Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

selves to God, have really come short of such consecration, when considered in its true and just extent."

There must be faith in God. This is the solution of the great problem. We must know that the promise is for our present actual acceptance. As we put confidence in the word of a fellow-man, of an honored parent, and build implicitly on it, knowing that it will be literally and exactly fulfilled, so we must put confidence in God's own word to us. Man must take God at His word, and believe that He means what He says and will do as He promises. As a sinner, returning, through the Atonement, by repentance and full consecration to God, he must believe that God, according to His promise, accepts the consecration: Faith must rest upon the sure word of God. Man must believe that God does now accept the consecration which He demands and which He has promised to accept.

Another doctrine of this little work is that of assurance of faith, beautifully illustrated by the life of Madame Adorna. Many other points of deep interest to one who is studying "the doctrine of holiness," for instance, those of perfect love, the rela. tion of faith and consecration, the extent of sanctification, the state of divine union, et cetera, are here presented in a form charming and impressive, as suggested by the actual life of a saint who has lived as we live in the world.

Whatever may be thought of the philosophical and theologi. cal correctness of the views which are here set forth, how far soever the difference in the experience of Christians who hold these views from the experience of those who walk by the catechism and the standards, if there are now such things, may depend upon their theoretical faith, there certainly are some points of deep practical interest which are enforced by the principles and the practice of the holiness school, which, to say the least, ought to be carefully and widely considered. We allude to one or two of them.

If we are not mistaken it is a very common opinion among Christians that it is necessary to sin while they remain in this world. They would not put that statement boldly into their creeds; they would not assert it in their exhortations 10 young disciples; they would not dare to state it in form in their pray. ers to God. But their confessions of daily sin have that undertone in them, and their daily lives are graded down to that standard. They are not surprised at themselves when they see that they have need of the confession of sin ; they would be surprised if they had no such need. They do not regard it simply as a certain truth that they will sin, but as a necessary truth that they must be expected to sin. They regard sin, especially in regard to Christians, more as a misfortune than a crime. Because they have been sinners, they look upon it as a kind of unavoidable doom that they must be so still. It belongs to their imperfection. They long, perhaps, for deliverance from sin, but this amounts, with their creed, to a longing for heaven. With such views there cannot be that struggle against sin which is the duty of the believer, nor that freedom from sin which should be the aim of a holy life. There must be the bope of success to encourage effort, and the accepted promise of success also.

The book before us presents a different view. "Her business as she understood it," says the narrator, of Madame Adorna, * was not to transgress against God, but to believe in Him and love Eim; and to fulfill, with divine assistance, all His holy purposes."

So far we can go. So far Christians ought to believe. That standard is a practical and a practicable one. To go beyond this, and to claim that they are free from sin, actually and entirely, to claim that they have attained and are already perfect, must be within the domain of radical error.

An interesting doctrine of faith is also developed here. It is not a cold, abstract principle. It does not rest in intellectuality. It is a warm, generous, cordial, influential confidence in God. It takes God's word at its full value, at its plain meaning. It not only accepts it as a revelation, but as a practicality. It builds life on the word, as well as doctrine.

We emphasize the fact of life, laborious, useful life, unceasing service. Our Lord could say, "I am in the midst of you as he that serveth.” And they who by faith apprehend Him must be like Him who came "not to be ministered unto, but to minister.” They must here be in preparation for that world where the inhabitants "serve Him day and night in His temple."

There is a view of the life of faith which rests in quietism. It is a sentiment of faith rather than a doctrine of faith. It is eloquently described by the author of "John Inglesant.” He says: "It spoke to men of an act of devotion, which it called the contemplative state, in which the will is so united to God and overcome by that union that it adores and loves and resigns itself up to Him, and, not exposed to the wavering of the mere fancy, nor wearied by a succession of formal acts of a dry religion, it enters into the life of God, into the heavenly places of Jesus Christ, with an indescribable and secret joy. It taught that this rapture and acquiescence in the Divine Will, while it is the highest state and privilege of devotion, is within the reach of every man, being the fruit of nothing more than the silent and humble adoration of God that arises out of a pure and quiet mind; and it offered to every man the prospect of this communion--a prospect to which the very novelty and vagueness gave a hitherto unknown delight-in exchange for the common methods of devotion which long use and constant repetition had caused to appear to many but as dead and lifeless forms. Those who followed this method . . . applied themselves to preserve their minds in an inward calm and quiet, that they might in silence perform simple acts of faith, and feel those inward motions and directions, which they believed would follow upon sucb acts.”

Such was not the life of faith which was illustrated by Madame Adorna. In consecrating herself to God, as we have seen, she consecrated herself to His service. In believing the promises of God, she believed them as practically applying to her work for others. Her life was intensely useful, and devoted to the help and conversion of all whom she could influence. Her domestic duties were done as in the love of God. Her missionary efforts sprung from the same source. This doctrine of faith honors God. It does not doubt the divine veracity. Accepting it, men walk by faith with the same confidence with which they would walk by sight. Faith is sight. It is influential not only in the subjective personal experience, but in all objective efforts for the kingdom of the Lord.

This view is cheering. That which we want in these worldly times is a faith which is spiritual, which is also alert and intense with forces which are parallel with the tremendous activities of our advancing life.

ARTICLE X.-NOTICES OF NEW BOOKS.

KADESH-BARNEA,*_The first impression made by this book, after observing its elegant construction, is the pleasant impression of thoroughness. We are presented with a volume of 478 pages on a single biblical site. The body of the book consists of six chapters, which all tell the reader of Kadesh-Barnea: (1) Its manifold Importance; (2) the Biblical Indications of its Site; (3) the Ancient References to it outside of the Bible text; (4) the later Attempts at its Identifying; (5) the Story of a Hunt for it; (6) its Sites compared. These six chapters are followed by a special study of the Route of the Exodus, and by some thirty pages of well-made Indexes.

The question is inevitably raised: Why should there be a book, and especially so large a book, upon a single biblical site ? Anticipating this question, the author answers it in his introduction by noting the facts, that "Kadesh-Barnea was a site of importance forty centuries ago," that it was more than once the scene of events on which, for the time, the history of the world was pivoting,” and that for nearly twenty centuries its location has been “ a matter of doubt and discussion among Jewish and Christian scholars." To the answer of the author we will add one of our own. It is worth while for biblical scholarship to do all things thorougbly. It is worth while to make every practical protest which can be made against the haste and shallowness that are the bane of American students of the Bible, and against the demand (fostered, alas! by too many of our religious papers) that Christian scholarship shall yield no fruits that are too large and too solid for the so-called popular taste. It is particularly well worth while for an editor to give to the younger students of theology and crititism a product that shows thorough work.

The peculiar value of this book, and of the work of its author, consists in this, that it confirms by another eye-witness the discovery of Rowlands in 1842. By Dr. Trumbull's visit to 'Ayn Qadees (or 'Ain Kadées as Rowlands would spell it) most, if not all, of the objections which are urged against the identification of this place with the ancient Kadesh-Barnea are removed. The name of Rev. John Rowlands, therefore, fitly stands first of the three to whom this book is dedicated.

* Kadesh-Barnea. Its Importance and probable Site, with the story of a Hunt for it, including studies of the Route of the Exodus and the Southern Boundary of the Holy Land. By H. CLAY TRUMBULL, D.D., Editor of the “Sunday-School Times." New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1884.

To bim who reads between the lines a certain lesson of moral import may be learned from this book. After Rowlands' discovery, many of the leading German geographers and biblical students, judging the matter on the basis of the evidence, accepted his view. Winer wrote (in his Biblisches Realwörterbuch, 1847): “This conjecture (viz. that of Robinson), which has no positive evidence at all in its favor, must yield to the discovery which Rowlands made in 1842, when he accurately investigated the region south of Gaza and Gerar.” But the opinion of “the critical, thorough and impartial scholars of Germany" (p. 216) was lost upon the English and American public through the influence of “the followers of Robinson on this point-men who controlled the avenues to popular biblical knowledge.” Robinson had identified Kadesh-Barnea and 'Ain el-Waybeh, a desert spring near the western slope of the 'Arabah (p. 208f). In the effort to sustain the identification of Robinson, Rowlands was accused of confusing 'Ain el Qadayrât with 'Ayn Qadees-an accusation which, says Dr. Trumbull (p. 224), a single reference to his original report would have corrected-and in general of being “fanciful, visionary, and full of credulity.” In 1874, President Bartlett, being deceived by his escort, “ brought a new element of confusion into the discussion, by asserting that there was really no such fountain as 'Ayn el-Qadayrât in Wady el 'Ayn.” (p. 282). This assertion was made with all the more confidence because he (Bartlett) bad searched the wady thoroughly. At the same time, Bartlett, standing at 'Ayn Qasaymeh,“one of the two sites named by Rowlands as westward of 'Ayn Qadees,” and of course, not finding it correspond to Rowlands' description of the latter place, had no hesitation in speaking of this discoverer as exhibiting “excessive confidence,” and of his statement as “loose,” “overdrawn," and "confused." But where there are conflicting opinions, time shows which is mistaken, confused, and over-confident. In this particular case, therefore, the indications of Rowlands, from these accusations, so needlessly and carelessly made, has a certain moral value,

[ocr errors]
« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »