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motive that will be effectual with him. Moreover, faith in Christ has no tendency to make one careless as to his conduct, or less eager to obey the law of God. The least degree of faith implies a pre-disposition and pre-determination to abandon all sin and pursue the way of holiness.

And what is the effect of regeneration upon the consciousness of the believer ? The time is not long gone by when it was gravely maintained by many Christian writers and preachers of the Gospel that such decided changes as passing from a state of condemnation into a state of favour with God were not matters of conscious and assured experience, but rather that the sinner concerned for his salvation might trust in the mercy of God through Christ, endeavour to live according to God's will, strictly observe the correspondence between his life and the standard of holiness set up in God's Word; and then, according to the degree of such correspondence, he might hope that he might be among the number of God's people.

It is the office of the Holy Spirit to establish in the consciousness of the believer the knowledge of His acceptance with God. The justification of the ungodly, the regeneration of the soul, and the adoption into the family of God, are all acts of the Divine mind, and cannot be known by man unless divinely communicated. The communication is, first of all, made directly and immediately by the Spirit. “The Spirit Himself beareth witness (or joint witness) with our spirit that we are the chil. dren of God.” It cannot be, in the first instance, by the fruit of the Spirit appearing in the life, for when first born of God there is no fruit of the Spirit to be seen.

The consciousness of acceptance with God is not equally clear and satisfactory in all cases, even of a genuine conversion. In some the witness of the Spirit is a clear, ringing testimony, that sounds through all the chambers of the soul, banishing every vestige of doubt and uncertainty ; in others, it is a feeble whisper, scarcely heard amidst the tumult of emotions incident to that crisis of life which we call conversion. For these differences of experiences there are many reasons. First, the quality of the faith that is exercised, be it strong or weak, may account for them. Again, there are persons who enter the kingdom of God with a positiveness of will, a fulness of surrender, and a heartiness of consecration, that leave no doubt in their own minds of the actuality of the change that has occurred, while there are others who come to Christ with a purpose so wavering, and a submission so hesitating, that the fact of coming at all is a matter of uncertainty even to themselves. Still again, there are some whose natural disposition is not to be very sure of anything. Such persons are the Fearings, Despondencys, and Much-afraids of Bunyan.

I have said that in regeneration the work of renewal is not complete. This also is a matter of consciousness. Now, notwithstanding all the plausibilities uttered by some who theorize on this subject, saying that to attribute anything like defectiveness to the work of God in regeneration is to disparage the efficacy of the atonement, and indirectly to disparage also the Divine character, is it not a fact of consciousness that a new heart is not a clean heart? This leads me to speak next, and finally, of the effects of a change of heart on the life. The first and most obvious is freedom from sin-not freedom in the sense of entire cleansing therefrom, but in the sense in which the word free is used in the sixth, seventh, and eighth chapters of Romans-freedom from the power of a master and tyrant. Being thus made free from sin, he becomes the servant of righteousness and of God. " Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.” To commit sin implies choice, volition, and effort. One who is born again chooses, wills, and tries to avoid sin, and do right. Some interpreters, as Barnes, for instance, interline the passage, and say, “ Whosoever is born of God doth not habitually commit sin.” Surely no one is at liberty to alter the text in that way. The Word of God itself quite sufficiently guards itself, and justifies its own strong expression, he “doth not commit sin, for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God."

But the question is asked, “ Can it be maintained that he who yields to stress of temptation, and deliberately commits wickedness, is not a child of God at all ? Where then can any Christians be found ? What about David and Peter ? Did they not sin most grievously, and were they not God's dear children ?" Let us look at this matter for a moment. What is the condition of a sinner's justification before God ? Faith, not mere belief that Christ loves sinners, and died for sinners, and made a full atonement for all, but trust, personal trust. And how long does that state of justification continue ? Only so long as the trust in Christ continues ?

Now, the condition of the new birth is precisely the same. “ All that believe are justified," saith St. Paul. Says John the Baptist, “ He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life.” It is not, “ He that once believed ” is justified, and hath everlasting life. Only of him that believeth are these things true. In like manner it is said, Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God.” But, it is objected, one cannot change his faith so readily as all this implies, it being one thing to-day, another thing to-morrow, and back again next day. His faith, in one sense, perhaps not; but trust in Christ he may exercise to-day, and withdraw it to-morrow, and restore it again, by Divine help, the next day.

But it is said, again, that the very nature of the subject in question, makes it impossible that changes should take place so readily; that justification is a change of relation only, and might occur frequently, but that regeneration is a change of character, and cannot be made so quickly. And yet what a man's character in spiritual things is to be from day to day will depend on the attitude he chooses to maintain towards the Lord Jesus Christ. “ If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His."

We must be careful not to lay too much stress upon mere figures of speech. Christ speaks of His disciples as His flock, His sheep. We sometimes hear it said that if a man is a sheep one day, he cannot be a goat the next. It might be maintained quite as rationally that the goat of to-day cannot be a sheep to-morrow. This would be an argument against the conversion of a bad man. The fact is, men may change from bad to good, and all too easily, from good to bad. It is one of the most terrible deceits that some in the present day are practising upon themselves, expressed by that play upon words, the child of God may indulge in sin; the communion with the Father may be interrupted, but the union remains all unbroken. Take the exhortation of St. John, “ Little children, let no man deceive you; he that doeth righteousness is righteous even as He is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil."

Now, observe the tense of all those passages which speaks of the life of the regenerate. “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin.” “ Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world.” “Whosoever is born of God sinneth not." The man who surrenders himself to Christ to be saved puts his trust in that Saviour, and becomes the subject of regenerating power, has a state of mind and heart that resists temptation and overcomes self, and the world, and Satan.

The second effect of regenerating grace will show itself in efforts, more or less earnest and persistent, to perfect a Christian character. A truly renewed soul—a Christian enjoying the power that made him a new man, can never cease from efforts to obtain a clean heart.

70

CURRENT GERMAN

THOUGHT.

ALBRECHT Ritschl's LIFE.-The ferment about Ritschl's theology in Germany still continues. Its chief points are being subjected to the most searching investigation by critics of the most diverse schools. On the Evangelical side, Lemme's lecture (Die Prinzipien der Ritsch. Theologie) is cutting and scornful; on the Rationalist side, Pfleiderer's pamphlet (Die Ritschl’sche Theologie) is equally severe and still more searching. The explanation of the numerous essays just now appearing respecting the nature of God's kingdom is the prominence given to the idea in Ritschl's teaching. As is well known, all God's gifts of salvation, according to Ritschl, are to the Christian community, not to the individual believer. The individual receives them as a member of the community. If Ritschl is right, every

Christian doctrine must be transformed. The old theology is discarded as antiquated metaphysics. Critics as different as Lemme and Pfleiderer are agreed that Ritschlianism is the baldest Deism, and that the logical outcome is something akin to Positivism. The first volume of Ritschl's life (A. Ritschl's Leben, 1 Bd. 1822-64, von Otto Ritschl) has just appeared, and is sympathetically noticed by Dr. Seeberg, an evangelical professor at Erlangen (Theol. Literaturblatt, April 15th). We give extracts from the notice.

"The section of Ritschl's life described in this volume is soon reviewed as to its outward incidents. It is the life of a German scholar, in which the niost notable thing is toil and travail. Days and years glide noiselessly along. Even the great events, which shake the age to its foundation, cast but a passing shadow into the quiet study. Ritschl was born March 25, 1822, at Berlin, where his father, afterwards Bishop and General Superintendent of Pomerania, was preacher and councillor. From the first he was bent on theological study. 1839.41 he studies at Bonn ; 1841-43 at Halle. After being made doctor of philos)phy here, he works again at Heidelberg, and afterwards at Tübingen. In 1846 he begins to teach in Bonn as a follower of Baur. Success is not rapid ; his course is not glorious ; hearers are few. Only at the end of 1852 does he become Extraordinary, and in 1859 Ordinary, Professor, the latter a short time after his marriage. In 1861 he is called to Göttingen. Here the present volume breaks off. It recounts the travel and student years ; a second volume is to describe the Göttingen teacher years. But thongh the banks between which the stream flows are simple and unattractive, the transitions are striking, and the brilliant surface and obscure depths fascinate the gaze. During these days we see Ritschl ceaselessly at work, filled with eager strivings after truth and after a complete theory of Christianity. This striving and secking gives a wonderful attraction to this period of his life. Though only a youth when coming to the University, he flings himself at once into its studies. Richly endowed with social gifts, he is unable to enter into the various student-guilds ; but all the more earnestly he discusses theological questions in the small circle of intimate friends. He seeks after truth, but none of his teachers gain conımanding influence over him, neither Nitzsch nor J. Müller, neither Bleek nor Tholuck. Then follows the time of ferment in Halle. Hegel fascinates him more and more, at first in Halle under Erdmann's guidance ; then Baur's vast reconstruction of primitive Christian history. We are sensible of the same charm even to-day, so far as we have seriously studied Baur. Tübingen then becomes, despite his father's anxiety, the goal of his desire. Deeply interested in philosophy and dogma, he throws himself in the wake of that school into the literary and historical problems of the New Testament, and into Early Church history. In Bonn he begins to teach with delighted earnestness. He first takes up New Testament Exegesis, Iutroduction and Bible Theology of the New Testament; then Early Church History, History of Dogma, Synıbolics, finally Dogmatics and Ethics. But with all his restless labour, he keeps an open eye for the ecclesiastical questions of the age. In Bonn the two editions of his great work, Die Entstehung der altkatholischen Kirche, appear. Gradually

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a complete revolution took place in the views of the young Docent. He breaks with Baur. . . Inner estrangement from the old master necessarily leil, in view of the nature of the two men, to outward separation. At this time the outlines of his later theology are more and more discemible in Ritschl, although the influence of Kant and Lotze is still absent.

The progress of thought thus expo to view is full of inquiry and conflict. In contrast to Hofmann, who appears at once with a complete doctrinal system, in Ritschl history, exegesis and philosophy co-operate in a normal way to originate or establish his fundamental theory. Nay, quite accidental circumstances serve this end. It is but seldom that the present volume gives a peep into the inner life. All the more impressive are the passages of this kind. Here comes in especially the beautiful and deeply characteristic correspondence with his affianced. It perhaps raises a smile at first to find the Professor teaching her ethics ; but this feeling soon gives place to another. The man who writes here has no repository in his soul for “extravagant' thoughts beside those of his calling. In these he lives and moves. These thoughts are himself. In moments of deep feeling and overflowing love they burst from his heart. What he writes sounds somewhat pedantic, especially beside the sentimental remarks of his affianced, but it approves itself as a part of his inmost life.”

THE PROBLEM OF THE Book Of Job. By Prof. J. MEINHOLD, Bonn (Neue Jahrb. für Deutsche Theologie, 1892, No.1).- PROLOGUE. It is important to consider the Prologue by itself, because here the purpose of the whole book is to be learnt. Too often the purpose has been read into the Prologue from the rest of the book. The purpose is not the testing and improvement of Job's piety. That piety is already acknowledged by God and admitted by Satan to be perfect. Its perfection, not its imperfection, is the ground and reason of the suffering. Such eminent piety was not necessary to serve as the basis of mere trial. The purpose really is to see whether piety, even in its highest form, is disinterested, and so genuine.

« The question proposed in the Prologue is this, Would man serve God if there were no prospect of gain? Is egoism the root of piety or not? If the root were destroyed, would the tree wither or still stand?” It is evident that such a question is best decided in the case of a perfectly just character, such as is ascribed to Job. Besides, if the purpose were mere trial and moral improvement, the agency of Satan would be unnecessary; certainly his prominence would be hard to explain. Moral trial with a good end might be ascribed directly to God. Here the purpose is bad, namely, to destroy Job's character and peace, and therefore can only be ascribed to an evil being. God indeed has to do with Job's sufferings, but only by way of permission. He gives Satan authority up to a certain limit. “Only so far as thoughts of hardening and apostasy enter into the question, does an evil power come between God and man.” The growth of the idea of Satan in Judaism is obscure. But he is plainly figured as the Adversary of God, a certain freedom and independence being allowed him. In 1 Kings xx. 19 ff. and 1 Chron. xxi. compared with 2 Sam. xxiv. 1, we see how moral evil is kept away from God. In the former case God is the author of the judgment, not of the sin. If Satan in Job appears before God, as in Zech. iii., this intimates that, despite his freedom, he cannot emancipate himself from God, or that he would maintain his case even before God. “But in point of fact the transaction appears as a conflict between two bitterly opposed parties. The cautious question of God, Satan's evasive answer, the praise of Job to Satan, and the prompt insinuation of Satan, figure as the keen prelude to a still keener conflict,” in fact, å sort of wager (venia sit verbo) between God and Satan. God maintains that perfect goodness, such as Job's, is independent of earthly motives ; Satan maintains the opposite. The lists are fixed; the trial proceeds; each encounter is severer than the former one; Satan loses every time. The leprosy seems to mark Job as an outcast from God and life. His wife drives home the suggestion. The friends who come to show sympathy sit in silence. Then in chap. iii. Job gives utterance to what seems the natural inference. “It is clear that the disposition which meets us in i. 21, ii. 10 has given place to an utterly different one. Of the gracious God nothing more is to be seen. This is the point to which temptation would drive him. For only a step farther, and Job himself belongs to the wicked, whom so far he has kept aloof from."

Chaps. iv.-xxviii. JOB'S DISPUTE WITH HIS FRIENDS. These chapters form a connected whole. Job is strongly conscious of his innocence, and maintains it. He looks for his friends to take his side, but they turn against him, doing all they can to shake his confidence in his integrity. This attitude of theirs constitutes a new and sore temptation. If formerly Job was on the point of renouncing faith in God, he is now in still greater danger of doing so. In the first part of this section the dispute is strongly personal. It is no abstract question of the relation of suffering to sin that is in question, but simply Job's own case-his innocence and suffering. “This bearing of the attitude of his friends is not sufliciently recognized, and yet it is of the greatest importance for understanding the discourses and their progress.” In chaps. ix. and x. Job, provoked by their hostile attitude, gives way to complaint of God. Zophar tries in chap. xi. to move him from bis position, but fails. The final result of this personal controversy is that Job takes refuge in God; where man fails God remains true (chaps. xvi., xvii.). “Thus the temptation has served to bring about what Satan doubted. Job now holds the more firmly to God.” This faith finds triumphant expression in chap. xix., which forms the turning point of this section.

In the second part of this section (chaps. xx.-xxviii) the personal element retires into the background. " Job indeed looks down on his friends with scorn; but their attitude is a matter of indifference to him. Their arrogance cannot hurt him. In the words of Eliphaz (chap. xxii.), the mistake of the friends comes clearly out. Piety is described in so many words as inseparable from egoism (xxii. 2). To refute this position is not difficult. Job's eye has been sharpened by his own experience, and he sees how that position must be doubtful to others as well as to himself. How often it happens that the wicked are spared and prospered, and the good are in difficulties. This fact can be opposed to the doctrine of his friends. But Job has now not merely to refute the false position, but to establish his own; and this is done in those most difficult and much-debated chapters, xxvii. and xxviii.” Their difficulty is seen in the fact that, after discussing other proposed interpretations, Meinhold gives up xxvii. 13-23 as inexplicable on his interpretation. “ The question now is,

** whether the section xxvii. 1-xxviii. 1-28 fits into the context, whether it can form a coping.stone to the dispute (chap. xx.-xxv.). The answer is affirmative. The word continued' suggests such a final verdict. That which Job cannot be robbed of is a good conscience. The dispute has shown him that his innocence is his most precious possession. Although it may seem as if God condemned him, he is not misled, and holds fast to his sense of integrity. This it is which enables him to draw nigh to God. Now, too, the solution of the suffering of the righteous comes in sight. It is given in xxvii. 11 f. and xxviii. According to xxvii. 12, the friends had seen the truth, but wrongly applied it. The solution is to this effect: The wisdom which can explain the connections of creation and moral government belongs to God alone, and by this wisdom, piety and righteousness were from the beginning ordained as man's end. The question of pious or not pious must be settled only by man's conduct, not by his fate. God's ways are and remain inscrutable to us as regards His purpose, provided we keep His commandment as to our conduct. Now also it is clear how far

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