^' -vr-M^ ■':iv::8<VA^'::. 

Therefore, if the Force that niade Adam set this peculiar mark 
upon him, it must have been a necessary reflexion of his own 
attribute. All that God does, he does for his own glory. As 
all things came from him, all things tend to him. '■'•For whom 
are all things; by whom are all things." And the creature 
made in his image must needs, in his place and degree, shew 
forth something analogous to the selfhood of God. Because he 
was made in the image of God. 

But there is one more source of light still outside of scholastic 
theology. God has given a revelation to man, and this revela- 
tion has the universal injunction, "Search the Scriptures," 
inscribed all over it. Not one solitary sentence in the sacred 
volume is withheld from the scrutiny of the humblest and most 
ignorant render. And the poorest saint is bound, as he values 
liis soul, to see to it that all doctrine that may be proclaimed 
upon the authority of God is clearly revealed in this Word. So 
far as this discussion has gone, it has proceeded upon the theory 
that there is such a thing as natural theology, which, however, 
culminates in the cognition of possible Deity. But now the 
august word of revelation comes into view and supplants all other 
sources of knowledge. There is henceforth only one question; 
"What hath God spoken?" 

There have been various ansAvers to this query, sometimes so 
contradictory that sectarianism is far more prominently manifest 
in the Church than vital godliness. But while this is true, it is 
also true that the points of divergence in evangelical creeds are 
minor points. All creeds teach that God is infinite, eternal, and 
immutable in his being, wisdom, power, holiness, justice, good- 
ness, and truth. But all sects do not teach identical doctrines, 
as founded upon these attributes. There is not a Christian in 
the world who would deny that God is infinitely, eternally, and 
unchangeably wise, just, and good; while there are multitudes 
of divergent opinions in the Church as to God's methods of 
manifesting those attributes. And the schools of theology 
are established for the very purpose of giving formal shape 


Non-Scholastic Theology. 


and logical unity to the doctrines that distinguish the sects of 

Concerning this revelation, the first thought presented is, that 
coming from a wise and infallible God, it must needs be at agree- 
ment in every part of it. The Larger Catechism of the West- 
minster Assembly, in answer to Question 4, gives "the consent 
of all the parts" as the evidence of the divine authorship of the 
Scriptures. And it is not a thinkable proposition that the God of 
truth could contradict himself in his own revelation. Yet igno- 
rant persons in the Church have a vague idea that the Epistles to 
the Romans and the Ephesians are specially Calvinistic epistles, 
while others, such as the Epistle of James, specially favor Armin- 
ian doctrine. Such a conclusion is nowhere stated, of course, 
but any reader can easily satisfy himself of the existence of such 
an illogical delusion by questioning the members of diiferent 
sects. The inestimable advantage of schools of didactic theo- 
logy, nay, the imperative necessity for them, if the integrity of 
the Church is to be preserved, is therefore apparent. It is of the 
last importance that the authorised teachers, called of God into 
the gospel ministry, should be thoroughly equipped for their 
work; and no amount of native genius, no extent of desultory 
investigation, no degree of piety in the preacher, can substitute 
the training of the seminary. The authorised preacher must, 
first of all, be called of God. But he must be endorsed by God's 
representatives as well, who have also been called of God, and 
investe<l by God's Church with the authority to give this needed 
endorsement. God's government is not a commune. It is an 
absolute monarchy. And while the King could call ignorant 
fishermen and publicans, qualify, and send them forth into the 
world with his messages of grace, it is still true that every word 
of these messages was spoken by a holy man as he was moved by 
the Holy Ghost. All the authority of the New Testament rests 
precisely upon the same basis as the "sure word of prophecy" 
contained in the older revelation. Nothing short of the " inspi- 
ration of God" can give authority to revelation. Men do not 
read the Epistles of Peter as merely human utterances, or the 
Epistles of Paul with mere admiration of the logical force of his 



Non- Scholastic Theology. 


statements. It is the Word of God, whether spoken by Peter or 
Paul, and the chief business of later preachers of the word is to 
expound the divine word that came through these channels. 

It has been said in recent times, that irregular and unordained 
preachers stood substantially upon the same ground as that occu- 
pied by Peter and Paul. As God called Peter and Paul, so he 
called these modern evangelists, filled their hearts with grace, 
with a longing desire to save souls, and endowed them with dis- 
tinguishing gifts for the work. It would not seem unreasonable 
to ask for a more thorough authentication. Let these modern 
apostles raise the dead, and then submit to martyrdom, for ex- 
ampl-e. These were the ''signs of an apostle" in the olden time, 
and the Scriptures do not tell of any change in the signs. And 
when you find a travelling self-called evangelist who can furnish 
the certificate given in 2 Corinthians xi, 23-28, it will not be 
amiss to give a patient hearing to his message. But these excel- 
lent brethren generally content themselves with the concluding 
■_., clause of the certificate, and only assume ''the care of all the 

■■■? churches." . :-/^::)r^ ^'"'S^-il^ ...■'^■'^-y'^l^rr:*. ■ 

■ " Enough has been said to show that this paper, treating of non- 
scholastic theology, does not make an assault upon scholastic 
theology. The present purpose is served, if it can be shown that 
the saving knowledge of God is within reach of the unlearned; 
and that problems which cannot be solved by the unaided reason 
may be solved by faith in the Revelation which God has given to 
' men. The things which man must believe concerning God are 
sometimes marvellous things, but they are never monstrous 
things. And the credence which God requires is never the blind 
acquiescence of the Papist worshipper, but rather the intelligent 
apprehension of the thinker, who searches reverently for the exact 
shade of thought in the message.' 

The present age is deistical, and the belief in and acknowledg- 
ment of a possible personal God, is the sum of religious sentiment 
in many. It has become fashionable to sneer at revelation, or at 
least to express gral^e doubts as to the authenticity of the Sacred 
Scriptures. Very often the doubter is only the victim of conceit, 
and adopts the doubt in order to show his independence of mind 


Non- Scholastic Theology. 


and his strength of character. ''So many learned men deny 
revelation that there must be a weak spot somewhere." 

Now what are the things most surely revealed in this word of 
God? The first thing is the authenticity of the revelation, and 
the last words of it contain an awful warning against the slightest 
addition to the canon or the subtraction of the most minor pre- 
cept from it. The attention of the reader is challenged at once 
to this unique position. In the face of all the unbelieving philoso*^ 
phy in the world this Book asserts its own preeminence, as if the 
audible voice of God called upon his universe to hear and heed. It 
is not credible that a book of such dignity, such logical force and 
coherence, such uniform excellence of doctrine and precept, 
should contain so silly a prohibition, if it were merely a human 
composition! Whatever men may say^ the strong probability 
remains that no sane man ever reads those terrific words without 
feeling a thrill of apprehension lest in some unguarded moment 
he should incur the dismal penalty. There is a dynamical prin- 
ciple hidden under the very form of words. 

But there is more than this. The Book itself contains the 
announcement that the Divine Spirit gives efficiency to the re- 
vealed word. God opens the eyes to see, the ears to hear, the 
heart to receive the truth. And the most curious part of this 
divine system is the fact that no previous training, no long ap- 
prenticeship, no probationary exercises, no self-culture, are re- 
quired. The analogy is stated to-be that of the dead man, hearing 
a voice and leaping into life; and though not fully equipped for 
his warfare, still an armed warrior, and more than a match for 
the hosts of hell. It is at the reception of this word that he be- 
gins his apprenticeship, his training, his probation, his cultiva- 
tion. And the assurance that he shall grow in grace and knowl- 
edge, in the study of this revelation, is written all over it;Mvith 
the promise of the certain culmination, in the fulness of stature 
at last. 

If it be said that the non-scholastic student of Scripture is in 

danger of error, because of the tendency to wander from the 

record, and to explore the wide fields of merely speculative 

philosophy, the answer is, the Word itself is his safeguard. The 

VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 8. 

■I '..'■ 

i 'a 



Non- Scholastic Theology. 


more he explores this fiehJ, the less temptation will he find to go 
beyond its limits. And the notorious fact is, that erratic excur- 
sions to the misty fields of doubt are rarely made by thfe non- 
scholastic reader. The cases in which he has ventured into those 
localities are the cases in which he has followed some acknowl- 
edged authority, and where he essayed to show the philosophical 
errors which encumbered the unorthodox theory of the acknowl- 
edged teacher. And the grand argument in support of a non- 
scholastic theology is the fact that the very citadel of Popery is 
builded upon the assumption that the priest is the only authorised 
interpreter of Scripture. God's revelation has nothing to fear 
from all the scrutiny of all the Avorld. And the private intelli- 
gent Christian has as free access to this word as the most learned 
professor. The glory of Protestant Christianity is its open Bible, 
where the truth is so clearly revealed that the wayfaring man 
need not err. And if this wayfaring man does not happen to be 
a fool, he may not only learn something for his own comfort and 
guidance, but may even point out to others some wayside flowers 
and fruits that have escaped the attention of his more highly 
instructed and more highly f;ivored brethren. The Bereans 
probably announced what resulted from the search for which 
they were commended, if anything practical came from their 
search of the Scriptures. At all events, their example has been 
presented to the Church since apostolic times as worthy of 
imitation. « 

There are multitudes of questions, however, which are con- 
stantly discussed in the Church and out of it, that have more 
of a philosophical than a theological character. Such ques- 
tions will be debated while the world stands, and the fact that 
they have a theological side will not exclude non-scholastic de- 
baters from the consideration of the topics. You cannot say to 
the world, and certainly not to the membership of the Church in 
the world, that these topics occupy a forbidden ground. The 
area occupied by didactic theology is clearly enough defined. 
But the area occupied by apologetic theology has larger boun- 
daries, and there are hundreds of points where the domain over- 
laps the domain of pure logic. The Temple is holier than Porch 


The Grace of Adoption. 


and Academy; but Paul took the chief pillars of the Temple and 
set them up in the midst of Mars Hill, where the disciples of 
Porch and Academy had a sure foothold. 

Nothing can be more contemptible to the Christian thinker 
than Broad-Churchism, in so far as this system overrides or over- 
shadows the time-honored symbols of Christian faith. But you 
pray to the King in Zion to lengthen her cords. May it not be 
true that these cords are shrunken by the application of that 
form of sacerdotalism which denied the right of private judgment 
and forbade the discussion of doctrine outside the cloister? It is 
one thing to preach the gospel under the assumed call of God 
and the assumed authority of Christ, without the endorsement of 
Christ's visible Church. It is quite another thing to discuss the 
numberless questions perpetually cropping out in the world — all 
having an ethical aspect and all relating to the glory of God and 
the good of man — with reverent humility as towards God, with 
honest jealousy of the honor of Christ, and with a sincere desire 
to discover the truth as revealed in God's Word. The men whom 
Malachi tells of as ''speaking one to another" were probably not 
all priests or all scholars. 



Paul, in speaking of that system of saving truth, that wisdom 
of God in a mystery, hidden from the world, which he in the 
gospel preached, says to the Corinthians (1 Cor. ii. 9, 10): "Eye 
hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart 
of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love 
him; but God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit." In 
all nature there is nothing like the exceeding riches of his grace 
which is bestowed upon sinners; and the thought of such amazing 
exaltation and blessedness it never entered the mind of man to 
conceive. The knowledge of them comes only by special revela- 



The Grace of Adoption. 


tion of the Spirit. Concerning this same wondrous grace to 
sinners of mankind, the Apostle, on another occasion, is led to 
exclaim (Romans xi. 33): "Oh the depth of the riches both of 
the wisdom and knowledge of God ! how unsearchable are his 
judgments, and his ways past finding out!" In magnifying and 
praising the riches of this marvellous grace as experienced by 
sinners, the same Apostle, on still another occasion, breaks forth 
in this glowing strain (Ephesians i. 3-14): "Blessed be the God 
and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with 
all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: according as 
he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that 
we should be holy and without blame before him in love: having 
predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to 
himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, to the praise 
of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in 
the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, 
the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; 
wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; 
having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to 
his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself; that in the 
dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in 
one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are 
on earth; even in him: in whom also we have obtained an in- 
heritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him 
who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will : that we 
should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, 
the gospel of your salvation; in whom also after that ye believed, 
ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise; which is the 
earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased 
possession, unto the praise of his glory." And, once more, in 
application of this divine grace to the Galatian Christians, who 
were "so soon removed from him that called them into the grace 
of Christ, unto another gospel" (so-called), who were so foolish 
as to turn away from the true benefits and privileges of the gospel 
of God's grace, and resort again to the lower system of legalism ; 
in order to remind them of their true and high vocation in Christ, 


The Grace of Adoption. 


and to call them back to the full acceptance and enjoyment of his 
grace, the Apostle writes (Galatians iv. 4-7): "When the fulness 
of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, 
made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, 
that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are 
sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts 
crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore"' — he adds, making a direct 
application of this precious truth to the heart of every individual 
believer among them — '•''Wherefore thou art no more a servant^ 
but a son." 

It is, then, the G-race of Adoption which God confers upon 
believers under the gospel scheme. To the conten^phition and 
study of this rich and abundant grace of God toward sinners, in 
the Christian economy, the mind of the believer may well be 
turned. It is a topic full of comfort to the Christian heart, and 
one which opens up a grand field for religious thought and in- 
quiry. Yet, strange to say, it is one which has been little dis- 
cussed, and is very imperfectly understood and appreciated. The 
remark was made from the pulpit by an eminent preacher a few 
years ago, that no published treatise on theology contains a full 
and distinct treatment of this subject. Calvin, in his famous 
Institutes of the Christian Religion, seems to have overlooked it 
almost altogether, and the name does not appear even in Dr. 
Hodge's voluminous work on Systematic Theology. The West- 
minster Confession does indeed devote to it a separate chapter, 
but disposes of the whole subject in a single section. With the 
purpose of directing the attention of others to this doctrine, which 
is one of great practical importance and value in the Christian 
life, and in the hope of leading to its fuller discussion by abler 
pens, we venture to present to the readers of the Review some 
thoughts upon this subject. 

I. The highest and most blessed relationship to which the 
sinner is admitted under the scheme of grace is Adoption. 

This is peculiarly a personal relationship of the redeemed 
sinner with God the Father. Not that it does not imply a per- 
sonal relationship also with the Son and the Spirit. This is 
very clearly involved. But the relationship distinctly expressed 



The Grace of Adoption. 


bj the word Adoption, while, of course, it covers a great deal 
under it, is that which exists between the sinner, redeemed by 
divine grace, and the Father, the first person of the sacred 
Trinity. The term, therefore, sets forth peculiarly the office of 
God the Father toward us under the economy of saving grace. 
Now, the Father's official position in this scheme is the first and 
highest. Jesus himself taught (John xiv. 24-28) that the Father 
sent him, and is greater, in official position, than he; and 
(John xiv. 26, xv. 26) that the Spirit is sent by the Father and 
himself; and so is officially inferior to both of them. Since, then, 
the Father's official position in the scheme of grace is the first 
and the highest, it follows that the personal relationship with 
him, expressed by the term Adoption^ is — if we may distinguish 
betwixt them — the most exalted and blessed under the covenant 
of redemption. That is to say, this relationship with the Father — 
in all that it comprehends under it — is the highest and fullest 
expression of divine grace to the sinnei* included under the 
gospel economy. 

(1). Our relationship with Jesus Christ the Son, in the economy 
of redemption, is indeed most blessed and most essentially im- 
portant. His is peculiarly a law work. His special office is to 
represent us under the moral government of God before the law. 
Accordingly he appears as our Substitute, who dies in our stead 
under the penalty of the law, which we by our trangression 
had provoked, and so atones for our guilt. As Paul declares 
(Gal. iii. 13): "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the 
law, being made a curse for us." He also, as our federal Head, 
obeys the law in our behalf, and so brings in a righteousness for 
us, on the ground of which we are justified. And as our repre- 
sentative before the law, whose perfect obedience, both active and 
passive, in our stead, has been accepted and approved of God for 
us, he ever appears before the throne of God in heaven and inter- 
cedes in our behalf there. The end, therefore, which is accom- 
plished singularly by Christ the Son's work in the plan of salva- 
tion is, as Paul expresses it (Romans iii. 26), "That God might 
be just, and thejustifier of him which believeth in Jesus." 

Now, under God's absolutely perfect and inviolable moral 


The Grace of Adoption. 


government, which lies at the foundation of, and necessarily con- 
ditions, all his dealings with us sinners, it is a most essential and 
a most blessed thing for us that we have such a representative to 
appear for us before the law, who so fully and gloriously meets 
all its demands with regard to us, who thus completely lifts us 
above its condemning power, who turns its curses into blessings, 
its threats into approvals, and its frowns into smiles, upon our 
souls; and so fulfils the first essential requsite in the matter of 
our eternal salvation. We cannot, therefore, too greatly magnify, 
too highly estimate, nor too loudly praise, God for his grace, as 
expressed to us in our relationship with the Son, who loved us 
and gave himself for us. In the contemplation of this grace alone, 
we are fully warranted in joining in the glowing doxology of John 
in Patmos (Revelation i. 5, 6): "Unto Him that loved us, and 
washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us 
kings and priests unto God and his Father: to him be glory and 
dominion forever and ever. Amen." 

(2.) Our relationship with the Holy Spirit, under the scheme 
of redemption, is also a most gracious and blessed one. His 
special work therein is peculiarly a personal one with regard to 
us; his office is to apply to us individually and personally the 
salvation wrought out for us under the law by the Son, the Lord 
Jesus Christ. If the work of redemption had stopped with the 
Son's peculiar work, though that is most glorious and complete 
in itself, the sinner would be left still personally dead in sin. 
Such, for example, as we know, was the case of every one of us 
up to the time of our conversion to God. Though Christ had 
completed his redeeming laAV-work for us eighteen hundred years 
ago, and had thus been, long before our birth into the world, 
accepted of God in our behalf as included in the election of grace; 
yet we were born guilty and dead sinners, and continued in this 
state up to the time that, in infinite grace, we were quickened 
into spiritual life by the renewing of the Holy Ghost. But be- 
cause the Son has worked out complete redemption for us under 
the righteous government of God, and appears for us as our ac- 
cepted Redeemer in heaven, the Holy Spirit is sent forth to 
apply salvation personally to us whom Christ in covenant has 



The Grace of Adoption. 


before redeemed. And his work is to restore us personally to 
spiritual life. By divine power and grace he regenerates us, 
which is the beginning of this saving work,; sanctifies us, which 
is its continuation ; and finally glorifies us — raises us from the 
dead in incorruption and immortality, in the full likeness of our 
blessed Lord — which. is its completion. 

And this he does by actually entering our sinful hearts in his 
own person, and dwelling in us and operating in us, acting 
directly upon and infusing new life into all our natural faculties; 
breaking down, mortifying, and rooting out the old sinful nature 
that still remains in us and hinders the action of the new; and 
finally, causing the life of God, of which he is the active principle 
and eflScient energy, to permeate and control fully our whole man. 
And so are fulfilled the words of Scripture (2 Cor. vi. 16): "Ye 
are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell 
in them and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they 
shall be my people;" and (Phil. i. 6), "He which hath begun a 
good work in you will perform it (margin, will finish it) until the 
day of Jesus Christ." i - , .^ ■..■.,■■,'■ ■.^,-:.-.^,,.^.,., ... ^ ...,■[ 

It is, therefore, a most necessary and a most gracious work 
which the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Godhead, performs 
for us in the scheme of redemption. And no words can adequately 
set forth the honor and blessedness of the relationship which thus 
exists, by divine grace, betwixt him and ourselves. To be, in 
our poor sinful selves, the temples of the living God ; to have the 
divine and blessed Spirit himself come and take up his habitiition 
in these polluted hearts of ours, and thereby enter into the most 
intimate, tender, and constant fellowship with us; and, at the 
same time, make us partakers of the divine nature, by his gracious 
power cleanse, purify, and elevate our hearts so that they may 
become fit dwelling-places for the Holy God: surely it would be 
difficult for us to conceive of any relationship that is higher and 
more blessed. Indeed, this is itself one of those things which 
God has prepared for them that love him, which it certainly would 
never have entered into the heart of man to conceive. This 
blessed work of the Spirit, and the relationship which it implies, 
are altogether worthy to evoke the sublime invocation of the 


The Crrace of Adoption. 


Apostle concerning the Ephesian Christians (Eph. iii. 14—19): 
*'! bow my knees unto the God and Father of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 
that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to 
be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner raan; jthat 
Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted 
and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints 
what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and t( 
know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might 
be filled with all the fulness of God." And realising this priceless 
blessing by the Spirit, we ma}^ well unite with Paul in the grand 
doxology which he adds in celebration of the Spirit's grace: 
*'Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above 
all that we ask or think, according to the 'power that worketh in 
us, unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus, through- 
out all ages, world without end. Amen." 

(3.) But, important, exalted, and blessed and glorious as are 
our relationships with the Spirit and the Son under the wondrous 
scheme of redemption, it is not until we take in also our peculiar 
relationship with God the Father, which is expressed by the 
term Adoption, that we arrive at a just conception of the exceed- 
ing riches of divine grace to sinners, and that we acquire a true 
idea of the spiritual exaltation and blessedness which is ours by 
that unspeakable grace. We must see ourselves to be not merely 
redeemed legally by the Son, who has fully met all the require- 
ments of the law in our behalf, and restored to spiritual life and 
purity by the Spirit dwelling and ruling in our hearts; but, 
further, as vitally united to Christ by the Spirit, and personally 
identified with him, even ns the wife is with her husband; we 
must see ourselves to be so borne by the Son, personally with 
himself, into his own most blessed relation of Sonship with the 
Father; and ourselves so recognised presonally, and owned and 
actually admitted and established in his family by the Father as 
his children, before we can know all. It is only as we thus see 
ourselves to be really the sons of God by a spiritual adoption, 
personally received and treated as the brethren of the Lord Jesus 
Christ, the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, as the "Spirit of Adop- 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 9. 




The Grace of Adoption. 


tion," crying from our hearts, "Abba, Father;" and ourselves 
personally the objects of the Father's paternal love and compas- 
sion and care, admitted to full and free fellowship with Him, and 
entitled, as "joint heirs with Christ," to eternal heirship under 
him, — only then is it that we perceive what the grace of God to 
us-ward is, and what is the full height of privilege and blessing 
which he has made ours. We are the %on8 of God, and nothing 
less. "Thou art no more a servant, but a son.'' 

These thoughts have been suggested by a careful study of that 
exquisite portrayal of the scheme of grace contained in the 
fifteenth chapter of Luke's Gospel, where our Saviour most clearly 
and beautifully sets forth the distinctive work of the three per- 
sons of the Trinity in the plan of redemption, by a group of in- 
imitable parables. The first, that of "The Lost Sheep," exhibits 
specially in this aspect the law-work of the Son, who, as a good 
Shepherd going out after his strayed sheep and seeking it till he 
finds it, rescues the sinner from guilt and destruction, and 
brings him back on his own person to the fold of God, the 
trophy of his redeeming grace. And thus is the salvation of 
sinners made possible. 

The second parable, that of "The Lost Piece of Money," sets 
forth specially the work of the Spirit, who, like a woman hunt- 
ing for a lost coin, through the Church — usually represented in 
Scripture under the figure of a female — searches out amidst the 
dust and filth of sin, the lost and dead sinner whom Christ died 
to save, and plucking him out of his state of sin and death, re- 
stores him to spiritual life and sets him a jewel in the Saviour's 
diadem of glory. 

In the third, the parable of the "The Prodigal Son," is por- 
trayed in distinction from the others, the Father's special office 
in the gracious scheme. And he is represented as receiving and 
welcoming back the lost sinner, who, redeemed by the Son and 
reclaimed by the Spirit, returns in penitence to him; appointing 
him a place — not that of a servant, but — in his own house and 
at his own table : and, reaching the culminating point of the 
whole wondrous exhibition of divine grace to sinners, as expressly 



The G-race of Adoption. 


proclaiming him to be his son, who was dead and is alive again ; 
who was lost and is found. 

And a more recent study of the eighth chapter of Romans has 
revealed to us the fact that the Apostle Paul employs the very 
same method and follows the very same order in setting forth the„ 
grounds of assurance to believers under the gospel scheme. "His 
theme here," says Dr. Hodge, "is the security of believers. The 
salvation of those who have renounced the law, and accepted the 
gracious oflfers of the gospel, is shown to be absolutely certain. 
The whole chapter is a series of arguments most beautifully ar- 
ranged in support of this one point. . . . The proposition is con- 
tained in the first verse. There is no condemnation to those 
who are in Christ Jesus; they shall never be condemned or per- 
ish." And this is proved, 1 (verses 2-4). By the fact that thet/ 
are delivered from the condemning power of the law, through the 
law-work of the Son, by which the righteousness of the law is 
fulfilled in them that believe. 2 (verses 5-11). By the fact that 
thei/ are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. That is, they are not 
in a state of nature, having the carnal mind, which is death, but 
have been renewed by the Spirit, who now dwells in them, and 
carries forward their salvation, and will certainly complete it by 
quickening their mortal bodies, even as he raised up Christ from 
the dead. And 3 (verses 12-17). By the fact that being led by 
the Spirit of God, thei/ are the sons of Grod; of which blessed pri- 
vilege they are assured by having received the Spirit of adoption, 
whereby they cry, "Abba, Father;" and by the witness of the 
Spirit with their spirits that they are the children of God. Thus 
we see that Paul, in setting forth the grounds of Christian com- 
fort and hope, begins with the law-work of Christ the Son, as the 
foundation ; rises up through the Spirit's work, in the applica- 
tion, and reaches the highest, crowning expression of divine grace 
in the Father's work of adoption. This is that most exalted re- 
lation, to which believing sinners are raised under the gospel 
economy, in which, despite "the sufferings of the present time" 
they are assured that all things work together for their good ; 
and that God being for them, it matters not who may be against 



The Grace of Adoption. 


them, for nothing can separate them from hia love which is in 
Christ Jesus their Lord. , . x^c ^^Kfts 

II. The full comfort and joy of the Christian religion, to which 
we are entitled by the grace of God, are realised only as we 
breathe truly the spirit of adoption. 

The truth as revealed to us in Cod's word is the proper meas- 
ure of Christian experience; and our experience may and ought 
to accord with that truth so revealed to us. Now adoption be- 
ing, as we have seen, the highest and fullest expression of divine 
grace to us, our personal experience of religion ought to corres- 
pond with that, and we realise the full measure of inv/ard com- 
fort and joy only as it does so. In other words, we attain to the 
true and full measure of inward blessing only as we realise in our 
experience what the Spirit, through Paul, says to each one of us 
in the Scripture, "Thou art no more a servant^ but a son." 

In order that we may the better understand this truth, let us 
see what, according to Scripture and experience, are those spirit- 
ual comforts and joys which accrue to us respectively — if we may 
venture to draw a line of distinction betwixt them — from our sev- 
eral relationships with the Son, the Spirit, and the Father, in 
the scheme of grace. 

(1.) The comforts and joys arising specially from J;he work of 
the Son, — which no doubt come first in the order of our Chris- 
tian experience — are those which appertain immediately to our 
law relations. They are such, resulting directly from our justi- 
fication in God's sight for Christ's sake, as the Apostle (Romans 
V. 1) comprehends under the expression "peace with God 
through our Lord Jesus Christ;" which is, as more fully drawn 
out, a sense of relief from guilt, of acceptance with God, and 
assurance of his eternal favor. This is certainly a very impor- 
tant and essential element of religious experience, and it is plain 
that there could be no genuine Christian comfort and joy without 
it. It is indeed fundamental to all Christian joy. And so pre- 
cious is it that we may well say, Happy, thrice happy is that 
humble believer who, in the personal experience and full sense 
of the truth, can say with Paul, "There is therefore now no con- 
demnation . . . for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ 
Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death." 




The Grace of Adoption. 



(2.) The comforts and joys of religion which pertain peculiarly 
to the Spirit's work, are those pleasures which arise specially 
from the experience of netv life^ and the divine presence with us 
through the personal indwelling of the Spirit of grace in our 
hearts. Such, for instance, as new views of the truth, new ener- 
gies, new activities, new tastes, new hopes; what Paul expresses 
when he says (2 Cor. v. 17) : "If any man be in Christ, he is a 
new creature: old things are passed away, behold, all things are 
become new\" To which may be added the assurance of divine 
sympathy and help in all the infirmities and trials of life, through 
the Spirit's presence with us, as declared by Jesus when he said, 
"I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comfor- 
ter that he may abide with you forever," and by Paul when he 
writes, "The Spirit also helpeth our infirmities." With such 
experiences of divine grace, following up and confirming and 
making effectual in our lives the glorious work of Christ for us, 
we may justly consider that our cup of spiritual comfort and joy 
is full to overflowing, and be ready to exclaim, It is enough. 

It may indeed be enough for our poor feeble human thought 
to comprehend, and more than enough for our Aveak faltering 
faith to believe. But we have not seen all; we have not felt all; 
we have not taken hold of the yet larger, richer, cup of inward 
blessing which divine grace has filled for us, until we are carried 
a step further — conducted, as it were, into another chamber of 
love — and experience 

(3.) The blessedness of Adoption^ in our personal relationship 
specially with the Father. It is only here that all the comforts 
and joys of salvation as realised in Christian experience, reach 
their full scope and exercise. To illustrate: take the case of the 
Prodigal Son, which, in the spiritual meaning of the parable, 
clearly and beautifully portrays to us the whole matter. And 
suppose now that he had received ample assurance of his father's 
forgiveness of his sins, which he so freely confessed, and of his 
father's entire reconciliation toward him, thus relieving com- 
pletely all his fears and troubles upon this score. Now this, re- 
garding him as the sinner saved by grace, is what Christ the 
Son's redeeming work, apprehended in itself, would do for him. 



The Grace of Adoption. 


Then add to this his personal restoration to spiritual life ; a new 
nature given him, new feelings, new desires, new aspirations ; the 
power of that old sinful nature that led him wickedly to wander 
away from home and conducted him down to such depths of moral 
infamy and wretchedness, broken, and new spiritual life infused 
into his whole being. This is what the Spirit's work alone would 
do for him. 'But suppose that the work of grace stopped here, 
left him just at that point, what would be his state? What would 
be his position ? and what would be, consequently, his experi- 
ence? Certainly very much improved; infinitely superior to 
what it had been. But his relation with God would be that only 
that of a servant. Not that of a slave., but of a servant^ as dis- 
tinguished from a sow.* And of course his experience would be 
accordingly. We really have no such thing under the scheme 
of grace; and exactly such a case never has existed in the his- 
tory of man. But we can imagine something of what that expe- 
rience would be. We can see the Prodigal in that case, putting 
on a new and different countenance, exercising new activities, 
led by new tastes, prompted by new motives, and choosing a new 
occupation, and, in a word, living a new and better life. But 
still, he remains in a state of strange isolation and self-depend- 
ence, and must actually look to his own efforts, his own work., 
under God, for the supply of his wants and his maintenance. In 
other words, exalted and blessed as his experience now is, com- 
pared with what it formerly was, it is yet but that of a servant. 
And how incomparably inferior this is to what the Prodigal 
actually experienced, when, by the grace of God, through the 
work of the Son and of the Spirit he was lifted up out of his 
moral wretchedness and degradation, from the midst of the filthy 
swine-herds, and borne directly back to his father, who, perceiv- 
ing him while he was yet a great way off, instantly recognised 
him as his son, felt his compassion move for him, ran out to meet 
him, welcomed him home with a parental kiss and fond embrace 
and at once adopted him into his family as his own son, that 

*Yov a clear presentation of the distinction between a servant and a 
son under the moral government of God, see Thornwell's Collected 
Writings, Vol. I., pp. 258, 259. 



The Grace of Adoption. 


was dead and is now alive again, and that was lost and is found! 
The Prodigal, out of an overwhelming sense of his sinfulness and 
unworthiness, may be ready to ask that he be given — and that as 
a special grace — only a hired servant's place. But no : this is 
not the place provided for him, this is not the place that divine 
grace assigns him, and this is not the place that his father will 
permit hira to occupy. " Thou art no more a servant, but a 
son," is the purport of the father's reply. A son, and nothing 
less than a son, he must be; with the family badge upon his 
hand, a seat at his father's table, a full admittance to all the 
privileges and benefits of his father's home, and a full interest 
in and title to his father's rich estate. "If children, then heirs ; 
heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ." 

The sweet and precious comfort and the "joy unspeakable and 
full of glory" flowing from all this, is ours by the grace of God. 
In adopting us as his sons, God the Father steps out and enters 
into a personal relation with us too; and coniprehending in it 
the work of his only begotten Son, whom, in infinite love, he 
gave to redeem us; and the work of his Spirit, whom he sent 
forth to apply salvation to us; he crowns it all by his own inesti- 
mable and superabounding grace in becoming our Father, And 
this most exalted and blessed relationship into which we are thus 
introduced, throws its benign light back upon, and determines the 
character of, all the other relationships and the experience of the 
Christian life. In its light, Christ stands to us not simply as 
our legal representative and sponsor, but our own dear Elder 
Brother, "in whom it hath pleased the Father that all fulness 
should dwell," and who is to us "the chiefest among ten thou- 
sand," and "altogether lovely." And the Holy Spirit becomes, 
not merely the 'principle of life within us, operating unseen and 
unrecognised in our hearts, but himself "the Spirit of adoption," 
ever breathing forth from our breasts the filial cry of "Abba, 
Father;" and himself, too, the seal of our adoption and the ear- 
nest of our inheritance, bearing his personal witness with our 
spirits that we are the children of God. Other Christians, too, 
no matter what their earthly position or relationships be, become 
bound to us by the sacred and tender ties of brotherhood, we and 



The Four Apocalyptic Beasts; 


they being all the children of one common family. Life's work- 
with us also becomes, not so much duties., which belong more to 
the relation of a servant, but privileges., which we exercise and 
enjoy as expressions of our own love, and in response to our 
Father's wondrous love. And the life which we live upon this 
elevated plane of Adoption, Avhere we are lifted above all servile 
fear and anxious care, and where the ineffable love of God pours 
down its full flood of heavenly light upon us, is a veritable walk- 
ing in love: its very atmosphere is love, its every motive love, 
and all its works are done in love. "God is love, and he that 
dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him." 

Such is the privilege, and such ought to be the experience, of 
every sinner who accepts the Lord's gracious promise: " I will 
receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my 
sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty." T. H. Law. 

'^i'lVi'Mi ■'Kh'yi^Pv'- 



Nothing '\i\ the Sacred Scriptures is more remarkable than 
their profound and beautiful symbolism. Throughout the entire 
period of revelation, great moral and spiritual truths are most 
impressively set forth by the use of natural and material things; 
and whatever natural and material thing is used to convey moral 
and spiritual truths is appropriately termed a symbol. It is 
greatly to b6 regretted that a subject so fruitful and instructive 
as that of scriptural symbolism has not received more careful 
study at the hands of biblical students. 

Many of-these symbols are found in every period of revelation, 
and much of our knowledge of divine truth must depend upon 
their proper interpretation. 

The revelations to Daniel in the Old, and the revelations to 
John in the New Testament, are almost entirely made through 


Or^ The Cherubic Symbol. 


the medium of symbolical representations; and until we have the 
key to these symbols, large portions of the word of God must 
remain sealed. ^ - 

The beasts, the living creatures, the candlesticks, the stars, 
the elders, the trumpets, the vials, the horns, are the impressive 
objects used by the Holy Ghost to represent the great spiritual 
truths of the heavenly kingdom. Some of the symbols of Scrip- 
ture are found in many portions of the word ; many of them, 
certainly, are found in every dispensation of the covenant 
of redemption. 

Everywhere bread and water are used as symbols of gospel 
grace. Ho, every one that thirsteth: if any man thirst, let him 
come unto me, and drink; I am the Bread of Life. Every- 
where animal sacrifices are typical of the sacrifice of Christ Jesus, 
the spotless Lamb of God. Christ, our Passover, sacrificed for us. 

The central object to whom all the prophets gave witness, and 
testimony to whom is the spirit of the entire Scriptures, is the 
Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Bread of God, the Lamb, the 
Vine, the Corner-stone, the true Manna, the Lion of the tribe of 
Judah. Nearly all of the symbols of Scripture are connected 
directly with the Lord Jesus Christ, the God-man Mediator, and 
with his redemptive work. 

After the vision of the seven golden candlesticks and the seven 
stars, and the interpretation thereof, contained in the first three 
chapters of the Revelation, John beheld a door opened in heaven, 
and heard a voice saying, Come up hither, and I will shew thee 
things which must be hereafter. 

The chief figure of the vision was seated upon the heavenly 
throne, and to look upon was like a jasper and a sardine stone; 
the emerald rainbow was round about the throne, and the golden 
crowned elders, clothed in white, sat upon the four and twenty 
seats; He who sat upon the throne was the Lord Jesus, who 
created all things, and for whose pleasure they are and were 
created. In the midst of the throne and round about the throne 
were four living creatures ; for the Greek word Cwa is here most 
incorrectly and improperly translated ^^ beasts;" and the first 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 10. 





The Four Apocatyptic Beasts ; 


living creature was like a lion, and the second like a calf, and the 
third a man, and the fburth a flying eagle, ;>»i,vl- 

The position of this living creature is most significant: it is 
in] mediately connected with the mediatorial throne upon which 
the Lord Jesus Christ, as Lamb of God, is seated. And this 
gives one clue to the interpretation of the symbol; viz., whatever 
may be the solution of the figure, it must be found in connexion 
with the redemptive work of the Son of Man, the Seed of the 
Woman, the King upon the throne. 

If, upon examination of the Avord of God, it shall be found 
that in every instance where this symbol occurs, it is always 
found in connexion with the Lord Jesus, then we are certain 
thai no explanation which disconnects the symbol from the work 
of Christ can be true. Omitting at this time any argument to 
identify the living creature of John with the Cherubim of 
Ezekiel — for this identity will appear as we proceed — the first 
mention of this symbol is found in Gen. iii. 24: God placed at 
•the east of the garden of Eden cherubims, and a flaming sword 
'which turned every way, to keep the way of the Tree of Life. 
' The Tree of Life in Eden, of which man was commanded to 
eat, was the symbol of the divine food which God prepared and 
gave to sustain that life which he breathed into man. It was 
thus a symbol of blessedness — of man's truest, highest, and most 
exalted blessedness. The cherubim are in immediate proximity 
to this Tree of Life; the Messianic Promise of the seed of the 
Woman — the Son of God incarnate — has been made; the altar 
of sacrifice, stained with the blood of those animals whose skins 
now covered the shame of our first parents, stands in view, and 
the fourfold composite form of creaturehood is thus connected 
with the Trqe of Life, the altar of sacrifice, the blood of Atone- 
ment, the promise of a Saviour who should be the Seed of the 
Woman. Any careful examination of this portion of Scripture 
must connect the cherubic symbol with the redemptive work of 
the promised Saviour, the Seed of the Woman. That Tree of 
Life is to be protected by the flaming sword, until it reappears in 
paradise regained — when the redeemed shall eat of it, as it bears 
its twelve manner of fruits, yielding her fruit every month, and 


Or, The Cherubic Symbol. 


whose leaves shall be for the healing of the nations. And in 
sight of that Tree of Life, restored to paradise by the blood of 
the Lamb, is the fourfold form of creaturehood, the four living 
creatures of the Revelation of Jesus Christ to his servant John 
on Patmos. ,,■ .\ ,. ■■ ;;•: ■^-.-i. -'^x-y-^ '■'■■ '.,;:s'''- v,":' 

From the fall in Eden to the exode from Egypt, a period of 
about twenty-five hundred years, there is no record in the Scrip- 
tures of any appearance of this symbol. 

But when the tabernacle of testimony was erected in the 
wilderness, and when the Lord Jesus Christ took up his abode in 
that Tabernacle in the midst of his redeemed people, the Cheru- 
bim or the living creatures reappear in immediate connexion with 
the Mercy Cover, the Blood, and the Shekinah presence of God. ■ 

Among the divine directions for building the tabernacle is this: 
"And thou shalt make two Cherubims of gold, of beaten work 
shalt thou make them, in the two ends of the mercy cover; and 
the Cherubims shall stretch forth their wings on high, covering 
the mercy cover with their wings, and their faces shall look one 
to another, toward the mercy cover shall the faces of the Cherubim 
be. And there I will meet with thee, and I will commune "with 
thee from above the mercy cover from between the two Cherubim 
which are upon the ark of the testimony." 

Here the Cherubim are in immediate connexion with the Ark 
of the Covenant, the blood-sprinkled mercy cover, the Shekinah 
presence of God; and all of this within the Most Holy place. 
From Moses to Solomon, a period of about five hundred years, 
the Cherubim held this position in the tabernacle of testimony; 
and from Solomon to Nebuchadnezzar, a period of over four 
hundred years, this symbol occupied the same relative position 
in the temple. 

The Epistle to the Hebrews, which is an inspired exposition of 
the symbolism of the Levitical dispensation as related to the 
priestly work of Jesus the Son of God, calls attention to all of 
these symbols, and makes special mention of the Cherubim by 
name, saying that they were within the most holy place. 

Ezekiel, the prophet of God to the children of Israel, exile of 
the captivity^ on the banks of the river Chebar, two hundred 




The Four Apocalyptic Beasts; 


miles above lordly Babylon, saw through the opened heavens 
visions of God, and lo, the Cherubic Symbol in wondrous four- 
fold form appeared. .' ^ :" > 

Again, when he sat in his house with the elders of Judah be- 
fore him, the hand of the Lord was upon him, and he saw this 
same majestic symbol, the appearance of the likeness of the glory 
of God; this time, however, not on the river Chebar, but in the 
holy city Jerusalem, and preparing to depart from the house of 
the Lord; and the prophet knew that this was the Cherubim, for 
he expressly says: "I knew that they were the Cherubim." 
Whatever of hope, mercy, or comfort was connected, with the 
Cherubic Symbol goes with the covenanted people of God from 
Jerusalem to their captive home in Babylon ; and doubtless the 
heart of the prophet of God was cheered and strengthened by this 
imposing vision of the glory of God. 

Nearly seven hundred years after this, John, from another 
exile at Patmos, saw in the midst of the heavenly throne and in 
the midst of the elders a slain Lamb with seven horns and seven 
eyes, and there in the midst of the throne and elders were the 
four living creatures, the Cherubim that Ezekiel saw on the 
banks of the Chebar. Thus it is established, that, during the 
entire period of revelation, under every dispensation of the Cove- 
nant of Redemption, the Cherubim, or the living creatures, are 
never found except in immediate connexion with the redemptive 
work of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Another most significant and important fact, as related to the 
exposition of this Symbol is found in the song which the four 
living creatures sing before the throne: with the elders, they fall 
before the throne, saying to the Lamb, Thou art worthy to take 
the book, and to open the seals thereof, for thou wast slain and 
hast redeemed us to God by thy blood; and then the angels take 
up the song of thanksgiving to the worthy Lamb ; and then every 
creature which was in heaven and on the earth and under the 
earth ascribed blessing and honor and glory and power to Him 
that sitteth upon the throne and to the Lamb forever. 

Whatever interpretation may be given to the Oherubim^ this 
much is certain, they themselves say that they have been re- 


Or, The Cherubic /Symbol 


deemed by the Lamb. The symbol may have other significa- 
tions; but it must signify Redeviption : "Thou hast redeemed us 
to God by thy blood." 

In the Eden, then, that was lost, the Cherubim are found near 
the altar of sacrifice and the Promised Seed; in the wilderness 
and in the promised land, they are seen over the mercy cover, 
and near the atoning blood; in time of the captivity, they go 
with the redeemed people, and are seen in vision with all the 
symbols of salvation on the banks of the river Chebar; and in 
the paradise regained, the new heavens and the new earth, they 
are in immediate connexion with the slain Lamb, and they sing, 
"Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood." 

We are thus prepared from this induction of Scripture facts to 
take another step, and say that the Cherubim represent the re- 
deemed creation and symbolise the deliverance of the creature — 
all creaturehood, KTcaig — to the favor and enjoyment of God ; not 
merely redeemed man, but the redeemed creature — the creature 
that now waiteth in pain the hour of joyful deliverance from the 
bondage of corruption. The symbol represents complete creature- 
hood, the totality of animal life, delivered by the second Adam, 
the Son of Man, the Head of the creation, from the curse and 
death which entered into and passed upon the whole creation by 
the sin of him who was the first Head, and who was the figure — 
the TVTTog — of Him who was to come. 

As the symbol becomes fully developed and clearly defined, 
there are plainly seen four faces — the man, the lion^ the calf^ the 
eagle — the representative types of the animal world ; man the 
representative of moral intelligence, the lion of wild animals, the 
calf of domestic animals, the eagle of all fowls that fly, and fish 
that swim ; for in the Mosaic account of creation, the eagle was 
the product of the water: "God said. Let the waters bring forth 
abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may 
fly above the earth." 

The Ch&tnihira of the Old and the four living creatures of the 
New Testament represent the totality of creaturehood ; and the 
song they sing before the slain Lamb — " Thou hast redeemed us 
to God by thy blood" — leads to the conclusion that they sym- 


The Tour Apocalyptio Beaks; 


bolise the redemption and restoration of the creation to the favor 
and fellowship of God. ' '• 

But here the objection will at once be raised : this teaches the 
immortality of the brute creation; and "do you mean to assert 
that Christ died in any sense to save the world of irrational 
animals?" We reply: ihQ immortality of the brute creation is 
not taught in the sense of any resurrection or restoration of the 
generations of dead animals to life; nor does Christ die in any 
sense to take away their persojial guilt, for they can have no 
guilt in any moral sense; but it is asserted that Christ's death 
does remove the curse not only from man, but also from the 
entire creation, upon which that curse passed from the sinning 
head, the first Adam. 

The work of Christ has a far wider scope than man's redemp- 
tion ; that work overflows the channel of manhood, and reaches 
to the farthest limits of creation, and blesses the whole boundless 
universe; for in the dispensation of the fulness of times he will 
gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in 
heaven and which are on earth, even in him. He is the first- 
born of every creature; for by him were all things created that 
are in heaven and that are in earth, whether visible or invisible, 
whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all 
things were created by him and for him. 

When we look carefully at the creation, we find man with a 
material body, linking him to the material world around him; 
he had also animal life, linking him to the animal world; and a 
God-given and God-like life, linking him to his Maker and his 
God. When the second Adam came, of whom the first was a 
figure — TVTToq — he too had a material body, animal life, and a hu- 
man soul, and all these united indissolubly to \\\9, eternal Godhead. 

It is evident, therefore, that the inorganic creation and all the 
forms of animate existence are bound up in the destiny of Him 
who is creation's Lord and Head; and if that Head shall suifer, 
all the members must suffer with Him. Hence, when he sinned 
against God, by eating of the forbidden tree, the curse and the 
death falling upon him, the offending head, passed over upon all 
the manifold forms of the creation : "Cursed is the ground for 


Or, The Cherubic Symbol. 


thy sake; thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; 
dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return;" and thus the 
curse and the woe passed upon all forms of life, even from the 
head to the very earth upon which Adam walks; and with this . 
statement all the facts of human history and the teachings of 
God's word agree; and the imagination of the poet expresses a 
sad and solemn fact, when he says: 

"Earth felt the wound, and Nature from her seat, 
Sighinji; through all her works, gave signs of woe 
That all was lost." 

Christ, the second Adam, comes not merely to save man, but 
to retrieve the ruin of the fall, to restore the lost creation. He 
is the Lord from heaven, and is indeed a quickening Spirit, who 
shall roll away the curse from the ktIglv — the created thing — and 
make all things new. "In him creation and the Creator meet 
in reality and not in semblance." "On the very apex of the 
finished pyramid of being, he sits Son of Man and Son of Gotl, 
the adorable monarch of all." 

Christ as Son of Man, in whom the headship over creation is 
to be regained, must reach forth his healing hand and touch and 
restore and renew every form and part of that sin-cursed creation, 
which now groaneth and travaileth in pain, waiting for the re- 
demption and resurrection of the bodies of the sons of God, when 
the Lord himself shall appear in glory, and make all things new. 

Jlaaa fj KTiaig — every creature — is waiting in earnest expectation 
the hour when the children of God shall be openly manifested to 
the universe as such ; at which time the creature shall be delivered 
from the bondage of corruption into that glorious liberty which 
the children of God shall enjoy at the appearing of Him who is 
creation's Lord and Head and Restorer. 

The heavens and earth which now are, by the word and power 
of God are kept in store unto the day when the Lord will come, 
when they shall be dissolved, and be purified with fire; when the 
earth, its works, and elements shall be burned up, but not anni- 
hilated; and when the new heavens and earth shall appear in 
immortal beauty and glory, according to the promise, in which 
the four and twenty elders and the four living creatures shall 


J ■ 


The Four Apocalyptic Beasts; 


dwell eternally with the slain but ever-living Lamb. Behold, I 
make all things new. " ' . 

"Come, for creation groans, 
Impatient of thy stay; 
Worn out with these long years of illy 
These ages of delay. 

"Come, and make all things new. 

Build up this ruined earth ; 
. Restore our faded paradise — 

Creation's second birth. 

"Come, and begin thy reign 

Of everlasting peace ; 
Come, take the kingdom to thyself, 

Great King of Righteousness ^ " ' ' 

The typical symbol of the restored creation — the CheruUm of 
Eden^ of the Tabernacle^ of the Temple^ of the river Chebar, re- 
appear as the four living creatures in the new heavens and earthy 
and join in the anthem of praise to Him who hath redeemed them 
to God by his own precious blood. 

God has assured us in his word that he will not leave the 
present material and animate creation, which before sin entered 
•he himself pronounced very good, under the blight of sin, the 
bondage of corruption, and the power of the devil; that blight 
shall be removed, that bondage shall be broken, that power shall 
be destroyed by Him who is the Restorer, the Resurrection, and 
the Risen Lord. 

No spot in all this wide universe has ever been hallowed as has 
this earth upon Avhich we live — hallowed by the human birth and 
life, the toils and tears, the sufferings and sacrifice, the burial and 
resurrection, of the Son of God. Honored thus above all other 
worlds, God will not leave it under its present burden and bondage 
of corruption, but will still more highly honor and glorify it at 
the appearing of the Son of Man, when Christ and his redeemed 
people as kings and priests unto God shall reign upon the earth. 

The composite Cherubic form, the man, the ox, the calf, the 
eagle, represents then the Kriaig — the creature- — every creature; 
and symbolises the redeemed creation, and its restoration to the 
favor and fellowship of God. 



Ovy The Cherubic Symbol. 


The four living creatures, or the Cherubim, is also V^e symbol 
of God's dwelling place in the midst of this redeemed creation. 

The wise king of Israel, Solomon, asked, ''Will God indeed 
dwell on the earth?" and the Cherubim is the symbolic answer: 
Yes, God will indeed dwell on the earth, with him that is of an 
humble and contrite heart, in the midst of his blood-bought people, 
in the mi^lst of his redeemed creation. In very deed, God has 
dwelt on the earth ; he now dwells on the earth ; he will dwell 
on the new earthy in the midst of the four and twenty elders and 
the four living creatures. " * 

For nearly a thousand years, in the Tabernacle and in the 
Temple, within the most holy place, God had his dwelling, over 
the mercy cover, between the outstretched wings of the Cherubim ; 
here was the manifested presence of God, the Shekinah glory; 
and from this, as his dwelling place, Jehovah met and communed 
with the high priest of his people. Ezekiel saw the same God 
in the same place, between the Cherubim, on the banks of the 
river Chebar; and John, in his exile at Patmos, saw through the 
opened heavens the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus, in the midst 
of the throne and the four and twenty elders and the /our living 
creatures. The second point of the symbol, then, is plain — it is 
God's dwelling in the midst of his redeemed creation. . i. r s 

As the Infinite Spirit, the Fountain of Light and Life, the 
Author of all existence, God is equally present in every part of 
his boundless universe; so that if we ascend up to heaven, he is 
there; if we make our bed in hell, he is there; if we take the 
wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, 
even there shall his hand lead us and his right hand hold us; the 
darkness and the light are both alike to hira. 

'But while he is thus omnipresent, he manifests his gracious 
and loving presence in a special and preeminent sense in the 
midst of his redeemed creation: as his dwelling place was in the 
midst of Israel of old, so now it is and will be in the midst of his 
redeemed ones, to whom he will reveal the infinite fulness of his 
glory as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord; and God, 
who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined 
in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 11. 




The Four Apocalyptie Beasts; 


God in the face of Jesus Christ. In Jesus Christ, God dwells in 
mortal flesh; and the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth eter- 
nity, whose name is Holy, saith, I dwell also with him that is of a 
contrite and humble spirit. From the Cherubim of Eden to the 
Cherubim of the Paradise restored in the Revelation, this symbol 
sets before us, for perpetual memorial, the precious truth, that 
God dwells in the midst of his redeemed ones here, and will dwell 
in his redeemed creation throughout the endless ages ; it is not 
merely a redeemed creation, but this as the dwelling place of the 
Infinite God — God and man dwelling together in holy fellowship 
in the new heavens and the new earth. Here we reach a point 
beyond which the imagination of man in its wildest flights cannot 
possibly reach ; at which the deepest and most intense longings 
of the human soul rest in peaceful and profound satisftiction. 
Here all heathen mythologies, all pagan sacrifices, all philosophi- 
cal inquiries, all poetic musings, all prophetic dreams, all Chris- 
tian desires terminate — to dwell with God and he with us forever 
and forevermore. The life of the Infinite and the finite coming: 
together in one dwelling-place in the restored creation. 

F'How fearful and dreary the ut»belief of atheism — to dwell in a 
Fatherless, Godless universe; to see no Father's face, to hear no 
Father's voice, to feel no Father's hand; to be left thus forever, 
with nothing higher than the amid the infinities of time 
and space. How sublime and thrilling the faith of the Christian — 
to see God, to know God, to be with and like to God, to dwell 
with him, and to have poured into the human soul the fulness of 
the blessedness of the Godhead. 

God created this earth as the dweUing-place of man, where he 
would meet with him and reveal to his creature and servant all 
the plenitude, of his holiness, goodness, and love; nor shall man's 
sin, and the consequent curse upon the creation, prevent the 
joyful and blessed consummation. 

A second Adam, the Lord from heaven, of whom the first 
Adam was a, figure, shall come down to earth, and dwell in human 
form with men, and die, and rise again, and ascend on high, and 
sit on the throne; and from thence will come back to earth, and 
make all things new, and shine himself in this renewed creation 



Or, The Cherubic Symbol. 


as his eternal home. lie dwelleth in the midst of the four living 
creatures; and his redeemed ones shall hunger no more, neither 
thirst any more, neither vshall the sun light on them, nor any 
heat, for the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed 
them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters, and 
God shall wipe away all tears fr*om their eyes. ":■''>; j^l; ivKiti:- 51*1;? 

This, we believe, is the second truth set forth in this symbol, 
viz., God's dwelling in the midst of the redeemed creation. **^ ''^'^^ 

To say that the Cherubim is a symbol of redeemed men is in- 
sufficient — it is more than man^ it is the total of ereaturehood. 
Nor is this all, for the Cherubim is always connected with God; 
in no instance are the living creatures found apart from God; 
the interpretation of the symbol must therefore make full account 
of this fact; and what more apparent than that this inseparable 
connexion teaches the inseparable connexion between God and 
his new creation ? The symbol cannot be, properly interpreted, 
separated from its connexions. This intimate and invariable con- 
nexion of the Cherubim with God is an essential element in the 
exposition. To say that the living creatures symbolise the re- 
deemed creation is to stop short of the full truth ; we must add 
that the symbol teaches that this redeemed creation is God's 
eternal-dwelling place. > < > > *> - ^ ^ ■-'• 

A third truth is taught, and this, we believe, exhausts the 
symbol, viz.: the Cherubim is a symbol of the glory of God. 
shrined in arid shining out from his dwelling-place in the re^ 
stored creation. 

Ezekiel says expressly concerning the Cherubim : '•''This was 
the appearance of the likeness of the glory of God.'' 

And a careful induction of Scripture will show that the glory 
of God is always connected with the symbol, and the symbol is 
never separated from that glory. The glory of God is so inti- 
mately and inseparably connected with this symbol, that no inter- 
pretation can be correct that fails to notice the glory : this is 
the appearance of the likeness of the glory of God. The re- 
deemed creation, as the dwelling-place of God, is the most glorious 
manifestation of God to the universe. 

The chief end of all things, of creation, providence, and re- 



The Four Apocalyptic Beasts; 


demption, is to show forth the glory of God : of him, and through 
him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory forever. 

Beautiful and glorious beyond description was this world, with 
its teeming forms of life, as it came into being, fresh from its 
Maker's hand; very good unto its glorious end, as manifesting 
the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, its new light flashing 
over it, its new life pulsating wildly through it, clothed with ver- 
dure, and filled with all lovely forms of sentient and animal life. 

God created the earth and man upon it; and here he dwelt 
with man in holy and blessed fellowship. Here he manifested to 
man, his creature and his son, the fulness of his goodness, holi- 
ness, and love. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the 
firmament showeth his handiwork. This earth hung upon nothing, 
with its attendant moon revolving round the sun; the sun and 
moon and stars hung in the heavens for days and weeks and 
months and years, and for signs and seasons; the ocean bound in 
his bed by rock-ribbed shores and sandy beach; the expanse 
dividing the waters above from those beneath; the earth teeming 
with all forms of life, trees and fruits and flowers; countless races 
of animals springing into being at the almighty word; and man, 
the last and highest in the very image of God himself the head 
and lord of all, the link between the Creator and his creation. 
From this creation, his dwelling-place with man, the glory of 
God streamed forth to and upon the universe. 

But the glory of God, as it dwells in and shines forth from the 
new creation shall as far exceed this as the light of the noonday 
sun exceeds the light of the twinkling far-off" star. By just so 
much as the second Adam surpasses the first in the dignity of 
his person and the divinity of his being, shall the new creation, 
the new heavens and earth, the Spiritual Temple of living souls, 
surpass the first creation in splendid magnificence and glory. 

In that day of the Lord, to which all days are looking forward 
and hasting; when the sons of God shall be manifested; when 
the creature shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption; 
when the New Jerusalem shall come down out of heaven ; when 
the Lamb shall dwell in the midst of his blood-bought people, 
leading them in the green pastures and beside the still waters, 



Or, The Oheruhic Symbol. 


i : 

wiping all tears from all faces ; when there shall be no night, and 
no death and no parting forever; then from that new creation 
shall the glory of God pour forth in richer and more copious 
streams, filling and flooding the universe with light and beauty 
and blessedness. That the glory of God shrined in and issuing 
from his dwelling place in the redeemed creation is an essential 
element in the Cherubic symbol is evident from the fact, that the 
Spirit-taught and Spirit-rapt prophet at Chebar and apostle at 
Patmos gather up all the precious and costly and beautifui 
things of earth to give us some idea of the transcendent splendor 
of that glory. 

There are wheels and eyes, clouds and infolding fire, jasper and 
sardine stones, and crystal sea, and arching rainbow, and crowns 
of gold, a-nd tree of life, and light above the brightness of the 
sun, and redeemed creaturehood and glorified humanity and 
shrined in the midst of all is the Lamb slain from the foundation 
of the world. Angels, principalities, and powers in the heavenly 
realm gaze with wonder and admiration upon the redeemed crea* 
tion ; and with adoring love and delight upon Him who is Re- 
deemer and Lord and Head of all and over all, Gt)d blessed for- 
ever more; throughout the limitless bounds of the universe there 
is no such manifestation of the life and loveliness of God. 

The four living creatures sing the new song : " Thou wast slain, 
and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, and hast made us 
unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on earth." 

The angels, the number of whom was ten thousand times ten 
thousand and thousands of thousands, say with loud voice, 
*' Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches 
and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing." 

And then every creature in heaven, on earth, and under the 
earth, and such as are in the sea, say : "Blessing and honor and 
glory and power be unto Him that sitteth Mpon the throne, and 
unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the four living crea- 
tures say Amen." 

The results reached may be thus briefly summed up: (a) The 
identity of the Cherubic symbol in all the periods of revelation, 
from the Cherubim of Eden to the four living creatures of the 



The Dancing Question. 


Apocalypse; [h) The Cherubim represents not man only, but the 
creation ; and symbolises the redemption not of man only, but of 
the creation ; [c] This redeemed creation as the dwelling-place of 
the risen and glorified Son of Man; {d) The glory of God as 
shrined in and flowing out from this redeemed creation. 

Or, stated in another form: The Cherubim is a symbol — 1st. 
Of the redeemed creation ; 2d. Of this redeemed creation as God's 
dwelling-place; 3d. Of this dwelling-place as the seat of God's 
greatest glory. . .h 

, Or, stated in one sentence: It is Christ, from his dwelling- 
place in his new and redeemed creation, manifesting to the uni- 
verse the glory of God. 

In this impressive symbol, God has revealed to believers, in 
every dispensation of the covenant of grace, the truth, that for 
man, the earth, and creature there was redemption ; that God 
himself would dwell with his redeemed; and that here his glory 
would be most signally manifested; and these three truths are 
necessary to the full exposition of the symbol. 

A. W. PiTZER. 



Modern society, while condemning sternly man3r things which 
the ancients tolerated or even applauded, countenances some things 
which they utterly rejected. It is very pleasant and natural for 
us quietly to assume that ours is the advanced and civilised age. 
But when men reason thus, "A given usage cannot be improper 
because Christian opinion and society allow it among us," they 
reason in a circle. If the propriety of the usage is in question, 
then there are two hypotheses to be examined, of which one is, 
"Ours is a pure state, and ^therefore what we tolerate must be 
pure;" but the other is, " This tolerated usage being impure, it 
proves our state corrupt." Now the decision between the two 




The Dancing Question. 


hypotheses cannot be made by a self-sufl5eient assumption. 
Oriental, Greek, and Papal Christianity justifies many things 
which we think excessive corruptions, by just such an assump- 
tion ; it is no more valid in our case than in theirs. Indeed, the 
very tendency to such self-sufficiency is, according to the Bible, 
one of the strongest symptoms of corruption. The matter must 
be settled by a fair appeal to Bible-morals. These remarks are 
made because many relaxed Christians now virtually settle the 
dancing question by this short and easy sophism. Th^y see nu- 
merous persons who claim Christian character tolerate or advo- 
cate dancing. They assume that all these are a very proper kind of 
Christians. Thus they ''jump to the conclusion" that in spite 
of the opinions of the "old fogies" ' dancing must be a very proper 
thing. Now, in opposition, no charge is here made as to the 
character of our fashionable Christianity, but this obvious thesis 
is asserted, that should the dancing usages of fashionable Chris- 
tian society be found in fact corrupt, then their easy tolerance 
among us is a sign, not of their innocence, but of a fearful and 
unsuspected corruption of our state. 

Circumstances now give this matter a peculiar importance. 
The discussion involves not only the wrong or right of dancing, 
but many other vital questions, such as the extent of Church 
power, the nature of the Church's didactic function. Christian 
liberty, with its "metes and bounds," the obligation of Christian 
charity to avoid causeless offence, and the social morality proper 
for God's people. These all-important questions need exposition 
and reassertion from time to time. It is evident that such a need 
now exists. 

It is expressly admitted in the outset that there are acts which 
are sinful, and yet are not such offences as are properly reached by 
church discipline. (Book of Discipline, Ch. I., §5.) Hence the 
proof that dancing is sinful would not suffice to demonstrate that 
it is disciplinable, and each proposition requires a separate dis- 

On the question whether dancing is an innocent recreation for 
Christians, it must be remarked that the act must be considered 
in the concrete, with its usual circumstances, adjuncts, and con- 




The Dancing Question. 

. [April, 

sequences. Practically, these determine the question of mornl 
propriety. No one affirms that there is »in per se merely in the 
rhythmical motion of human members to music. Just as some kill- 
ing is the sin of murder and some is not, some beating is the sin 
of assault and battery and some is not, so the attendant circum- 
stances give the moral character to this form of motion. It is 
proposed first to state the judgment of past ages. The classic 
heathens of antiquity ever regarded dancing for amusement, even 
of a male solvs, or of males with males, as contemptible in a free- 
born adult, and inconsistent with manly dignity and self-respect. 
In a religious ceremonial, the afflatus of the divinity was sup- 
posed to authorise this extravagance of motion and make it ex- 
cusable at least, if not compatible with a freeman's dignity. The 
dancing of females with males for social amusement would have 
been regarded as an act so inconsistent with decency that an 
instance can scarcely be heard of in reputable society. Greek 
and Roman gentlemen, whose amusements in their si/mposia and 
fcena^ (with no lady present) were certainly far from strict, found 
much interest in the evolutions and pantomimes of professional 
dancers, male and female. But the actors were usually slaves, 
and the profession was regarded as woi-se than menial. Such is 
a fair digest of the testimony of antiquity. The earliest witness 
cited is that of Herodotus, the "Father of History." In Book 
VI., 139, he relates that Kleisthenes, the chief magistrate of 
Sicyon, having a marriageable daughter, collected many of the 
chief men of Grreece as her suitors. Among these the favored 
suitor was Hippocleides, son of Tisandros, from Athens. At a 
male entertainment, after the drinking had proceeded far, this 
young man, calling on the auletes to play for him, danced first 
some Laconian and then some Attic figures. Herodotus pro- 
ceeds: "Kleisthenes, while he was dancing these, though loathing 
the thought of having Hippocleides as his son-in-law, by reason 
of his dancing and indecency, still constrained himself, not wish- 
ing to break out on him. But when he saw him gesturing with 
his legs he was no longer able to hold in, but said: "Well, son 
of Tisandros, thou hast danced away thy bride." The daughter 
was given to another. 



The t)ancing Question. 


The eminent and accurate Greek scholar, Becker, in his Chari- 
cles, says (p. 103): "Though the art of dancing was so highly 
prized, though it served to give Sclat to the festivals and shows, 
and though the guests of the symposia delighted to see the feats 
of a skilful artist; still, in private life it was little practised, and 
tiiere seeras to have arisen almost a prejudice against it. . . 
it 8eeras to have been considered incompatible with the dignity of 
a man. . . . Indeed, it was usually looked upon as a pre- 
liminary symptom of intoxication." <„ 

As to the opinion of the Romans, Dr. Wm. Smith (Dictionary 
of Greek and Roman Antiquities, p. 852), concludes thus: 
"Dancing, however, was not performed by any Roman citizens 
except in connexion with religion ; and it is only in reference to 
such dancing that we are to understand the statements that the 
ancient Romans did not consider d ' 'g disgraceful, aftid that 
not only freemen, but the sons of senators and noble matrons 
practised it. In the later times of the republic we know that it 
was considered highly disgraceful for a freeman to dance; Cicero 
reproaches Cato for calling Mursena a 'dancer.'" Dr. Smith 
then quotes a part of the famous passage in the Oratio pro Mu- 
rcena^ c. 6: ''Saltatorem appellat L. Muraenam Cato. Maledic- 
tum est, si vere objicitur, vehementis accusatoris ; sin falso, maledici 
conviciatoris .... Non debes .... temere consulem populi 
Romani saltatorem vocare; sed conspicere quibus praeterea vitiis 
affectum esse necesse sit eum, cui vere istud objici possit. Nemo 
fere saltat sobrius, nisi forte insanit, neque in solitudine, neque 
in convivio moderato," etc. " Tu mihi arripis id^ quod necesse 
est omnium vitiorum esse extremum.'' The Oratio in Pisonem, 
c. 10, 22, may be compared. Forcellini and Facciolati, in their 
Latin Thesaurus, define thus: Saltator : mollis artifex et pro- 
hrosus. To one who knows antiquity this statement will appear 
perfectly moderate and reasonable : that had the daughter, not 
only of a rigid Cato, but of a flexible Cicero or Julius, done pre- 
cisely the thing which is currently done by Christian females at 
modern dancing parties, Roman opinion would have such a sense 
of the disgrace that on the following morning the father would 
have consulted the leading parents of his "Gens," and, with their 

VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 12. 




The Dancing Question. 


full moral support, would have exerted his autocratic domestic 
authority to consign the disgrace of his house to an imprison- 
ment, which she would have not a little reason to submit to 
thankfully, as the alternative of a capital penalty. Roman opinion 
was not an infallible ethical standard ? No. But it gives us the 
estimate of one civilised age. And if Roman morals were in 
many points deplorably relaxed, and yet judged this amusement 
thus, there is yet room for the question, whether a sounder 
standard of morals might not condemn it even more clearly. 

But let us now look at the verdict of Christian antiquity. 
Chrysostom (court preacher at Byzantium), expounding the his- 
tory of Herodias's daughter in Matthew, says : "Where dancing 
is, there is the devil. For God did not give us our feet for this 
end, that we might demean ourselves indecently ; but that we 
might walk decently, not prance like a parcel of camels ; but that 
we may exult with the angels. If even the body is disgraced, 
which perpetrates this indecency, much more the soul. . . . 
Dancing is the devil's invention." 

The councils of the early Church frequently condemned the 
practice. The fifty-third Canon of the Synod of Laodicea enacts, 
"Christians when coming to weddings must not caper or dance; 
but dine or sup decently as becomes Christian people." The same 
Synod forbids clergymen when attending marriages even to wit- 
ness dancing exhibitions. The Synod of Agatho says (A. D. 450); 
"Dancings to songs or music of an amatory or loose character are 
absolutely inhibited to all Christians." So enacts the council of 
Illerda, A. D. 515. The. eighth universal council of the Church 
(in Trullo) (A. D. 692)^nacts: "We also forbid and expel all 
public dances of women, as producing much injury and ruin." 

We now hasten to modern Christian judgment and legislation. 
Presbyterianism has uttered no uncertain sound. Calvin insisted 
on the discipline of dancing in Geneva. The Westminster As- 
sembly Larger Catechism, Question 139, declares "lascivious 
dancing and stage-plays" breaches of the Seventh Commandment. 
The Scotch Assembly of 1649, "finding the scandal and abuse 
that arises through promiscuous dancing .^ do therefore inhibit and 
discharge the same, and do refer the censure thereof to the several 


The Dancing Question, 


presbyteries," etc. So the Scotch Assembly of 1701, "do revive 
the acts of the General Assembly of 1648, discharging promis- 
cuous dancing," etc. If recent use has allowed these acts to fall 
into such desuetude as to justify the assertion that Scotch Pres- 
byterianisra does not now discipline for dancing, the comment 
made on the neglect, by its manifest influence on the morals of the 
Scotch peasantry, is the best demonstration of error. 

Let us now hear the testimony of American Presbyterianisra. 
The Assembly of 1818 pronounced dancing in "its highest ex- 
tremes" as admitted by all to be of " fatal consequences." (Round 
dances were then unknown in America.) The Assembly "appre- 
hends danger from its incipient stages;" and requires church 
members to "heed on this subject the admonitions of those whom 
you have chosen to watch for your souls." The Assembly of 
1827 virtually repeats this action. In 1789 the Synod of North 
Carolina, in reply to an overture, requires that persons guilty of 
dancing, horse-racing, etc., must be "dealt with by their spiritual 
rulers." This action, being allowed tacitly by the Assemblies 
which reviewed the Synod's proceedings, becomes of authority as 
expounding the law. 

The existence, and consequently the action on this subject of 
our Southern Assembly, are recent, and should be familiar to us. 
Hence only the main points are recalled. In 1865, our Assembly 
decided, 1st. That while no church court " has a right to make 
any new rules of church membership, different from those con- 
tained in the constitution," all courts, including church sessions, 
have the undoubted right "to make deliverances affirming their 
sense of what is 'anx)ffence' in the meaning of the Book of Dis- 
cipline, Ch. I., §3." 2d. That our church courts have hitherto 
"probably been too tolerant of dancing," etc. 3d. That "it is 
the duty of every judicatory to enforce the teachings of our 
standards on this and other fashionable amusements." Those 
teachings "repeatedly" uttered by the supreme judicatory and 
now reaffirmed at large, are that dancing is "in direct opposition 
to the Scriptures and our standards," is indisputably a "worldly 
conformity," and is liable to "excesses." What species of "en- 
forcement" this Assembly enjoins the church courts to employ 



The Dancing Question. 


is thus explained at the end of the enactment : "Instruction from 
the pulpit," prudent "admonition" ; but when all other means 
fail, then such methods of discipline as shall separate from the 
churcJt those who love the world and whose practices conform 

In 1869, the Assembly "heartily responds" to a, similar ques- 
tion by ''''earnestly and solemnly enjoining upon all sessions and 
presbyteries under its care the absolute necessity of enforci7ig 
discipliiie .... against offences ; under the word offences 
including . . theatrical exhibitions and performances and 
promiscuous dancings.'' 

In 1877, the Presbytery of Atlanta asked the Assembly to 
interpret the law of the Church, as set forth in I860 and 1869, 
as to these points: whether it forbade dancing, or only "promis- 
cuous dancing." And if the latter, to what accident of the dance 
the word "promiscuous" referred. The answer of the Assembly 
is in these words : 

1. "The Assembly has uniformly discouraged and condemned the 
ujodern dance, in all its forms, as tending to evil, whether practised in 
public balls or in private parlors. 

2. " Some forms of this amusement are more mischievous than others — 
the round dance than the square, the public ball than the private parlor; 
but all are evil and should be discountenanced. 

3. "The extent of the mischief done depends largely upon circum- 
stances. The church session is therefore the only court competent to 
judge what remedy to apply; but the Assembly, being persuaded that in 
most cases it is the result of thoughtlessness or ignorance, recommends 
great patience in dealing with those who offend in this way." 

When this is viewed in connexion with the previous enact- 
ments (which are not repealed here but virtually reaffirmed), its 
meaning is obvious : that while all dancing is against the law of 
the Church, yet, as some forms are more mischievous than others, 
and attendant circumstances largely qualify the mischiefs, church 
sessions should use great patience in dealing with offenders. 
But the law of the Church clothes the sessions with discretion 
as to "what remedy" should be applied, mere remonstrance or 
judicial discipline. That the Assembly, notwithstanding its ten- 
derness towards offenders, clothes the sessions with the power of 


The Dancing Question. 


iudicial discipline and designs its exercise in all the worse cases, 
is manifest. Why else do they authorise sessions to "judge what 
remedy to apply," and speak of their "dealing" with offenders? 
Again, the body clothed by the Assembly with the discretionary 
power is not the didactic agency, the pastor, nor even the indi- 
vidual elder, but the judicial body, the session. The Assembly 
indisputably authorises judicial action in all such cases as are 
^'mischievous" and cannot be curbed by didactic means, and that 
at the discretion of sessions. ^- -. -v 
The views and law of the great Wesleyan body may be gath- 
ered, first, from Wesley's own words. In his Works, Vol. VII., 
p. 224, he says of square dances (round dances were then un- 
known in England): "It seems God himself has already decided 
the question concerning dancing. If dancing be not evil in itself, 
yet it leads young women to numberless evils." So in Vol. II., 
p. 271, Sermon on "The More Excellent Way." "So (evil 
tendencies) undoubtedly have all public dancings. And the 
same tendency they must have, unless the same caution obtained 
among Christians which was observed among the ancient heathens. 
With them men and women never danced together, but always 
in separate rooms. This was always observed in ancient Greece 
and for several ages at Rome, where a woman dancing in com- 
pany with men would have been at once set down as a ." 

Wesley's classical attainments authorised him to speak of the 
ancient usage and opinion. So Adam Clarke: "Let thena plead 
for it who will; I know it to be evil and that only." Let the 
enactment of the "Methodist Church South" be taken as a speci- 
men of Methodist law on this subject. The General Conference 
of 1874 added to their Book of Discipline, as an appendix, the 
Pastoral Letter of the Bishops. This, speaking of worldly 
amusements, says: 

" Their multiplied and insidious forms are a source of perpetual temp- 
tation and damage, and are denounced by the word of God and by that 
part of our general rules which forbids 'the taking of such diversions as 
cannot be used in the name of Jesus.' This denunciation is explicit and 
comprehensive. 'The name of the Lord Jesus' in this connection is a 
decisive test ; and we are content to leave the issue to its sovereign arbi- 
trament. Amongst those muuigences which cannot stand this solemn 




The Dancing Question. 


test is the modern dance, both in its private and public exhibitions, as 
utterly opposed to the genius of Christianity as taught by us. When 
persisted in, it is a justijiable ground of judicial action by the church 

The Protestant Episcopal Church has been sometimes unjustly 
called a "Dancing Church." But the tenor of its verdict 
against dancing may be seen in the following: 

Bishop Hopkins, speaking only of square dances, "No inge- 
nuity can make it consistent with the covenant of baptism." 
Bishop Meade: "Social dancing is not among the neutral things 
which, within certain limits, we may do at pleasure, and it is not 
even among the things lawful but not expedient; but '\i\^ in itself 
wrong^ improper, and of bad effect." This Bishop Meade spoke 
of "social dancing": what would he liave said of round dances? 
The latter, Bishop Cox pronounces "enormities," and "lascivious." 
^ishop Johns calls round dances "lascivious" and a "demoralising 
dissipation." "This scandal is not to be tolerated in the Church 
of Christ." "If all such efforts (as remonstrances and instruc- 
tions) prove unavailing, .... and it becomes necessary to resort 
to the exercise of decided discipline, it must be done." 

It may be said that these opinions, though the views of bishops, 
are not Episcopalian law. Let us then to the law. The general 
canons of the "General Convention," enjoiijing discipline for 
irregular living, in the hands of the minister, subject to an appeal 
to the bishop, remits the providing of detailed rules to the differ- 
ent diocesan conventions. (Digest of Canons, 1878.) The 
canons of the Virginia Diocese may be taken as a fair specimen. 
Canon nineteenth, after authorising the minister of the parish to 
repel from the Lord's table any professed Christian "conducting 
himself in a manner unwpfthy of a Christian," adds: "And 
gaming, attendance on horSe-racing' or Ntheatrical amusements, 
witnessing immodest and licentious exhibitions of shows, attend- 
ing public balls, etc., .... are offences for which discipline 
should be exercised.'' 

But Bishop Whittle of Virginia, wishing for still more stringent 
and imperative legislation against round dancing, speaks of it thus : 
"I adopt his" (Bishop Johns') "language as my own." Round 
dancing is a "dreadful evil." "Judging the tree by its fruit, 


The Dancing Question. 


our wisest and best people, ministers and laymen, have become 
alarmed lest its effect shall not only be to injure pure and unde-. 
filed religion in the Church, hut even to sap the very foundations 
of all social virtue and morality. I will not discuss its character 
and consequences. For while St. Paul wrote to the Church in 
Ephesus that it was a shame even to speak of those things which 
were done by some in secret, I should feel ashamed even to speak, 
as the truth would require, of this thing which is done openly 
before all.'' 

The Council of 1878, in response to the bishop's request, 
unanimously resolved that it is the ''solemn duty of every com- 
municant to abstain from round dancing ; and that every minister 
be requested to use every effort to arrest the practice of round 
dancing by admonition and discipline." Legislation, rendering 
this absolute by an additional "canon," is now on foot and re- 
ferred to the next Council. ^ i.' 

The Papal body has not had the character of being at all a 
strict guardian of morals. But even American popery cannot 
away with the abuse. The Pastoral Letter of the Roman Cath- 
olic archbishops and bishops in Council in Baltimore in 1866 
speaks thus : They consider it "their duty to warn their people, 
.... especially against the fashionable dances, which, as at 
present carried on, are revolting to every feeling of delicacy and 
propriety, and are fraught with the greatest danger to morals^ 

The same Council adopted the following Canon C. Choreae 
dictae "round dances" in scholis nee tolerandae nee docendae. 

Cum PP. Cone. Bait. Plenarii II. in Literis Pastoralibus ad 
Populum, omnino improbarint choreas, quae vulgo nomine 
'Waltzes' et 'round dances' veniunt: statuimus illas non esse do- 
cendasetnetolerandasquidem, in Collegiis, Academiis, et Scholis 
hujus Diocoeseos, etiamsi recreationis tantum causa inter personas 
ejusdem sejius habeantur. 

And the archbishop, with a nerve which shames the timidity 
of many a Protestant, ordered the parochial clergy to withhold 
absolution from all such as refused to forsake these amusements. 

It may be rejoined, that all the witnesses cited are human, and 
therefore none of them is Lord of the Christian's conscience. 



T1ie trancing Question. 


Let this be granted. But what shall be the presumptive estimate 
of the humility, modesty, and docility of that temper, which sets 
itself up arrogantly against this eoneursus of all religions, al! 
ages, all civilisations, to decide, in its ignorance and inexperience, 
in favor of what the wise and good of the ancient and modern 
world have condemned ? In the face of this array, the chart^e 
that the condemnation of dancing is only puritanical or self- 
righteous is simply silly. Whether this opinion of the virtuous 
of all ages be sound or not, it is clear that the self-sufficiency and 
arrogance of mind which rejects it under the plea of asserting its 
Christian liberty, is the farthest possible from that righteous and 
Reverent, God-fearing, and humble temper which should animate 
the champion of the holy rights of conscience, especially when 
constrained to contend against (jod's own Church. 

But it is by no means c :,.:d!ed that this condemnation of public 
dancing is without scriptural warrant, and sustained only by 
ecclesiastical opinion. Few practices, which have become current 
since Bible days, are so fully and expressly condemned by the 
Bible as is this. No competent archaeologist will risk his credit by 
denying the following facts: that modern dancing, i. e., the 
dancing of free males and females together for amusement, was ' 
unknown in the decent society of the Jews (as of the ancient 
heathen) ; that the only dancing mentioned with allo^yance in the 
Bible was religious, choral movements, in which the sexes always 
danced alone, and that the dancing of females for amusement in 
a male presence, like that of Herodias' daughter, was uniformly 
recognised as too notoriously indecent to need any new condem- 
nation. Hence all attempted use of the Bible cases as precedents 
for modern dancing are simply preposterous. And that the canon 
of Scripture. should close without any additional prohibition, in 
express words, of our modern dancing, is exactly according to 
that plan by which Ood has legislated for his Church in all other 
points of modern sin. Why is it that no church session, if called 
to discipline a man for the trespass of wantonly cutting a tele- 
graph wire, or the crime of displacing a railroad bar in front of 
a passenger train, would expect to find a prohibition in express 
words against these forms of sin ? Every child knows the answer ^ 



The Dancing Question. 


Because telegraphs and railroads had not. then been invented, 
and God's uniform plan is not to place on the page of the Bible, 
in Bible times, precepts which must be wholly unintelligible to 
the generation to which the Bible was given. But his plan was, 
so to prohibit sins which were current in those generations, as to 
furnish all honest minds parallels and precedents which would 
safely guide them in classing the sins of later invention. The 
position here assumed is, that the Bible has condemned the mod-^ 
em dance as expressly as the plan of its revelation made possible 
for it. For — - '■ h*.uv; .^. ^-^^ 

1. The Bible enjoins on. Christians sobriety: the dance is an 
act of pronounced levity. The Bible morality is not ascetic, but 
it is distinctly sedate. It summons us to regard ourselves and our 
fellow-men as invested with the dignity of immortality ; as en- 
gaged in a momentous struggle for our own salvation and for the 
rescue of a perishing generation of .fellow-men ; as bought for God 
with divine blood ; as at strife with spiritual adversaries of mighty 
power; as waging this warfare in the presence of a world of men, 
of angels, and of God. The Bible commends cheerfulness, but 
forbids frivolity and levity. It allows recreations, but it limits 
them to such bounds as refit the powers for the serious duties of 
life, or such as are compatible with the solemn warfare we wage. 
Let any obedient mind froili this point of view compare the nu- 
merous places where this au(j>poavvr/ is positively enjoined.* To 
appreciate the meaning which the Spirit meant to put into this 
precept, we must consider the meaning which the usage of the age 
attached to the quality. According to that usage, all such levi- 
ties as the dancing of a virtuous free-born man for amusement, 
were outrages on that alSdj^, that sense of dignity and decency of 
person, the absence of which was a shame and disgrace. 

2. The Bible enjoins on Christians strict economy. They are 
stewards of their riches for God. They must use their super- 
fluity to do good, in the spirit of that Redeemer, "who, though 
he was rich, for our sakes became poor."t But the modern 
dance is a wasteful and expensive amusement, wasteful of time, 

*1 Tim. ii. 9, 15; iii. 2-, 2 Tim. i. 7 ; Titus ii. 12; 1 Peter iv. 7. 
fLuke xi. 41 ; xii. 33 ; 2 Cor. viii. 7 ; ix. 6 ; 1 Tim. vi. 17. 18. 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 13. 




The Dancvng Question, 


of money, of dress, of equipage and furniture, and most mis- 
chievously hindering industrial pursuits. Is it said that modern 
Christian society indulges in many other expensive amusements 
besides the ball? This is deplorably true; but the answer is 
that *'two wrongs do not make a right.' All of those expensive 
amusements are unscriptural and unchristian; God calls for the 
retrenchment of all. But it would be a sorry method to pursue 
that important result by sanctioning one of the most obtrusive 
and fruitful sources of this sinful waste. He who looks around 
and comprehends the vast destitutions appealing to Christian 
charity, he who sees our young missionaries detained from the 
open doors God has set before them among the perishing heathen, 
he who hears the imploring but vain appeals of our Committees 
for aid, and then sees God's money, in the hands of his stewards, 
lavished on the mischievous prodigalities of balls and other fash- 
ionable pomps, can appreciate somewhat the greatness of this 
element of sin. It is as expressly anti-scriptural as the word of 
God can make it. 

3. It has been already remarked that a practice must be viewed 
in the concrete and with its usual adjuncts in order to make a 
just moral appraisement of it. The modern dance is antiscrip- 
turjil again, because it dictates usually a mode of <lress in females 
which the Word condemns. Paul* expressly requires Christian 
females to ''adorn themselves in modest apparel" {ku KaraGToXy KoafiU^). 
How much this meant, this raiment seemly and decent for woman, 
must be learned from a proper understanding of the meaning 
which virtuous opinion in Paul's day attached to the words. The 
unlearned Bible reader may see what this was from 1 Cor. xi. 4-10. 
We there see that, according to that standard which is enjoined 
on the Christian female, she who appeared in public unveiled — 
not to say with parts of her person exposed which delicacy should 
have most jealousy guarded — disparaged the honor of her sex by 
an unnatural transgression. 

4. The Scriptures expressly forbid the modern dance, in that 
they enjoin the strictest purity in the intercourse of the sexes. f 
Here we approach very delicate ground. But as our citations 

*rTini. ii. 9 ; 1 Peter iii. 3-5. fl Tim. v. 2t 



The Dancing Question. 


showed, it is one which the Church and its pastors have always 
and everywhere felt constrained by duty to assume in resisting 
the sin. Its defenders not seldom resent this objection to their 
practice as an indelicate and libellous assault. They endeavor to 
cry shame upon the construction which experience places on their 
indulgences. But one thing is clear: if the candid and plain 
description of the adjuncts of the modern dance would demand 
words whose utterance would be an outrage to the decencies of 
debate, then this is the strongest possible proof that the doing is 
still more an outrage upon the decencies of Christian morals. 
We have seen above a Christian, as pure as he is brave, con- 
fess that the personal modesty he cherished as a man disquali- 
fied him for expressing in words the adjuncts of the fashionable 
dances. He could have selected no words which implied so 
severe and just a censure of them. The Christian physician is 
sometimes obliged to uncover a fatal ulcer in order to exscind it. 
But he may do it with a hknd as chaste as that which lays his 
benediction on an infant's brow. So the spiritual surgeon may 
be under obligation to probe, and in probing expose, the moral 
impurity which his sanctity would fain hide. But the duty may 
be performed with sanctity. It may be modestly claimed that if 
any place is suitable for such exposure, it is especially the page 
of a professional journal which is designed for the teachers and 
rulers of the Church, and not for the popular assemblage of 

The attempt has been often made to break the force of the pre- 
cedents cited from sacred and secular antiquity, by 'saying that 
the usages of those days were dictated by that jealous seclusion 
of women which Christianity has banished as a remnant of bar- 
barism. And we are reminded that, as there is a legitimate 
union of the sexes, there may be a legitimate scope in social inter- 
course for the disclosure of the emotions which approximate them 
to each other. Such is the intimated plea. Now it is conceded 
that Christianity has elevated woman, in freeing her from that 
ancient state in which she was, while unmarried, half a slave and 
half a prisoner. It is conceded that the intercourse of the sexes 
n domestic society refines both, as long as it is retained within 



The Dancing Question, 


scriptural bounds; and that it is necessary to found Christian 
marriage in the mutual knowledge, respect, and friendship of the 
parties. It is admitted that God, in his laws, always assigns 
somewhere a legitimate scope to those affections which, in his 
creative handiwork, he made constitutive of our nature. But 
since man's fall he teaches us that every one of these affections 
must be restrained. Now it is the clear teaching of Scripture 
that the special emotions which approximate the sexes can have 
no innocent or lawful existence, except between those who desire 
to be united by them in that sacred union which makes of the 
twain one flesh. That union is the institution ordained by God 
in paradise as the means of "-seeking a godly seed," consecrated 
to the high and holy purpose of surrounding young immortals 
with the safeguards which will fit them for heaven. It is the 
selected tvpe of the eternal union of Christ to his ransomed 
Church. Hence its affections must remain unique, and must be 
sacredly directed towards or confined to the enclosure of the con- 
secrated type. Anything else than this is pollution. From this 
scriptural position it follows, that in the common social inter- 
course of the unmarried everything is to be retrenched which has 
a regular tendency to develop, promiscuously, sentiments which 
can have lawfully but one single direction. Clear as this deduc- 
tion is, we are not left to deduction, but have the sure word of 
Scripture. The rule enjoined on Timothy, 1 Epistle v. 2, is: 
"Treat the younger women as sisters, with all purity." Now, 
first, while it is conceded that a breach of propriety by a young 
minister would carry heavier aggravations of guilt, it is false and 
absurd to allow to the young layman a different rule of morals. 
The rule then is, that young Christian males and females are, in 
their general social intercourse, to exclude all the peculiar senti- 
ments of the sexes, just as completely/ as they are excluded between 
virtuous brothers and sisters. The apostle teaches us the stimu- 
lation of those sentiments towards the common female acquaint- 
ance is, while less criminal, as distinctly unlawful. See also for 
confirmation, Prov. v. 17-18, 1 Tim. ii. 9; 1 Pet. iii. 2-5; 
Matt. V. 28. 

Does any one exclaim that our Christian society is exceeding 


The Dancing Question. 


far below this standard in many other things besides dancing: in 
modes of dress, in manners and intercourse? And that there- 
fore we cannot justly condemn dancing while we allow the other 
departures? If the statement is true, then it proves, not that we 
are to legitimate dancing, but that we are to reform all the other 
licenses along with it. Our Saviour's word concerning such re- 
form of a prominent abuse is clear: " This ought ye to have done, 
and not to leave the others undone." Again, should the averment 
be true, then the state of facts proves, not that the standard laid 
down above from the Scriptures is unreasonalble, but perhaps it 
may prove that we are, indeed, far gone from that high Chris- 
tian state on which it is so pleasant to plurae ourselves, and that 
we may be, in God's eyes, in a deplorable state of decadence and 
corruption. What way is there for safely settling this question 
except a comparison of our ways with God's word? ;^ 

The impulses of human acts are usually complex. To the less 
objectionable dances of a former generation, young people may 
have been prompted in part by tlie mere animal love o( motion 
which leads the lamb to skip and the school-boy to leap. Some 
found another impulse in the love of music. Many were impelled 
by the tyranny of fashion, by the fear of being taunted as "wall 
flowers," or of being reproached as Puritans. Many moved under 
a love of excitement which they did not stop to analyse. In 
some at least, less innocent emotions prompted the exercise. 
In the modern dances it is simple folly to deny the presence of a 
stronger tendency towards the evil elements of attraction. Now, 
the complexity of the impulse could not but deceive, especially 
the inconsiderate and inexperienced dancer, as to the nature of 
his own emotions. He felt, but did not analyse. This admission 
may on the one hand greatly palliate the error of the inconsider- 
ate dancer, and may give us the pleasing ability to exculpate him 
personally from conscious corruption. But on the other hand, 
it only places the practice in a more objectionable light by so much 
as it shows it deceitful and treacherous as a stimulus of evil. 
From this point of view, one easily sees how futile it is to quote the 
declarations of a few inexperienced dancers as to their innocency 
of evil sensations, in proof of the lawfulness of the amusement. 



The Dancing Question, 


Over against this partial testimony must be placed a fearful array. 
It is notorious that the introduction of the waltz, less objection- 
able than the more recent round dances, excited in England and 
America the general condemnation of the world and the universal 
reprehension of the Church. To those who are old enough to 
remember the verdict of the healthier sentiment, it is self-evident 
that any change in that verdict since is due to the sophisticating 
of the general conscience by the tolerance in society of the evil. 
Those whose experience is more recent may see a fair picture of 
the earlier and healthier disapprobation in Byron's poem, " The 
Waltz." It is replete with his keenest and bitterest satire. 
The amusement is by innuendo charged with the worst possible 
tendencies. He intimates that nothing but the deplorable relax- 
ation in the fashionable world, resulting from the example of the 
fourth George when Prince Regent, and the force of his personal 
example, could have made it possible to domesticate the abomin- 
able innovation in British society. In his view the waltzer 
had tarnished all the purity and delicacy which make woman 
attractive : , >; ; 

"At once love's most enduriniij thouo;ht resijijn, ; . 

To press the hand so pressed by none but thine : 
To gaze upon that eye which never met 
Another's ardent look without regret. 
Approach the lip which all, without restraint, 
Come near enough — if not to touch — to taint! 
If such thou lovest, love her then no more." 

Byron, it is well known, was far from a saint. If even his 

gross mind was thus impressed by the new amusement, what is 

the judgment which Christian purity must pass upon it? And 

if we may receive these verses of Goethe as an expression of 

German sentiment, the waltz was no more justified in the land 

of its oritrin than here : 

"What? The girl of my heart by another embraced? 
What? The balm of her lips shall another man taste? 
What? Touched in the whirl by another man's knee? 
What? Panting recline on another than me? 
Sir, she is yours : from the plum you have brushed the soft blue ; 
From the rose you have shaken its tremulous dew — 
What you touched you may take ; pretty waltzer, adieu !" 


The Dancing Question, 


He must be verdant indeed, who can defend the round dancei 
from the charge of impurity, after he is made aware of the -feel- 
ings avowed by its unblushing male votaries. Let the partici- 
pants of the other sex be as innocent as a vestal of the infection, 
that innocency does not remove the loathing which the delicate 
mind should feel for the unconscious association. Nor, in view: 
of the fact that Goil forbids our nuiking ourselves unnecessarily 
the occasions of sin to others, does it remove the guilt. Again,; 
it is well known that men who join in these dances with females 
for whom they care nothing, usually express the greatest repug-. 
nance to seeing their own sisters imitate their example. Why is> 
this? Because these men know the true nature of the amusement. 
The argument is trite but just, that the real secret source of the 
excitement is disclosed by the fact that round dances of men with 
men, and women with wonaen, possess no attraction. In view of 
these stubborn facts, and the fearful testimony of the police of 
our large cities as to the sources whence the denizens of the house 
of her whose *'feet go down to death and whose steps take hold 
on hell" are recruited; the denial of evil tendency in this prac- 
tice can appear as only the blindness of prejudice and folly. 
Should any reputable father detect a man, who had no other 
rights than those of a stranger or at most of a common acquaint- 
ance, in such relations to the person of his daughter in the parlor 
as attend the round dance, he would unquestionably regard it as 
an outrage upon the honor of his house, which, if Christian for- 
bearance did not hold his hand, would be washed out in blood. 

But now we ask, first, how does publicity modify an indecent 
act except by aggravating it? Second, can such an act, intrin- 
sically immoral, be changed in its character by the attachment of 
any frivolous adjunct? Would a judge at law, for instance, in a 
commonwealth which made duelling by its laws a crime, dream 
of justifying the duellist because the perpetration of his murder 
was accompanied with a graceful Pyrrhic dance ? With what 
scorn would the righteous magistrate dismiss so impudent a plea! 
Why then shall the Christian moralist modify his reprobation of 
that which, when done without accessories, would be condemned 
by all as unchaste; because, forsooth, tyrannical fashion has at- 




The Dancing QueBtion. 


i • 

tached to it her frivolous adjuncts of music and rhythmical motion? 
The demand is an insolence. ,.^ y vi^fi^^^ t. 

It is therefore without a shadow of ground that a lack of ex- 
press law for applying the corrective of discipline is asserted 
either of the Bible or of our Constitution. Let any church ses- 
sion bring charges, not against the music and motion, but against 
the postures of the round dance, and they would find express 
authority in the Larger Catechism, Question 138, L39. The 
impropriety which would be admitted by all, if perpetrated with- 
out those adjuncts, cannot be excused by them. Hence if the 
court should, in tenderness to the oifender, refrain froiii stating 
its charge in terms fully equal to the grossness of the real act, 
and speak of it as "round dancing," it is hard to see how a culprit 
otherwise clearly condemned by our law, can acquire any rights 
of justification from this undeserved forbearance. 

5. The Scripture has virtually included the modern dance in 
an express prohibition in three places, Rom. xiii. 13, Gal. v. 21, 
1 Peter iv. 3, where it sternly inhibits the KUfint of the heathen. 
In the first text it is rendered ''rioting," and in the other two 
"revellings." These words now fail to convey to the English 
reader the real nature of the sin. "Rioting" suggests some such 
violent insurrection against law as is put down by reading the 
wot act, or by an armed police; while "revelling" suggests lavish 
and intemperate amounts of eating. The Kcb/uog of the Greeks was 
wholly another matter: the comissatio of the Latins. This was a 
general frolic or jollification, following the deiirvov or ccena^ usually 
pursued within the house of the host. Its spirit and natm^c may 
be inferred from the "walking honestly," evaxw^^"^" of Rom. xiii. 
13, with which the Kib/uog is contrasted. Evaxvfioaivn was that 
sedate dignity and seemliness which the gospel requires of the 
Lord's freedmen, the same dignity, exalted and spiritualised, 
which the Greek ethics exacted of the free-born citizen. The 
KO)fjog was condemned, partly because it was in contrast with this 
dignity. Cicero, in the place cited, describes the comissatio as 
an excess considerably short of dancing, and a milder preliminary 
usually preceding, before dissolute people got to the dancing 
pitch. His defence of Murcena 'Against the infamous charge of 


The Danaing Question. 


being a dancer is that Cato could not catch hira in any of these 
previous excesses, which alone could lead a freeman down to the 
final shame of dancing for social amusement. *'Xu mihi arripis 
id, quod necesse est omnium vitiorum esse postremum : relinquis 
ilia, quibus remotis hoc vitiuna omnino esse non potest. Nullum 
turpe convivium, non amor, non comissatio, non libido, non sump- 
tus ostenditur." Now if Paul and Peter sternly inhibit the 
Kibfiog or comissatio, a priori they inhibited the dancing which 
contemporary opinion regarded as still more unworthy. No female 
was usually present in these jollities. But their presence and 
participation, had it occurred, would unquestionably have made 
the condemnation of the apostles just so much the, sterner, be- 
cause it would have outraged their moral sense in another point. 
But add to the ancient comissatio the presence of women partici- 
pating as agents in the frolic, and we have precisely the modern 
ball, as it appears in its full fledged dissipation. The conclusion 
of the whole is, that in forbidding ku/wi, the Scriptures did still 
more forbid the modern dance. 

None will be so hardy as to deny that the light of experience 
may properly be invoked in interpreting the preceptive principles 
of Scripture and applying them to existing practices. For in- 
stance, it is agreed that the Sixth Commandment forbids suicide 
as truly as the murder of a fellow-man; and that therefore prac- 
tices destructive of mental and bodily health are criminal. (Larger 
Catechism, Question 136.) But now the modern drug "chloral" 
is introduced, and it is found to be a fascinating sedative and 
nervine. May we then indulge in it causelessly — when not really 
necessary as an anaesthetic — for our gratification? It is said, 
that when habitually used it fatally impairs the brain-tissue, 
tending to induce mental imbecility and premature death. If 
this be true, its causeless, habitual use is clearly a sin under the 
Sixth Commandment. What is to settle the question ? Now, 
every one will say in this case, the light of experience must settle 
it: and the experience must be chiefly that of medical observa- 
tion. Now, should some caviller in this case object: "No; for 
that would be to clothe the doctors with power over my conscience, 
which is a species of popery ;" it would cost no person of common 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 14. 



The Dancing Question. 


sense any trouble to explode the cavil by saying : God's word has 
decided the principle of the duty of abstinence; the doctors are 
merely referred to as to a question of fiict. And if what they state 
is a fact, then the rash fool who persists in saying, against the light 
of a sufficient experience, "I don't believe that any amount of 
chloral will hurt me — these doctors shall not make my conscience 
for me," must even bear the penalty of his own sinful obstinacy. 
This parallel receives an easy application. There is no question but 
experience proves the tendencies of modern dancing to be, not in 
every case, but in ordinary cases, unhealthy for body and soul. 
Medical experience has lately been cited, from the over-pampered 
and luxurious society of one of our cities, to testify that it was 
not unhealthy. Of such subjects this may be relatively true, 
that is, oven so ill-judged an exercise as that of the ball-room 
may be found not as bad for the health as the pampered indolence 
in which such people would otherwise exist. But this admission 
does not at all detract from the truth that the practice is of un- 
healthy tendency. Other and more trustworthy medical authority 
testifies that modern dancing is most deleterious. Unseasonable 
hours, an atmosphere over-heated and vitiated, the glare of lights, 
the imprudent and unseasonable raiment, the unhealthy food, the 
excessive social excitement prompting over-exertion, all indispu- 
tably concur to make it anything but a safe recreation. An old 
physician, looking on a gay dance, said: " This will be worth 

dollars to me." The prediction was exactly verified, with 

the addition of the death of two young people from pneumonia. 
It is a vain attempt, in the presence of experiences like these, for 
thoughtlessness to dismiss the warning of prudence. 

Experience proves the tendency of the modern dance to be 
yet more unhealthy for the soul. Is one and another "dancing 
Christian" obtruded as an instance of lively religious zeal? The 
answer is : "One swallow does not make a summer." These facts 
are well known: that it is not usually the spiritual-minded peo- 
ple who are the dancing members ; that a dancing minister would 
shock even the most worldly sentiment; that at the approach of 
a revival dancing always ceases ; that the world claims the amuse- 
ment as its own. What is the meaning of these facts? The 


The Dancing Question. 


familiar association with the ungodly on their own ground, the 
levity, the intoxicating excitement, the bustle and glare, cannot 
but quench the holy and silent motions of God's Spirit and exhale 
the dew of his graces. .. .,,,, :. ■r^'^--<-ui^i''^'^^:^.r^'-:ir,ri^;<w^-,r.-,,i^ 

It has been conceded that all evil acts are not properly dis- 
ciplinable by the visible Church. Advantage is taken of this 
admission to argue that dancing should be disapproved, reasoned 
against, and admonished, but not disciplined. One plea for this 
untenable position is, that it is admitted that there are forms of 
dancing Avhich are innocent, and since the different kinds shade 
off into each other by nice gradations, and since the Bible has 
not drawn a lirie between the tolerated and the disciplinable 
forms of the practice, all the Church can rightfully do is to re- 
monstrate and instruct. The answer is, that by the same logic, 
one might prove that no breach of any commandment is disciplin- 
able. The lesser and greater breaches of all of them shade off 
into each other. Who doubts that a plain breach of the Third 
Commandment by cursing or swearing should be disciplined? 
But there are expletives and exclamations heedlessly uttered by 
truly good people, which are against the spirit of that Command- 
ment in that they depart from our Saviour's law: "Let your yea 
be yea, and your nay nay, for whatsoever is more than these 
Cometh of evil." Breaches of the Ninth Commandment are cer- 
tainly disciplinable. But a Christian youth might, in a thought- 
less moment, utter a quiz. Now to make these faults grounds of 
judicial censure, without .other provocation, might be neither 
wise nor just. Shall we argue thence that the rod of discipline 
cannot reach lying and profanity? No one claims this. Then 
the existence of such gradations in dancing cannot prove that the 
grosser forms of the practice may not be disciplined. 

The reader has a right to ask this objector, who says he wholly 
disapproves dancing but does not deem it disciplinable, how he 
found out that it is to be disapproved. May not a church session 
ascertain its evil in the same valid wav in which he has? He 
stickles much for the principle that none but God can make an 
act a sin. How then did the objector convince himself so clearly 
that dancing is to be disapproved? Has he committed the error 



The Dancing Question. 


which he is so jealous of in the church court, that of'judging his 
fellow-creature's conduct by some merely human standard? 

When men plead that there are other sinful amusements than 
this, and that a pharisaic professor may not dance, and yet may 
commit much greater sin by tattling, censoriousness, covetous- 
ness, the answer is too plain to need restatement. The conscien- 
tious Christian should forsake dancing and also these other forms 
of evil. If it be charged that church courts are partial, even 
though dancing be conceded to be evil, in directing their discipline 
so exclusively against this, while much greater sins go unwhipped 
of justice, then all that can be inferred is, not that the court 
erred in exerting its authority in the one case, but that it erred 
in failing to exert it in the many other cases. It needs to go, not 
backward, but forward; not to begin conniving at this one form 
of evil, but to cease conniving at all the other forms. 

But there is a truth usually overlooked which justifies special 
watchfulness and jealousy touching these worldly and sinful con- 
formities. It is that they practically lie so near the dividing line 
between the penitent and the ungodly. When two rival king- 
doms touch each other geographically, the boundary line is but a 
mark. A portion of the territory of the one, although as really 
foreign soil to the other as though it were in the centre of its 
own realm, must be within a single inch of the line, and so within 
an inch of the other's ground. However sharply the boundary 
may be defined and established, this remains true. One result 
is that the king of either side takes much more pains to defend 
his frontier than his interior: his fortresses are built and his 
guards paraded almost exclusively along the outer edge, next his 
foreign and hostile neighbor's territory. By the same reason, it 
is unavoidable and right that in Christ's kingdom the frontier, 
ground which borders upon the territory of Satan's kingdom, the 
sinful world, should be more jealously guarded. Practically, that 
is the region where the citizens of the spiritual kingdom suffer 
incursions and are exposed to danger. The officers oHliat king- 
dom would be derelict to their duty if they did not bestow special 
watch at these points. Thoughtless people suppose that the noise 
made by presbyters of the Church against cards and dancing is 


The Dancing Question. 


prompted by nothing but their puritanical prejudice; that being 
determined from censoriousness and pride to be *' righteous over- 
much," they pitch on these practices as their "pet horrors." 
But that this is entirely short-sighted appears from the simple = 
view just given. Since the rival kingdoms are both together in 
this one world, this nearness of the conterminous domains must 
always exist, it matters not what may be the practices prevalent. 
It must be so in all ages and states of manners. Were the world 
to agree so utterly to desert cards and dancing that its votaries 
and worldly Christians should both forget them, the general truth 
would recur. The contest would inevitably revive about other 
(juestionable worldly practices, and the same jealousy and watch 
would become obligatory upon the guardians of the Church. • 

Another truth follows from this view: that however sharply . 
the boundary line may be drawn between the hostile kingdoms, 
practically, the belt of land next the frontier must be "debatable 
land" as to its perils. Hence the man who desires to pay a 
righteous regard to his own safety will avoid occupying the space 
very near the boundary, even though he may believe that it be- 
longs to his own king. His actual peril is about as great as 
though he were over the line. Let us suppose that a western 
cattle farmer should insist that he knew exactly where the line 
between the territories of the United States and Mexico ran, 
even to an inch; that he was legally entitled to "preempt" any 
United States lands; and that therefore he should claim his rights 
and place his farm-house within an inch of the Mexican line. 
All this might be very true; and yet when the lawless Comanches 
harried his home, he would become convinced that he had been 
very foolish and criminal. The analogy is just. The Christian 
who is successfully assaulted by Satan is the one who causelessly 
ventures near his boundary line. Usually men do not backslide 
by suddenly falling into some large and clearly acknowledged 
crime. Nemo repente turpissimus. To change the figure — Satan 
does not attempt to rend a soul away from Christ by inserting 
the blunt of his wedge between them first. The thin edge is 
insinuated. It is because it is thin, because the crevice first made 
by its introduction is very narrow, that it is adapted to do its 


The Dancing QueMion. 


deadly work. Because this is generally trufe, Christians are 
morally bound to guard themselves most against the smaller sins 
lying next the debateable zone ; and those who watch for souls 
are bound to be most wakeful and strict in the same points. 

This conclusive argument would hold thoroughly upon the 
ground asserted by the palliators of dancing, that it is a slight 
sin. But that ground is by no means admitted, as to all forms 
of the practice. We believe that round dancing, at least, is a sin 
of a very grave character, and a flagrant breuch of morals, such 
as cannot but rapidly debauch the conscience and choke the 
spiritual life. 

The reasonable inquirer will now be ready to concede that if 
some forms of dancing have been proved sinful by the former 
part of this discussion, then such dancings are clearly disciplinable 
offences. They have every mark by which disciplinable sins are 
discriminated from the undisciplinable. They are public sins. 
Their commission is overt. The acts may be clearly defined. 
They are, notoriously, attended by scandal. They have regular 
tendencies to other sins. Above all, if the testimony of pastors 
and elders may be believed, the milder measures of instruction 
and remonstrance fail to restrain the irregularity of many. In 
such a state of the case, when the purity and authority of the 
Church are wantonly provoked and defied by the continuance of 
a practice confessedly needless and non-obligatory, in spite of her 
solemn and tender entreaties, the claim, that the ofi*enders may 
not be touched with the rod of discipline, savors more of sinful 
audacity than of righteous zeal for freedom of conscience. Our 
Assemblies, in 1869 and 1877, have distinctly declared that some 
forms of dancing are not only reprcihensible, but disciplinable. We 
have seen that the authories of all tlie other denominations, even 
those farthest from Puritanism, treat the practice as disciplinable. 

It has been argued that a Session may not discipline any form 
of dancing, no matter how gross, because the records of our 
Church courts contain no precedents of such cases. Is it demon- 
strated that they do not? When the statute law exists, as in the 
decisions of 1869 and 1877, no precedents are necessary. The 
demand for a precedent is absurd. The first precedent could 


The Dancing Question. 


only arise by the legitimate exercise, by some church court, of 
the power to discipline in some first case. But this preposterous 
argument would require a precedent before the first precedent to 
justify the use of the power! Let us suppose that when railroads 
were first constructed, our Assemblies had seen a stolidity and 
perversity of conscience among the people, such as required a 
declarative enactment to this effect, viz., that the displacement of 
a rail for the purpose of throwing a passenger train off* the track 
is a breach of the Sixth Commandment, and must be disciplined 
as such. According to this notable argument, this most clear 
and righteous rule must remain a dead letter until after a prece- 
dent had arisen, which, on the terms of the argument, could never 
arise. Should it then prove the case, that the declarative enact- 
ments of Assemblies have made gross forms of dancing disciplin- 
able? that such forms do prevail, and yet no precedent of their 
discipline exists? the only reasonable inference is, that our 
church courts have been too long derelict to solemn duty; and 
that they should reform their delinquency at once. 

It has been supposed that the rights of conscience are involved 
in this discipline. Some have taken the ground that nothino- can 
be justly disciplined, except what is expressly condemned by 
God; others, assuming a less extravagant ground, say, that the 
interpretative powers of church courts can never inhibit any 
practice, under any circumstances, which cannot be proved by 
Scripture to be forever and under all circumstances malum per se. 
And it is further claimed, that whenever an individual judges 
that his own church courts have in any thing exceeded these re- 
strictions, it is his right and duty to assert his freedom of con- 
science by doing the thing inhibited. To separate the error min- 
gled with the truth here, let this series of statements be con- 
sidered, which all Presbyterians will accept without cavil: 

"God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the 
doctrine and commandments of men which are in anything contrary to 
his word, or beside it in matters of faith or worship." 

"All church power ... is only ministerial and declarative; . . . and 
all decisions should be founded upon the revealed will of God." Gov. 
€h. 1, go. and VII. 

"The whole counsel of God coneerninfi; . . . man's salvation, faith and 




The Dancing Question: 


life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or bi/ good and necessari/ 
ronsequence may bo deduced from Scripture/' Con, of Faith, Ch. I., gVI. 
''Every Christian Church is entitled to declare the terms of admission 
to its own communion," etc. "In the exercise of this rijrht they may 
notwithstanding, err, in making; the terms of communion too lax or too 
narrow ; yet even in this case they do not infringe upon the liberty or the 
rights of others, but only make an improper use of their own." 

If the erroneous term of communion forbids a positive perma- 
nent duty, or commands an act which is sin per se, then the con- 
scientious dissentient has no discretion: he must resist it at 
once and utterly. But if the act in question is only "beside" 
and not "against Scripture," then his course is to be modified 
bv circumstances. * 

The adult member seeking admission to a Christian Church is 
responsible for informing himself as to that understanding of 
scriptural terms of communion on which its previous members 
have expressly agreed among themselves as their known consti- 
tution; and he is justly presumed, when he voluntarily applies 
for membership, therein to have approved those terms, and to 
covenant with his brethren to keep them. He is therefore bound, 
as for himself, by his own act to keep all those rules, unless he 
afterwards discovers any of them to be unscriptural in such sense 
that he may not righteously comply with them. But in this case 
also, his voluntary covenant binds him to vindicate his conscience, 
not by remaining in the communion and disobeying its agreed 
rules, but by peacefully withdrawing to some other church, whose 
terms he believes scriptural. Should he wish to exercise his 
right of seeking, inside the church of his first choice, the amend- 
ment of the rule' which he once covenanted to observe, but now 
finds to be unscriptural, common h(tnesty requires him to promote 
that amendment, not by the broach of the rule while it yet sub- 
sists, which is factious and of bad faith, but by moving and arguing 
for the change in the ways provided by the church constitution. 
If the dissentient is an officer in the church, such factious conduct 
is a still more indecent breach of faith. 

Each man must be his own judge, in the fear of God, on every 
question, whether a church rule is scriptural or not; and on that 
question the courts of the Church must not come between his 


The Dancing Question. 


conscience and God by assuming to decide for him that the rule 
is scriptural. 

But neither has this dissentient a right to come between the 
consciences of the majority and Grod^ when they decide that the 
rule he regards as unscriptural is scriptural, and that it shall 
therefore remain the rule of their communion. He has his in- 
alienable right of withdrawal; but he has no more right to dictate 
his judgment to them, against their conscientious judgment, than 
they have to punish his conscientious dissent with fine or im- 
prisonment. In this case, even if it be conceded for illustration's 
sake, that he is right and the majority wrong, "they have not 
infringed upon" his rights, "but only made an improper use 
of their own." :. ?,, .r. 

In such case, where the majority make a term of communion, 
though not sinful yet too strict, and insist on its observance by 
those who voluntarily join them, they <lo not commit the sin of 
popery, neither do they make a papal assault on liberty of con- 
science. This appears from two differences: they do not claim 
any right to coerce acquiescence in what they judge according to 
the mind of God, by civil pains and penalties ; neither do they 
declare submission to and communion with them essential to sal- 
vation. The nature of their error is only this: that they blunder 
in their interpretation of God's will on the point involved in their 
rule, and impair causelessly the comfort or edification of their 
brethren who judge with and adhere to them. 

Actions which the Scripture does not make sins 'per se, neither 
by expressly setting them down as such, nor by good and neces- 
sary consequence, may, by reason of circumstances, be not for 
edification. Then the law of love should prompt every Christian 
to forego those actions for his weak brethren's sake. But of the 
duty of foregoing these acts, or of the call uttered by the law of 
love, each one must judge, in the fear of God, in his own Chris- 
tian liberty. For, were the church court to usurp that decision, 
and enforce their view of it by church discipline, as a universal 
obligatory rule on their members, they would thus indirectly 
attain that power of making a thing to be sin which God did not 
make sin ; which Christ has inhibited to all human authorities. 

VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 15. 



The Dancing Question. 


• But once more: the maxim, that "circumstances alter cases," 
has an ethical application. That is, actions which, under certain 
circumstances, were morally neutral, may, by a change of circum- 
stances, become truly sins. Scth's marriage to bis own sister 
must have been allowable. In the days of Moses the cbann^ed 
conditions of the human race made such a marriage the sin of 
incest. Under the Mosaic manners, a "bill of divorcement" to 
a newly espoused wife was in a certain case allowable ; in our 
Saviour's and our times, it would be the sin of adultery. If this 
is so, then for a Christian to claim his liberty of conscience to 
continue that act, now become actually sinful, would be license, 
and not spiritual liberty. - /^ 

May a Church then, after the completion of the canon of Scrip- 
ture, assume to declare that circumstances have now made some 
act sinful in itself which Christ or bis Apostles had left allowable? 
No; this would be a violation of spiritual liberty, and a claim of 
an uninspired and fallible body to change his infallible legisla- 
tion. That a Church may justly prohibit a practice as evil by 
reason of newly arising circumstances, it must be able to prove 
from Scripture (either by express declaration or good and neces- 
sary consequence) that God regards the practice thus circum- 
stanced as evil. An instance in point may be imagined. Our 
Assemblies, while scripturally condemning drunkenness, have 
scripturally refused to make temperate drinking an oifence. 
Hence, no Presbytery may enforce total abstinence on its minis- 
ters, by the plea that their temperate drinking may become a 
temptation to excess to others. But here is a town, in which is a 
drinking-hell that is proved to be a regular occasion of drunken- 
ness to many. A Presbyterian minister residing in that town 
habitually exercises his right of temperate drinking in public in 
that drinking-hell; and it is duly proved that this his example 
does occasion the fall of unwary persons into the sin of drunken- 
ness, and the name of Christ into scandal. Can the Presbytery 
restrain that minister by its ecclesiastical authority? Every man's 
common sense answers at once that it can. Bv what rule? Not 


by enacting that temperate drinking, which Christ had left allow- 
able, has now become sin; but by enforcing Christ's own rule, 


The Dancing Question. 


that Christians must not "let their good be evil spoken of." The 
Presbytery would leave him his Christian liberty of temperate 
drinking under other circumstances, but it would teach him to 
distinguish between this right and the sin of causelessly mislead- 
ing souls. See Con. of Faith, Chap. XX., § 4. 

But the Scripture furnishes us with a better instance. About 
the fifty-second year of Christ, Jewish Christians felt themselves 
scandalised by several things which were seen among some Gen- 
tile converts to Christ. One was, that they entered the Church 
without circumcision ; another, that they ate articles of food which 
had before been offered to idols ; another was, that they ate flesh 
with the blood, as things strangled; and another, that same con- 
tinued to practise unchastities which pagan morals had long justi- 
fied. The apostles and elders met to settle the dispute. See 
Acts XV., xvi. 4; Rom. xiv. 2, 17; 1 Cor. viii. 8, x. 25; 
Titus i. 15. They decided, with the authority of the Holy 
Ghost (Acts XV. 28), that circumcision was not incumbent on the 
Gentile believers; that all forms of fornication must be jealously 
avoided; and that two practices, in themselves indifferent (see 
Rom. xiv. 14; 1 Cor. viii. 4, x. 25)— eating things which had 
been before offered to false gods, and eating the flesh with the 
blood — must be temporarily forbidden and forborne. The pro- 
priety of this latter part of the rule is grounded on these circum- 
stances (see Acts xv. 21): that Gentiles were almost everywhere 
united in Christian communion with believing Jews; that these 
Jewish Christians were still observing the Mosaic ritual and syna- 
gogue worship of the seventh day, just as they had forages; that 
during the transition stage from the Old to the New Dispensation 
this was legitimate for Jewish believers (see Acts xxi. 20-24); 
that according to the Mosaic point of view, blood was sacredly 
set apart from all common uses to the sacrificial, and whoever 
"ate of a sacrifice (1 Cor. x. 18) was partaker of the altar;" 
whence the indulgence of Gentile brethren in these must un- 
avoidably scandalise Hebrew Christians, and break the peace of 
the Church. For this reason it was necessary to enforce the two 
prohibitions temporarily, so long as the transition stage lasted. 

It has been attempted to argue, that these two points were not 


> ^: 



The Dancing Question. 



enjoined by apostolic and presbyterial authority, but only recom- 
mended. The plea is, that Paul, notwithstanding the decision 
circumcised Timothy; and that in the Epistles he gave the Gen- 
tile converts full liberty to eat if they saw fit. Of the latter, we 
shall enquire anon. To the former, it is a suflBcient reply to dis- 
tinguish between enforcing circumcision on Gentiles and per- 
mitting the circumcision of one who was* half a Jew by blood, and 
who had been reared as an orthodox member of the old dispensa- 
tion in all else than circumcision. When Pharisaic men demanded 
the circumcision of Titus, a Gentile — the very thing forbidden 
by the Synod at Jerusalem — Paul had scrupulously anticipated 
the Synod's subsequent decree, and refused the exaction. But 
to grant circumcision to Timothy, from prudential reasons, was 
not a transgression of the Synod's decree. They had only for- 
bidden the exacting of it of Gentiles. The attentive reader of 
the history will hardly doubt but that these other points of duty 
were positively enjoined. The Apostle James says (Acts xv. 19): 
"My sentence is" (tyw /cp/vw); 28: "It seemed good {hh^ev) to 
the Holy Ghost and to us to lay upon you' this ^^burden.'' The 
burden is "these necessary things." Acts xvi. 4: Paul himself 
"delivered them" (the Gentiles) "the decrees for to keep, that 
were ordained of the Apostles and elders" {ra Myimra rh KeKfufiha). 
Acts xxi. 25, the Apostles remind Paul (after the Epistles to 
the Romans and First Corinthians had been written, in A. D. 60): 
"As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and 
concluded^'' etc. {vfieig kTZEaTei'kafiEv Kfuvavreg, etc.) How could more 
authoritative terms be used? It is incredible that Paul should 
have set himself to infringe a rule which was thus legislated by 
the Apostles, in his presence, with his concurrence, and to meet 
a state of facts reported by himself as brought about chiefly by 
his own labors. Hence the exgesis of the Epistles must be er- 
roneous which represents him as authorising his converts to dis- 
regard a 66yjua KEKpifiEvov, a "neccssary" obligation "laid on them" 
by God's Holy Spirit, with his own concurrence. 

From the historical point of view, the true exposition of those 
passages is very obvious. It is not necessary to detain the read- 
er with citations and verbal criticisms; he can compare the three 


The Dancing Question. 


passages (Rom. xiv., 1 Cor. viii. and x.) for himself. He will see 
that the Apostle, in thorough consistency with the Synod of 
Jerusalem and with himself, asserts all along these points: 
That the Jewish law of meats being positive and ritual, any food . 
was, per ae, indifferent; that idols, being nonentities, no real 
effect could be wrought on the flesh which had been on their al- 
tars, so that to the believer who understood this fact, it was, per 
se, as any other meat; that yet, if a man indulged his appetite, 
while himself doubtful of the lawfulness of his indulgence, it 
would be sin to him; not because the meat was defiled, but 
because his act was a tampering with possible sin according 
to his own judgment; that if the man's own mind were clear, 
and no scandal arose, such eating would be lawful. But if 
such eating were attended with scandal, then it became unlaw- 
ful; not because the food was defiled, or the act sin, per «e, 
but because self-indulgence in a needless gratification was pre- 
ferred to a brother's safety and salvation. On this last point 
Paul dwells. It is evidently the turning point of the duty of 
abstinence. It is evidently on this point that he justifies the 
Synod of Jerusalem (whose "dogma" he had himself given to the 
churches "<o keep'), in forbidding, under certain circumstances, 
what they admitted to be indifferent. Rom. xiv. 20. "But it is 
evil to that man who eateth with offence" (rnKdv). 1 Cor. viii. 
12. "But when ye sin so against the brethren and wound their 
weak conscience, i/e sin against Christ.'' X. 32. "Give none of- 
fence." It is the TrpdaKOfifia attending the act, otherwise indifferent, 
which makes it sinful. It should be observed that the "offence" 
arose in this way: the "weak brother" who witnessed the eat- 
ing, not comprehending the eater's more enlightened view, really 
regarded him as in the act doing homage to an idol. Had the 
"weak brother"' understood that the eater only considered him- 
self as doing the allowable act of satisfying hunger, the former 
could not have seen in it a just occasion of offence. When that 
result is experimentally ascertained, the precept is as positively, 
"Eat not," as any other Christian precept. But this scandal is 
precisely the ground assigned by the Apostle James for his vote 
in the Synod. 



The Dancing Question. 


^ We thus have an unquestionable instance of a church court 
which, under the teachings of the Holy Spirit, declared that the 
moral character of a concrete act, the form of which might be, 
per 86, indifferent, may be changed, at least for a time, by cir- 
cumstances. It may be said: The canon was not then closed; 
and they had the intullible guidance of inspiration in thus de- 
claring. The just reply is, that a supreme church court still has 
the infallible guidance of the Bible principle ("It is evil to that 
man who doeth the indifferent act with offence'^') to direct it in 
parallel declarations; and unless that principle clearly sustains 
it, it should not venture on them. 

But, supposing a well-informed believer had persisted in eating, 
and had declared that he did so regarding an idol "as nothing," 
and had urged the question : "Why is my liberty judged of another 
man's conscience?" Would Paul have disciplined him for this 
act alone? We suppose not; the man would have been left to 
his own conscience, with the warning: "Now walkest thou not 
charitably." He is clearly sinning; but there are clear sins 
which yet are not proper subjects for human discipline. Should 
that man prosecute his selfish act under circumstances which 
proved demonstrably that he was not defending his conscience, 
but acting selfishly and mischievously of deliberate purpose^ 
then he would come under discipline, not merely for eatings but 
for wantonly doing mischief. 

The establishment of these views is not really necessary to 
prove round dances unlawful and disciplinable in Christ's Church. 
For they are never per se indifferent, but essentially contrary to 
the permanent precepts of Scripture, as has been shown. But 
it was judged best to settle these points of exposition, because 
the misconception of them has tempted some to push the claim 
of Christian liberty much farther than Scripture allows. 

To one who places himself in the point of view of the West- 
minster Assembly, and of the American General Assembly which 
adopted our constitution, there is no doubt whatever, but that 
they would have included the modern round dances under the 
forbidden term "lascivious dances." t5ut "'the meaning of the 
law is the law." In their day, the society which these holy men 




The Danting Question. 


considered worldly and unchristian had not gone farther than 
minuets, reels, and quadrilles. When the round dances were at 
last introduced, in our generation, the estimate of a worldly opin- 
ion even, was, that they were lascivious. If the decent part of 
the world now wavers in that judgment, it is only because the 
abuse "unwhipped of justice," and weakly connived at by 
Christian tribunals, has already had such disastrous power to de- 
bauch public opinion. The claim that these dances shall be ac- 
quitted of prurient tendency on the testimony of some females 
that they do indulge without any such consciousness, is prepos- 
terous. For, *in the first place, we have shown that when the 
impulse is so complex, consciousness will probably fail, amidst 
the haste and excitement, to detect the prurient element. And 
second, such ambiguous testimony is fatally counterpoised by the 
candid declaration of the coarser sex, avowing the prurient ex- 
citement as the prime attraction to them. There is no offence 
against decency, save the most extreme, which might not be cleared 
of blame by so absurd a plea, because it is supposable that a rash 
and reckless person might still aver, without conscious falsehood, 
that in his own case his mind was preoccupied in the perpetration 
of it, by the fun, or the novelty, or some accessory excitement. 
No; Church courts are both entitled and bound to judge prac- 
tices by their overt forms, and by the tendencies which experi- 
ence shows usually inhering in them. Tried in this way, round 
dancing certainly falls under the ban, both of the principles of 
Scripture and the express words of our constitution, by which we 
have all voluntarily covenanted to walk. 

Seeing that the practice of our Sessions is still timid, we are 
persuaded that- it would be well for our next Assembly to speak 
out still more explicitly, and order categorically the discipline of 
all church members who are found contumacious in round danc- 
ing as practised between men and women, or who dance in pub- 
lic and promiscuous balls, after any fashion of the mixture of the 
sexes. The latter prohibition should rest on the facts that, as the 
world now goes, round dances do prevail at all public balls; and 
also, that the free access to them of persons disreputable, profane, 
intemperate, or utterly frivolous, renders them sinful places for 



The Dancing Question. 


Christians; unless, like their Saviour, they go thither to carry 
the warnings of the gospel. And this declarative legislation the 
Assembly should rest squarely on the words of our Catechism, and 
the principles of the Bible. As to the milder forms of domestic 
and social dancing, we would have the presbyters of the Church 
rely, for the present at least, on dissuasions and instructions. 

No man is fit to be a presbyter in Christ's Church who is ca- 
pable of being intimidated from the performance of covenanted 
judicial duties by the strength and rampancy of an abuse. No 
presbyter should need to be reminded that, as a question of mere 
policy, it is far wiser to have a small church expurgated of world- 
ly corruptions, and clad in the beauty of holiness, than a large 
one weakened and crippled by dead members. But there is, we 
fear, reason that we should all have "searchings of heart" for our 
moral cowardice, in the presence of the worldly conformities 
which now so deface our Zion. 

It is justly remarked, that a merely repressive policy, where 
no innocent substitute for vicious amusements is offered, may 
more probably repel than reform the youth of our Church. There 
is a trait of human nature which the wise pastor should study. 
We usually speak of man as "a social being." The mass of hu- 
man beings scarcely deserve so elevated a description, and should 
rather be termed gregarious. The gregarious instinct in them is 
potent. They shun solitude, and earnestly crave the presence of 
their kind; but not converse with their kind. For, in fact, ordi- 
nary people have not intellectual resources enough to furnish 
anything that deserves the name of conversation, except for a 
small fraction of the hours they crave to spend together. To bo 
compelled to kcsep up intelligible conversation the whole time 
would be to them more irksome than the solitude from which 
they flee. Here is the true source — so far as the impulse is not 
vicious — of all the non-intellectual amusements. People need 
something which does not tax their ill-furnished minds, 7/jhich 
they may do together^ so as to provide for the instinct of gregari- 
ousness. This solution is verified in the case of the old housewives, 
who spend a long summer's day in each other's presence, with 
little social communion save the community of their occupation 


The Dancing Question. 


of knitting. It was verified around the planter's fireside, in for- 
mer days, when children and servants pleasantly spent the long 
winter evening in the common task of "picking cotton." It is 
verified in the long sederunfs of whist-playing old ladies and 
gentlemen. The communion in the mild excitement of their 
game gives play to the gregarious appetency, without taxing their 
vacant hiinds for any other contribution to the mutual intercourse. 
The same solution accounts for a large part of the interest in the 
more decent dances of our fathers. Often have we seen young 
fellows, at social gatherings, with minds too unfurnished for sus- 
tained converse, detained in the parlors in part by good manners, 
and in part by the unsatisfied gregarious instinct, yet insuff'er- 
ably "bored." But at last the music enters, and they are im- 
mediately revived. Here now is something which they can do 
in common; a social occupation which brings them into a grega- 
rious union, to which their heels are competent, if their heads 
were not. 

The problem tor the wise parent then should be, not overlook- 
ing this trait, to find social occupations which may satisfy it, and 
yet may be innocent; and instead of aggravating the incapacity, 
and leading downwards like the dance, to deeper mental vacuity 
and positively vicious sentiments, may instruct while they please 
and unite. Might not a holy ingenuity find a sufficient variety 
of such gregarious occupations? One suggestion is that of par- 
lor vocal music, both social and sacred. Another is the time- 
honored usage of reading aloud. Let the selections vary frona 
"grave to gay," while never coarse or demoralising; and let 
"them who are strong bear the infirmities of the weak," by yield- 
ing their attention in turn to the simple matter which may inter- 
est without fatiguing even the juvenile and the vacant mind. 
Thus the temptation to less safe amusements may be obviated, 
and the social hours of the young be made enjoyable, without 
being made dangerous. R. L. Dabney. 

VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 16. 



The Question of Dancing 





This is and ever has been a free journal. From its beginning, 
some thirty years since, there has never been amongst even its 
editors a complete agreement of opinion on all subjects. And so 
its correspondents and contributors have frequently differed in 
the sentiments expressed by them. Indeed, our Church is by 
no means at one upon a variety of questions which, though not 
fundamental, are yet frequently of great practical importance. 
Hence the necessity and the value of free discussion. This 
journal claims that during its whole course it has furnished op- 
portunity to thoughtful men for setting forth without reserve 
their varying opinions. 

In this very number we are furnishing an illustration of the 
catholic spirit of this Review. One of our most learned theo- 
: logians, who is at the same time of our editorial corps, utters 
freely and foi;cibly his opinions on an important practical ques- 
tion Avhich is dividing our Church at the present moment. He 
may well be reckoned to have made the strongest, fullest, and 
, most impressive exhibition possible of that side of the question 
which he has espoused. If he has not established the doctrine 
which he advocates, it may be taken for granted that it cannot 
be established. Having no such claims as his to the attention or 
respect of the Church for what we have to offer, nevertheless we 
shall essay to'dispute some of his positions, being much impressed 
with the opinion that there is danger both to the purity, the 
liberty, and the peace of our ecclesiastical household from some 
of the views which he has advanced. 

Tlierc are two positions maintained: the one that dancing is 
sinful, the other that it is an offence to be formally disciplined. 
On the first point, as well as on the second, the argument is full, 
positive, and elaborate; and the ground taken makes every form 
of this amusement to be morally wrong. There is a distinction 
drawn between some forms and other forms of it, so that the sin- 



From Another Point of View. ; 


fulness is greater in some cases than in others; but it will not be 
denied that the first position maintained is condemnatory in gen- 
eral of all dancing as sinful. 

Now we are not and never have been patrons of your " dancing 
disciples." We are not and never have been friends, admirers, 
ot apologists of the amusement of dancing in any of its forms. 
But this is not because we are able to accept the first position 
taken, which makes all dancing sinful. We are on record as 
expressing very strong disapprobation of all forms of dancing 
between the sexes, and we still hold the same opinions on that 
subject. But the proposition, that dancing, considered generally, 
is sinful, followed as it is and must be by the other propositionni 
viz., that it must be formally disciplined, presents the subject in 
a very different light. Our ground is, that this is just one of 
those many things which are to be condemned and dissuaded from, 
but not made matters of technical discipline. But it is attempted 
to shew (page 828) that one has no right to disapprove unless one 
is so clearly convinced that God's word is against that which is 
disapproved, as to be prepared to demand its discipline by the 
Church. Now, we admit that the word is our rule in morals as 
in faith. But the distinction is clear and warrantable between 
disapprobation or condemnation, and formal church discipline 
based on judicial proceedings. An individual Christian may 
speak or write against what is in his opinion dangerous, and a 
pastor may from the pulpit reason and exhort, and a Session may 
warn or remonstrate, respecting whatever in the general aspects 
of the word seems to be improper or injurious. But when that 
court comes to acts of technical discipline, the warrant of the 
word is reasonably and rightfully required to be much more ex- 
plicit. This distinction is made in chapter first of our present 
Book of Discipline, «and is expressly admitted on page 303 of the 
argument we criticise. And it has been acknowledged necessary 
and just by all authorities on ecclesiastical discipline. 

The distinction is also clear and warrantable between those 
-actions themselves that are to be disapproved on general grounds 
of Scripture as many persons believe, and other actions whose 
condemnation is either express in Scripture or else necessarily de- 



' The Question of Daneing 


ducible therefrom. We call these latter sinful. The former are 
only questionable, and different minds will and may view them 
diiferently. There is card-playing, and theatre-going, and novel- 
reading, and tobacco-chewing or smoking, and all use, even the 
most moderate, of any kind of stimulating drink, and dinner 
parties, and big suppers, and fashionable dress and equipage, and 
the wearing of a gold watch, diamond ring, or other jewelry — 
yes, and we may go further and say life insurance, and the mar- 
riage of first cousins; and proceeding another step, the use of 
instrumental music in public worship in God's house, and of 
church fairs with their many bad accompaniments; and going a 
little further, the use of stated supplies for a long period instead 
of settled pastors; and still further, the establishment of theo- 
logical seminaries; and still one step more, the Pan-Presbyterian 
Alliance itself — all these, and a score or two more of other like 
things, are questionable with many, and they have been and are 
occasions of earnest differences of opinion amongst honest, consci- 
entious, intelligent Christians, who have nevertheless all alike 
adopted the word as their only rule. And some of these things 
have seemed to many to be fully as objectionable as any form of 
dancing. Novel reading, for example, as practised amongst us, 
is probably in every aspect quite as great an evil as dancing. It 
has lately been said on high authority that "no one systematically 
reads the average novelette of the day and keeps either integrity 
or virtue; and that there are a million of men and women in the 
United States to-day reading themselves into hell." And then 
the use of tobacco: who can calculate the evils of that practice to 
health and to morals both? These evils are so manifest, and they 
press so heavily on the consciences of many, that some Churches 
in these States have been ready to make either chewing or smoking 
a disciplinable offence. For ourselves, we have a thousand times 
wished that we had a scourge of small cords put into our hands 
with authority to go and cleanse our ministry, and our member- 
ship too, from all this abominable filth. But where are we to find 
Scripture for making the use of either tobacco or novels a dis- 
ciplinable offence? ** 

Now, the whole argument to prove that dancing is sinful ap- 


From Another Point of View. 


pears to us to be a signal failure, while, nevertheless, it is a very 
successful dennonstration that dancing, like the other matters just 
named, is questionable, and may fairly be held in disapprobation 
by a conscientious Bible believer. 

What is the line of argument to prove dancing to be sinful? 
The first point made is, that classical antiquity eschewed it. 
Surely the heathen Greeks and B.omans are hardly to be held up 
as authority with us Christians as to what our church courts shall 
condemn as sinful. Surely all things were not wicked which 
they held to be such. The second proof is drawn from the con- 
demnation of Christian antiquity ; where again it is just the 
opinions of men that are quoted. Then, thirdly^ we are told of 
modern Christian judgment and legislation, where Calvin, and the 
Westminster Assembly, and the Scotch Kirk, and the American 
Assemblies (including our own), and John Wesley, and Adam 
Clarke, and the General Conference of the Methodist Church, 
and a number of Episcopal bishops of the highest character, and 
various Diocesan Conventions of the Episcopal Church, and cer- 
tain Papal bodies and bishops in America are quoted. 

Now let it be observed, that in Calvin's day, at Geneva, there 

were enormous excesses practised under the guise of popular 

amusements. Bungener, in his "Life of Calvin," says: - ^ 

"It must not be forgotten what, at that period, certain things were, 
which the refinement of manners has more or less modified. Every 
custom, and therefore, much more, every kind of disorder, retained the 
impress of preceding centuries ; hence the passions easily degenerated 
into a brutish and uncouth cynicism. Drunkenness and revelling are 
now among the very lowest of the inferior classes just what they 
were then to many of the higher ranks. There were scarcely any inno- 
cent pleasures. The dances, for instance — do those who reproach Cal- 
vin for having so strictly forbidden them, know what they were? They 
may learn it from these same registers, which shew us that the said 
dances were forbidden long before Calvin's time ; they may learn it 
also from the registers of our courts of justice ; for they not seldom 
degenerated into outrages on decency which no respectable government 
will ever tolerate." (P. 110.) 

So, too, Guizot, in his "Saint Louis and Calvin" (p. 274), 

quotes from the "Pieces Justificatives by Gaberel" (p. 249) as 

follows: "A memoir still exists which gives a detailed account of 



J Mr The Question of Dancing 


these extraordinary amusements, and from this terrible record it 
appears that the dances then performed in private houses would 
not be tolerated at the present day in the height of the most 
disorderly carnival." This memorial, addressed to the king of 
Navarre by Dancau, is in the library of Geneva. 

And let it also be understood, that no man has expressed him- 
self more scripturally, kindly, moderately, and wisely than Calvin 
on the subject of disciplining oifenders by the Church. He knew, 
like his great teacher Augustin, how to point out "the incon- 
siderate zeal for righteousness of even good men," and how to 
condemn their "excessive moroseness" and their too "rigorous 
severity." He could quote from Augustin how "the pious and 
placid should mercifully correct what they can in the Church, but 
bear patiently what they cannot correct, in love lamenting and 
mourning until God either reform and correct, or at the harvest 
root up the tares and scatter the chaff." He could say in his 
own words: "Let all the godly study to provide themselves with 
these weapons, lest, while they deem themselves strenuous and 
ardent defenders of rightousness, they revolt from the kingdom 
of heaven, which is the only kingdom of righteousness." Yes, 
Calvin strongly sympathised with Augustin when he said that 
"if the contagion of sin has seized the multitude, mercy must ac- 
company living discipline." And so when Augustin, speaking 
of "drunkenness, which is so severely condemned in Scripture, 
but was prevalent in Africa with impunity," called for a council 
to provide a remedy, Calvin heartily approves his declaring, 
nevertheless, "In my opinion such things are not removed by 
rough, harsh, and imperious measures, but more by teaching than 
commanding, more by admonishing than threatening. For it is 
thus we are to act with the multitude of offenders. Severity is 
to be exercised against only the sins of the few." 

Calvin, therefore, is not to be pleaded as insisting on disciplin- 
ing the dances at Geneva without explanation as to the character 
of the amusement then and there. And the Reformer must be 
understood as objecting with Augustin to any use whatever of 
formal discipline with a whole demoralised church or community. 
Formal discipline is not to be used where the public sentiment 


From Another Point of View. 


does not sustain it as wise and good; and this, of course, cannot 
be where any abuse is generally practised. In cases of that sort, 
preaching is the remedy, according to Augustin and to Calvin; 
not commanding and not threatening, but teaching and admon- 
ishing must be relied on. It is only where an offence is the sin 
of the few that they recommend formal discipline. And we may 
add, that even then it should not be resorted to hastily. It is a 
dangerous remedy in unskilful hands. One single case of it mis- 
managed may split a flourishing church into fragments. '!.''•''■ 

Then, as to the Westminster Assembly, let it be observed that 
it qualifies the dancing it pronounces sinful with the terra 
"lascivious." ,, :. 

And then the testimony of our Southern Church does not seem - 
to us quite so strong as represented. In 1865, for example, the 
Assembly denied distinctly the right of any church court to make 
new rules of membership different from those contained in the 
Constitution, but allowed that each has power to declare or affirm 
its ficnse of what is an offence; signifying, of course, that an ap- 
peal might always be taken from its judgment on that point. And 
that Assembly said that the "lascivious dancings" named in the 
Larger Catechism are not, in its belief, those usual in. our best 
society; also, that it would not say that all these worldly amuse- 
ments are, in their own nature, sinful. Yet it is correctly stated 
that that Assembly did call on Sessions to "separate from the 
church those who love the world and conformity thereto rather 
than the law of Christ." The same was done by the Assembly 
of 18C)9 ; but that body qualified the dances to be disciplined by 
the term "promiscuous." Then in 1877 the Presbytery of 
Atlanta asked the Assembly to explain whether all dancing, or 
only promiscuous dancing, is forbidden. And that Assembly 
answers that all forms of the dance, whether round or square, and 
whether in public balls or private parlors, tend to evil, are evil, 
and should be discountenanced. It was very clear as to the 
teaching and admonishing, but less so as to the commanding and 
threatening. For that Assembly very wisely said that the extent 
of the evil depends on circumstances, and that Sessions are the 
only courts competent to judge what remedy to apply; and it also 



The Question of Dancing' 


recommended great patience on the part of Sessions with oifenders 
in the matter of dancing. ; : ■,,,. •, y- ^^ hm ; ; 

This language is interpreted to mean that the Assembly 
"clothes the Session with the power of judicial discipline." Wo 
submit, that if the Session did not possess the power of judicial 
discipline before, it could not be clothed with it by any Assembly. 
No Assembly can clothe a Session with any power which it does 
not get from the Constitution of our Church. This representa- 
tion of the matter is repeated again and again. The Assembly, 
it is said, "authorises the Sessions to judge what remedy to apply." 
We know that the New Orleans Assembly expressed the opinion 
that only the court most immediately connected with the people 
can judge how best to deal with such occurrences amongst them; 
but we submit, that that was not by any means the same as to say 
that Sessions must use formal discipline. The Sessions who only 
can know all the circumstances of each case can alone determine 
wisely what the remedy should be; but whatever remedy they do 
employ, they must exercise great patience in dealing with those 
who offend in this way. That is really what the New Orleans 
Assembly said. But we submit, that even if it had expressed the 
positive judgment ascribed to it, our Sessions should have now 
no more authority in the matter than they had before the Assem- 
bly met at New Orleans. It is from the Book, and not from the 
Assembly, they get all their authority. Moreover, it is to our 
mind quite clear that the Assembly at New Orleans was not 
thinking at all of any such undertaking as "clothing the Ses- 
sions," nor yet of bestowing on them, the grant of any new 
"authority." On the contrary, what it was aiming at was just to 
free itself from any supposed power or obligation to deal with 
such cases, seeing that, as has been well said in the article we are 
considering, the act in question must be considered in the con- 
crete with its circumstances and adjuncts. The Assembly said 
that the church Session is the only court competent to judge 
what remedy to apply; in other words, the supreme judicatory 
cannot determine any such cases except as they may come up 
from the courts below in one or other of the four constitutional 



From Another Point of View. 


ways. This, now, really is the last deliverance made by our 
Southern General Assembly. .^ 

But as touching Calvin's opinion and that of the Westminster 
and the Southern Assemblies and all the other Assemblies, and 
all the Bishops and Dioceses^all the Conventions and Conferences 
named — what of them all, singly or collectively? What do they 
avail in the question before us? Excellently good they certainly 
are, and deserving of much respect as evincing that, according to 
the best judgment of the most pious and the wise men, dancing 
is to be discountenanced as an improper and a dangerous thing. 
Let them be quoted again and again to frown down this amuse- 
ment. Let them be used to organise a public sentiment which 
shall banish it from refined society. There must be something 
evil in dancing (as said Dr. Thornwell) when the Church in all 
ages has set her face against it. But (as he said again) the 
Church has no opinions — she has a faith. That is to say, the 
Church may not act on opinions held by whom they may be, in 
or out of her bosom ; she can act only on what is indisputably re- 
vealed. Our Confession savs well the whole counsel of God is 
either expressly set down in Scripture or by good and necessary 
consequence may be deduced from Scripture, unto which nothing 
is at any time to be added. It is thus we get every doctrine — 
either it is expressed in the word, or it is necessarily deducible 
from the word. And so our rules of discipline must be based on 
principles that are distinctly revealed. If the good and the wise 
who have been quoted, can shew that dancing is, either expressly 
or by necessary consequence deductively prohibited in the word, 
let them make that plain, and there will be an end of the matter. 
But it is just wasting words to tell us what men have thought or 
believed on a subject like this, when the question regards formal 
discipline by the Church. Suppose the lawfulness of instrumental 
music in public worship were under earnest discussion, as we our- 
selves think it ought to be all through our Church, could those 
who, like ourselves, believe that not being commanded it is for- 
bidden, claim to apply that principle so decisively as to make the 
use of an organ an offence to be formally disciplined, and that 
against the honest and earnest, though, we think, unfounded, plea 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 17. 



The Question of Dancing 


by good men that the organ is a necessity to good congrec^ational 
singing? Suppose the marriage of cousins was to be earnestly 
protested against, on the ground that the Scripture forbids 
marrying any who are "near of kin." Coukl it be fairly main- 
tained that the application of that prohibition in this way is 
clearly necessary, so as to make this kind of marriage sinful? A 
great deal is said, and we think can be justly said, against such 
marriages; logic and eloquence and zeal might fortify themselves 
with the testimonies of the highest medical authorities and assail 
this practice and seek to bring it under the formal ban of the 
Church ; but is the deduction a clear and necessary one, such as 
would justify ihe claim that the Scriptures condemn this kind of 
Why, even the marriage of the wife's sister, which 


seems to us to be far more clearly condemned in the word, could 
not, we seriously apprehend, be successfully maintained to be so 
unquestionably forbidden in the Scriptures as to be a proper 
matter of discipline. That practice is getting to be common in 
our Church, and the subject is one that ought to be discussed 
amongst us by way of preventing the further spread of it, sup- 
posing that such marriages are incestuous; but is it not manifest 
that the formal discipline of such marriages in the present state 
of public opinion is a somewhat questionable remedy for any 
church Session to apply? Suppose, again, that a church Session 
should be unanimous in the opinion that life assurance is based 
on a wicked distrust of providence, and in fact is a species of the 
sin of gambling. Would it be safe or right for them to undertake 
to discipline a church member for making that sort of provision 
for his widow and orphans? And so we might ask whether the 
most earnest advocate of total abstinence from drink, though he 
can portray in melting terms the grief of broken-hearted wives 
and the distress of worse than fatherless children, and though he 
can describe justly and movingly the dishonor to religion from 
drunkenness in the very Church, and though he can demonstrate 
that no man becomes a drunkard in a day, and that the temperate 
use of liquor is the road to intemperance — yet, we might ask, can 
this pleader for teetotalism expect to prevail with the Church to 
make all use of stimulus a sin and a disciplinable offence? Let 



From Another Point of View. 


him tell us of the tremendous array of testimony which can be 
produced to declare the drcadfulness of intemperance; let him 
also set forth the incontrovertible opinion hehl by hundreds and 
thousands of good and wise men, that if there were no tiioderate 
drinkers there could be no drunkards; let him produce (as has 
been done in this question of dancing) "a concursus of all re- 
ligions, all ages, all civilisations," against drunkenness and all 
the causes (especially the chief cause) of it; and let him seek by 
all this powerful array to make some little, insignificant, obscure 
Presbyterian church Session declare that moderate drinking is a 
sin: and he will fail, and he ought to fail, because the Church 
must not essay to be wiser than her Lord, or better than the 
Bible. Let the State adopt the Maine law, which forbids all 
selling ofe liquor except by the apothecary on the physician's pre- 
scription; we would hold up both hands for it; it would be a 
mighty bulwark against intemperance, and in fact might be the 
very cure of it; and not only so, but it would be a perfectly 
legitimate exercise of the law-making power of the State. But 
the Church cannot make laws. This is the insuperable obstacle 
in the way of that exercise of discipline which is urged. We are 
not the Lord's councillors, but his servants. He makes the 
laws ; Church rulers can only administer them. And therefore, 
all that is said about the "self sufficiency and arrogance which, 
in its ignorance and inexperience sets itself up against what the 
wise and the good of the ancient and modern world" have said 
about dancing, or any thing else; all this falls to the ground. 
The plea of Christian liberty is to be asserted over and over again 
whenever churches or church courts essav to invade that liberty 
in the least degree. The Apostle says we must stand fast and be 
not brought under any human yoke. And so, whatever "the 
opinion of the virtuous of all ages" about dancing, and whether 
that "opinion be sound or not," the question before us simply is, 
whether, if the Church undertake the formal discipline of any 
practice not indisputably forbidden in the Scriptures, basing her 
action solely on the opinions of the virtuous of all ages, it does 
not become the duty of the humblest member in all "humility, 




The Question of Dancing 


modesty, and docility" to protest, in the interest of the liberty 
and the purity and the peace of the Church. . /- 

But it is contended, touching the first point of the argument 
we are reviewing, that the Scriptures do condemn public dancing 
both "fully and expressly" — as much so, at least, "as the plan of 
its revelation made possible for it." The proof offered is: (1) 
that the Bible enjoins sobriety, and the dance is an act of pro- 
nounced levity ; (2) that the Bible enjoins strict economy, but the 
modern dance is a wasteful and expensive amusement; (3) that 
the Bible requires modesty of female dress, but the dance usually 
an opposite mode; (4) that the Scriptures expressly forbid the 
modern dance, in that they enjoin the strictest purity in the inter- 
course of the sexes. There is a fifth statement of proof, but let 
us look for a moment at the argument as thus far presented. 

The first remark we have to offer is, that we have under these 
four heads a statement of the writer's views touching the bearing 
of certain Scriptures on the dance. There are very many who 
agree with him. In many of the positions he takes, we agree with 
him ourselves. But there are many, very many, perhaps, not in 
his circle or sphere of life or ours, but certainly many in other 
spheres, who differ with him entirely as to the justness of his 
application of the Scriptures quoted. A great deal, of course, 
depends on our training. Many things seem to country people 
extravagant wliich city folks consider moderate. Persons of the 
middle class, educated at home and brought up with simple tastes, 
cannot take the same views which obtain in the highest ranks of 
life. There must be allowed a considerable latitude for these 
necessary differences of taste and habits and feeling. The Church 
must not undertake sumptuary regulations. She cannot construct 
her rules of discipline to suit any one class, whether the highest 
or the lowest or the middling. They must be such as will easily 
and naturally apply to the different situations in which her mem- 
bers are found. Her rules of discipline, it is true, must not be 
made of gum-elastic; but, on the other hand, they must not be 
iron-works which cannot bend without breaking. 

The second observation we make is, that the acknowledgments 
quoted from many advocates of the round dance are such as we 


From Another Point of View. 


have ourselves heard denied by honest and fair witnesses. Here, 
again, much depends on training and character, and both those 
testimonies we have received and those quoted on the other side 
may be equally true. But this much is certain: there are men 
of such vicious disposition and such immoral training and char- 
acter that every circumstance is to them a temptation and an 
inducement. For such men, not the dance merely, but every 
other form and mode of social life excites evil inclinations. More- 
over, if because of the abuse of it by some very badly disposed 
persons, we are to discipline dancing, it will be necessary, for the 
same reason, to make an offence out of all the amusements which 
voung people can ever have, however innocently, together. 
There is no possible coming together of the sexes in social inter- 
course which will not be liable to the objection of tempting bad 
men to evil. . ... ;, , 

The third remark which occurs to us is, that the Scripture in- 
junction to sobriety^ as here interpreted and understood, would 
apply full as well to the playfulness of our youth ; and that what 
is said about the requirement of economy would call for the dis- 
cipline of rich church members who ride in fine carriages and 
dwell in brown stone fronts. .,,.,., 

A fourth suggestion is, that our Creator has made the sexes to 
incline towards one another, and it is right that they should. 
And every attempt that is made to bar against these constitutional 
tendencies must not only fail, but react and work evil. A good 
deal of what has been said upon this whole topic appears to us 
preposterous; for example, the idea that young men and young 
women in society are required by the Apostle Paul to regard 
each other with only such feelings as belong properly to brothers 
and sisters. We cannot make Shakers of our young people, and 
must not try to do it. 

Once more: the weakness of all this argument from Scripture, 
so far, is, that the deduction is not of good and necessary conse- 
quence. The application made is not such as will bear calm and 
fair examination, or as will commend itself to the impartial judg- 
ment of intelligent observers of human life and manners. Dis- 
cipline would break down under any attempt of this sort to make 
out its justification. 



The Question of Dancing 



But let us recur to an expression quoted already as to the 
Bible's condemning dancing "as expressly as the plan of its 
revelation nnade possible for it." With deference, we suggest 
that this language is objectionable — it seems to signify (what we 
know was not designed) that the word is not as complete and 
perfect a rule as might be desired. It would seem to have been 
forgotten for the moment that not only what is expressly written, 
but what is necessarily deducible therefrom, is revealed — the 
latter full as completely as the former. And some will be in 
danger of receiving the idea from what is said that from the very 
nature of the case, however sinful dancing may be, the revelation 
made long before it was invented could not possibly prohibit it 
in a perfectly clear and distinct way by anticipation, which 
position, of course, is not tenable any more than it is honorable 
to the word. Nor does it appear to us that there is as felicitous 
a statement as our author usually makes when he sets forth what 
is the plan adopted by the Author of the Bible, as follows: 
"This plan was so to prohibit sins which were current in those 
generations, as to furnish all honest minds parallels and prece- 
dents which would safely guide them in classing the sins of later 
invention." It is not "parallels and precedents" so much as 
principles which the Author of revelation has given us for the 
guidance of our minds and our ways. Accordingly, it seems to 
us that no Session called on to discipline a man for wantonly 
cutting a telegraph wire or displacing a railroad bar in front of a 
passenger train, would any more go to the Bible for a parallel or 
a precedent than for an express prohibition of these particular 
forms of sin. Our standards would make the former of these 
offences, in several different forms of expression, a clear and in- 
disputable violation of the Eighth Commandment, which requires 
justice between man and man; and they would make the second 
also, clearly and indisputably, a violation of the Sixth Command- 
ment. There were no telegraph wires or railroads when the 
Decalogue was given, but the Sixth and the Eighth Command- 
ments have unquestionably anticipated the sins mentioned, and 
no session could pretend that there is any lack of clear Scripture 
condemnation of these sins. So of all sins: the Bible condemns 


From Another JPoint of Vieto. 


all possible offences against God or man, and whatever it does 
not condemn, either expressly or deductively by good consequence, 
is no offence, and must not be made by man to be an offence. 
And the difficulty which Sessions find as to dancing, and which 
the Westminster Assembly also found, was that it cannot be made 
out to be indisputably certain that all dancing can be held to be 
in violation of the Seventh Commandment; so that the Assembly of 
Divines were obliged to insert that qualifying term, "lascivious." 

But, fifth, it is said that Scripture virtually includes the modern 
dance in an express prohibition in three places, viz., Rom. xiii. 13, 
Gal. V. 21, and I Peter iv. 3. The first passage condemns rioting, 
and the other two revellings. And it is added that the Sixth 
Commandment prohibits suicide, but dancing destroys both mental 
and bodily health, which makes it doubly suicidal. This com- 
pletes the argument from Scripture to prove dancing sinful.' ; . 

We have only to remark, with deference, that this appears to 
us to be a thorough break doivn in the appeal to the word. That 
portion of the argument which relates to suicide is just a mere 
general inference not to be relied on for a moment as a basis of 
judicial discipline. But what of the three texts? Clearly they 
forbid rioting and revelling. And these offences may accompany 
dancing; but is it safe to affirm that they always do accompany 
it? Can we reason from rioting and revelling, which are clearly 
forbidden, to all dancing — to even all round dancing? On 
page ':i26 we read: "We believe that round dancing at least is a 
sin of a very grave character and a flagrant breach of morals;" 
and again, on page 334, that round dances are always "unlawful 
and disciplinable in Christ's Church; for they are never per se 
indifferent, but essentially contrary to the permanent precepts of 
Scripture, as has been shown." Now, if any texts of Scripture 
have been adduced to show that round dancing is essentially 
sinful, it can only be these three; and to affirm that these do so 
teach is to affirm that "round dancing" and "rioting and 
revelling" are synonymous terms. Surely this will be acknowl- 
edged by all to be going too far. 

So much for the first position maintained — viz., that dancing 

7,^^'' «',SJ:<f,V 




The Question of Lancing 


is sinful. Let us pass to the other : that it is an offence to be 
formally disciplined. Of course, however, this cannot stand if 
there has really been, as we suppose, a failure to make good the 
first position. If this be so, then all falls to the ground which is 
said about some forms of dancing having "every mark by which 
disciplinable sins are discriminated from the undisciplinable; 
they are public sins; their commission is overt; the acts may 
be clearly defined ; they are notoriously attended by scandal ; 
ttiey have regular tendencies to other sins" (page 826). Indeed, 
how could it possibly be true that some forms of dancing are as 
here described, and yet some other forms of the same amusement 
be innocent? Admit that it is the circumstances which make 
the criminality, and then you may discriminate between dancing 
and dancing. But if certain forms of dancing are, as is declared, 
"never per se indifferent, but essentially contrary to the perma- 
nent precepts of Scripture" (page 384), then it passes our com- 
prehension how there can be any innocent forms of the same act. 
There may be innocent forms of killing, but not of murder, nor 
of stealing, nor of lying, nor of adultery, nor of any other act 
which is essentially sinful. 

We are, therefore, not a little surprised to meet at the outset 
of the second part of this discussion the admission distinctly made 
(page 823), that "there are forms of dancing which are innocent." 
So far as observed, this has not been admitted till now. All 
along we have understood it to be held that the modern dance — 
that is, the dancing of the sexes together in any form — is always 
sinful, though more or less so, according to circumstances. 

The first point made under this second .head of the discussion, 
is, that there is no reason to deny that dancing is a disciplinable 
offence from the fact that there are gradations in dancing — some 
kinds being admitted to be innocent, and the sinful kinds shading 
off nicely from the other ; and the further fact, that the Bible has 
not drawn the line between the tolerated and the disciplinable 
forms of the practice; because the lesser and the greater breaches 
of all the commandments shade off into each other, and because 
such a plea for not disciplining certain dances would prove that 
no breach of any commandment is disciplinable. 

1879.] ' 

From Another Point of View. 


Now, the first remark we have to offer is, that we do not know 
of any greater breaches of any of the commandments which do so 
shade off into lesser breaches as that these latter become innocent. 
There are some sins greater than others, but no breaches of any 
commandment are innocent. v'^^ :«/?^^^t'3^i ^^? fw ^w^s, 

And our second observation is, that the gradation plea is one 
we would not think of making. A far more obvious as well as 
stronger plea is, that the Bible does not, so far as proved, make 
any form of dancing sinful; and therefore the Church can only 
warn and cannot discipline. If rioting and revelling, or any 
other sinful thing, be mixed up with any dance, that may of 
course be disciplined. But the simple dancing, whether round 
or square, we have not had demonstrated to be condemned either 
expressly or by good and necessary consequence in the Bible. It 
is not, therefore, in itself a disciplinable offence. And yet, in 
every age, the Church has looked upon it as a questionable and 
dangerous thing, .and therefore has remonstrated and exhorted 
against it, and to these warnings and remonstrances all right- 
minded church members should pay great respect. What is so 
well urged about its being a dividing line, in the apprehension of 
many, between the penitent and the ungodly, deserves the highest 
consideration. For our own part, we cordially accept the state- 
ment that it is frontier ground between the kingdom of Christ 
and that ♦of Satan. There is, and as has been well said, there 
always must be, a belt of territory between rival kingdoms, and 
so between the Church and the world, which is ''the debateable 
land." And this is always, as is well said, a region full of perils, 
and the man or the woman who desires to pay proper regard to 
his or her own safety will not dwell very near this dangerous 
boundary, even" though it may be honestly believed that it belongs 
to the King. The actual peril of this contested territory is well 
nigh as great as of the enemy's acknowledged soil. And the 
Christian who is successfully assaulted by Satan will usually be, 
as is well urged, the very one who causelessly ventures near his 
boundary line. It is true, as is insisted on, that usually men do 
not backslide by suddenly falling into some monstrous crime. 
Satan does not attempt to rend a soul from Christ by inserting 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 18. 



TJiQ Question of Dancing 


first the blunt edge of his wedge between them, but its thin edge, 
and that because it is thin. And for this reason Christians ought 
to guard themselves most against the smaller sins lying next to 
the debateable zone; and for this reason, those who watch for 
souls are bound to be most wakeful and strict at the same points. 

All this is exactly to our mind, only the strict watchfulness of 
pastors and Sessions must not take the form of technical discipline, 
but that of parental, loving, affectionate oversight and care. We 
do not believe that the testimony of pastors and elders, who are 
thus tenderly watchful, will be found to be, as is said on page 326, 
that "the milder measures of instruction and remonstrance fail 
to restrain" our youthful church members. Certainly we have 
had contrary testimony. At New Orleans, two pastors, one of 
Richmond, Virginia, the other of St. Louis, each having in charge 
a large church in a rich and gay community, told us they never 
had any difficulty on this subject. They found the power and 
influence of a loving pastorate amply sufficient in every case, 
and they held formal discipline for dancing to be incongruous 
and needless. 

The next point which we deem it necessary to take up is, 
whether rights of conscience can be involved in this question. It 
appears to be considered quite doubtful. There is a statement 
made of the grounds on which such an idea may be entertained, 
but we do not consider the statement altogether adequate. Some, 
it is stated, hold that nothing can be justly disciplined except 
what is expressly condemned by God; others, only what are 
mala per se ; and yet others, that whenever a church court ex- 
ceeds these two restrictions, the individual who so thinks about 
its action is not only at liberty to assert, but bound to assert, his 
freedom of conscience by doing just what such court forbids.. 
Now, as to the first of these points, surely nobody would say that 
the express prohibition is necessary where the thing is forbidden 
deductively. And as to the second, surely nobody would say 
that a church court may not judicially discipline where an act, 
not malum per se, becomes unquestionably sinful through the 
circumstances of its commission. Then as to the third point, 
clearly it involves a very nice and difficult question, and nobody 


Fr'Om Another Point of View. 


could be so foolish as to lay down the imperative rule stated. 
Wisdom is profitable to direct. It may be one's duty under such 
circumstances quietly to submit. It may be his duty to refuse 
submission to the court of first resort in the way of appealing to 
a higher court until a decision is reached in the highest court. 
And should the decision be then adverse to his conscientious con- 
victions of what Scripture and our Constitution maintain, as 
might be the case, perhaps he would be bound (see Confession, 
Chap. XX., § 2) to hold his membership or his ministerial 
position and agitate — of course, however, in a constitutional and 
Christian way — for the reform of what he may justly consider 
corruption and abuse; for "all synods or councils since the 
Apostles' times, whether general or particular, may err, and may 
have erred," and "to obey" their commandments is sometimes 
"to betray true liberty of conscience." ^- 'h:S' •T'Tr? 

Now we do not think it can be justly maintained that any pro- 
fessed believer who entered our communion when we became a 
separate Presbyterian Church, whether member or office-bearer, 
found any such rule as made dancing a disciplinable offence.- 
There was no such term of communion amongst us then, and there 
is no such term of communion now. The Assembly of 1865 
called on Sessions to discipline such as "love the world and con- 
formity thereto rather than the law of Christ." The Assembly 
of 1869 enjoined the discipline of "promiscuous dancings." 
Those who were anxious for the formal discipline of the dance 
pressed the Assembly in 1877 to interpret this word "promiscu- 
ous," and say if all dancing is forbidden by our Church. And 
the answer probably surprised them, for the Assembly very 
wisely discountenanced all forms of dancing, but referred the 
whole business of formal discipline to the only body wh^ch can 
constitutionally exercise it, and recommended that body to be 
very patient with offenders. 

It is therefore, we conceive, rather premature to urge that our 
Church has a rule binding Sessions to discipline all dancing, and 
that whoever is not able to approve that method of dealing with 
it must either go out of the Church or else quietly submit ; as 
though our Church policy were settled in favor of formally dis- 



The Question of Dancing 



ciplining the dance. If we are to have a new constitutional rule 
the Presbyteries must first agree to adopt it. And it might be 
well for those who favor the formal discipline of dancing not to 
be too sure that the majority, when such a question shall come 
to be proposed, will certainly be found on their side. Who are 
to wear the name of "dissentients," it will be time enough to 
decide when the question really comes up for decision and is 

It is said that where a majority make a term of communion 
though not sinful yet too strict, and insist on the observance of 
it by the body, it cannot be alleged that there is any Popery in 
their proceeding so long as they do not coerce by civil pains, nor 
declare submission necessary to salvation. But it seems to us, 
with deference, that, notwithstanding what is said, there may be a 
grain of Popery in such a proceeding, inasmuch as "God alone 
is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines 
and commandments of men Avhich are in anything contrary to his 
word, or beside it in matters of faith or worship ; so that to believe 
guch doctrines, or to obey such commandments out of conscience, 
is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring an im- 
plicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy 
liberty of conscience, and reason also." The great Assembly 
which wrote these words, and the many and various other Pres- 
byterian Assemblies which have adopted them (our own included), 
have all considered that apart from enforcement by civil pains 
and from limiting salvation to obedience, it is a Popish thing to 
make any rule that is beside God's word, that is, additional to 
God's word. The whole counsel of God is either expressly set 
down in Scripture or deducible by necessary consequence, and 
we may neither take away from nor add to it. And if there be 
added any rule, whether to be enforced by civil or by spiritual 
and eternal threats, our devotion to true liberty of conscience may 
require us to resist and not obey, lest we become betrayers of 
that most precious inheritance. And here we must remember 
what was said above in connexion with another point about "the 
thin edge." If there is a thin edge of sinful compliance with 
worldly enticements which Satan uses to separate the disciple 


From Another Point of View. 


from his Lord, so there is also a thin edge of human inventions 
in religion and in morals which the devil often introduces to cor- 
rupt the faith and the worship and to destroy the liberty, purity, 
and peace of the Church. The apostle bids us "stand fast and 
not be entangled." We do not know whereunto would grow our 
yielding that anything may be "considered by any judicatory a 
(disciplinable) offence or admitted as matter of accusation, which 
cannot be proved to be such from Scripture or from the regula- 
tions and practice of the Church founded on Scripture.'' There • 
are, as we said in the outset, a score or two of questionable things, 
as many view them, which the Church may discountenance but 
cannot lawfully discipline, because it is not clear from Scripture to 
the general apprehension that they are sinful. And if we begin 
by allowing Sessions to discipline dancing, a^ dancing, if the 
thin edge is once introduced in this way, our Church liberty may 
be speedily destroyed, and with it will go our Church unity and 
also our Church purity. Because it is Popish, let what will be 
said to the contrary, to make any rule beside the Word. The 
Church is, as Calvin well said, closely ^^astricted to the Word.'\. 
In all free governments the ruler may not take the life nor 
abridge the liberty, nor even despoil the property of the subject 
or citizen, except in certain cases plainly provided; and the pro- 
visions which are made to protect the private individual from the 
unlawful exercise of governmental authority over him are very 
numerous, very ingenious, and of the utmost value to liberty. 
And so in that free Christian commonwealth which the Church 
of Jesus Christ constitutes, the liberty of the private Christian 
and of the individual office-bearer is carefully guarded. Presby- 
terians have always been great on liberty, and representative 
government finds its chief model and bulwarks in the provisions 
of its heaven-descended constitution. The question, then, of the 
formal discipline of dancing, or of any other merely questionable 
thing, goes down to the very foundations of our system, for that 
requires that every Christian be left free from doctrines and com- 
mandments of men that are beside the word. And therefore we 
are very strongly of opinion that whatever cannot be clearly and 
indisputably proved from Scripture to be forbidden by the Master, 




The Question of l)ancmg 


his Church can well afford to have passed by without formal dis- 
cipline. Our standards, deducing clearly from the word, say 
that "all provocations to uncleanness" and "all immodest ap- 
parel" and "all light behavior" are violations of the Seventh 
Commandment, and on the same ground they condemn as sinful 
all "lascivious dancings." If we cannot make out to the general 
conviction that any particular form of amusement comes up to 
this description, we are necessarily estopped from formally dis- 
ciplining it. What do we want to condemn in any worldly 
amusement except what is certainly sinful? And wliat can any 
church court touch that the word does not unquestionably 
condemn ? 

The discussion of the law of love and of the unquestionable 
fact that actions may under certain circumstances become truly 
sins is both interesting and instructive, including as it does an 
elaborate exposition of the proceedings of the first Presbyterian 
General Assembly described in the fifteenth chapter of Acts. 
As to the law of love, it is well said, that its obligations never 
can upset Christian liberty — each freeman in Christ must judge 
in the fear of God when he should forego any right of his for the 
sake of his weak brethren ; and that no church court can require 
of him this surrender on pain of discipline, because that would be 
to give them power to make things sinful which God has not made 
80. Then as to neutral acts becoming sinftfl by circumstances, 
which undoubtedly they may in certain cases, it is also well said 
on the other hand, that for a Christian to claim the right to do 
such acts, which have thus become sinful, would be license not 
liberty. And so it is likewise well said that no church court can 
assume to declare that circumstances now make some act sinful 
which Christ or his apostles had left allowable. Everything 
which Christ and his apostles, in other words which the word, 
leaves allowable, may be done .without guilt. Let it be here 
repeated by us that the perfect word of God anticipates to con- 
demn every conceivable sin. There never can arise any new 
sins which that word will not be found to have prohibited. And 
so it is here (page 330) correctly stated: "that a Church may 
justly prohibit a practice as evil by reason of newly arising cir- 


From Another Point of View. 


curastances, it must be able to prove from Scripture (either by 
express declaration or good and neeessary consequence) that 
God regards the practice thus circumstanced as evil." Hence it 
is added, "our Assemblies, whilescripturally condemning drunk- 
enness, have scripturally refused to make temperate drinking an 
offence." All this appears to us exactly true and just, and more- 
over quite confirmatory of our position in this argument. But 
the illustration here given we are not prepared to adopt. That 
a Presbyterian minister should ever go habitually to drink in a 
drinking-hell and in that way encourage drunkenness is a very 
unsupposable case. Some strangely powerful and sustaining 
reason for such a course would be necessary or it could not be 
taken, and this reason must needs be such as would justify the 
act before Presbytery. We can as easily suppose such a reason 
as we can suppose such an act. If the act were done without 
some such reason, of course it would be censurable as an evil act. 
But what is the thing Presbytery would censure? Not his drink- 
ing, but his setting a scandalous example by his drinking pub- 
licly. And he would be told to use his liberty of drinking in 
secret, which possibly would constitute a greater scandal in the 
eyes of many than what it was designed to remedy. On the 
whole, we are forced to say that the illustration is both very 
unsupposable, and also avails little if such a case could be sup- 
posed. Let us pass to what is very properly said to be "a better 
instance" — that which occasioned the first General Assembly at 
Jerusalem. We find nothing to object to, but much to admire, in 
the explanation of the decrees here given. It is confirmed by 
Calvin's exposition of the same. The great Genevan aims to 
prevent Romish or other councils from claiming the right from 
this example of the apostles and elders to make new moral laws. 
He meets the question : if lawful for that Assembly to do this, 
why not lawful for their successors as often as occasion requires? 
Calvin shows that the Jerusalem Council decreed nothing new 
whatever. For if Peter declares that God is tempted if a yoke 
is laid on the necks of disciples, he could not afterwards agree to 
the imposition of such a yoke. So then, Calvin continues : "The 
first thing in order and the chief thing in importance is that the 



The Question of Dancing 


Gentiles were to retain their liberty, which was not to be dis- 
turbed; and that they were not to be annoyed by the observances 
of the law. And the reservation which follows touching idols 
and blood is not a new law enacted by the apostles, but a divine 
and eternal command of God against the violation of charity, 
which does not detract one iota from liberty." Only (he says) 
the Gentiles were not to abuse their liberty — in other words, 
they were to use "an innoxious liberty, giving no offence to the 
brethren." "In removing grounds of offence, the apostles would 
simply enforce the divine law which prohibits offence, as if they 
had said: The Lord hath commanded you not to hurt a weak 
brother; but meats offered to idols, things strangled and blood 
ye cannot eat without offending weak brethren ; we therefore 
require you by the command of the Lord not to eat with offence." 

We have therefore here, as is properly said, an unquestionable 
instance of a church court, under the plain and sure guidslnce of 
the Spirit, declaring that the moral character of a concrete act 
had become under circumstances and for a time at least, sinful ; 
while yet per se it was indifferent. 

Now how does this bear on the question we are discussing ? 
All that has been proved is that circumstances may make a thing 
sinful which is per se indifferent. And if the thing becomes 
sinful, then it is a proper subject of discipline if circumstances 
render it suitable and wise so to deal with it. Liberty is a great 
and precious right, but charity is a great and holy duty, and 
liberty must not violate charity. The law of love is to be 
obeyed. Regard for the opinions and prejudices of others must 
influence our conduct unless a greater duty override this one. 
It is a grievous thing to wound the weak brother. He who does 
it assumes a- heavy responsibility. Yet sometimes this very thing 
has to be done. Charity, sweet and heavenly as it is, must not 
be allowed to invade or overthrow liberty. When the weak brother 
gets so strong that he demands the sacrifice of my freedom, the 
time has come for me to resist him and to refuse his demand. 

Now it is very difficult sometimes to decide between the con- 
flicting claims of charity and liberty. It is given up in the article 
we are reviewing that Paul would not have disciplined a well- 


From Another Point of View. 


informed believer who persisted in eating idol's meat and claimed 
that his liberty was not to be judged by another man's conscience. 
Only in case he was not defending his own liberty, but acting 
selfishly and mischievously of deHberate purpose, only for wan- 
tonly doing mischief, and not merely for eating, it is said could 
such a man be disciplined. This is distinctly admitted. So far 
so good. Let us go just one step farther, and say if it be not 
perfectly clear and certain that such a believer was deliberately 
and wantonly set on doing injury to his weak brother, it were 
evidently better not to attempt the formal discipline of him, but , 
merely to reason with and exhort and persuade him. 

The conclusion reached bv this elaborate discussion of "The 
Dancing Question" is that our Assembly at Louisville ought cate- 
gorically to order theformal discipline by our Sessions of all round 
dances and public and promiscuous balls. We should very much 
prefer that the Sessions should be left according to the New Or- 
leans deliverance to apply the law of God in their own wisdom 
and faithfulness. Let Assemblies, Synods, and Presbyteries de- 
clare and expound the teachings of the word on this subject, as 
occasion shall require ; but let our Sessions determine what remedy 
is suitable in each particular case as it arises, and let pastors also 
be left to deal tenderly and prudently but earnestly with this 
matter. You cannot trust the Sessions because too timid ? Far 
better trust them to act as may be right and wise in each separate 
case than impose on them the sweeping order proposed, which 
they would not, could not, oiight not to carry out, because it 
transcends the word. Let the Louisville Assembly deliver itself 
zealously but scripturally on this subject, and then let our pas- 
tors preach and teach the people. We want no preaching of a 
crusade against dancing. Vastly more should we confide in the 
preaching of Christ and the powers of the world to come, in 
the setting forth of our duty to the Head of his Church. The 
remedy of Augustin and of Calvin is the one we wish to see 
tried — "not rough, harsh, imperious measures, more teaching 
than commanding, more admonishing than threatening." But if 
there must be special action taken against special evils, let us at 
least keep our action within constitutional bounds. We may not 
VOL. XXX., No. 2 — 19. 



The Question of Dancing. 


discipline but we may teach. Only three of our Assemblies 
have yet spoken. Let them utter their voice, if needful, from 
year to year^ and let Synods and Presbyteries take up the testi- 
mony, and let all these bodies speak. It may be fairly said that 
there has been no speaking adequately yet. Let all church 
courts, if it be necessary, thunder against the evil in question, 
and let the pulpit thunder also. We have done nothing yet. 
The power of teaching is immense. Whatever it cannot over- 
throw, no human power can. Let this remedy be tried. Let 
there be at least a fair beginning made of trying it before we 
rush to our highest judicatory and weakly beg it to do what it 
has no authority to do. We insist upon it, the remedy is by doc- 
trine and not by discipline; and as yet we never have indoctrin- 
ated adequately on this subject. The remedy is teaching, ex- 
horting, persuading, by the church courts as they are clearly 
empowered to make deliverances of true doctrine, and by the 
ministers who specially are called to teach. This is the remedy 
for the evil, and this remedy faithfully and prudently employed 
we cannot doubt will be found sufficient ; if not, then there is no 
remedy. Sure we are that what is urged to be done by the 
Assembly would be no remedy. 

We trust we shall never see our Assembly by any such cate- 
gorical order as has been proposed undertaking to deal with 
individual churches and persons, nor in any manner otherwise 
than in one of the four ways that are pr®vided. We trust we 
shall never see our Assembly giving forth in thesi deliverances, 
nor sumptuary regulations, nor sweeping requirements touching 
concrete cases. Each case must needs be left to be decided by 
the Session coficerned ; for the circumstances of each case make 
the case. This was what the last Assembly said, which spoke of 
this matter ; and what it said was true and wise and scriptural, 
and moreover was Presbyterian. Our system requires the formal 
discipline of churches and individuals to remain with courts of 
first resort. Li extreme cases, dancing may come to rioting and 
revelling. In such cases our parochial presbyteries may be safely 
trusted to proceed to formal discipline. John B. Adger. 


Thoughts on Foreigii Missions. 







It is uot the design of this article to offer any formal argument 
in defence or in support of this sublime enterprise, but rather to 
bring forward some of those more familiar considerations whi^ch 
ought to stimulate the people of God to a heartier and more ear- 
nest prosecution of it. The time for argument is gone by. The 
man who professes to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, but denies 
his obligation to do what he can to promote this cause, needs 
to vindicate the sincerity and consistency of his Christian charac- 
ter. If it be true, as is generally acknowledged, that we who 
dwell in Christian lands are indebted to the presence and influ- 
ence of Christianity for all the civil, social, and religious bless- 
ings with which we are surrounded; if it be true, as is acknow- 
ledged by all evangelical denominations, that there is no possi- 
bility of salvation for the heathen without some knowledge of the 
gospel of Jesus Christ; if it be true, that it is the special work 
of the Church to spread the knowledge of salvation among all 
mankind; if it be true, that the Bible, and the Bible alone, sheds 
any light upon the world to come, then it is a matter of momen- 
tous importance that the knowledge of the gospel should be com- 
municated as speedily as possible to all the nations of the earth. 

Among those considerations which we wish to impress upon 
the minds of our readers, we would mention, 

Ist. That if the Lord Jesus Christ has made known his will 
more clearly in relation to any one matter than another, it is that 
his gospel should be made known to all the nations of the earth. 
We touch at once the main-spring of Christian activity. The 
man who feels no desire to do the will of Christ can have no well- 
founded hope of interest in his atoning blood. Christ himself 
has emphatically said, "Ye are my friends if ye do whatsoever I 
command you." Not only has the Saviour made known his will 
in commanding that his gospel should be preached to every crea- 
ture on the face of the earth, but the very circumstances under 
which it was uttered give great emphasis to the command itself. 



Thoughts on Foreign Missions^ 


He had completed the work of redemption, so far as that work 
was to be completed here upon earth. He had by his sufferings 
made atonement for sin ; by a life of obedience he had wrought 
out a perfect righteousness in behalf of all his own chosen people; 
he had come forth from the grave, not only for the justification 
of his people, but thereby furnished the assurance of their resur- 
rection also; he was just about to ascend to heaven to take his 
seat on the mediatorial throne; he had just made the grand and 
sublime announcement that all power in heaven and in earth had 
been committed to his hands. It was in connexion with these 
impressive surroundings and this grand announcement, that he 
gives the command to go into all the world and preach the gos- 
pel to every creature. He saw distinctly all that was involved 
in the execution of this command: how much self-denial would 
have to be practised, how much hardship would have to be en- 
dured, how much danger would have to be encountered, how 
much' persecution would have to be borne. In view of all this, 
he fortifies the minds of his disciples with the precious assurance 
that he would be with them to the end of the world ; and with 
this assurance, they went everywhere proclaiming the unsearch- 
able riches of Christ ; realising at every step his personal pres- 
ence and protection. 

But not only is the will of the Saviour made manifest in ap- 
pointing this work in the first instance, but it is equally manifest 
in the favor he is bestowing upon it in these latter days. And 
without going into any extended details, we would simply ask, 
Where has the gospel been preached in modern times, even among 
the most degraded portions of the human race, that there have 
not been tokens of tlie Saviour's presence and blessing? How is 
it that thereare scores of immortal beings i-n almost every kind- 
red and nation on the face of the earth, who are to day lifting up 
anthems of praise to him who died to redeem them ? Can any 
one fail to see the hand of the Redeemer in all this? Can any 
one doubt whether this enterprise lies near to his heart? 

And what is the spontaneous feeling of every regenerate heart, 
especially when that heart feels the freshness of atoning blood 
applied to it? Is it not, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" 


Thoughts on Foreign Missions. 


And what is the answer that comes down from heaven, if not in 
articulate voice, yet in the indications of providence which some- 
times speak even louder than the audible voice? Is it not, "Go 
into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature"? 
If, from some providential hindrance, any one cannot go him- 
self, then, to the extent of his ability, let him help those that 
can go. How any church, or individual member of the church, 
can stand aloof from this great work that is so dear to the heart 
of the Redeemer, and yet profess to be a friend and follower of 
him, is a problem that we cannot undertake to solve. 

2d. The work assigned the Church by her Divine Head is to 
make known the salvation of Jesus. The field he has given her 
to cultivate is the world. If this is not the special work of the 
Church, then the Scriptures may be searched in vain to find out 
what that work is. The apostles and primitive Christians made 
no mistake in relation to this matter. They felt that a special 
work had been given them to do; that the world was truly and 
literally the field that was to be cultivated. They commenced 
their labors in Jerusalem, which was not only the most natural 
course, but was in strict accordance with the command of the 
Saviour himself; but in a comparatively short time the glad news 
of salvation were made known, not only in Judea and Samaria, 
but to the distant ends of the earth. They never thought of 
using the miserable pretext "that there is work enough at home,'' 
for lingering indefinitely on the confines of their own native homes. 
The same unmodified obligation rests upon the Church at the 
present day. 

The Church is not responsible for the conversion of men, either 
here or in the heathen world, this being preeminently the work 
of th« Holy Ghost. But she is responsible, at least to the extent 
of her ability, for the universal dissemination of the gospel among 
all mankind. And this responsibility is greatly heightened by the 
fact, that, so far as we know, the Holy Ghost never regenerates 
the heart of an adult man except through the medium or instru- 
mentality of that truth which it is the special business of the 
Church to disseminate. In the order of God's grace, therefore, 
the sowing of the gospel seed, which is the work of the Church, 



Thoughts on JPoreign Missions. 


must precede the converting power of the Holy Ghost. It is 
unreasonable, therefore, for us to expect or to pray for the out- 
pouring of the Holy Spirit upon any portion of the human race 
among whom the knowledge of salvation has not been previously 
diflfused. In this view of the matter, the duty of the Church 
becomes solemn and momentous to the last degree. The position 
assigned her in carrying the work of redemption into eifect is 
momentous in the extreme, and is especially so in connexion with 
the urgent duty of carrying the knowledge of salvation to those 
portions of the race who are destitute of it. Not only is the 
honor of the Redeemer involved, but the spiritual welfare of the 
Church and the solvation of millions of perishing men are all 
dependent upon the faithful performance of this duty by the 
Church. Indeed, we do not see how any Church can have 
spiritual life while it neglects this duty. There have been times 
in the history of the Church when the heathen world was inac- 
cessible to her, and of course it was not expected that she could 
do much for their salvation. But now the case is different, and 
inactivity is incompatible with the life and spirit of the Church. 
The spirit of missions, which is the spirit of Christ, is emphati- 
cally the life of the Church. Without this, no matter how~Targe 
her communion, how compact her organisation, how abundant 
her pecuniary resources, or how sound her religious creed, it will 
be utterly impossible for her either to maintain her own spiritu- 
ality or to fulfil the object for which she was instituted. Duty 
to a perishing world, the maintenance of her own spiritual life, 
as well as duty to Him who redeemed that life, make it necessary 
for her to be unreservedly devoted to the business of spreading the 
knowledge of salvation among all mankind. Her activity in the 
performance of this duty will always be the true gauge of her 
spirituality, and without which she cannot long be regarded as a 
living Church. 

3d. Another consideration of great moment, and one that 
ought to be deeply impressed upon the heart of the Church, is, 
that so far as we are informed by the word of God, there is no 
possibility of salvation for the heathen without some knowledge 
of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Of course no reference is made 


Thoughts on Foreign Missions. 


bere to the millions who die in infancy in heathen lands, and who, 
never having committed actual transgression, may be saved 
through the atoning merits of redeeming blood. 

In relation to this general matter, there has recently sprung 
up (and we are sorry to say to some extent in the evangelical 
Church) a wide-spread scepticism, which is undoubtedly closely 
allied to that general disbelief in future retribution which has 
become so rife of late. Now without citing the almost innumer- 
able passages of Scripture, both from the Old and New Testament, 
which declare that all the nations that forget God shall be de- 
stroyed; without stopping to show that the denial of the punish- 
ment of the heathen is a virtual abrogation of all God's denun- 
ciations of sin; without dwelling upon the solemn declaration of 
the Saviour himself that those who refused to hear the gospel 
would be damned ; without commenting upon the statement so 
frequently and so emphatically made in the New Testament 
Scriptures, that the gospel was just as necessary to the Gentile 
as to the Jew, we come directly to the well-known creed of all 
evangelical denominations, that there is no salvation for man 
(that is, adult man) without faith in the merits of a crucified 
Redeemer. And here the apostle, as if he were writing with 
special reference to this modern scepticism, settles the question 
beyond all reasonable controversy : *' How shall they (the Gen- 
tiles) call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how 
shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And 
how shall they hear without a preacher?" 

But the question presents itself and is pressed with no ordinary 
pertinacity, how shall the heathen be condemned for rejecting 
the gospel when that gospel has never been presented to them, 
or for turning away from Jesus Christ when they never heard of 
that blessed name? The answer is, that they will not be con- 
demned on either of these grounds. The same apostle makes 
this point just as clear as the other: "The Gentiles which have 
not the law, are a law unto themselves, which show the work of 
the law written on their hearts." The law of God. of course not 
in all its fulness, is indelibly written upon the human heart. 
This is not more in accord with the teachings of God's word than 



Tliougltts on Foreign- Missions. 


it is with the experience and the observations of all tliose who 
have had the opportunity to study the matter under favorable 
circumstances. There exist in every heathen mind, it is confi- 
dently believed, some conceptions of a supreme governor of the 
universe, some perceptions of the distinction between right and 
and wrong, and some ideas, though indistinctly developed, of 
future accountability. There are those, and among them some 
for whom we have great respect, who doubt the correctness of 
this statement. But this doubt, we apprehend, arises from one 
of two things, or from the two combined. 1st. The heathen (the 
great majority of them at least) are not in the habit of formulating 
their religious creed in any very intelligible phraseology. In- 
deed, they cannot always tell what they do believe, and their creed 
has to be inferred from their actions rather than their words. 
2d. In many cases those who seek this knowledge are not suffi- 
ciently acquainted either with the language or the character of 
the people to ascertain precisely what they do believe. All na- 
ture reminds the heathen that there is one great first cause of all 
things. The laws and usages by which all their social intercourse 
is regulated are based on the conviction that there is an essential 
difference between right and wrong, good and evil. Then the 
custom, which is amazingly prevalent in all heathen communities, 
of burying persons of notoriously bad character apart from those 
that have been orderly in their deportment, shows not only a 
belief in a future state of existence, but also in a state of future 
retribution. Without the existence of such convictions it would 
be almost impossible for a missionary to bring the gospel to bear 
upon the hearts of the heathen at all; as the matter stands, it is 
not necessary for him to attempt to prove the existence of a per- 
sonal God. This is already admitted. His work will consist in 
giving right views of God's moral character. So it is unneces- 
sary for him to attempt to show that lying, theft, adultery, mur- 
der, and sins of like nature, are all wrong. The heathen not 
only knows this, but these crimes against society are often severely 
punished. It looks like an absurdity to the heathen to try to 
convince him that he has a soul that is to exist hereafter. He 
carries food almost every day to the grave of his parents. When 


Thoughts on Foreign Missions. 



reminded of future accountability, he plainly shows that a 
painful apprehension has been confirmed, rather than a new idea 

But how far operative is this law of God written upon their 
hearts? Here is just the point where its weakness and insuffi- 
ciency manifest themselves. Whilst the law itself is universal, 
and cannot be altogether obliterated, it exercises very little power 
over the moral character of men. On this point there is no 
diversity of views among missionaries. The first man in all the 
heathen world is yet to be found who is living according to this 
law written upon his heart, or is even trying to do so. There is 
diversity of moral character among the heathen as there is among 
ourselves. But the best and purest among them not only fall 
infinitely below the gospel standard of purity, but far below that 
standard of moral rectitude that might be inferred from their 
inherent knowledge of right and wrong, and by which they are 
to be judged and condemned in the great day of accounts. There 
is no more possibility of their being saved by this natural law 
than there is of our being saved by the law as revealed in the 
word of God. We and they therefore stand substantially on the 
same platform. Neither can be saved except through faith in 
the merits of a crucified Redeemer. If the gospel is necessary 
for our salvation, it is not less so to theirs. . . ■ ; ; (f/ ^k^ -ri 

But we are told that it is a great mystery that the millions of 
the heathen should have been left for so many centuries in utter 
ignorance of the gospel, when that gospel was so essential to their 
salvation. It is readily admitted that there is a mystery in this 
too profound to be fathomed by the human mind. But is this the 
only mystery in God's providence or grace that cannot be fath- 
omed? Who can tell why the coming and incarnation of the 
Son of God was delayed four thousand years after the promise 
was first made ? Who can tell whv the Redeemer, when he took 
his seat upon the mediatorial throne, did not at once take to him- 
self his great power and subdue all the nations of the earth to his 
dominion? More than all this, is there really any more mystery 
in the fact that the heathen should 'be lost, than that hundreds 


VOL. XXX., NO. 2- 





Thoughts on Foreign Missions. 


and thousands of men should he permitted to perish here in the 
full blaze of gospel light? ?;i-'Of:-^ .fmiii ^f^ n I tin i: 

4th. The success of the gospel among the benighted nations 
of the earth during the present century furnishes a powerful 
motive for the more earnest prosecution of the work. This is not 
offered as an argument for the undertaking or the prosecution of 
the work, for obedience to the command of the Saviour makes it 
the duty of his people to preach the gospel everywhere, whether 
men hear or forbear. But when God is pleased out of regard to 
the weakness of his people's faith, or in fulfilment of his own de- 
signs of mercy, to make the gospel effectual to the salvation of 
multitudes of ignorant and perishing men, a most powerful motive 
is superadded for a more vigorous prosecution of the work. The 
cause, thus made to bear the seal of the Saviour's approval, 
ought to be brought very near to the heart of every believer. 

But in what does the success referred to consist? In an article 
like the present this inquiry can be answered only in the briefest 
manner. It is not necessary to go back to apostolic times for 
proofs of the power of the Holy Ghost to reclaim the worst and 
most degraded of the human race. The times in which we live 
are furnishing even stronger illustrations of that power. Before 
adducing the actual facts connected with the success of modern 
missions, it is necessary to premise that the condition and circum- 
stances of the world at the two periods referred to are essentially 
different. Most of those communities in which early Christianity 
had its most vigorous growth had been previously permeated by 
the teachings of the Old Testament Scriptures, and were in con- 
sequence measurably prepared to embrace the gospel as soon as 
it was proclaimed. Again, the Gentile world, in the days of the 
apostles, occupied a much higher place in the scale of civilisation 
than the present inhabitants of the pagan world. Not only did 
they occupy this higher place, but human ingenuity had exhausted 
all of its resources in the effort to acquire more certain knowledge 
about a future world. The minds of men, therefore, were in a 
favorable attitude for the reception of the truth. The pagan 
nations of the present day have sunk so deep in the mire of sin 
and superstition that nothing short of an extraordinary divine 

1879.] tnoughts on Foreign Missions. 


power can reach and save them. More than this. The early 
propagators of the gospel were endowed with the gift of language 
and the power of working miracles. What the prinaitive disciple 
possessed by intuition or inspiration, the modern missionary can 
acquire only by laborious study. , .,„ ,,, ,,,h, ,^w» 

In view of this state of things, it must be seen at once that a 
most important work of preparation had to be perfected in modern 
times before any great ingathering of souls into the fold of Christ 
could be realised. The minds of the nations had to be aroused 
from the slumber of centuries, their systems of superstition and 
false religion overthrown; and the truth had to be disseminated, 
which involves not only the preaching of the gospel in languages 
that have been acquired at the expense of great labor, but also . 
the translation and the circulation of God's word into all such 
languages. No adequate views of the actual success of modern 
missions can be formed without taking into the account the nature 
and magnitude of this work of preparation. 

Let us now look at some of the actual facts connected with the 
progress of modern missions. And first, as to the extent to which 
the work has already been carried. There are those still living 
who can remember the time when all the Protestant missionary 
stations in the heathen world could be numbered on the fingers 
of the two hands. But what is the state of the case at the pres- 
ent time? What considerable tribe of Indians are there on the 
North American continent of the present day that have not rep- 
resentatives of the Christian Church among them, endeavoring 
to guide them in the paths of Christian knowledge? What con- 
siderable group of islands are there, either in the Northern or 
Southern Pacific, upon which the light of the gospel is not already 
beginning to shine! Note the fact too, as we pass along, that 
the inhabitants of at least three hundred of these islands have 
already been brought so much under the influence of Christianity 
that all traces of idolatry have disappeared from among them. 
Look at the great continent of Africa, that which a few years ago 
seemed to be the darkest and most hopeless of all portions of our 
habitable globe. Travel now along its western coast, over its 
southern territory, along its eastern shores, penetrate the regions 



Thoughts on Foreign Missions. 


around the newly discovered lakes, ascend the Niger from its 
outlet in the Gulf of Benin to its source near the Great Desert, 
and everywhere you will find representatives of the Christian 
Church, kindling up lights, feeble and flickering now, but 
destined in the mercy of God to blaze up and illuminate the 
whole continent. Go to Eastern Europe, especially to that por- 
tion that was known until recently as Turkey in Europe; to 
Greece and the Grecian Islands; to all parts of Asia Minor, in- 
cluding Armenia and Nestoria; to Palestine, to Syria, to Persia, 
to the Valley of the Euphrates, to all portions of the great empire 
of India; to Burmah, to Siam, to Chinn and Japan; and what one 
of these great sections of the earth has not representatives of the 
Christian Church laboring among its people at the present day? 
Not only are missionaries to be found in all these regions, but 
the most important, and what may be called strategical points, 
have been seized and will be made tributary to the universal 
spread of the gospel among these various races. Now connect with 
this wide-spread work the further fact that there are at the pres- 
ent time as many as twenty-five hundred foreign missionaries 
and more than twenty thousand native laborers scattered over 
these vast regions and proclaiming far and wide the glad tidings 
of salvation, and we shall have some idea of the extent to which 
the work has already been carried. 

But we must look further at what has been achieved, through 
the blessing of God, by these missionary brethren. 

One of the most serious obstacles that lay in the way of the 
evangelisation of the heathen world was the number of languages 
and dialects that had to be acquired, and many of them to be 
reduced to writing for the first time, before the knowledge of the 
gospel could be communicated to the people. It is a work of 
great labor to acquire one of these languages, but especially so if 
it is to be reduced to svstem for the first time. A still jrreater 
and more laborious work is to translate the word of God into 
one of these newly written languages. But what has been ac- 
complished in this direction? As many as two hundred and 
thirty languages have not only been made tributary to the public 
preaching of the gospel, but into most of them the word of God, 



Thoughts on Foreign Missions. 


in part or in whole, as well as hundreds of other religious books, 
have been translated, printed, and circulated, and are read to-day 
by millions of the human race. It is estimated that there are 
now as many as one hundred and thirty-five million copies of the > 
Scriptures in whole or part, in possession of the human family — 
about one copy for every ten human beings on the face of the 
earth — and more in all than was ever possessed by the world 
from the days of Moses to the present time. •!'::/// ;-.f i 

But the achievements of the missionary work are by no means 
limited to this work of preparation. Far more has been accom- 
plished in connexion with the conversion of men — the great end 
for which the work was instituted — than could reasonably have 
been expected under the circumstances of the case. Without the ' 
exercise of the power of miracles, the gift of tongues, or any of 
the extraordinary advantages which attended the labors of Apos- 
tles and primitive Christians, the number of conversions that have 
taken place in the heathen world during the last half century is 
probably a good deal larger than what took place during the 
whole of the first century of the Christian era. Rieger, whom 
Lange endorses as good authority, estimates the number of con- 
versions during the first century at five hundred thousand. This 
includes the converts in Palestine as well as those in all other 
parts of the world. The estimated number of converts in all 
parts of the unevangelised world at the present day — taking no 
account of those in Christian lands — is probably not less than six 
hundred thousand, the great majority of whom have actually 
been gathered into the fold of Christ in the last twenty-five years. 
It should be borne in mind at the same time, that these converts 
have not been gathered mainly out of one or two nations, but 
from all the kindreds and tongues and peoples and nations on the 
face of the earth — thus showing that the glorious Redeemer is 
now marshalling in all parts of the earth that mighty host, too 
great to be numbered, that is to surround his mediatorial throne 
in heaven. It has become true, too, as has frequently been re- 
marked, that the sun, in performing his daily circuit around the 
earth, rises now upon no people among whom there are not some 
to send up ascriptions of praise to Him who sits upon the throne, 





Thoughts on Foreign Missions. 


and who redeemed them from their sins. What a grand view is 
this that is now spreading itself out before the Christian Church! 
What a privilege, what an honor it is, to live in times like these! 
How strange it is that any portion of the Church should be asleep 
in such an emergency! How strange it is that the whole Church 
does not rise up with one mind and one heart and devote all her 
strength and all her resources to the one great object of saving a 
lost world ! 

5th. Another consideration of great moment is, that there are 
greater facilities and advantages at present for spreading the 
knowledge of the gospel among mankind than ever existed before. 
This is equally true whether regard be hud to the condition and 
resources of the Church, or to the altered condition of the great 
mass of the heathen world. The number of ministers, as well as 
the means of training men for the ministry, has been multiplied 
beyond anything that has ever before been known in the history 
of the Church. At the same time, wealth has been poured into 
the lap of the Church without stint; so that there are means and 
agents in the bosom of the Church at the present day, if they 
were properly consecrated, to carry the gospel, in a comparatively 
short time, to every portion of the habitable earth. The heathen 
world, too, in some respects, is in a more favorable condition for 
the reception of the gospel. They have been aroused to unusual 
activity by being brought in contact with modern commerce — 
have felt the throb of a superior civilised life. They realise, as 
they never did before, the essential difference between a life of 
barbarism and one of enlightened civilisation. 

But not onlv is the mind of the heathen stirred, but the in- 
creased facilities of travel and transportation bring the products 
of the civilised world to their doors, and, what is far more im- 
portant, they bring the heralds of salvation also to guide them 
into the paths of truth. India, Burmah, China, Japan, and the 
Polynesian Islands, can now be reached in greater comfort and 
safety, and in fewer weeks than it formerly required months to 
perform the same voyage. And not only can these far-off countries 
be reached in a comparatively short period, but they can be 
traversed with more ease, speed, and safety than could have been 


1879. J 

Thoughts on Foreign Muaions.^ 


imagined fifty years ago. A missionary can travel and see more 
of India in one day now than he could formerly have done in a 
whole month. Similar advantages will soon be enjoyed in China, 
Japan, and other parts of the world. Recent discoveries show 
that there are '^at least twenty thousand miles of navigable inland 
waters in the heart of Africa, and intended in the goodness of 
God, no doubt, to furnish facilities of access to the millions of 
that benighted land. ' - ■ / -; . ^ >' ; '- ' u^ mnn^A 

New, what is the design of that providence which has brought 
all these nnevangelised nations face to face with the Christian 
world? The man of commerce sees in this nothing but the re- 
sults of the commercial activity of the age. The man of science 
claims it all as the necessary results of the scientific discoveries 
of the day. But the thoughtful Christian recognises the hand of 
the Redeemer behind and above all these movements, directing 
them so as to bring about the complete fulfilment of his own 
precious promise, that "the knowledge of the Lord shall cover 
the earth as the waters cover the sea." 

But whilst there is cause to rejoice in this promising state of 
things, there is also occasion for most serious anxiety. And it 
is this: if the bringing of these uncultured races in contact with 
the civilised world does not result in promoting their spiritual 
welfare, it will certainly result in their ruin, both temporal and 
spiritual. This has not always been the consequence of the com- 
mingling of barbarous and civilised races. But there is something 
in our modern civilisation — even what is called Christian civilis- 
ation — or in the deeper degradation of modern heathen nations, 
or in both combined, which prevents the two from being brought 
into close contact without serious detriment to the best interests 
of the weaker and more ignorant party. Nothing but the inter- 
penetrating power of Christianity can counterwork this result. 
We shall not turn aside to analyse the causes which lead to 
these disastrous consequences, but look at a few of the facts 
themselves ; and we have not to go far for such facts* Where, 
for example, are all those numerous tribes of Indians which 
once overspread New England and occupied all the country 
lying between the eastern slopes of the Allegheny Mountains and 






Thoughts on Foreign Missions. 


the Atlantic Ocean? The only answer that can be given is, that, 
with the exception of a little handful of Choctaws, Chickasaws, 
Cherokees, and Creeks, now residing in the IndTan Territory, and 
who were brought under the influence of religion before the tide 
of white population reached them, they have been swept from the 
face of the earth. Their natines, except so far as they have been 
perpetuated by our geographical nomenclature, are not even 
known to the present generation. And those smaller tribes 
to the Northwest, who are now struggling so manfully, but 
unwisely, perhaps, to perpetuate their own nationality, where 
will they soon be? Their names will scarcely be known two 
generations hence. 

It is the boast of Great Britain that she put an end to the 
foreign slave-trade on the western coast of Africa. And when it 
is remembered how much it cost her to suppress that nefarious 
trade, she deserves all the honor she claims. Legitimate trade, 
as it is called, has taken the place of the slave-trade, and it may 
with propriety be asked, what has been gained by the exchange? 
Peace has been restored to her borders, it is true, but intemper- 
ance, brought about by the use of New England and Old England 
rum, is likely to do that country more harm than the foreign 
slave-trade ever did. This is the express testimony of an Ameri- 
can missionary who lived on that coast nearly twenty-five years, 
who had the amplest opportunities for forming a correct judgment 
on the subject, and whose veracity is heartily endorsed by the 
writer of this article. Again, it is well known that the British 
government was the chief agent in forcing open the empire of 
China to the light and influences of Christian civilisation. But 
at the same time she forced upon that people the opium trade. 
And what have been the consequences? In the judgment of 
missionaries an<l others equally well qualified to form a correct 
opinion on the subject, there are now at least seven million of 
Chinese who have become the victims to the use of this poisonous 
drug, which is virtually acknowledging that that number will be 
destroyed. In no part of the unevangelised world has the gospel 
performed greater achievements than among the Polynesian 
Islands in the Southern Pacific. But now this work is threatened 





TfioughU on Foreign Missions., 


with entire overthrow by the introduction of what is called the 
"transportation of labor," i. e., by carrying laborers from these 
islands to different parts of Australia to cultivate cotton and 
sugar plantations. Bishop Paterson, who labored among the 
people of those islands for many years, affirms that the prosecu- 
tion of this system is doing as much harm to the Melanesian 
Islands as the foreign slave-trade ever did on the west coast of 
Africa. Further, those who are at all acquainted with the pro- 
gress of British colonisation on the island of New Zealand, are 
perfectly aware that the native population of that great island is 
rapidly disappearing before the march of European civilisation. 
What has become of the aboriginal population of the Cape of 
Good Hope? And what is to be the fate of those brave Zulus 
who recently dealt such heavy blows in the face of this onward 
progress of European colonisation ? 

Now we raise no question about the natural rights of civilised 
men to force themselves upon territory that is but partially oc- 
cupied by weaker and savage races. But we simply look at the 
facts of the case, and ask what is the duty of the Church of Christ 
in view of these conflicts which must necessarily take place. The 
influence of Christianity alone can forestall the direst calamities 
that must always ensue from contact between races of such diverse 
condition and circumstances. The weaker races must always go 
down, unless they are sustained and fortified by the principles of 
a living Christianity. The Christian Church ought, therefore, 
to be alive to her great mission, and do what she can to save 
these untutored races both from temporal and eternal ruin. 

, John Leighton Wilson, 

vol. xxx., no. 2 — 21. 










Capital and Labor, .i^,^ 







Time is a teacher. Time brings its revenges. The Southern 
statesman may find many of these in the confessions to which 
Northern men are brought, in their recent journals, by the "logic 
of events." They are now learning in the school of experience 
truths tendered to them a generation ago from this quarter, nnd 
disdainfully scouteid then. For instance, Fitzhugh's "Sociology 
for the South," a book which they scarcely noticed enough to 
disparage, forewarned them of a defect in the popular application 
of their favorite science of political economy. He told them that 
if men were only machines, if money was the only end of social 
existence, if the moral side of political economy was properly dis- 
carded, then the principles of Adam Smith were doubtless cor- 
rect. The surest way to get most dollars was to leave labor, like 
calico and pig iron, to adjust itself to the rigid laws of supply 
and demand. But if political science was to remember that a 
laborer was something else than an animal machine, then there 
must be a modification in that symmetrical theory of theirs of 
"free trade" in labor. Dabney's "Defence of Virginia and the 
South" forewarned them that on their hireling system the strife 
between labor and capital must be perpetual and remediless. 
"Where labor is free, competition reduces its price to whatever 
grade the course of trade may fix; for labor is then a mere com- 
modity in the market, unprotected, and subject to all the laws of 
demand and supply. The owner of land or capital pays for the 
labor he needs, in the shape of wages, just the price fixed by the 
relation of demand and supply; and if that price implies the 
severest privation for the laborer or his family, it is no concern 
of his. Should they perish by the inadequacy of the remunera- 
tion, it is no concern of his — he has but to hire others from the 
anxious and competing multitude." The law of increase in popu- 
lation, illustrated by Malthus, at which the philosophers of 
hireling societies had only railed, while equally unable to refute 
it or to provide a remedy for its evils, was pointed to as un- 


Capital and Labor. 


avoidably diminisbing the remuneration of labor in an endless 
series, and thus ensuring the progressive misery and discontent 
of the laborers. . .. - 

All this was folly in their eyes in 1850 and 1865. But it is 
edifying to see how rapidly they are now learning these truths' 
under Dame Experience, the price of whose tuition and the 
quality of whose pupils are both so accurately stated in the old pro- 
verb. President Chadbourne, for instance, of Williams College, 
Massachusetts, in the International Review^ September, 1878, 
writes on the "Cry of Labor: What Answer?" He makes some 
confessions. He has found out that the facts are as these despised 
"rebels" had taught. He avouches them both in terms of re- 
markable similarity. He admits that the problem of the relation 
of labor to capital has, thus far, found no solution from hireling 
society ; and that it is now looming up as a frightful, urgent, and 
absolutely unmitigated peril among them. He confesses that 
whatever Northern labor presented of prosperity or comfort was 
not due to its right organisation, but to the accident of possessing 
a wide and fresh virgin soil to ravage; and that as soon as it was 
tested by any strain, it disclosed itself a failure. Their publicists 
have no practicable remedy. Almsgiving, while a Christian duty, 
is no adequate solution, because it leaves the fatal causes in full 
action. Popular education, so boastfully relied on as the Ameri- 
can safeguard, has demonstrated its worthlessness for this end. 
"It brings the conditions of fever to the patient, but has thus 
far, to the masses, offered no prevention and no cure." Such is 
the gloomy result of "free-soil " wisdom and material civilisation! 

What, then, is the remedy which President Chadbourne advises? 
He maps out the main lines of a new organisation of labor, which 
the North will be constrained to adopt, in its essential features; 
while he admits many details must be left to the teachings of ex- 
perience. Here it is: 

Having distinguished the community into the two main 
divisions, capitalists and laborers, he claims that "society," by 
which he moans civil government, must lay its regulative hands 
on both, and fix the relations between them. As for capitalists, 
whether individual or corporate, they are no longer to be per- 



Capital and Labor. 


iflitted to avail themselves freely of the law of supply and demand 
in the labor-market, and get labor for the least reranneration that 
market allows. They are not to be allowed to run such a career 
of competition against each other, as so reduces the cost of their 
productions that remuneration of labor becomes inadequate to its 
comfort and respectability. That is, every capitalist that employs 
labor is to be compelled by government to give the employes 
enough, in wages, homes, and perquisites, to enable them, 1st, to 
live in human decency; 2d, to rear families intelligently and re- 
putably; and, 3d, to la}'^ up savings ''for a rainy day." 

But then, labor may not wisely employ these, its legal emolu- 
ments, in the designed way. So our writer proposes that ''so- 
ciety" shall see after that point also. He next distributes laborers 
under the two classes of those who have work, and those who are 
too ignorant, lazy, or unlucky to get work. The former class is 
to be so regulated by law that they shall be compelled to apply 
their adequate wages to the three legal ends. They are not to 
be permitted to misuse them, and thus disable themselves from 
the attainment of comfort, present and prospective, and brew 
trouble, pauper or socialistic, for "society." As for the unem- 
ployed class, "the strong arm of the law . . . must see that 
they have some employment, and that they work. They are 
wards of society. It comes to this at last, when such persons 
reach the prison and almshouse, and the earlier the wardship is 
recognised the better." 

Is it objected that all this indicates very extensive intrusions 
irtto individual liberty ? His answer is: "We have listened to 
this cry long enough. Whatever is essential to the preservation 
of society can never be against individual rights^ but must be for 
them.'' We cannot forbear Dominie Sampson's exclamation: 
"Prodigious!" Is Saul verily among the prophets? Time is a 
potent teacher indeed ! President Chadbourne, after so long a 
time, finds himself confidently asserting the very premise (and 
conclusion even) by which we have been refuting the Abolitionists 
for forty years! Well, he has been a slow pupil; but "better 
late than never." "We have listened to this cry long enough," 
viz., that the right to personal liberty is inalienable, being natural ; 


Capital and Labor. 


no supposed right of individuals is valid against any measure 
which is essential to the preservation of society. Just so; and 
the personal restraint of the Africans being a measure essential 
to the preservation of our "society," that measure was "not 
against their individual rights." But, on the contrary, the Afri- 
cans being a part of our society to be thus essentially preserved, 
that measure "must have been for them." That is to say, Afri- 
cans among us had a right to the protection of bondage. Excel- 
lent; only our writer, unfortunately for the South, "listened to 
the cry" some forty years too long; until he and his people had 
time to destroy Southern "society" in the pursuit of what he now 
finds out wais a "cry," «. e., a sophism, a mischievous heresy. 
He adds: "We must not, from our fine ideas about freedom" 
[consoling irony for us, ruthlessly destroyed by precisely those 
" id'cas "] " wait for them (laborers) to come to the prison or alms- 
house before we care for them by controlling them In 

a word, let sOiciety^ through organised forms of law, become his 
guardian before he is sentenced as a criminaV How quickly is 
the North unlearning its "fifteenth amendment," so lately boasted 
as the axiom of political justice: that in this free land no person 
shall be subjected to personal servitude except for crime. Here 
the proposal is, to subject a whole class, not for crime, but for 
lack of employment, which may be no fault of theirs; nay, for a 
mere prospective liability to give trouble at a future day. Verily, 
the Maseachusetts Rehoboam maketh his little finger thicker than 
the Southern ruler's loins. 

Let us see what is unavoidably involved in this plan of organ- 
ising labor. It unavoidably implies, first, that "society," that is 
the civil government, shall dictate to employers, of all classes, the 
rates of wages paid by them for labor, and also the rates at which 
they shall sell the commodities produced. The former will be 
both impossible and wrong without the last; for if capitalists are 
allowed to compete against each other in low prices, they cannot 
pay the high wages. Second, the government must dictate to 
the laborers how they shall spend their money after they earn it, 
how much for current subsistence, how much for education, how 
much for the savings bank. To do this with any effect, govern- 






Qafital and Labor. 


ment must, of course, go deep; it must be virtual treasurer and 
housekeeper for the laboring families. Then, to the unemployed 
class, government is to be "guardian," and is so to control it as 
to cause it eifectively to work, and to use the wages of its work 
wisely. This must obviously imply, first, the government's power 
to choose an employment for the individual laborer. The govern- 
ment says to him, "Work." The poor fellow has no answer but 
the question, "Work at what?" The government must give the 
practical reply, i. e., choose his work. Then, second, the govern- 
ment must, of course, be armed with a coercive power to ensure 
obedience; for the unemployed man is presumably so, according 
to our author, because he does not wish to work. Shall the 
coercion be imprisonment? No; far if he is locked up he cannot 
work. Shall it be the rod ? Third, the plan must, of course, 
include the government's control over his person and locomotion. 
For when the law says to this laborer in western Massachusetts, 
unemployed because lazy, "Work," he will almost surely take 
himself off to Boston, or some whither. But tramping is not 
working. So, "society" must treat him in a way amazingly like 
"slave-catching" ! Fourth, if the "unfortunate" cannot be trusted 
with himself, a fortiori^ he cannot be trusted with his family; for 
thus he would inevitably disappoint this precautionary system, 
by multiplying himself into a whole household of "society's 
wards." Hence government must govern his family for him. Let 
the reader now gather up these features of the "guardianship," 
and ask himself what it looks like; what it used to be called in 
South Carolina! But this is the present Northern political 
philosophy for white men ! 

One more point remains to be viewed: the executive agency 
through which all this "control" is to be exerted. President 
Chadbourne says it must be "through organised forms of law." 
These, of course, imply organs; that is, officials. Government 
office-holders, then, are to be invested with all this power over 
capitalists' wealth, prices, wages, and business enterprises; and 
over the laboring classes' liberty of motion, toil, wages, families, 
and expenditures. Certain questions here become relevant. 
Must not some chief office-holder have the appointing power for 


Capital and Labor. 


all these office-holders, who are to be the "guardians" of labor? 
How enormously will this swell his prerogatives? Will he be 
magistrate or Czar? Again: will these laborers, so benevolently 
"controlled" for their own good, vote or not? If not, what limit 
have they to this subjugation, or check on their "guardians'" 
use of them, their earnings, and their families? If they vote, 
what chance will other voters have against the will or ambition of 
the "guardians" advancing to the ballot-boxes with such cohorts 
of "wards"? Again, have Americans, especially, encouragement 
to expect of government officials such philanthropy, integrity, in- 
telligence, or disinterestedness, as will qualify them for these 
large trusts over the interests of the rich and the persons of the 
poor? Is there any danger of their "manipulating" the questions 
of prices, products, wages, in the interest of parties or persons? 
What is the experience of business men about Washington, Al- 
bany, and Boston on that point? Will they be just and faithful, 
as well as humane, to the "wards" over whom they are to have 
so much power? Will .none of the wages find their way into 
their pockets instead of the ''wards'" savings banks? Will they 
be in circumstances to feel any of that family tie which so natur- 
ally grows up in domestic dependence and intimacies between 
superior and inferior? And above all, will they have any of that 
keen, wakeful prompting of self-interest to care faithfully for 
their "wards," lest their own pockets suffer by their sickness or 
destruction, which that ''barbarous" old system of the South pro- 
duced? Or will they, being mere officials, know that either the 
happiness or misery, life or death, of the hirelings intrusted to 
their oversight will have no effect whatever on their own einolu- 
ments, save as the death-rate may diminish their own labors and 
make their snug places more of sinecures? 

These are questions which "give us pause." The illustrative 
reply which they receive from an experiment of Northern wisdom 
of recent date, strikes us as rather unfavorable. Americans have 
an unsavory remembrance of the "Freedmen's Bureau." When 
the Africans were found precisely in that category of "unem- 
ployed" for which President Chadbourne is now legislating, and 
from the same causes of ignorance, laziness, and ill luck, we re- 




Capital and Labor. 


member how that Congress fell very much upon this plan — it 
organised the "Freedman's Bureau." It selected the "Christian 
statesman and soldier," Gen. 0. 0. Howard, who turned out not 
to be just the Howard of Burke's splendid panegyric, and made 
the freedmen say to him, after the fashion of the Danites to 
Micah's Levite: "Be thou unto us a father and a priest." But 
we have a dim reminiscence that the experiment was not a suc- 
cess, and that the Danites, instead of plundering Lachish were 
plundered themselves; that the "nation" became excessively 
weary both of "wards" and "guardians" ; that the former only 
became more lazy, dependent, and helpless as the latter became 
richer; and that the howl of disgust and indignation which 
consigned them to "the tomb of all the Capulets" was louder in 
the North than the South. ' 

Yes; all such organisations of labor are but forms of -political 
slavery, having every bad feature ever erroneously imputed to 
domestic slavery, without a single one of its redeeming features. 
It would fix on rich and poor every outrage and oppression of 
despotism and communism at once. President Chadbourne may 
be assured that there is no remedy in that direction. He assures 
us that some remedy is essential, because the evil is in full tide 
of progress, it has found as yet no solution at all, and it threatens 
society with certain calamity. He is doubtless correct in this: 
he speaks what he does know, and testifies that which he has seen. 

But the remedy? He has given an accurate diagnosis; but 
his "physic is worse than the disease." What is to be done? It 
does not become guilty rebels to obtrude a prescription — we only 
echo the question. What? One quack remedy has killed the 
Southern patient, a result exceedingly comforting to the Northern 

" Sick Man, ' in the hands of the same doctor. 



Life^ of Horace Mann. 



•''-^:^^;.^:l{,. LIFE OF HORACE MANN. 

This volume was published in 1865. It is not, therefore, in 
order to call attention to something new, that it is made the sub- 
ject of the following article. But an examination of it is not 
inappropriate at any time, because the character and career of 
Horace Mann illustrates so conspicuously the tendencies and 
results of false philosophy. 

The biography is very interesting. It was written by one who 
of course was absolutely familiar with her subject, and whose 
intellectual character and culture fitted her, not only to sympa- 
thise with all her husband's opinions and feelings, but also to co- 
operate with him vigorously in his work. We may indeed feel 
called upon to be on our guard when contemplating a portrait 
drawn by a hand so fond and so skilful. In fact, she says that she 
is herself aware of the danger of idealising his character, and of 
seeing virtues where others see faults. The memoir, however, 
consists very largely of the letters and other writings of her hus- 
band. This puts authentic materials into our hand as far as they 
go; but does not secure us against the error of estimate which 
may be occasioned by adroit omission. As we read of his relin- 
quishment of his post of Secretary of Public Education in Massa- 
chusetts for a seat in Congress, and afterwards of his removal to 
Antioch, Ohio, where he ended his life in the midst of the ruins 
of disappointed expectations, we are conscious of a suspicion 
that there are some clews of the narrative which we do not hold 
in our hand. In this we may be mistaken ; and if we are not, 
who can find fault with the tear-blinded eyes of love if they can- 
not see everything? For the purpose of this article, a very brief 
recapitulation of the events of the life of Mr. Mann is all that is 

He was born in 1796, in Franklin, Massachusetts, of parents 

represented as of much moral worth and very strongly religious 

convictions carried out strictly into daily life. The poverty of 

his parents compelled him to unremitting toil, Avhich, while it de- 

VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 22. 







Life of Horace Mann. 


prived him of any but the most meagre opportunities of elemen- 
tary education, gave him habits of industry ami a powN* of con- 
tinuous labor which enabled him to prepare in six months to 
enter the l^'ophomore Class of Brown University, where he grad- 
uated with the first honor of his class. In 1823 he was admitted 
to the bar, and until 1837 practised law with sufficient success, 
but from anything that appears in his biography, without any 
of that enthusiasm which characterised his movements everywhere 
else he appears. He served several years as member of the House 
and the Senate of Massachusetts respectively, and devoted his 
efforts mainly to hunianitarian objects, as the founding of a State 
Lunatic Hospital, and to temperance legislation. In July, 1837, 
he assumed the duties of Secretary of the Board of Education, or 
as the more familiar title now is. Superintendent of Public In- 
struction in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. This work, 
the most laborious and conspicuous, and probably the most suc- 
cessful, of his life, he continued till 1848, when he took in Con- 
gress the seat vacated by the death of John Quincy Adams. He 
remained in Congress for two terms. In 1852 he was nominated 
for Governor by the Free Soil party in Massachusetts, but was 
defeated. In the same year he was offered the Presidency of 
Antioch College in Ohio, which he accepted, and there he con- 
tinued to labor until his death in 1859. 

If this outline brings before the mind of the reader a man of 
intellectual ability, varied attainments, vigorous activity, pure 
personal character, and elevated aims, of incessant industry with 
great endurance, the portrait Avill not be untrue, so far ; but it 
would be incomplete, as will appear from a more minute inspec- 
tion. Horace Mann was superficial and bigoted in religion, 
fanatical and inefficient as a legislator, and visionary in his schemes 
for education. All this resulted from his inablity to take a com- 
prehensive view of things in their mutual relations and compara- 
tive importance, and from want of self-knowledge, and thence an 
overestimate of his own powers. 

Things of second-rate importance and rnen of second-rate ability 
he assigned to the first rank, and considered as impossible what- 
ever he coidd not do, and, as necessarily untrue whatever he could 
not comprehend. 


Life of Horace Mann. 


To establish and illustrate this statement, we will present, as 
brought to view in this volume, his religion, his political career, 
and his educational labors. 

His parents were Calvinists in creed, and seemed to have 
maintained fully the domestic strictness of New England. The 
celebrated Dr. Emmons was the minister of his native town, and 
certainly the Calvinistic tenets were not softened as they were 
uttered from the pulpit. Mr. Mann, in an autobiograpliical 
passage, says: •: - . . • 1^ 

" At ten years of a^e I became familiar with the whole creed, and 
knew all the arts of theolofr;ical fence by which objections to it were 
wont to be parried. It nii^ht be that I accepted the doctrines too lite- 
rally, or did not temper them with the proper qualifications; but in 
the way in which they came to my youthful mind, a certain number 
of souls were to l)e forever lost, and nothin*^ — not powers, principalities, 
nor man, nor an^el, nor Christ, nor the Holy Spirit — nay, not God him- 
self, could save them ; for he had sworn before time was, to ;<;et eternal 
jijlory out of their eternal torment. . . . The judgment had been made 
up and entered upon the eternal record millions of years before we, who 
were judged by it, had been born : and there sat the Omnipotent upon His 
throne, with eyes and heart of stone, to ^uard it; and had all the beings 
in all the universe gathered themselves before him to implore but the 
erasure of a single name from the list of the doomed, their prayers would 
have been in vain. . . . The consequences upon my mind and happiness ' 
were disastrous in the extreme. ... I remained in this condition of 
mind till I was twelve years of a<2;e. I remember the day, the hour, the 
place, the circumstances, as well as though the event had happened but yes- 
terday, when, in an agony of despair, I broke the spell that had bound 
me. From that day I began to construct the theory of Christian ethics 
and doctrine respecting virtue and vice, rewards and penalties, time 
and eternity, God and his providence, which, with such modifications 
as advancing age and a wider vision must impart, I still retain, and 
out of which my life has flowed." 

The particulars of this experience are given in the following 

reminiscence of a friend, as coming from Mr. Mann himself. It 

was at the funeral (conducted by Dr. Emmons) of a young brother 

who had been drowned. 

"A crisis took place in his experience similar to that described in 
Mrs. H. B. Stowe's story of 'The Minister's Wooing,' when Mrs. Marien 
hears of her son James's death without knowing whether he was con- 
verted or not. His whole bein^ rose up against the idea df such a cruel 







Jjife of Horace Mann. 


Creator, and declared hatred to him. lie would hate Infinite Malio;nity 
personified, if he must suffer eternally, in consequence . . . and delib- 
erately, with all the tremendous force of his will, he chose to suffer with 
the lost, rather than make one with the selfish immortals who found 
happiness in witnessing torture." ' - '■<* •? t i - 

He is quoted by his editor as saying: "If I believed in total 
depravity, I must of course believe in everlasting punishment; 
but I consider both unworthy of God." Yet, with an inconsis- 
tency of which we have no explanation, he says of himself in 
after life: ''I have come round again to a belief in the eternity 
of rewards and punishments, as a fact necessarily resulting from 
the constitution of our nature!" 

We are inclined to suppose that Mr. Mann has unconsciously 
transferred the matured creed and sentiments of after life to 
the period of childhood. He would be a very precocious boy of 
twelve who could formulate so precisely his objections to what 
he called Calvinism, and a very wicked one, in will at least, who 
could deliberately declare hatred to God, as "personified Malig- 
nity" ! But whether to be accredited to his childhood or to his 
manhood, it determined his religious life; and his own account of 
it clearly illustrates the fatal narrow-mindedness and the exces- 
sive self-estiraate which so deteriorate his character as to cause 
undoubted great possibilities to end in almost a failure. 

The difficulty which pressed him was the old difficulty of recon- 
ciling God's sovereignty with man's free will. It is not peculiar 
to Calvinism, nor even to revealed religion, but inheres in every 
system of theism which assumes that God is infinite in his power, 
wisdom, and goodness, and that man is responsible for his moral 
acts. And, again, however true and important the doctrine of 
the eternity of future punishment, the belief of it is not made a 
necessary condition of salvation ; while yet the creed which 
disowns it comes not up to the declaration of our Saviour in 
Matthew xxv. 46 and John iii. 36, and utterly fails to account 
for his humiliation and exceeding sufferings in Gethsamane and 
on Calvary, and is so far defective and harmful. 

Yet to the mind of Mr. Mann, the solution in general of this 
inexplicable problem, and the unhesitating denial of a dogma 
connected with it, and held by the great majority of professing 


Life of Horace Mann, 


Christians, seemed to be fundamental in doctrinal religion. His 
child's view of the question he makes the initial of the system 
which he undertook to "construct" concerning the momentous 
topics of Christian ethics and doctrine, virtue and vice, time and 
eternity, God and his providence. It does not seem to have 
occurred to him that he was, to any degree, relieved from the 
obligation to become an original construetor by the fact that a 
revelation liad been already vouchsafed by God to man; or by 
the further consideration, that during many years, men of tran- 
scendent intellects, had given the profoundest thought to the sub- 
ject. The audacity of his self-reliance and its logical worthless- 
ness, are strikingly illustrated by the fact that, as we have seen, 
in after life he abandoned the basis of his system without chang- 
ing the system itself What was the precise religious system he 
"constructed," or what formulated creed he held, if any, is not 
easily gathered from his writings. Either he was reticent upon 
the subject or his biographer has seen fit to eliminate what might 
remove doubt upon the question. One element of his system is 
obtrusively obvious — antagonism to those he called Orthodox. 
This epithet, as used by him, is so indefinite that we are at a 
loss to know how far inclusive it is. We have seen that his own 
personal religion began in passionate hatred of the Calvinism, as he 
apprehended it, of Dr. Emmons; but it afterwards presented a 
much more extended front of antagonism. Whoever were his 
Orthodox, tliey were the objects of his lively animosity and per- 
petual invective. He says of one class of them: " That they are 
born orthodox ; and if they had had wit enough, they would have 
invented orthodoxy, if Calvin had not. I never saw one of this 
class of men whom I could trust so long as a man could hold his 

To a suggestion that in a certain town, in order to avoid any 
charge of sectarianism (he was then at the head of the public 
schools), he might go to each of the several churches, Congrega- 
tionalist. Baptist, and Methodist, he replied jestingly in form, 
but ex animo, that sooner than hear three orthodox sermons in 

one day, "I had rather be burned in , at least a little !" 

W^riting of the West, he says: "The Great West has been con- 



Life of Horace Mann. 


quered^ religiously speaking, from Black Hawk to JTohn Calvin. 
So far as the religious dogmas are concerned, I would rather it 
would be Black Hawk's again." • 

As we have seen, the corner-stone of the religion he undertook 
to construct was the characteristic tenet of the Universalists; 
but he arrayed himself with the Unitarians, and often appealed 
to them for support in his educational schemes. In one of his 
letters he says: "Think of the great State (Ohio) with more than 
two million of inhabitants and only one Unitarian Society! The 
Christians are, however, the best medium through which to intro- 
duce a more liberal Christianity." This latter sentence demands 
attention. By "the Christians" Mr. Mann does not mean to 
include all commonly so called; but he designates a particular 
denomination of believers who have assumed the generic term as 
their peculiar name. This Church, though small and not influ- 
ential, owned and controlled Antioch College when Mr. Mann 
became President. The differential tenets of the Cliristian de- 
nomination it is not necessary here to signalise. It is sufficient 
to say that it differed as really, though not as widely, from Uni- 
tarianism as it did from Orthodoxy, as generally understood. But 
to this Church he a Universalist, Unitarian, and rejector of 
revelation, united himself as a member. It is fair to give his own 
qualifying account of the transaction. "Last Sunday Mrs. 

M , R , and I joined the Christian Church. We thought 

our influence for good over the students would be increased. We 
had no ceremony of baptism : we subscribed no creed. We as- 
sented to taking the Bible for 'the man of our counsel,' as it was 
expressed, with the. liberty of interpretation for ourselves; and we 
acknowledged Christian character to be the only true test of fel- 
lowship. This is all." 

This generality may have satisfied Mr. Mann's view of candor ; 
but it is certain that the society which received him entertained, 
if not at the time of his admission, very shortly afterwards, views 
not so latitudinarian. Mr. Mann's theoloi^iv became a matter of 
suspicion to the '"''Christian' denomination, and he declined to 
allow himself to be hold to account for his views "respecting the 
agency of the Holy Spirit in the conversion of men, respecting the 


lAfe of Horace Mann. 


Atonement, the Resurrection, etc." This led Theodore Parker 
to charge him with having concealed from the leading members 
of the "Christian" sect his differences of opinion from them. 
We have a much better opinion of the integrity of Mr. Mann 
than of that of Theodoi-e Parker, and much more respect for his 
memory. We will not therefore affirm that there was intentional 
deception in his act of joining the "Christian" Church. But in 
a wider view there was a duplicity, of which he furnishes himself 
the proof, apparently unconscious of any moral obliquity. 

He avers, in the paragraph quoted above, that his motive in 
joining the "Christian" Church was that thereby he hoped to 
exercise more influence over the students. Whether this was a 
legitimate motive for the act we will not inquire. But what was 
his object in taking control of Antioch College? Publicly he 
says, and his biographer states the same thing, that it was to 
inaugurate a system of non-sectarian^ undenominational educa- 
tion; and further asserts that the Unitarians of New York con- 
tributed tw'enty-five thousand dollars to the College then under 
the control of the "Christian" denomination, upon the explicit 
pledge that its sectarian character should be abandoned. But 
what does Mr. Mann cover up under the negative term non-sec- 
tarimt? Writing to the Rev. Daniel Austin (Unitarian) ho says: 

" I wish you knew more of our Institution here and of our plans. 
In all this Great West, ours is the only Institution of a first-class char- 
acter which is not directly or indirectly under the influence of the Old 
School Theology ; and though the mass of the people here are more 
liberal-minded and free-thoughted — more open and receptive, and less 
'cast-irony than the corresponding class in the East, yet the ministers 
are more narrow and bijroted. Our College, therefore, is really like 
breakinoja hole in the Chinese Wall, It lets in the light of religious civili- 
sation Avherc it never shone before. Think of this great State, with more 
than two millions of inhabitants, and only one Unitarian Society! The 
ChrintiHiifi^ however, are the best medium through which to introduce 
a more liberal Christianity," 

Liberal Christianity \x\ the mouth of a Unitarian means Uni- 
tarianism. Thus Mr. Mann was solemnly connecting himself with 
the "Christian" denomination when distinctly to himself his great 
object was, through this readiest medium, to introduce Unitarians 





Life of Horace Mann: 


to the overthrow of all other denominations, that of the ''Chris- 
tians" included ! '■■ • • \> ■ ^''^^-'^ ''-" ' -■';--' 'n ^r r^-m '^r^^M-r: ^■:^- 

Was he the person to proclaim that " no Orthodox minister 
was to be trusted longer than a man can hold his breath?" The 
biographer seeks to avoid the charge of Theodore Parker by as- 
serting that when he wrote his criminative letter, "he was so 
enfeebled in mind by illness as to be scarcely responsible." It 
is within the competency of an only moderate intellect and of a 
conscience only tolerably enlightened to pass judgment upon such 
Jesuitry. A system of religion constructed even by a child ten 
years old could hardly be so crude as not to condemn such pal- 
tering with sincerity. Certainly the Calvinism of his parents, 
from which Mr. Mann revolted, would not have tolerated it. Cer- 
tainly it would have been more in harmony with the Black Hawk 
theology which he grieved to see superseded by Calvinism ! 

Want of space forbids a more extended notice of Mr. Mann's 
religious system and career. But, for the purpose in hand, 
enough has been said. Surely the man who adopted Unitarian- 
ism, which, to say no more against it, is confessedly negative, 
sapless, and utterly uninfluential upon the history of mankind ; 
who rejected the Bible because he could not fathom it, and took 
up a child-constructed religion in place of the Christianty re- 
vealed by God, which overthrew the Paganism and conquered the 
philosophy of Greece and Rome, that dispersed the millennial 
darkness of the Middle Ages, that planted Europe with power, 
that is at this hour the acknowledged source of civilisation, liberty, 
learning, morality, and religion throughout Christendom, and is 
diffusing the same blessings to the ends of the earth — surely the 
man who did this, was narrow-minded, of short vision, and inca- 
pable of comprehending the meaning and the relative importance 
of the facts in the midst of which he was living and acting ! 

Yet something more must be said briefly about his philosophy, 
if, indeed, we can separate his philosophy from his religion ; for he 
manifestly inclined, after discarding the religion of revelation, to 
substitute the religion of man, or philosophy so called, in its 
stead. And as he rejected revelation because he could not fathom 
its depths, he would be sure to take up with a philosophy which 

1879.] 1, 

Life of Horace Mann. 


did not soar above his reach. Such a philosophy he found in 
Phrenology ! And he embraced it with an ardor which, as the 
world now regards that pseudo-science, seems contemptible. He 
says of Mr. Combe's work, "The Constitution of Man": "Its 
doctrine I believe will work the same change in metaphysical 
science that Lord Bacon wrought in natural." And again, in 
writing to the author himself: " There can be but one discovery 
of the circulation of the blood, or of the solar system, or of the 
identity of electricity and lightning; and so there can be but one 
author of 'The Constitution of Man.' We or others may apply 
its principles to facts and to near combination of facts, but the 
great discoverer must stand unequalled by himself or by others. 
Your applications of the subject to criminal legislation, jurispru- 
dence, etc., will in time, I have no doubt, work revolutions in 
those departments." In another place he says: "Mr. Combe is, 
on the whole, the completest philosopher I have ever known. 
He comprehends how he was made and why he was made, and 
he acts as the laws of his nature indicate." Nor does Mr. Mann 
hesitate to utilise his supreme philosophy ; of merely speculative 
philosophy he has no notion. Thus we find him giving a very 
dogmatic estimate of Gen. Harrison, based mainly upon the fol- 
lowing inventory of his phrenological developments : " He has 
no predominant self-esteem or love of approbation. These organs 
are small. Combativeness is also small. Alimentiveness and ac- 
quisitiveness are almost wanting. The moral region is tolerably 
developed ; but this absence of the great mischief-working propen- 
sities gives it fair play. This is the key to his character and 

We are not surprised, therefore, to hear him express great ad- 
miration for a sermon based on Phrenology, nor to find that he 
is ready to believe in animal magnetism, and suggesting that the 
battery (electric) in a man's brain might overcome the natural 
gravitation of a table. Indeed, Mr. Mann seemed to have a 
natural susceptibility for all contagious fanaticism, and was not 
by any means discriminating in his fervor. His denunciation of 
the use of tobacco is as fierce as of intemperance, and for himself 
he classed coffee and tea among the delenda. Holy City, Holy 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 23. 




Life of Horace Mann. 


Sepulchre, Holy Cross, were in his eyes e(]|ually worthy of a cru- 
sade. His ability to discriminate between what is first and second 
rate is manifested by a list of some of the men whom he held as 
heroes — Channing, Combe, Sumner, Kossuth, Pierce, Fay, Neal 
Dow, and some others of like uncelebrity. 

Mr. Mann's longest and most faithful public service was in 
connexion with the Public Schools of Massachusetts. It would 
seem from his biographer's statement, (and we have not felt called 
on to examine any other documents for the purpose of either 
confirmation or correction,) that Mr. Mann is entitled to the credit 
of having infused new vigor into a system of public instruction 
that was in a lethargic condition at the time, and to have greatly 
extended the comprehension of its existing narrow limits. He 
aroused public sentiment in favor of Public Schools, secured for 
them legislative aid and oversight, established Normal Schools, 
held conventions and institutes of teachers, and by his speeches 
and writing so advanced the whole matter of popular instruction 
that he may fairly be called the father of the modern Common 
School System in Massachusetts. Let all this be so: we have no 
occasion to dispute any part of it. We only wish to point out in 
Mr. Mann in connexion with this, his most successful work, the 
same want of apprehending the just relations of things, the same 
tendency to regard as first rate what is secondary, the same 
overweening confidence in himself, and the same intolerance to- 
wards all who differed with him, especially the Orthodox. 

It is natural and not inexcusable that men should have a ten- 
dency to exaggerate the importance of any pursuit to which they 
have devoted themselves with ardor. Unless we are mistaken, 
this tendency is notably conspicuous in the advocates of the free 
or public school system of education. They hold, in varying 
degrees, that the education of the intellect is the greatest need of 
man, and the greatest blessing, as bringing in its train all other 
blessings; and further, that all other systems of education are of 
little worth compared with that of organised, consolidated State 
education. The first of these exaggerations has its foundation in 
an inability to make a just comparison between things of first and 
things of secondary importance; and the second, in self-conceit 


Life of Horace Mann. 


engendered by a certain measure of acknowledged success. Mr. 
Mann was just the person to appropriate in excess these two 
errors. He who could substitute "The Constitution of Man" for 
the Bible, and Connbe's Philosophy for religion, would have no 
difficulty in believing that society jnight safely intrust its inter- 
ests to universal education, with but little help from Law, and 
less from Divine Providence. Thus we hear him say: "The com- 
mon school is the greatest discovery made by man; we repeat it: 
the common school is the greatest discovery ever made hy man. 
Let the common school be expanded to its capabilities, let it be 
worked with the efficiency of which it is susceptible, and nine- 
tenths of the crimes in the penal code would become obsolete; the 
long catalogue of human ills would be abridged ; men would walk 
more safely by day ; every pillow would be more inviolable by 
night ; property, life, and character would be held by a stronger 
tenure ; all rational hopes, respecting the future, would be 
brightened." His biographer, writing under the inspiration of 
such sentiments, thinks that by the impulses of education, the 
colored race "bids fair to be the superiors and instructors of the 
white men of the South" ! ;, . 

In a letter to a reverend friend, Mr. Mann says : "I certainly 
agree with you, that schools will be found to be the way that God 
has chosen for the reformation of the world." The success of 
normal schools in Massachusetts, he predicts, "will be an era in 
the welfare of mankind.'' 

It would be easy, but it is needless, to multiply evidences of 
Mr. Mann's inordinate estimate of the importance of Common 
Schools, and his apparent unconsciousness of thp existence of any 
other system of education worthy the name. His estimate of him- 
self appears in his impatience of opposition, and his intolerance to- 
wards those whose views were contrary to his own, "the Orthodox" 
especially. Speaking of some article in The New York Observer., he 
says: "As for St. James's definition, 'Pure religion and undefiled 
is to visit the widows and fatherless in their affliction,' and that 
other definition, ' Do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with 
thy God,' the Orthodox have quite outgrown these obsolete no- 



hife of Horace Mann. 


tions, and have got a religion which can at once gratify their self- 
esteem and their destructiveness." i ^v-jt, iVi;; : r'v j ;iM rhmi't*. -' 

It is further noticeable that his educational methods were nov- 
elties, and what we are inclined to call radical, banishing from 
schools all corporal punishment, eliminating emulation as an 
incentive to study; the coeducation of the sexes and the min- 
gling the two races in schools; and, what he calls non-sectarian 
education, but what, as we have seen, was in reality an education 
on the basis of Unitarianism, with some variations introduced bv 
himself In instruction he aimed at uniting "the drill of West 
Point with the conscience of the Normal Schools of Massachu- 
setts." Whether the drill was to improve the conscience, or the 
conscience the drill, is not stated. 

Mr. Mann served two terms in Congress, taking the place of 
John Quincy Adams, who had been stricken by paralysis while 
in his seat in the House. The Congressional career of Mr. Mann 
extended over somewhat more than four years, covering the ex- 
citing period of the election of Gen. Harrison and the culmina- 
tion of the Slavery question. His character as an extreme abo- 
litionist was the sole ground of his election to Congress; and 
during all his four years there, he devoted himself almost exclu- 
sively, and with all the ardor of his nature, to the anti-slavery 
contest. Following the fatal tendency of his mind, he believed 
that this question ought to dominate all others, actual or possible. 
He says: "I will never yield to the claim to carry Slavery into 
the Territories, come what will. I should prefer dissolution (of 
the Union) even, terrible as it would be, to Slavery extension." 
He would not support Gen. Taylor, "because he had been nomi- 
nated by the combined force of Slavery and War." He would 
not attend the Congressional funeral of Mr. Calhoun. The pas- 
sage of the bill to make operative the requirement of the Consti- 
tution touching the rendition of fugitives from service, he styled 
"an infernal day's work." He adopts, of course, the "higher 
law" morality, and writes to Theodore Parker to furnish him 
with "heathen and pagan authorities in favor of it." He avows 
that the importance of education (that "greatest discovery ever 
made by man") subsides in his view before abolition. Of the 


Life of Horace Mann. 


Soutti and Southwest he says: "Christianity is nineteen hundred 
years distant from them." Perhaps a sub-audition against his 
Orthodoxy is discernible here. Mr. Mann was not only bigoted 
in his opinions, but acrimonious and vindictive in his animosities. 
Not to refer to his comments upon men of lesser note, he says: 
" Cass as a Democrat, and Clay as a Whig, had offered to immo- 
late Freedom to win the South. Webster must do more than 
either, or abandon hope. He consented to treachery ; and to 
make his reward sure, proposed to do more villainies than were 
asked of him." , ,„ ^ 

With an unfortunate overestimate of his own powers, Mr. Mann 
seems to have felt called on to be the leader of the abolition at- 
tacks upon the great Massachusetts senator. He did this most 
prominently by a letter addressed to his constituents. In one 
place he expresses his regret that he had not had the opportunity 
to do so in a speech. His letter, which it would seem was vitu- 
perative as well as antagonistic, arrayed against him, according 
to his own account, all the supporters of Mr. Webster, constitut- 
ing pretty much all the intelligence and influence of the State. 
He represents the whole Webster party as combining to defeat 
his nomination for a second term in Congress; "and in order to 
bring the odium theologicum, to crush me [we quote to show here 
his own anti-orthodox oc?zwm] an evangelical was taken as my 
opponent." If so, he had reason to be proud of a signal victory ; 
for he offered himself as an unnominated independent candidate, 
and stumping the State, a thing at that time unusual in Massachu- 
setts, he was reelected by a handsome majority. This success in no 
wise, 30 far as we see, mitigated his animosity against Mr. Web- 
ster, which he allowed himself to express in such terms as "apos- 
tate," "Lucifer," "fallen star," "fit only to mingle with mules 
and apes," "as corrupt a politician as ever lived," "intellect with- 
out morality." "Webster has debauched the country, not only 
on the subject of Slavery, but as to all decency and truth." 

This exceeds the usual virulence of politicians, or even of the 
old-time abolitionists. What acerbated the feelings of Mr. Mann, 
we learn from a side-light casually let in. In a letter to Mr. 
Combe he says, " When I returned to Washington, Webster cut 



Life of Horace Mann. 


me. In a letter written to some citizens, he put in the most ar- 
rogant meer that his talent could devise." In replying to a 
friend who seems to have regarded his utterances as unjustifiably 
severe, he says in bitterness, or, to use a still harder term, vin- 
dictiveness: "My references to Webster, compared with his con- 
temptuous and supercilious manner to me, were as honey to vit- 
riol." Mr. Mann had misconceived the relative importance of 
things, when he proposed himself as a match for Mr. Webster ; 
and to be treated as insignificant, was to his self-esteem a sting 
harder to endure than would have been a crushing political buffet. 

In 1852, the Free Soil party nominated him fpr Governor; he 
failed to be elected ; and having been invited to the presidency 
of Antioch College, he abandoned his political career and re- 
turned to his educational work. Why he left Massachusetts does 
not appear. What were his purposes and real motives in under- 
taking this scheme we have already seen. It was to introduce 
in the West education of a high grade, conducted on principles 
called by him unsectarian, but which were in fact advanced Uni- 
tarianisra; and this, as we have also seen, through a college be- 
longing to a sect distinctly different. ' ' f' ' ' ? 

This he was not able at that time to accomplish ; but, says his 
biographer, "It may be done now. The ground has been 
broken for the Unitarians. Let them hang out their banner. 
It is not yet too late to enlist the enthusiasm of many who 
personally knew the spirit in which Mr. Mann worked upon the 

We have already expressed our view on this matter ; but we 
cannot withhold our admiration for the industry, courage, and self- 
denial with which he wrought. All his labors were sacrifices, 
but he never yielded to weariness any more than he was discour- 
aged by diflSculties, or daunted by opposition. But he had, as 
was usual with him, underestimated the obstacles in his way, and 
overestimated his own ability. Religious antagonisms, dissensions 
in the Faculty, the crudeness of his material, untried schemes 
(as the coeducation of the sexes and of the different races), and 
above all, insufficiency of funds, involved him in a struggle in 
which he was steadily growing weaker. He saw this, and others 


Life of Horace Mann. 



saw it. Others yielded, but he would not yield. The more in- 
extricable became his embarrassments, the severer were his efforts. 
He stood at his forlorn post, despairing but undismayed, until, 
after six years, death relieved him. 

Nothing qjore commends itself to all men than true courage. 
Even when ill-directed and ill-inspired, it separates itself from 
the object and the motive, and for itself attracts admiration. 
Horace Mann was brave. From his initial struggle with pov- 
erty, through his course as a lawyer, temperance advocate, abo- 
litionist, State legislator, Congressman, and President of Antioch 
College, he never flinched nor blenched. His courage did not 
fail him in the trial of death, if that solemn scene has been truth- 
fully reproduced by his biographer. After a period of extraor- 
dinary labor and excitement, he came in an exhausted condition 
to preside over the Commencement exercises of his College. The 
festivities of the day lasted twelve hours, ending with a crowded 
lev^e at the house of the President. A fearful reaction in his 
system ensued. Burning fever raged for weeks, depriving him 
of sleep; but only for three days was he a prisoner in his apart- 
ment. When he was informed that he had not more than three 
hours to live, he replied : " ' I do not feel it to be so, but if it is so, 

I have something to say. Send for B ' " (a student who had 

given much anxiety). "To this young friend and others of the 
students he spoke earnestly for two hours, pouring forth his great 
soul in inspired words." Of this address his biographer has 
given no record. He again and again uttered the words, " iKfaw, 
Duty^ God)'' words of great import, and comprehending all that 
is of supreme final importance. But the value of them to every 
mortal closing his career, depends upon their adjustment in pro- 
per relations. And this adjustment is not the work of man, nor 
discoverable by the reason of man, but is given in the ministry 
and mystery of reconciliation received by faith, "to wit, that 
God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not im- 
puting their trespasses unto them." Mr. Mann's only recorded 
mention of the name of Christ is, that he said to his children : 
"When you wish to know what to do, ask yourselves what Christ 
would have done in the same circumstances." How much faith 



Life of Hordce Mann. 


in the Redeemer this implied, we cannot know. Let us hope, 
enough to save. But this much, without any breach of the ten- 
derest charity, we may say: that we do not find here, nay, we 
mourn the absence of that light and warmth which has so often 
been shed around the dying bed of many an humbU^-hearted be- 
liever, who, as a little child, has received the kingdom of heaven. 
It is to our purpose to remark, and thus in closing this article 
to signalise its intended moral: that the death of Mr. Mann was 
in accord with his life. We have seen how in his early youth he 
turned away from the Light of the world, and ventured with de- 
liberate hardihood to he his own guide. Never, from that mo- 
ment, was he able to perceive the highest truth. With elevated 
purposes, great abilities, unusual opportunities, and often appa- 
rently on the verge of success, his disappointments were renewed, 
one after another his plans were frustrated, until a life of incom- 
pletion was terminated by an unirradiated death. 

J. T. L. Preston. 

■'M^n Mi\ m 't. 

, - ti'' mi ^-i^'M 

■V U! 

; M:J'! 

r. f 

'\'\- >'*'■// :Vi1 ft^H'I'W ..\!C!. 



Critical Notices. 



History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time of Calvin. 
By the Rev. J. H. Merle d'Aubigne, D. D. Translated by 
William L. R. Gates. Vol. VIII. Hungary, Poland, Bohemia, 
Netherlands, Geneva, Denmark, Sweden, Norway. New York : 
Robert Carter & Brothers, 530 Broadway. 1879. Pp. 464, 



This is the eighth and concluding volume of this great work. 
There was a previous History of the Reformation by D'Aubign^, 
which he entitled as of the Sixteenth Century, and which extended 
through five volumes. The work now finished he called by the 
name of The History of the Reformation in Europe in the Time 
of Calvin, and it runs through eight volumes. The whole History 
covers thirteen volumes, ten of which the author himself pub- 
lished, and three are posthumous. His labors as their author 
commenced, it seems, in 1817, "immediately after his ordination 
to the ministry," and continued almost uninterruptedly down to 
1872. He conceived the idea of becoming a historian of the 
Reformation when visiting Germany in the first named year for 
the purpose of perfecting his theological studies. That year was 
the tercentenary of the Reformation begun by Luther, and Ger- 
many was in a ferment and the Reformer's name on every tongue. 
The young Genevese sketched, Nov. 23, 1817, the plan of his 
work, and devoted his life to its accomplishment, dying when he 
had nearly finished his eightieth year. Two more years, the 
editor tells us, he required to finish his great undertaking, but 
they were denied him. 

The consequence is that we have an incomplete history of the 
Reformation, and the parts omitted are precisely those which we 
should have most earnestly desired not to have been left unwritten. 
We cannot agree with the editor that "everything that is essen- 
tial to the history of the Reformation is narrated in these thirteen 
volumes." The most important part of the History of the Refor- 
mation in the time of Calvin is the part which Calvin [icted, and 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 24. 


Critical Notices: 


that we have not here in full. The history breaks off long before 
that Reformer's death. Nor is there any account given of the 
struggle betwixt Calvin and Servetus. It is much to be regretted 
that D'Aubign^ was not led to devote his attention to a complete 
presentation of the great Genevese in every part of his history, 
from the beginning of it to its very end — for it is he who consti- 
tutes beyond all comparison the most interesting actor in the 
whole drama ; and it is especially to be regretted that the author 
did not give us at least one long and complete chapter to clear up 
the |.)roeeedings held in the case of Servetus. 

The volume before us presents a curious and awkward blunder 
on its title page. There we read that it relates to Hungary, 
Poland, Bohemia, Netherlands, Geneva, Denmark, Sweden, Nor- 
way. But there is nothing about these countries in this volume. 
Denmark, Sweden, Norway are treated in Book XII., and Hun- 
gary, Poland, Bohemia, Netherlands, in Book XIII. But this 
volume contains Books XIV., XV., and XVI., the first treating 
of Spain, the second of England, and the third of Germany. 

Of course the most interesting to us is Book XV. about Eng- 
land. It consists of eleven chapters. A considerable portion of 
these is taken up with the terrible, and we must add the most 
sorrowful, history of Henry the Eighth and his four last wives. 
Jane Seymour, mother of Edward VI., dies; Anne of Clcves is 
divorced, as was Henry's first wife; Catharine Howard was be- 
headed, as was his second wife ; and Catharine Parr barely escapes 
the same fate and survives the King. Of the six queens two 
were Roman Catholics and four Protestants, and doubtless politi- 
cal and sectarian intrigues have had much to do with the pictures 
history has drawn of them all. D'Aubign^ condemns Henry 
"as a man for his treatment of his wives, especially of Anne 
Boleyn." We certainly will not defend him absolutely, but it is 
our opinion that there is some excuse for Henry in all these 
affairs. He had great faults as a man and a monarch, but it was 
his lot to stand between very embittered opponents, and we have 
no irlea that justice is done him by writers in general. It was 
also his lot to occupy a throne respecting the succession to which 
it was of the utmost importance to England and to Europe that 



Critical Notices. 



there should be no doubt. It is the noble task of enlightened, 
patient, industrious, candid, modern history to investigate the 
records of the past, sometimes intensifying our hatred and con- 
tempt for base and wicked conduct, but sometimes also redeem- 
ing in whole or in part a reputation which has been unduly 
blackened. i-;.. .•:■„■... -■yj M.,-i- y^-.^ m^'^a^u J. B. A^j^^m. 

Thii Reign of God Wot the Reign of Law. By the Rev.j 
Thomas Scott Bacon, Rector of the Episcopal church, Oak-i 
land, Md. Turnbull Bros., Baltimore. 1878. Pp. 400, 12mo.. 

The title of this work discloses its origin in a protest against 
the Duke of Argyle's ''Reign of Law." The problem of this 
was to show how prayer could be answered and miracles wrought, 
consistently with that universal and immutable prevalence of 
natural law asserted by modern science. Mr. Bacon's dissatis- 
faction with the Duke's solution may be summed up in this word: 
that no such reign of natural law should be admitted by the 
believer, but we should squarely deny that term of the theorem, 
and assert instead the mediaeval Scholastic or Thomist and mod- 
ern Cartesian theory of the universe. This is the only reign of 
law which Mr. Bacon thinks the Bible admits, and the only 
kind he will hear of. He does not believe that there are, properly 
speaking, any such things as "second causes," except rational 
creature-wills; the rest are only effects. God is the only, ''the 
incessant, the immediate agent" of all changes in the physical 
universe. There is literally no force and no power except his 
will ; and this will, while dictating law to created wills, is so far 
from having any regulative law that he is unwilling even to say 
that it is regulated by God's own rational and moral perfections. 
His statement is, that the divine will is not regulated by wisdom 
or love, but is love. And he is convinced that none of us can 
save the doctrines of supernatural creation, miracles, special pro- 
vidence, or prayer, on any other ground. 

The well-informed reader will see at a glance that the author, 
while in the main on the right side, is a logical extremist. He 
is vigorous, extensively read in some departments, dogmatic, per- 
spicuous, and in true and pious earnest. As against the ration- 



Critical Notiees^ 



alistic theory of a providence, which is merely the original con- 
struction and general superintendence of Nature as an automatic 
machine, self-regulating under the dominion of invariable physical 
laws, he gives us a capital, and in some respects an original 
demonstration. In a sense, his protest is timely, for there is a 
strain in this noted book, the "Reign of Law," which demands 
vigorous correction. It is that suggested by the title. In seems 
to concede to the sceptical physicist that law reigns^ w-hereas all 
intelligent Christians hold that it does not reign ; being itself, as 
it is physical, unintelligent and dependent. It is God that reigns 
in and through physical laws, just so far as he pleases to uphold 
their regularity. The capital error of the Duke of Argyle is 
that he seems to concede the universality and immutability of 
physical law as an initial postulate. Whereas it is the very point 
to which he should have held the assailant, to prove that postu- 
late which human knowledge never can prove. Many old truths 
are tersely and powerfully stated by Mi*. Bacon, and some are 
set in a new and advantageous light. Thus: such a doctrine of 
"reign of law" must be sustained on a theological rather than a 
physical demonstration (Chap. III.), because physics are properly 
only the science of the phenomenal. But such a law, if demon- 
strated, must be shown to be the exclusive and radical solution 
of the phenomena. But, to any except atheists, the hypothesis 
that God's will is that solution must always be tenable and proba- 
ble, unless the place can be shown in his word where he disclaims 
it. So, page 207, he gratifies the friends of truth by a powerful 
statement of the real rationalism (or virtual infidelity) of that 
claim so often made by physicists, that the meaning of Scripture 
must await its exegesis from scientific results. "It needs but a 
little reflection to see, that if a 'word of God' is to be construed, 
without regard to its apparent meaning, by 'something outside of 
itself, the real authority is in this 'supreme court' of construction, 
whatever it may be." Page 198 he exposes the arrogance and 
folly of the current, often tacit, assumption: that "'of the two 
related factors (of human knowledge) there. Holy Scripture is the 
variable, science the constant." He shows that this assumption 
is a virtual rejection of all revelation. Chapter X. gives us a 


Critical Notices. 


tellino" argumentmn ad hominem against the unbelieving advocate 
of the automatic theory of natural law. It fancies that it has 
excluded God's providence and interposition. But here are raiU 
lions of creature-wills tampering with the machine, in little, 
teasing, disturbing ways. Mankind are forever making intru- 
sions into the workings of nature, small individually, but inevita- 
ble in ultimate- effect. The more complicated, nicely adjusted, 
and automatic the great machine, the more certainly these per- 
petual little meddlings must break it down, just as the great 
Strasburg Clock must be ruined by the wilful child who should 
insist on dribbling little pebbles between its accurately polished 
wheels; and all the more certainly ruined by reason of its com- 
plication and accuracy. ., ..-..,..„_ ^, 

The list of our exceptions against the ultraiams of our author 
may begin as conveniently at this tenth chapter as elsewhere. 
Man's thorough free agency is obviously the premise of the inge- 
nious argument just stated. Not content with asserting free 
agency, the author must needs also assert for man "free will," 
and then misrepresent and attempt to vilify "Calvinism," which 
he imputes, with very little justice we suspect, to the Duke of 
Arjiyle. He thinks it fosters a "rigid and unspiritual temper 
of mind," etc. The only "rigid" things history has really found 
fostered by true Calvinism are "rigid" logic, a quality by which 
the author would be greatly profited, and "rigid" principles of 
duty, which we sincerely trust he possesses. Did he understand 
either the logic or history of Calvinism, he would know that its 
main characteristic has been to foster just that devout, gracious, 
and spiritual type of piety which he professes to admire; and 
that of this, Augustine whom heclaims, Calvin, whom he only 
remembers, of course, as the burner of Servetus, and the noblest 
names in the Anglican Church, from her first reformers down 
to Scott and Ryle, were eminent types. Mr. Bacon has him- 
self subscribed the Thirty-nine Articles. We do not intend to 
permit any such attack on Calvinism from that quarter to pass, 
without testifying to its flagrant inconsistency, from the well 
known fact that this Episcopalian symbol is precisely as Calvin- 
istic (even in the sense of being guided by the individual views 



Critical Notices. 


of John Calvin) as any of the other symbols of the Reformerl 
Churches. And with all well-informed readers the attempt to 
deny this would only illustrate the irapugner's ignorance of his- 
tory the more. ■' ' " :-• /.^>^^-- .' >''J '!.V;:M •V.VPV ■■(•;. ,, 

Had Mr. Bacon's knowledge whereof he affirmed been greater, 
he would have been aware that his special theory of God's rela- 
tion to creatures in providence \9> 'precisely the Thomist ; and that 
all the adequate thinkers On both sides of the debate, whether 
Dominican, Augustinian, Scotist, Molinist. Genevan, or Armin- 
ian, saw that this Thomist theory, true or false, can be made to 
fit only with the most rigid and extreme form of what is now called 
Calvinism. One simple view should be enough to evince this: 
The Thomist view makes God the only real agent, in the true, 
efficient sense, in the universe. If that agent is immutable in will 
and infinite in knowledge, then inevitably his decree necessitates 
everything that happens in the universe. If Mr. Bacon were 
consistent, he would ''outherod Herod" among the Predestinarians 
he dislikes. 

No correct mind will demur to his definition of "law" as, 
strictly, a rule imposed by a superior will on a subject will, and 
thus implying personality and intelligence in both its related 
parts. But our author objects also to using the phrase "law of 
nature" even in the secondary sense, whoso justice he admits 
as expressing only the regular method of a power in nature. We 
find that in this sense we need that or some equivalent term to 
express a general fact. The power exhibited in nature (or as 
Mr. Bacon would have us say, in created things), manifestly has 
a regular method. All may safely admit this. But what is the 
power whose "law" or regular method we observe? Mr. Bacon 
answers, with Thomas Aquinas, Des Cartes, Malebranche, 
Dugald Stewart, nothing but God's direct , immediate power. He 
"does everything in 'nature' as immediately as when he said, 
'Let there be light.'" P. 102. And this he thinks to be the 
unmistakeable teaching of " thousands" of scriptures, while God's 
creating or governing any real "second causes" at all (except 
creature-wills) is taught in not a single one. When we examine 
his texts, we find that they teach what every consistent Christian 


Critical Notices. 


believes — a universal special providence; God's "upholding and 
governing all his creatures and all their actions." But we find 
none which teach that there are no such things in God's creation 
and government as veritable second causes, truly possessed, fror 
him, and under him, of power in their subordinate place. We 
find the opposite. Gen. i. 11: God ''made the fruit-tree yield- 
ing fruit after his kind.'' Mr. Bacon thinks there is no generic 
cause whatever in the trees: only successive acts of immediate 
divine will. In God's "covenantof the day and the night" (Jer/ 
xxxiii. 20), which cannot be broken, he sees no astronomical law 
at all. lie does not think that in Jer. v. 22, when God "placed 
the sand for the bound of the sea by a perpetual decree," there 
is any real restraining force in the sea-beach itself to contain the 
waves, but that the beach is only a sort of deceiving screen to 
hide God's hand. In Daniel iii. 27, we are told that the fire had 
"no power" on the bodies of Shadrach, etc., by reason of a 
miraculous hindrance, although it slew the guards who cast them 
in. This would look, to a plain mind, as though God had given 
to fire a natural power to burn. But Mr. Bacon thinks not; the 
only power is God's, '* as immediate as when he said. Let there 
be light." So in the "mighty wind," the "mighty wavef^^f the 
sea," the "rushing of mighty waters," the "power of the sword,", 
he sees none of that natural power which to the plain reader of 
the Bible is so obvious; he sees only "God's immediate will," 
over which these pfiysical objects are but delusive masks. 

This suggests the objection from reason against the Thorn ist 
doctrine: that it contradicts the testimony of our senses and com- 
mon sense. These tell us that second causes are not simulacra 
of causation, but are endued (by and under God) with real power. 
Should we thrust a hand into the fire, it would be impossible for 
us to avoid the conviction that the fire hurt us; we should never 
learn that the fire was a delusion and it was God alone who really 
hurt us. Again, we perceive in all material things certain essen- 
tial attributes, and these our reason judges to be potentially 
powers, not shams. If our perception of essential attributes is 
not trustworthy, then we can still less know the esse of material 
things, for the knowledge of the essentia is in order to that of the 



Critical Notices. 


esse. Thus this Thomist doctrine is not far off from idealism. 
Yea, it leads to it by a still more direct road. If the real efficiency 
in all second causes is only from God, why should Mr. Bacon 
except this class of second causes which seems to operate on our 
organs in sense-perception? Consistently he cannot. Then, 
when a horse in the highway seems to impress my sense of sight, 
it is not really the horse, but the Almighty, who immediately 
effects this impression. Then I have no evidence whatever, from 
this impression, that the horse exists. I know only the ego and 
God! The objective world has become wholly unreal! The 
remaining step is most natural. Ought not the seeming subjec- 
tive modifications in consciousness also to be referred to that same 
sole efficient? Why not? Why should the ego be more stubborn 
about yielding up its reality than the objective, when one is as 
valid to common sense as the other? Thus we have nothing left 
but pantheism. The step from Des Cartes to Spinoza is much 
easier and more natural than Mr. Bacon admits. Indeed, to go 
back to his own doctrine, if God is the only real agent and sec- 
ond causes are the mere phenomenal modes of his one, immediate 
agency, then it is most reasonable to say also that the Uav-een^ 
is the only real being, and all seeming beings are but phenomenal 
modes of his existence. 

If the author will study these deductions, he will see that the 
Duke of Argyle had reason, when he assumed that second causes 
are real, subordinate causes; that God has been pleased to deposit 
in them potentialities which are, under proper conditions, real ; 
and through which he conducts his special providence, which is 
his ordinary and general providence. For we agree with Mr. 
Bacon that all providence is special. That it is not necessary to 
impeach this philosophy of common sense and Scripture in 
order to uphold God's special providence, sovereignty, and an- 
swers to prayer, may be made plain to Mr. Bacon thus: he 
admits that free agency ("free will" he calls it) is real; that the 
human soul is not a mere puppet; and yet he believes that God's 
providence over men is as real and efficient as over material masses. 
Why then should he deny that material causes may be real sec- 
ond causes also, and yet equally manipulated by this sovereign 


Critical Notice». 


In his fourth chapter, he makes an assault on natural theology, 
which seems unessential to his main thesis, as well as extreme. 
He thinks that men are not convinced of the existence of God, 
but told of it; that the latter is the way they become theists. 
Told by whom? Adam and Moses, by God himself; we later 
mortals, by our parents and pastors. Now, unless this human 
testimony is authoritative and certain, it does not ground in us 
the truth that there is a God. Is this a squinting towards the 
prelatic theory of the Church and faith? Is it "holy mother 
Church" which is the source of my credence? Many parents and 
pastors also tell children many false things about fairies, ghosts, 
goblins, transubstantiation, purgatory. What is the difference 
between the child's conviction of these and of a God ? The simple 
appeal of natural theology to reason and conscience, sustaining 
the testimony to the latter. Mr. Bacon admits that the Creator 
has fashioned human souls for the prompt recognition of his being. 
True. But when he sends only a fallible, human witness, that 
recognition must be rational in order to ground certainty; and 
that is natural theology. R. L. D. 

The Fletcher Prize Essay. The Light: hit Waning? Why? 
How much? And what shall we do? Boston Congrega- 
tional Society : Congregational House, Beacon Street. 

It ought to be a sufficient recommendation of this admirable 
treatise, that the above-named prize was unanimously awarded to 
its lamented author, the Rev. A. F. Dickson, by competent judges 
of its intrinsic and comparative merits. Mr. Dickson was emi- 
nently qualified for the suuce"5sful execution of the task he had 
undertaken. He was gifted with powers of analysis of an unusual 
order, which were like blades of well-tempered steel, and which 
were constantly sharpened by profound philosophic studies. He 
was an exact scholar, and kept fully abreast of the age in every 
department of learning connected with his profession. His mind 
seemed to be at once microscopic and telescopic, penetrating the 
heart of the matter with metaphysical subtlety, and looking be- 
fore and after with a long range of vision. He decomposes the 
light into its original elements, separates its prismatic colors, and 
VOL. XXX., NO. 2 — 25. 



Critical Notices. 


then determines the relative position and motions of the heavenly 
bodies. He knew the difference between fixed stars and planets. 
■^ The title of the treatise is striking, and suggestive of many a 
luminous illustration. The Church he views as a "Light Holder" 
that God has set, like the sun, in the firmament. The question 
he discusses is: Is the Light waning, which the "Church was 
brought into being to concentrate, to order, and radiate afar — 
the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of * 
Jesus Christ" ? He shows, first, that the light may only seem 
to wane, when, in fact, it is waxing brighter. The entrance of 
gospel light is more dazzling than the most radiant period of its 
subsequent progress, just as the break of day kindles our admira- 
tion more than the blaze of noon. The power of contrast is 
gradually diminished as "Christianity tr;insforras social, moral, 
and intellectual life" into her own image, reflecting much of her 
brightness. Infidelity no longer appears as a system of mere 
negations, but covers its nakedness with garments dyed in gospel 
colors, mouths the language, and imitates the gait of the Chris- 
tian. Superstition, too, "borrows all its gilding from Chris- 
tianity." In the eloquent language of the author, "We see 
Christianity, like a lofty light-tower, irradiating alike the waves 
of infidelity that beat upon her rocky base, the dank marsh of 
supevHtition that rolls up its poisonous mists against her light, 
and the myriad interests of Christendom that flit like freighted 
vessels over the sea of time." 

But while the light is not actually Avaning, it is often obscured 
and eclipsed by prevalent evils incident to an age of universal 
shallowness and of outward religious activity. The historical 
Church, the divine light-bearer, holds on her way, i like the sun 
amid the revolving seasons — light and darkness, drought and 
flood, summer and winter ; but individual Christians are imper- 
illed, succumbing to the sudden and severe atmospheric changes; 
their spiritual health declines, false witnesses abound, the keepers 
of the light-house tremble, and the gospel loses its saving power 
over the world. The light is obscured by the wide diffusion of 
mere information without knowledge, and consequent clouds of 
delusion and sophistry. The fixed stars of "standard truths" 

^ \ 


Oritical Notices. 


are lost in the nebulous mist, and public opinion staggers in the 
uncertain haze, and many who once worshipped at the shrine of 
truth have joined the irreverent and mocking multitude. Then 
follows a general disregard for Church authority and discipline. 
The type of piety that is not rooted in sound doctrine and religious 
principle is merely emotional, and evaporates in sentimental 
cant; in superficial worship and superficial work — artificial unc- 
tion and formal routine. Underlying it all are the smouldering 
fires of scepticism, the smoke whereof darkens the air, "blurring 
the spiritual vision, weakening the life, and throwing the haze 
of uncertainty over those precious things which every believer 
ought so to hold as loyally to die upon them." Religion and 
morality are divorced, the Church and its worship are secularised. 
Such are the tokens "that the vitality of the Church is declining, 
her vows are losing their sacredness, her doctrines are less loyally 
loved and defended, her work more slightly done, her sincerity 
alloyed, and her purity tarnished, hy her own children. None 
can so wrong her but they." 

What now is the remedy for these alarming evils? How shall 
we dispel the mists and fog and poisonous gases that obscure and 
intercept the light. "It is evident," says our author, "that the 
root of our disease is a weakened hold of vital truth; and the 
remedy must be a recovery of strong convictions of mind, heart, 
and life. And I have indicated reasons for believing that the 
special defect in our present convictions regards Christ's relations 
to law and duty, and that if through the grace of the Spirit he 
should become a living presence with his people in this regard, 
the age of power and glory would immediately be born." He 
whose convictions centre in the person of a " Redeemer adminis- 
tering a law" will walk in the light as he is the light, and have 
no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. Consecra- 
tion to Christ, our Saviour and Lord, will make our conviction a 
practical living reality. 

But it is impossible to give in the narrow compass of this 
notice a complete analj^sis of a work so rich in matter. It is a 
treasury of profound and suggestive thought. The canvass is 
small, but the picture of the age is there, with all its lights and 



Critical Notices, 


shades — not a shadow or a color omitted. One must be a close 
observer and study the picture in detail to see all the delicate 
tints an<l touches. Mr. Dickson is a master of the art of expres- 
sion and a charming word-painter. But his diction is never 
superfluous, and nothing is added for the sake of ornament. His 
style is always original, fresh, sprightly, often brilliant, and daz- 
zling — full of the unction of a deep and fervent piety. 

His book is popular neither in matter nor style, and yet the 
reader who cannot readily grasp the gist of the argument will be 
affected by truth and error only as a weather-cock that is the 
sport of every wind. His indifference or indolence are proof 
against: all human eloquence. ^ . ^: v .. r ., i.f,,i -. . v 

If all our ministers would take up the themes here discussed 
and present them in a series of pul[)it discourses, the design of 
the treatise would be in a great measure accomplished. Such 
preaching we believe would be timely and fruitful. G. 11. B. 

A Short Method iviththe Bipfhig Anti-Pedo-Baptiftts. In Three 
Parts, with Appendices. ]W Kkv. Thomas Gallaiiek, Presby- 
terian Minister, LaGrange, Missc nri. St. Louis: Presbyterian 
Publishing Company, 207 North Eighth Street. 1878. Pp. 
340, 8vo. 

The author of this treatise never heard but three sermons from 
Presbyterians on baptism, but scores and hundreds of harangues 
from Anti-Pedo-Baptists. lie has seen intelligent and pious men 
and women of the Presbyterian and Methodist Churches sit in 
silence and bite their lips while Campbellites and Baptists from 
the pulpit, or in the social circle, were caricaturing sprinkling 
and infant baptism. Sometimes this silence was prompted by 
self-respect and respect for the company present, but far oftener 
because so little had been read and heard from their own ministers 
on the subject of baptism, that there was a consciousness of the 
want of due information about it; ;ind because so much had been 
heard from the Dipping Anti-Pedo-Baptists, as to produce a 
thorough disgust with the whole Baptist controversy. 

In the author's judgment, Presbyterians have stood on the de- 
fensive long enough. He claims to be as charitable and generous 


Critical Notices. 




as truth requires, but does not wish to be more than that. He 
declares that he will "carry the war into Africa," put the dippers 
on the defensive, silence their batteries, and spike their guns, if 
not convince and capture the whole force. And in doing this, 
he purposes to write for those who "never rubbed against college! 
walls." But he will not, as his opponents generally e-\pect, allow^ 
'•ae^suiiiptions," nor permit "underholds," nor yield any "start in • 
the race" for the prize of victory. •'^ ^.nro-^ tn/vH..nfM)ai ^.t/^'!' r>M»*;; 
"The Baptist System," or "the Baptist Theory," a phrase he 
frequently employs, is explained by him to signify the following^ 
or similar doctrines, which have been taught for a little more than 
two hundred years: 

1. That '''•Bapto'' and ^^Baptldzo'' signify the same act; so 
that (lipping is baptizing and baptizing is dipping. i 

2. That Baptidzo always means ''dip, and nothing but dip 
through all Greek literature;" "the command to baptize is a 
command to dip." . ■ ^ 

3. That none but those dipped by the Baptist Church are 
worthy communicants. 

4. That connexion with the visible Church is only by connexion 
with some Baptist congregation. = . .^ ,,, , .,,1 

5. That all in the visible Church must necessarily be "true 
believers," and "certainly regenerate," so that we may have a 
"Church without sin." 

This is what he calls the distinctive "Baptist System," which, 
as he is aware, is not all of it accepted for truth by very many 
Baptists. For Baptists, as a people, hold much evangelical truth 
in common with other Christians, and very frequently are found 
holding Calvinistic doctrine in common with Presbyterians. 
What he opposes, therefore, in his "Short Method," is the "dis- 
tinctive and schismatical theory" detailed above. And yet he 
maintains that "the most fanatical of the Landmarkers are the 
only really consistent Baptists." The author "knows of no 
Baptist who is entirely consistent with his own principles" — "a 
far greater number are revolting from the inevitable conclu,'-3ions 
of their own doctrines." 

Mr. Gallaher hopes to see the time "when all the best and 



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ablest immersicmists in our own country will occupy the position 
of Dr. Landels, Dr. Brock, and other English Baptists on this 
baptism question." And he thinks that the masses of Christian 
people in the Baptist churches in America are restless under the 
restraints (far more prevalent in America than England) of close 
communion. It is for this reason, he says, that there is such a 
constant "hammering at and patching up" their theory of bap- 
tism. "An intelligent young man, a Baptist, assured the writer 
some two years since, that from extensive acquaintance with the 
Baptists of Missouri, he felt satisfied that a large majority of the 
Baptist Church of this State were at heart in favor of open com- 
munion. That young man was, at the time, principal of one of 
the largest public schools in central Missouri. We do not know 
that his statement Avas correct. But we do know that Baptists 
never can consistently give up close communion while they ad- 
here to their (exclusive) doctrines of baptism and the Church." 
He rejoices, however, in "the privilege of communing with as 
pious and godly a section of the Baptists as can be found on 
earth. Such men as John Bunyan, Baptist Noel, Robert Hall, 
and Charles H. Spurgeon, not to mention thousands of lesser 
lights, have been more than willing to meet Christian brethren 
not Baptists at the communion table." 

We can only add that the work consists of three parts. The 
first discusses What is Baptism f in thirteen chapters. In these 
the question of \\\^ mode of baptism is considered. The second 
part takes up the subjects of baptism, and is divided into fourteen 
chapters. Then part third deals with "Perversions of Fact and 
History by Anti-Pedo-Baptists." These occupy four chapters. 
The Appendices are ten in number, and they handle in an able 
and spirited manner a number of interesting and important points. 

J. B. A. 

*S'^. Paul at Athens. Spiritual Qhristianity in i^elation to some 
Aspects of Modern Thought; being nine Sermons preached at 
St. Stephen's Church, Westbourne Park, by the Rev. Charles 
Shakspeare, B. a., with a preface by the Rev. Canon Far- 
RAR, D. D. I 2mo, pp. 167, muslin. Chas. Scribner's Sons. 

The author informs us that these sermons were designed for 


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those educated sceptics in his charge whose tendencies were 
agnostic. He says: "The fundamental idea of the sermons is, 
that the very existence of the spiritual faculty in man, so per- 
sistent and so vigorous, is ground of faith in a supersensuous 
reality corresponding to this faculty and creating it." The line 
of the discussion is sufficiently indicated by the titles of the ser- 
mons: "The City and the Apostle," "Culture and Faith," 
"Sensuous and Spiritual Religion," "Paganism and Chris- 
tianity," "Philosophy and Christianity," "Ancient and Modern 
Scepticism," "The Epicureans," "The Stoics," "Humanity 
and God," 

The characteristics of the book may be said to be, first, a fine 
and pleasing flavor of scolarship and classicality, with a clear and 
elegant style; second, a strangely studied attempt to disparage 
the Apostle's "culture" and to praise his faith at its expense; 
third, a tendency to sustain rather than to rebuke the accusations 
of cultured sceptics (not against Christianity but) against Chris- 
tians; fourth, a theology so indefinite as not only to be Broad- 
Church, but to raise the doubt whether it be not virtually Pelagian ; 
and last, a lack of steady logical grasp in dealing with the problem 
the author propounds to himself. As instances under the second 
classification, we note, page 23, the concession that "in Tarsus 
some chance seeds of Greek culture had fallen" on Paul's naturally 
ardent mind. On page 25, "He saw (in Athens) little more 
than the idolatry." On page 26, of the names of Plato, Socrates, 
and Aristotle, "he had probably just heard and no more." On 
page 31, "Of the history of Athens he knew but little." A fuller 
acquaintance with Paul's writings would teach the author that 
the Apostle had the most accurate knowledge of Greek philosophy 
and literature; and that his inspired wisdom in making the doc- 
trines of Redemption always dominant is mistaken for a lack of 
acquaintance with a culture which he designedly relegated to the 

The type of the author's view touching inspiration may be 
surmised from the two following citations. Of Paul's vision of 
the man of Macedonia saying, "Come over and help us," he gives 
the following version (page 16) : "The thoughts which possessed 



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him shaped themselves into a vision of a man of the West," etc. 
Page 99, he deprecates the setting up of "the authority of an 
infiUlible Church or the dead letter of an infallible hook in oppo- 
sition to the advancement of learning and to the progress of 
science." Page 154, "Though we cannot reason out the existence 
of God, we can feel it." "And this consciousness of the divine 
is revelation, the unveiling of the heavenly light to the mind," 
etc. It is a favorite hypothesis of the author, that at Paul's day 
pagan philosophy "had become devout." It had assumed "spirit- 
ual, ethical, and practical aspects." The philosophic heart "was 
not devoid of some measure of the Spirit." The people "must have 
heard within the walls discourses addressed, like the Christian 
sermon, to the spiritual part of man, and resulting in the con- 
-yersion from the evil to good." The Christianity which Mr. 
Shakspeare would defend against "culture" is clearly not that of 
Acts iv. 12 or Rom. x. 13, 14. R. L. D. 

Voices from Babylon ; or, the Records of Daniel the Prophet. 

By Joseph A. Seiss, D. D., Pastor of the Church of the Holy 

• Communion, Philadelphia, author of "A Miracle in Stone,"