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tiful imagery selected, it would plainly be futile to inquire for what reasons the exact jewels specified are to be wrought in the edifice, or why each has a distinct place assigned it. It would be puerile to think that, in order to the accomplishment of the prediction, no other stones than carbuncles must be used for the gates, and no other than sapphires for the foundation. The description which we have in Revelation xxi., of a similar structure yet to be erected warrants us in disregarding these minutiæ. Here we have all sorts of precious stones entering into the foundations, and not stones but pearls employed for the gates. (See Rev. xxi. 19-22.) From a comparison of the two descriptions it is evident that the particular jewels mentioned by the prophet are but rhetorical individualizations, and that the whole force of the prediction must be sought in the fair colours at the commencement of the passage, or in the pleasant stones at its close.
We will now, as under the former train of observation, illustrate these remarks by an instance from prophecy where historical truth may seem concerned. In Isaiah x. 28-33, we have what appears to be a brief sketch of the military progress of some conqueror. Interpreters are tolerably agreed in referring it to the progress of Sennacherib, when he marched against Jerusalem, and we have no doubt they are right in this application. Now certainly it would be impossible to make out from the history an actual progress of the monarch conformable to this description; nor is it necessary. The successive stages of a particular route are indicated at which he might pause on his way to the capital, without its being requisite that he should thus pause. For all purposes of verification, it would be sufficient to show that he did take this route on his march against the capital, or even that he did thus march. We are inclined to
accept the larger of these generalizations as the true one, from observing that in the first chapter of Micah, where the progress of the same conqueror is described, there is an entire difference of detail. As many as twelve places are enumerated by the later of these prophets, as many as eleven by the earlier, but at no single place do the descriptions of the two coalesce. The sole point of contact of either with the historical account, is in the mention of Lachish by Micah (see Micah i. 13, and compare 2 Kings xviii. 14, 17); all the remaining places are comprehended by the historian under the general denomination of fenced cities. We may compare this summing up of various particulars in one whole, to what takes place in mechanics in calculating the gravitating power of bodies. Instead of attempting, in this computation, to estimate separately the gravitating tendency of each particle of the body (which would be endless), we refer the sum total of all the gravities to the centre. We seek accordingly an expression for this collective central force, and what this concentration is in physics, that generalization is in language.
Another peculiarity of prophetic style which may be remarked, is the method adopted of expressing universality. This is often done by naming two contraries or extremes, in looking at which we are not to think of the extremes only but of whatever is included between them. Thus, when Isaiah says, in a chapter already quoted from (see Is. ii. 9), that "the mean man boweth down and the great man humbleth himself," it is not meant that the humiliation will affect these two extremes of society alone, but that it will extend to all classes. Another instance of the idiom we have in chap. xviii. of the same prophet, at the sixth verse, "They shall be left together," he says, speaking of some
enemies of Israel, "to the fowls of the mountain and to the beasts of the earth, and the fowls shall summer upon them, and all the beasts of the earth shall winter upon them." Here it would be refining far too much to suppose that the one class of animals would enjoy the spoil promised them during the winter season only, and the other during the summer; the plain purport of the denunciation is that both should so prey throughout the year. Let us turn for one more instance of the sort to the 32nd chapter of the same prophecies, the 16th verse. "Then," says the prophet, having just predicted a time when the Spirit should be poured out abundantly, "then shall judgment dwell in the wilderness and righteousness in the fruitful field." What expositor here would be so inept as to make a nice distinction between the judgment and righteousness mentioned, as if one would be the luxuriant growth of desert spots, and the other of fertile ones? Obviously the true explanation is that at the era referred to both judgment and righteousness would be diffused over all parts of the country. We think the most happy application of this peculiarity of style has been to those passages in the prophets where pairs of geographical terms occur. A single instance from Hosea will be quite sufficient for illustration. This prophet, in ch. v. 1, addresses the priests and
princes as follows, "Ye have been a snare on Mizpah, and a net spread upon Tabor." We have seen no better reason assigned for the specification here occurring than that one of these places was on the east of the Jordan, the other on the west; that taken together therefore they denote the whole country. We may remark in conclusion, that correlative terms are sometimes placed by the prophets in like antithesis with their contraries. It is thus we explain the somewhat perplexing passage in Malachi ii. 12, "The Lord will cut off the man that doeth this, the master and the scholar, out of the tabernacles of Jacob." We do not here conceive that the prophet has solely in view, or even prominently, either persons giving or receiving instruction; we regard the two parties named as simply a category to embrace all classes. We shall obtain exactly the same result and for the same reason if we here adopt the reading of the margin, "him that waketh and him that answereth." By the specification of the two counterparts of a social relation the whole of society is pointed out.
Another instance of a like idiom of this latter kind does not at this moment occur to us; but instances of the former abound in almost every page, and it would be an instructive exercise for those taught in our sabbath-schools were they required to give an explanation of passages on this principle.
AN INCIDENT IN OLSHAUSEN'S MENTAL HISTORY. In the Biblical Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, a translation of which, by William Lindsay, D.D., has just been published by Messrs. Clark of Edinburgh, Olshausen refers to the difficulties he had felt in respect to the Ascension of our Lord to heaven. The advocates of the mythical view, he says,
"make their appeal to a circumstance which at first sight must appear surprising. They remind us that the ascension, if it really occurred, is so important an incident in the history of Christ, that in none of the gospels could it be overlooked; it is the keystone of the whole, without which the
AN INCIDENT IN OLSHAUSEN'S MENTAL HISTORY.
fore, very readily suggest itself to the Rabbins, who transferred everything glorious and beautiful in the Old Testament to the Messiah, to suppose also that he should ascend to heaven. (Compare Schottgen, Jesus der wahre Messias, Leipsic, 1748, p. 844, &c.) And, what is of more weight, Jesus himself refers to it, not only in the expression, so often repeated in the last chapters of John, inάуw роç тov aripa [I go unto the Father], but also more definitely in the passage of John vi. 62, ἐὰν οὖν θεωρῆτε τὸν υἱὸν τοῦ ἀνθρώπου αναβαίνοντα ὅπου ἦν τὸ πρότερον, where the connexion, as well as the words viòç rоu ávěρúπоv, plainly point to an exaltation of his human nature. In the apostolic epistles, in fine, there are passages, such as 1 Tim. iii. 16, úveλýp0n iv dóty, which contain manifest allusions to the fact in question; and even other passages, such as Ephes. ii. 6, iv. 8, and 1 Pet. iii. 22 (πopev¤tig eiç ròv ovpavóv, where, besides, you have mention of the avάorariç [Resurrection] immediately
building cannot be completed. Nevertheless, this key-stone is awanting in the Gospel of Matthew, who yet was an eye-witness; yea, it is even awanting in John, for whose mode of exhibiting Christ's history it would have been doubly important, setting out, as he does, from the original state of the Logos with the Father, to which same position there would have been an evident propriety in following him back. Besides, it is remarked that no other apostle speaks of the occurrence, neither Peter, nor Paul, nor James: it is only the two penmen of the New Testament who were not eye-witnesses, Mark and Luke, who narrate the ascension, for which reason it is regarded as not improbable that they drew their narrative from troubled sources. This is by no means an unimportant observation, and I confess that for a long time I was disquieted by it, because I could nowhere find a satisfactory explanation of the fact. What at last presented itself to me as an explanation, after carefully considering the circum-going before), are not to be overlooked, stances of the case, I will now attempt shortly to unfold.*
First of all, it has already been often remarked, and with justice, that references to the ascension are not so entirely awanting as has been supposed. In the Old Testament, it is true, there are passages, such as Ps. cx. 1, containing mere hints which can be directly applied to the ascension only on the authority of the New Testament; but yet, in 2 Kings ii. 11, we are presented with an obvious prefiguration of it in the history of Elijah.† It would, there
“Hase, in his life of Jesus, who decides in favour of the mythical view of the resurrection, declares the silence of the eye-witnesses to be altogether inexplicable. And to what point he was led by this mythical view appears from the words, as the grave of Moses, so also his was not seen.' Had he then his grave, he who swallowed up death for ever?! (Hase, as cited above, page 204.)"
nor yet any of those declarations which represent Christ as sitting continually at the right hand of God, particularly Matt. xxvi. 64. However, it must be acknowledged that in most of these passages the specific circumstance distinctive of Christ's ascension, viz., the elevation of his body, is not expressly brought forward, and, therefore, many of them might be applied to persons who have blissfully fallen asleep, like the words, 'he has gone to heaven.**
But, again, let it be supposed that the declarations of Mark and Luke regarding the ascension were awanting likewise, and that we were quite at
departure of Enoch and Moses is not represented expressly as a bodily glorification."
# " Ephes. ii. 6 is a passage particularly worthy of notice, because Paul there views the resurrection and ascension of Christ as an image of the
↑ "I designedly mention only Elias, because the resurrection and exaltation of believers."
liberty to imagine to ourselves what was the end of Christ's earthly life; and should we then be able to conceive any other departure of the Lord, that would recommend itself to the consciousness of Christians? As it is allowed the Saviour was not a mere phantom, like what the Docetae supposed, but lived in a real human body upon the earth, we are necessarily driven to suppose, if the glorification of his body be not admitted, that a separation of his soul from his body again took place. But this separation would just be death, and therefore we must say that in some way or other Christ died again, and that his soul returned to his Father. But where, then, is the victory of Christ over death? What becomes of the significancy of the resurrection, which all the Apostles have celebrated as the great work of God, and as the foundation of faith. (Comp. Comm. on 1 Cor. xv.) It has already been remarked in the history of the resurrection, that the raising of Christ is important, only as being the highest point of the power of the wn; for Christ conquered death in his humanity, and rose with a glorified immortal body. But what boots a resurrection, that is followed by a new death? If the Redeemer, therefore, is to continue always, what he is to the church, the conqueror of sin and death, then his departure from this world cannot be conceived to have been different from what the evangelists declare. Now let this be granted, and the question will present itself in quite a different shape. The fact of the ascension is certain, internal grounds, and the only question that now remains is, why this concluding scene receives so little prominence in the apostolic writings? To this question you find a sufficient answer in the relation, which the resurrection and the ascension necessarily bear to one another. The ascension, as the concluding act of our Lord's career upon the earth, did
not, by any means, appear so important to the apostles as it does to us: in their view it seemed only a circumstance consequent upon his resurrection. They had already become accustomed, after their master's death, to regard him as absent and gone: they had no continuous enjoyment of his presence after he rose from the dead: there was always something sudden and unexpected about the individual appearances he made to them, and each might be the last. And though indeed the ascension was an express leave-taking and a solemn departure, yet even after it Jesus appeared again, for example, to Paul.* The ascension itself, therefore, was really not so important an act; the moment of our Lord's departure appeared like a fleeting instant, and therefore there was no feast of the ascension known to the ancient church. Every thing of importance in a doctrinal point of view was concentrated in the resurrection ; with it closed the earthly being of Christ: the ascension, and also the outpouring of the Spirit, which was connected with the ascension and dependent upon it,
"Hence, too, the apostle Paul (1 Cor. xv. 8) enumerates, along with the other appearances of Christ, the appearance of him with which he himself was favoured, although it did not take place till after the ascension, and he speaks of the resurrection without making any mention of the ascension at all."
"In the days of Augustine and Chrysostom the ascension was indeed celebrated in the church, and because they did not know the origin of the feast
that commemorated it (adscensio, árádnyis), they traced it back to the apostles; but in the writ onings of the fathers of the first three centuries, there
origg. eccl., vol. ix. p. 126, seqq.) How much too
is no trace of it to be found. (Comp. Binghami
of Christians, is plain from our collections of sacred
Easter stands in glaring contrast with the few
are only results of the resurrection, | grants to them to sit upon his throne, viewed as the glorification of the body, as God has granted to him to sit upon and consequences of the victory over his throne. (Rev. iii. 21.) If but one death. Whilst in the assumption of Evangelist, therefore, had neglected to humanity the divine became flesh by mention the resurrection of Christ the birth, the resurrection is something like omission would have been inexplicable, a birth of the flesh into spirit; and the but the omission of the ascension in the ascension is the return of the glorified Gospels of Matthew and John is only body into the eternal world of spirit, to be regarded in this light, that they with which the session of the glorified have narrated one fewer of the appearRedeemer at the right hand of God, and ances of Christ. That the risen Rehis consequent participation in the deemer has ascended to heaven with divine government, must be viewed as his glorified body, and sits on the right necessarily connected. As therefore the hand of God, lies at the foundation of earthly sinks by the essential tendency the whole apostolic view of his minof its nature down to the earth, so like- istry; and without this idea neither the wise does an inward impulse guide the significant rite of the supper, nor yet heavenly back to its source. The Re- the doctrine of the resurrection of the deemer therefore, glorified in body, could body, can be retained at all with connot leave his owμa πvevμarıkóv [spiritual sistency. And therefore, in fact, the body] upon the earth, but he took it New Theology has not hitherto been with him into the world of spirit. And able properly to incorporate with itself according to the representative charac- either the one or the other, because, on ter which Christ bears in relation to account of its prevailing ideal tendency, mankind, the whole race was elevated it has misunderstood the import of the in him, and he now draws up to his ascension." own elevation his faithful people, and
THE YOUNG MEN IN OUR CONGREGATIONS:
WHAT THEY ARE, AND WHAT THEY SHOULD BE.
OUR young men what are they? | neither regard this life as a preparation At all events it does not require much for another, nor the first part of this observation to say Not what they life as that which decides, and forms, should be. There are several classes. and moulds the rest. They have never There is, for instance, the largest class asked themselves what it is to be men, -a class comprising by far the greater or why they are men. They spend tonumber of our young men. They may day as they spent yesterday, and so probe described as those who have not bably they will spend to-morrow; but arrived at a consciousness of their man- one day's life neither has, nor is inhood. We do not mean that they do not tended to have, any bearing on the next call themselves men, nor that they are day's. They are not lazy; on the connot anxious to be called and thought men trary they are always active; but they by others, nor that they are not old are mere busy triflers, leading lives of enough to be men; but that they do laborious idleness. They do not look not understand or feel the meaning and on life as a real, an earnest, a solemn the responsibility of being men. They thing. They do not look on the world