Imatges de pÓgina
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observed by human minds,-the facts, that is, of fallen human nature. The Christian doctrine of immortality appears in the Creed as the resurrection of the body. Not the soul alone is to appear and dwell before God, or away from Him, but the soul enwrapped in a body which reflects it and obeys its behests. This doctrine coheres with the Scriptural view of physical death. Death, according to Scripture, is the penalty of sin; the resurrection of the body is the consummation of all the Creation scheme. Under other conditions the ordinary life of man might have led onwards towards a different close — when the spirit would have made good its dominion over the earthly instrument, and the body would have been transfigured into its heavenly form. God attains still His eternal Purpose, but not without break and confusion and sorrow. And the subjection of man to physical death with all its accompaniments of horror and degradation is the inevitable consequence of substituting the dictates and the desires of the flesh for the law and the spirit of God. Death is in a real sense the penalty of sin; the natural fate of a being who has chosen an earthly life.

Then what of pain ? There is in human life a vast mass of pain and misery which is certainly not preservative. It may be the resultit is in great cities, for instance—of the defiance of God's laws, moral and physical, and is, therefore, so far, the penalty attached to such disobedience, the warning against repeating the offence. But it falls, in many cases, chiefly upon persons who have had no share in committing the offence, and have no chance of evading the punishment-upon children, and upon women. Here there is no kindly hope possible that it may be preservative; it is simply misery. It should surely seem less difficult in the face of phenomena like this to adopt S. John's description of the world_The whole world lieth in the evil one.' For this fact of the immense area of undeserved sorrow shows how the burden of sin and evil lies not on one or more-the people who commit the acts of sin—but on a whole nation or age whose atmosphere is poisoned by the presence of sin amongst them. The indifference or obstinacy or dishonesty of one man may involve countless people in ignorance or pain or sorrow, from all which things sin is apt to spring anew. That it is so, is the sign of our human brotherhood, no doubt; it shows how closely we are all bound together; but this is poor consolation to those whose lot it is to suffer. They know in a very direct and unmistakable way what the penalties of sin are here; and may well wonder why their lot is so hard.

But though pain is thus conspicuously the physical expression of moral ruin, when considered in the mass, and is evil, therefore, through and through ; it does not follow that this exhausts its meaning. Like evil it is the means of proving men. It draws out their selfishness or their self-forgetfulness; it shows where their heart is set. It invites sympathy and love in others, and gives room for mutual help. These things it may do even in its most unlovely, most helpless and hopeless guise. In the mass it is a sign of radical evil; to the individual it may be the means of good. It is important to insist upon the power of pain in this direction ; for there are few truths which are so unpalatable just now. What with the extension of the various means for avoiding pain, and what with a semi-pagan tendency to adore unrestrained natural impulse, it has become difficult to allude to the moral value of pain without the risk of being classed with fakeers and mediæval ascetics. Notwithstanding this, however, it remains true and is verified in daily experience, that, though pain has no business in the world at all, ideally speaking, it is overruled to the subversion of the principle of sin which brought it here.

We are able in these very few words to throw out hints as to the place and meaning of pain and death in the human sphere. The reason why this is possible is that we have certain facts within our knowledge, about man's moral state and so on, which can be pieced together into something like a coherent theory. But since, in regard of the animal world as a whole,' we have no such facts we cannot reach even this degree of clearness as to the meaning of their sufferings. For, after all, though they are so near us, and our intercourse with them is so familiar, we know strangely little about them. We can interpret their wants, in some degree, and are capable of emotional relations with them ; but, as yet, we know little else. We can never be sure that we are not reading into their acts a meaning of our own of which they are innocent; we are always liable to a sort of inverted anthropomorphism. Pain and death are certainly a horror to them, as to us; and we have no reason, at present, to suppose that they have any moral nature, such as to learn the lesson which pain teaches men. Yet, though we are in a more difficult position as regards the pain in nature than as regards the pain of men, there do seem to be some signs that nature herself is not in an ideal state at present.

With all its success in the way of order and harmony, there is much that indicates another

principle at work. The enormous waste of individual life, and the destruction caused by convulsions of nature are hard to bring into any orderly teleology. They may, perhaps, have beneficent results, sometimes; but still these look more like the collateral advantages arising from pain than the natural and regular course of things. And the war in nature is bitter and hard and merciless. It weeds out the weak, of course, and that is doubtless its physical explanation. But it is impossible to rest finally in a merely physical explanation, unless we are prepared (1) to regard nature, as a whole, as merely physical, the mere scenery for the drama of man's existence, without necessary connexion with man at all; and (2) to eradicate from it any interest in individual life—to deny all reality to all individuals lower than man, and to look upon the particular animals as 'mere points of transition in the life of the species' (Martensen, p. 210). The Scriptural view of nature, though hard to understand, seems to be more reasonable, more like God, than this.

Creation, Gnostic Theories. —S. Irenæus, Adv. Hær. Clem. Alec., Strom. VI. xii. Origen, De Principiis, II. i.-iii., ix. S. Aug., De Genesi ad litteram, Bk. IV. and V. Gore, Bampton Lecture, II, Westcott, Essay on Gospel of Creation; Epistles of S. John.

Evil. -S. Ath., C. Gent., i.-x. Lux Mundi, Essay V., 'Pain. Origen, De Princ. II. xi. S. Aug., Anti - Pelagian Treatises, ed. Bright-these deal with original sin, grace, and freedom also.

Cf. also De libero arbitrio. Aubrey Moore, Science and Faith. Manichæism. Robertson, Ch. Hist. Beausobre, Hist. du Manichæisme. S. Aug., c. Faustum. Dial. Archelai, Routh. Rell. vol. v.

CHAPTER VI

THE FALL AND THE ATONEMENT

We have now discussed at length and, we fear, tediously enough, the question of evil. It has been impossible to do so without reference from time to time to the fact of the Atonement through Jesus Christ. We have now to explain and expand this fact. Previous chapters have already laid the foundations for our present inquiry, and we shall therefore be able to use the information collected in them. It will be well to recapitulate our conclusions as to the position in which man was placed at the time of our Lord's coming, and as to the nature of our Lord Himself. We shall then be able to see how the doctrine of the Atonement flows out from these.

Man was in a condition of irrevocable alienation from God. He had severed the link which bound him to God by his own act, and the breach could not be healed from his side. God had threatened him with various penalties in case of disobedience, and it would not have been consistent with His changeless Love and Wisdom and Justice to let these threats fall to the ground-even supposing that it were practically possible. Moreover, the condition of alienation was transmitted hereditarily to the descendants of the first sinner. All men shared his condemnation. They were, by nature, children of

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