Imatges de pÓgina
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attributes of character and welfare. There is nothing felt to be more inveterate than this bondage and its everwasting miseries, or that so excludes the race, in mass or as individuals, from a realization of the noble manhood, well-being, and happiness clearly meant for them in the endowments of their nature. There can be no doubt that though the better life in man, under higher aspirations, has struggled against the alien thraldom, it has, nevertheless, found itself incapable of winning the necessary emancipation for the unhindered true life. The natural religions, without exception, are mute as to any redemptive provision for moral deliverance. Man is left to his own resources.

PART I.

TRUTHS ANTECEDENT TO REDEMPTION.

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CHRISTIAN THEOLOGY, in the distinct sense, and from the sources explained in the introductory discussion, begins its specific and proper work in a consideration of the two great truths of God and Man. These two truths are the essential presuppositions for all the other truths or teachings of Christianity. They have a fundamental position. All others rest upon them. Apart from the existence of God and mankind, the whole matter of theology would be a blank. Christianity, in all its doctrines, expresses truths concerning them and inter-relations between them. Theology, therefore, puts them in the forefront,

DIVISION I.

THE CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE OF GOD AND HIS RELATIONS

TO THE WORLD.

The truth concerning God reaches us from both the sources of information already indicated—the light of nature and the teachings of the Christian revelation. In both of these we have real divine self-disclosure. The Scriptures themselves affirm the distinctively revelatory character of nature. Apart from some disclosure which God makes of Himself man could not know anything of Him. But the whole realm of nature itself, the divine work forming the cosmic universe, necessarily to some degree reveals His being and thought. In creational activity, as we have seen, He has opened a way in which our knowledge may find and interpret Him. Out of the cosmic existence and order comes the constant witness to His eternal power and deity. Beyond all doubt, however, our best and fullest knowledge of God reaches us through His supernatural redemptory self-revelation.

ETYMOLOGY OF THE TERM.

The English appellation, God, has been commonly derived from the same Anglo-Saxon root as good, and has been supposed to designate the Good-Being. But a comparison of the various forms of the root discredits this derivation. Moreover, the idea of “goodness," whether in the sense of love or in an ethical sense, had too small a place, if any at all, in the pagan conception of gods, to determine their designation. As shown by Max Müller, the term has probably come from the Sanscrit jut or dyut, through the Gothic gutha, to shine.'

The etymology of the Greek, Beds, is uncertain. Herodotus derived it from thônke, to place, under the idea that the gods placed or determined all things in the world. But this account is unsustained. So is also the

. view of Plato, deriving it from Oéw, to run, because the earlier worship was largely offered to the sun, moon, and stars in their courses. The supposition of Curtius, that it may have come from a root θες, whence θεσ-σάμενοι, supplicated, is too remote and uncertain. The most reliable view seems to be that of Max Müller, tracing it from the Sanscrit deva, bright, shining; Zend, dæva ; Persian, dew; Latin, deus—reflecting the early IndoEuropean worship as identifying God with the bright, resplendent heavens.

It is thus apparent that both our English appellation, God, and the Greek term eos are carried as a linguistic inheritance from our ethnic or Gentile descent, and not from the Hebrew tongue, which was the medium of the preparatory unfolding of our Christian theism.

THE IDEA OF GOD.

1. The content of it. For Christian theology the idea of God must be the Christian idea. Until we have reached this, in the measure in which the Christian Scriptures present it, we are short of the true conception. Christian theology can integrate its entire doctrine concerning God only when it has comprehended and united all the realities and features which the full redemptory revelation has made known. It can never consent to

1 "Science of Language,” ad Ser., p. 148.

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