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latter's reign, when the Syrian army 1 encamped upon the territory of Ephraim, When Ahaz was informed of this movement of the army, he and the royal family were in great consternation, and indeed, they might well be, for there was little prospect of the two tribes being able to combat successfully against the ten tribes assisted by the Syrian army. But the time for the fulfilment of the promise, that the sceptre should not depart from Judah until Shiloh came, had not yet arrived, and Isaiah, is sent to the king to assure him that he should have nothing to fear from those two kings, but that God would make good his promise to David and to his house. But of all the kings that had hitherto sat upon the throne of Judah, Ahaz was the most corrupt; he had neither regard for Jehovah nor His prophets, and it would appear from the prophet's reproof, that he placed no confidence in the Divine, message. Whether the king had made any reply, or whether he had merely shown his disregard of God's message by the manner he received the prophet, we are not, informed. The prophet therefore requested him to ask “a sign of Jehovah, going down deep into Hades, or high up in the height above." It will be seen from verse 10, that Jehovah is there distinctly stated to be speaking to Ahaz through His. prophets, " And Jehovah spake again to Ahaz, saying.” The proferred "sign," no.
, matter of what extraordinary nature, was to confirm the king, that He who could bring about such an event, was surely also able to fulfil His promise. But how did Ahaz receive this gracious offer of a miraculous attestation ? By a hypocritical reply, ** I will not ask nor will I tempt Jehovah.” Hypocrisy may indeed deceive man, it, cannot deceive God, and the well-sounding words at once called forth the merited reproof: “And he said, Hear ye now, 0 house of David; is it a small thing for you to weary men, that ye will weary my God also ?” In this rebuke the prophet, included the whole household of Ahaz, who were, like himself, unbelievers. As Ahaz, refused to ask a sign, God now gives a sign of His own choosing; “Behold the virgin, pregnant and bearing a son, and she shall call His name Immanuel.” That is as we have above explained, “His name shall be called Immanuel." It will be seen from the literal rendering that the prophet speaks of the event as already transpiring, a mode of expression which they often employ in their prophetic declarations. They are so sure of their fulfilment as if they were seeing the events as already taking place. Thus in ch. ix. 6 (Heb. v. 5); “ For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is. given." Both in the Authorized Version and the Revised Version, the term ha-alma is rendered " a virgin," instead of " the virgin;" we are quite at a loss to comprehend why they should have used the indefinite instead of the definite article. In the latter. version, a note in the margin says, or the." But their is no “or” about it; the definite article is used in the original, and St. Matthew, in quoting the passage, also. used the definite article. The use of the definite article in our passage is of great. importance. In Hebrew this article is sometimes used with a substantive, in order: to distinguish it from all others of its class. Thus, nahar, a river, but hannahar, the river, i.e., the Euphrates (Gen. xxxi. 21); kohen, a priest, but hakkohen, the priest, i.e., the high priest (Lev. xxi. 21); Satan, an adversary, but hassatan, the.
? The rendering “is confederate with Ephraim,” as given in the Authorized Version, and also in the text of the Revised Version, is a free translation, and not suitable, for the verb. indicates the arrival of the Syrian army to join the forces of the king of Israel. The verb. “nacha, encamped or settled down," is the third person feminine, according to its accentuation from the root “nuach, to rest, to settle down.” As the tribe of “Ephraim ” was the most powerful of the ten tribes which constituted the kingdom of Israel, and Jeroboam, its founder and first king, belonging to this tribe, and the seat of the kingdom of Israel being in the tribe. of Ephraim, hence “Ephraim” is often used to signify that kingdom.
adversary, i.e., Satan (Job. i. 6). So in our passage the definite article points out “the virgin ” of whom Immanuel is to be born, and as it has been well said " Whom the spirit of prophecy brought before the prophet's mind.” When the article is used in this manner it is then called the article of pre-eminence.
We shall next examine the arguments which the adverse critics regard as telling conclusively against the Messianic application of the prophecy.
THE ETHICAL TEACHING OF Paul. By H. von SODEN (Zeitschr. für Theol. u. Kirche, 1892, No. 2).—The writer of the article in the first place seems to regret that the centre of gravity, so to speak, of the Christian religion was placed for the first fifteen centuries in its doctrines rather than in its moral teaching. This was due, as he thinks along with Harnack and others, to the predominance acquired by the Greek spirit with its strong speculative bent. Since the Reformation thought has taken a more practical direction. Of course Christianity is a great moral power and effected a moral revolution, facts being stronger than theory. The genius of the Gospel is pre-eminently ethical. A glance at the Gospels and their idea of a Divine kingdom at once proves this. Paul too, despite his theological teaching, is a great moralist. Ethical teaching is to the front in all his epistles (see Rom. vi.-viii., xii. xiv ; 1 Thess. ii. 12, iii. 12, &c.) “Faith working through love" (Gal. v. 6) expresses the blending of religion and morality. “ Paul preaches a religion whose life is morality; a morality founded on religion has been the fruit, in the world's history, of his preaching.” The writer sketches the scheme of Paul's moral teaching in two parts, first as regards its central principles, second as to its concrete details.
1. In fixing the leading ideas it is important to notice the close connection in Paul's mind of religion and morals. “As his religion is not thinkable apart from its expression in the moral life which he describes, so the moral ideal set up by him is only thinkable on the ground of the religion he preaches, and in intimate, often scarcely distinguishable, union with it. The moral ideal is not something carrying its motive and power of realization, yea even its principle, within itself. To it belongs neither autonomy nor autocracy. On the contrary, Paul's moral ideal has its motive, its principle, and its power of realization in religion.” We see this at once when we inquire what is the moral motive. This is neither the categorical demand of the moral imperative nor the love of goodness in itself. Paul knows nothing of these abstract ideas. The motive is simply devotion to God in return for His goodness (Rom. xii. 1; 1 Cor. vi. 20, x. 31). The impelling force of the motive is the consideration of the Divine mercy: “Ye are bought with a price.” The same thought is expressed differently in Rom. vi. Because Christians have obtained righteousness, they must present their members as instruments of righteousness to God; they are now bound to righteousness as slaves. * Paul feels the awkwardness of the expression, and excuses it. The thought is just this: the righteousness acquired before God must be for them a motive to morality." A typical example of the blending of religion and morals is seen in the use of the word "holy," which is and remains a religious idea,
" belonging to God.” But it is also used as an equivalent for right action (1 Thess. v. 23, iv. 3-7; Rom. vi. 19, 22; and 2 Cor. vii. 1). “Seeing that in such passages the moral qualities in question are described as conduct befitting the position of the äylos, they insist emphatically on the religious relation to God as the motive of morality.”
Where, again, does Paul find the power for realizing the moral life? It is a postulate of his teaching that complete inner renewal must take place before this power is possessed. Man must first become a new creature, and then walk in newness of life. This is a religious process, brought about by Divine power, and includes deliverance from guilt, justification before God, and peace with God. * These experiences fill the Christian with the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit; and in this Spirit, who lives in the Christian, Paul sees nothing else than Christ Himself in glorified form, whose members Christians are, whom they have put on, and of whom they confess: Now I live not, Christ lives in me. All these are purely religious ideas. But in consciousness they appear as peace and joy, an elevated, harmonious, perfect life, life in the full sense of the word.” Such a lofty religious feeling might seem to raise above the claims of the moral law. On the contrary, Paul uses it as the lever of his moral teaching (Gal. v. 25; Rom. vii. 6, &c.). And yet all this does not abolish the freedom of the individual. “ Free decision leads from life in the Spirit to walking in the Spirit. And although Christians have put on Christ, they are ever anew under obligation to put on Christ, so that they may be actually conformed to Him.” “ They who are after the Spirit are to mind the things of the Spirit” (Rom. viii. 5).
Liberty is an essential trait of Paul's moral life-ideal. Sin enslaves to itself and death; the Christian is set free from both. He is also no longer in bondage to a law imposed from without. He is in the right sense a law to himself, the law of God being written on his heart. This independence also goes along with the deepest humility, humility springing from the consciousness of remaining imperfection and of God's grace as the source of all good in man. As to the first point, the writer is scarcely right in treating Rom. vii. 24 f. as descriptive of Christian experience.
The rule of morality is to be found in the regenerated Christian character. Christians are to be renewed in order to prove what is God's will (Rom. xii. 2; so Phil. i. 9 f.). The law has entered into and become incorporate with the Christian's nature. God's will, Christ example and precepts are also often spoken of as a rule for Christians, also the law of God. “ These passages can only be reconciled with the · liberty' asserted by supposing that Paul did not intend in them to set up a rule, but by pointing out that the law teaches the same, and that Christ acted in the same way, to give a stimulus to the impulse of the Spirit within, or a guarantee that the Christian is in the right way.”
Then Paul sums up the chief points in his moral ideal in such brief phrases as “serving God" (1 Thess. i. 9; Rom. vi. 22), “living to God” (Rom. vi. 11), “presenting oneself to God” (Rom. vi. 13, xii. 1). “ The motive is God's goodness, the power God's Spirit, and the rule God's will; but all this, not as standing outside the man and controlling him from without, but as having entered into him and become one with him."
2. Paul is not careful to go into systematic and elaborate detail. “ It is part of his moral greatness that he is content with enunciating principles, laying the foundation, sowing the seed.” We take morality in the strictest sense, excluding religious duties altogether, considering only Christian conduct to "all that is not God.” Two points come up for notice. Moral conduct in a man as an individual —
duties to self, and as a member of human society-duties to neighbours and social organizations.
(1) The first question has three aspects—the Christian personality in itself, in its relation to the body, and in its relation to the material world. St. Paul has little to say about self-preservation, self-culture, right self-esteem. “ Perhaps this is not to be regarded as a defect. Rather those parts of our moral teaching which treat of duties to self may be dispensed with by religious men as leading to an unhealthy and really immoral occupation with self, whereas it is a trait of genuine morality not to be self-occupied.” Paul only emphasizes one duty of this kind--moral strength, force of character, independence (1 Cor. xvi. 13; Gal. v. 1; Phil. i. 27, iv. 1). The means in order to this are watching, sobriety. Paul is constantly asserting his independence of men and their judgment (1 Cor. iv. 3 ; 1 Cor. x. 28 f.).
Paul has more to say about the Christian's attitude to the body and its desires. The body is held in honour; it is to be a temple and organ of the Holy Spirit, its members are to be instruments of righteousness; only when it fails to answer this end is it to be brought into subjection. Fleshly lust is reprobated as a sin against the body. Asceticism for its own sake is no part of Paul's teaching, as we see in the treatment of marriage.
Similar is the attitude taken toward the material world. Worldly good is far inferior to spiritual. Paul knows how to want and to abound; they who have are to be as they who have not. Minding and seeking things on the earth is condemned; covetousness is branded as idolatry. The duty of working for a living is enforced (1 Thess. iv. 10 ff.), property and its rights are acknowledged (2 Cor. ix. 8-10). Little importance is attached to differences of worldly calling; the Christian slave is not to be over-eager to change his position.
(2) Social duties have a much larger place in Paul's moral teaching. The individual is to serve society. “There can be no doubt that the real centre of Paul's moral ideal is found in the life of society; that the highest moral value of the individual is as a householder, who has to labour faithfully as a servant of God, a member of the body of Christ, a hint for an individualistic age.” The whole law is summed up for Paul in love. The commanding place which love fills in his moral code is well illustrated by the wealth of quotation which Prof. von Soden expends on its different aspects—the inner disposition, the different forms of negative and positive expression, the organization of love in the Church. Love is not more to St. John than to St. Paul. In keeping with what was previously said about the new Christian personality as the rule of right, it may be noticed that love arises naturally out of the bond of union created by the common nature and experience of Christians. They are all one in Christ; all distinctions are abolished.
On the great moral associations of the Family, Civil Society, and the State, Paul has no formal doctrine, but gives hints which embody the creative principles of modern society. The writer thinks that the idea of the approaching end of all things restrained the Apostle in his teaching. The full Christian ideal of marriage was not present to his thought. “But the elements from which it grew are all present in him. Not only is marriage for him necessarily monogamic and indissoluble, but the bond is so intimate and spiritual that he uses it as an image to set forth the relation of Christians to Christ. Above all, the earnest of a higher estimate of the ordinance lies in the subordination of the physical to the spiritual, and in the equalizing of the sexes, the latter idea underlying the teachings of 1 Cor. vii. 4 f., 12 f., in a surprising way.” " Paul earnestly maintains that there must be a State authority. His moral ideal teaches him this. The State discharges the duty of overcoming evil and
promoting good ; and just here he sees the duty of State authority, therefore he regards it as a Divine ordinance." “ The entire moral fabric of society within Christian nations is built up out of the elements of the Pauline moral ideal, and contributes to the realizing of the latter; nay, the Pauline positions as to the relation and conduct of men to one another already contained that fabric in nuce, and of necessity led to its appearance.”
* The real greatness of Paul's moral ideal is not to be found in its covering the whole field of moral life, but in the fact that in it the rule and the power of morality coalesce together and are incorporated in the personality of man. Thus morality is in a position to evolve spontaneously out of itself. Moreover, the motive, which is the highest conceivable, is combined with the fact that man receives the power for a moral life, so that everything forms a close compact unity. Thus is explained the force, the compactness and harmony of this moral ideal, above all its sublimity; in it passiveness, negation, inactive rest plays no part as in the moral ideal of Buddhism, Stoicism, Neo-Platonism, Catholicism, but everything is life, effort, action, energy, and all this is traceable to that from which it starts—peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, an unfolding of its germ : Christ in us.”
BAPTISM AND THE SUPPER IN THE Fourth GOSPEL. By DR. vox STRAUSS UND Torser, Dresden (Neue Kirchl. Zeitschr, 1892, No. 6).—The paper is an ingenious argument in support of Lutheran views of the sacraments, and in this respect is typical of the Lutheran school of interpretation. It is well known that the Fourth Gospel does not refer to the institution of the two Christian ordinances. The purpose of the Gospel is clearly stated in xx. 30, 31. In 1 John ii. 18 ff., the “liar” is described as one who denies the Messiahship of Jesus, and the antichrist as one who denies the Son. This can only refer to the Gnostics and Ebionites, whose origin may be traced to the time when John wrote his Gospel. To the Ebionite Christ was a mere man, supernaturally gifted, but still a mere man; to the Gnostic He was a man with whom a superior being united himself at the baptism, leaving Him again at the crucifixion. Here, then, we have the “ liar" and the antichrist. John meets these errors by selecting from Christ's words and acts just those which revealed the aspects denied. It is evident, the writer argues, that Ebionite and Gnostic errors must have brought with them lower views of the sacraments which we know were observed in the earliest days (Acts ii. 38, 41, 42). Now, in John i. 32, 33, the Baptist bears testimony to Christ as One who baptizes “ with the Holy Ghost," in contrast with his own baptism “ with water ” merely. The gift of this higher baptism is the proof that He is the “Son of God” (ver. 34). This implies two things—"first, that the old baptism is to become a new one by actual communication of the Holy Ghost, not merely symbolic of, but really imparting, freedom from sin; secondly, that such a baptism can only be referred to Jesus Himself as done by Him." Here, then, we have an implicit refutation of Ebionite and Gnostic views, since the Christian sacraments imply Christ's present Divine existence and power. “But, since in the Baptist's days there was neither Christian baptism nor Ebionitism, the evangelist could only use the sayings of the Baptist in this sense, without expressly referring to the false teachers.”
It is strange that, while in John there is no express mention of the institution of Christian baptism, on five occasions in the first five chapters of the Gospel there is a reference to "water" in special associations. From this point there is no further reference of the kind. These are the miracle at Cana, the conversation with Nicodemus, that with the woman of Samaria, the baptism by the disciples
NO. 11, VOL. 11.—THE THINKEK.