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PAUL BEFORE His CONVERSION.—A religious paper undertakes to solve a correspondent's difficulty on this subject. The correspondent quotes Paul's statement that he was "zealous toward God” (Acts xxiii. 3), and tbat he "verily thought he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth” (Acts xxvi. 9); and thinks that therefore Paul was at that time an honest, devout Jew, faithful to the light that was given him, and “would have been saved ” bad he died then.
The editor answers in part by finishing the first quotation thus: “zealous toward God as ye all are this day," the “ye" being “a furious mob of Jews held back by Roman guards from killing him on the spot.” But he stumbles over the second text so far as to admit that it “asserts honesty of intention, but no more.” Well, what more can be asked than thorough honesty of intention? Does not the character of the act and the man depend on the intent? It is a case where a little knowledge of Greek is convenient for a religious teacher in the interpretation of the New Testament and in the teachings derived therefrom. The two misleading words "verily” and “ought" do not belong there. “Verily" has nothing in the original properly representiog it; and the “ought" is simply a "must" in the original. Many a boy and man thinks he must do things which he ought not. The Greek has a word (opsi.w), abundantly used to express "ought,” the sense of duty, as John xiii. 14, Rom. xv. 1, etc.—wbich Paul carefully refrains from using. But this word (osiv) declares simple neces. sity arising from any cause, sometimes in direct opposition to what is right, as when it is declared of “wars and rumors of wars" that “these things must needs be" (Mark xiii. 7); sometimes of physical necessity, “And he must needs go through Samaria”; sometimes mere force of strong ioclination, " The multitude must needs come together" (Acts xxi, 22); in short, any impelling influence whatever. Sometimes that influence is the sense of duty, and our translators have often interpreted by using the word "ought," although even in these cases the true and better translation would have been “must,” “necessary,” or some equivalent word. The change is frequently made with a detriment to the real force of the passages. The Greek word here used, we repeat it, does not express the sense of duty, and consequently Paul does not declare “honesty of intention" in those persecutions Indeed, Paul fully condemns himself elsewhere as“ before a blaspbemer, and a persecutor, and injurious [abusive],” and in this same chapter declares that he was exceedingly mad” against Christians. Hardly a "devout spirit.”
The editor himself—though at the cost of his consistency-sbows the absurdity of the claim that Paul was a “good Jew," and asks, “must he not, to all appearances, bave obstinately closed his eyes against this light,'' which was all around, and which proved sufficient for “a pure soul like Nathaniel's ?” He adds, we are responsible for something more than fidelity to our convictions; we are responsible for what these conviction s are, just so far as light is given us to shape them.” Most true.
What then does such an editor mean, after describing this man as one
who “must have obstinately closed his eyes to all this light," and who was then “found fighting with all his strength the boliest of causes,” by saying this: “As to bow God deals with such a man, if, while in this state, he is called out of life-that question goes upon ground where no man can tread with confidence." Has not the word of God answered that question ! Can not a man“tread with cov fidence" where the Divine word bas spoken! Where is Dr. Bellows ?
"A PHILOSOPHICAL FAITH.”— Mr. Huxley uttered a remarkable sentiment before the British Association. He affirined the reasonableness of an expectation, where there is no foundation for scientific knowledge or even belief! If he could see the world of matter in geological and chemical conditions now forever passed away, he "should expect to be a witness of the evolution of living protoplasm from not living matter.” He protests that this is nothing more than “pbilosopbical faith.” And he admits that he never shall be a witness of anything of the sort, nor will any body, for these conditions of the earth are such as “ it can no more see again than a man can recall his infancy."
There are too many people, we fear, who would regard this sort of expectation about material phenomena, -of which they admit no evidence but that of the senses,-quite consistent with sound reason, if it lies in the direction of their own tendencies of opivion, but who would flout as fanatical the same sort of “philosophical faith" on some other subjects. If a man of equal ability with Prof. Huxley should expect to witness miracles, for instance, in the age when Christ was on earth and Christianity was introduced, or if he should expect to witness a fall of man from original rectitude before human history began to record universal departures from conscience and moral law, or if he should expect to see a divine atonement for sin before Christian experience and character began to be known among men, or if he should be confident that “beyond the abyss of geologically recorded time" the things tbat do appear were made from daught, or if he were to Jook for the foundation of the Christian doctrine of immortality in the teachings of one who knew Abrahan, Isaac, and Jacob, ages after their death, and spoke of them as living, and called other departed souls from the other world, and rose bimself from the grave: the “first fruits" of them that sleep in hope of a resurrection.
But then a pet theory of matter and physical life enlarges one's faculty of credence or Trust buyoud what the Bible demands.
Huxley says this is “an expectation to which analogical reasoning leads" bin, as if there could be any apalógy to the development of physical life from “ammonium, carbonates, oxalates, tartrates, alkaline and earthy phosphates, and water." What is it? The development of mental life from that wbich has no such life? Where is the first example! What form of matter or animal life originated thought-power? Or is it the development of vegetable life in inorganic matter without vegetable germs?
A Yale professor has, indeed, discoursed of thought-power as a “mani.
festation of animal life," a form of nervous energy, convertible into motion, heat (he should have added electricity and magnetism, according to the doctrine of the correlation of forces) and muscular force; and, in return, of these as convertible into thought or emotion; and of food as originating these as it originates muscular force, “the converted energy of burning carbon."* But perhaps the idea is not so material as the language. For he accepts by “ faith” from “revelation " the truth of a soul enclosed in the body. + So the Duke of Argyll calls thought “a function of the brain," but denies that they two are to be confounded with each other, any more tban electricity with the tissues of the torpedo or of the gymuotus, wbich are its organs. And the Yale professor does not pretend that “thoughtforce comes from food,” unless the food is consumed by a being who bas thougbt-force already,—which is anything but an analogical example of mental life coming from that which has no such life to start with!
This new style of scientific“ expectation," or "philosophical faith," has not even analogy, then, to rest upon. Of course, it thought-power is nothing but an animal force, and any of the physical forces are so correlated wiih it as to be literally convertible into it, then, even with or without thought-power to start with, its development frow food would be simply a case of physical life developed from the cbemical elements of the food, itself lifel-ss, i. e., iustead of furnishing an analogy, it would itself be one of the very cases for which aa analogy is needed, but not found.
“A DIVERSIFIED MINISTRY."--In an account of “Theological Education in England," in the Bibliotheca Sucra for July, 1867, by one of the editors of this Review, a greater variety of mipisterial acquirements and of theological education was argued for. The genius of Congregationalism, it was urged, and the exigencies of our land demand “new and deftly fitted modes of Christian service, imparting the same sound interpretation and strong and saviug theology, with a ready, direct, and lissome suiting to multiplied and beterogeneous babits of life and mind, wbich our prescriptive (theological) culture, (vur "one type of theological institutions ") has not yet attained.” Interesting and suggestive features in English institutions, securing greater diversity than ours, were pointed out. The article was. republished in Lundon, and earnestly commended to the attention ot Eiglish Congregationalists. At the Autumn Meeting of the Congregational Union of England and Wales, Rev. John Stoughton, D.D., author of “Spiritual Heroes,” and other works, read wbat ihe English Independent cails "a fine paper on the Ministry,” in which occurs the following:
" It is beginning to be seen that diffi rent courses and plans of study need to be adopted to meet the exigencies of Christian labor. We want for the leading churches of the denomination tirst-class pastors, quipped with qualifications of superior learning; and we need to have educated for us, also, tirst class teachers of theology to occupy professors' chairs, and to speak
• Prof. Geo. P. Barker, M. D., “ University Series," No 2. (Lecture at Yale College ) + " A higher trush which can Dever be the subject of physical demonstration."
through the medium of the press. We want other pastors, not of the same order, yet competently furnished to instruct their people; and we want, also, efficient missionaries to break up fallow ground, and to plant congregations, and prepare them for subsequent ecclesiastical development. Firr each of these objects a specific and appropriate method of ecclesiastical training seems to be required."
Now that steps have been taken to secure periodical National Conferences, and the day is not distant when we shall have them, it is worth while to be turning over in mind the topics to be therein considered. And while our Theological Seminaries look after the highest type of ministerial culture, providing for the leading pulpits of the country, as they multiply and are vacated by the fathers, the whole denomination ought to thor. ougbly ponder and discuss the needs of our great missionary and pioneer work, and how we can reach the increasiog diversities of American mind, and what styles of individual preparation they demand.
Three courses are before us in this matter : (1) To make Congregationalism a religion for a class, a particular type of mind and of social lite, and leave the masses to be unevangelized, or evangelized, if at all, by others; (2) To allow a ministry for the masses to grow up without training, as our English brethren have too much done ; (3) To train such a ministry fitly, conscientiously, carefully, effectually in the interests of freedom, truth, and salvation. Which shall we do? No graver or more momentous question could present itself to a National Congregational Conference. No broader one, or deeper one, now asks to be grappled with by American Congregationalism.
Vol. XI.- MARCH, 1871.- No. 58.
Spiritism - oddly named Spiritualism still asks and gains attention. Within a few months we have observed discussions of it in three leading religious journals, several numbers of a medical quarterly, and the “North American.” A prominent lady novelist argues in favor of communication with the spirits of the dead, and two theological professors ascribe the phenomena to Satanic agency. And while disinterested witnesses of highly respectable character assert many extraordinary transactions, and some scientific men admit
* In this discussion the writer has made reference chiefly to the following: Planchette, by E. S. (Epes Sargent,) Boston, 1869; a paper by Wm. A. Hammond, M.D., on Spiritualism, N. A. Review. April, 1869; öne by Meredith Clymer, M.D., on Ecstasy, Psychological Journal, Oct. 1870 ; one on Trance and Catalepsy, by T. E. Clirk. M.D., Oct. 1869 ; one on the Rochester knockings, by Prof. Austin Flint, M.D., Julv, 1869 ; The Philosophy of Mysterious Rappings, by E. C. Rogers, Boston, 1853 ; Molin Mysteries Exposed, by Asa Mahan, D.D.; The Fountain by A. J. Davis Boston, 1870; the Physiologies of Drs. W. B. Carpenter and F. G. Smith; the Psychologies of Abercrombie, Upham, and Porter. Besides these he has had by him other recent Spiritist pubtications, and formerly examined with some care the earlier volumes of Davis, Judge Edmonds, and Dr. Hare.