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they had seen the Lard's Christ. As to the myths of Strauss, it may suffice to say that they crowd the myth so near to the recognized historical period of Christianity, that the very first condition of his hypothesis, of an unconscious genetic origin of the gospels, is out of the question.
Secondly, According to 2 Peter i. 10-17, the Transfiguration which that apostle beheld on the mount accredits the gospel as trustworthy, so that although this light still shines only "in a dark place," we may safely guide our footsteps by it, "until the day dawn, and the day star arise in our hearts."
Thirdly, The appearance of Moses and Elijah as glorified spirits re-affirms the doctrine of a blessed immortality in God's perfected, heavenly kingdom.
Fourthly, It showed, by an impressive concrete illustration, the subordination of the Jewish to the Christian economy, and their relation to each other as preparation and fulfillment. To the Jewish mind it was an argument peculiarly instructive, and the disciples of Christ themselves, as well as others, needed it to bring them to comprehend the universality of the Christian faith, designed alike for Jew and Gentile. The heavenly voice accredited Him as the ultimate teacher, and his last command was: "Preach the gospel to all nations."
Finally, This history is full of instruction as an emblem and guarantee of something much more earnest than our ordinary experience of Christian truth. I prefer, on such a theme, to cite the testimony of others.1 We have the key-note to this great passage in Christ's life, in Peter's enraptured, child-like exclamation: "It is good to be here: let us build tabernacles and abide here. Here would we forever linger: forget the strife and all the trouble of earth.'' What can they desire besides? What attraction can withdraw them from this holy place? Where Jesus Christ makes himself known to his friends in divine glory, there they partake of the deepest and holiest joy, such as the most costly goods of earth can never furnish. "Peace I leave with you: my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you." It is the most sacred experience of the Christian life, its most resplendent height, of which this narrative reminds us. It was in still retirement, when our soul was absorbed in musings on the.wondrous way in which God had led us to his eternal salvation; or when in ardent prayer, we sought consolation and help for the disquiet of our heart, and the troubles of life; it was in the circle of very dear friends, when in conversation on the holiest themes,
11 insert above some detached thoughts from a Discourse on the Transfiguration by Dr. Julius Miiller of Halle (translated by Prof. B. B. Edwards in the Bibliotheca Sacra., Vol. IV, pp. 239 ff.). It is not often that we can associate two such names in such a testimony.
in reciprocal interchange of our views and experiences, our hearts overflowed, and the glowing sparks of faith and love uniting, suddenly hurst forth into a clear flame; it was in the public worship of God, where the message of the gospel in the hymn, the prayer, the sermon, powerfully impressed us; or it was when the highest festival of divine worship — the Supper of the Lord — poured over us the fulness of Divine mercy I Far below us lay the world; we were conscious of being citizens of the heavenly kingdom; on the eye of our mind beamed the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, who is the image of God; we saw his glory as the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. What had often seemed dark to us in the connection of his works, now shone distinct and clear. Does any one think it was only Christ's peculiar glory, on which the disciples cast a longing gaze? Oh how little do such queries and doubts know of the divine fulness of love in Jesus; love which thought it not robbery to be equal with God, but humbled itself and took the form of a servant, and was found in fashion as a man; love which led him to count as nothing his divine form, but to become wholly and inseparably one with us; love which rent the heavens, and brought him down to us that he might raise us with himself to the throne of his divine majesty. Will he then be solitary in his glory? Was he alone on the Mount of Transfiguration? When transfigured there appeared as partakers of his glory, in company with his disciples, Moses and Elias, who talked with him. No, doubt not, disciples of the Lord; he will not only enjoy his own felicity—his loving heart will long to share it with you. "Because I live, ye shall live also; and where I am, there shall also my servants be." "Father, I will," he prays in the night before his death, "that where I am they whom thou hast given me may be with me, and I will give unto them the glory that thou hast given me." No! ye dare not doubt, his Transfiguration is to you also the type of your own future perfection and glory. "In the world ye shall have tribulations, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
Rochester, N. Y.
H. B. Hackett.
THE political responsibility of the citizen is determined by the form of government under which he lives. In the absolute monarchy it is reduced to its minimum; in the democracy and in the republic it is raised to its maximum. The love of liberty is as old as the race. It is the witness of a once free and sinless play of personal powers. It is a moral force that will ever cause human government to gravitate toward the perfect ideal. Every advance toward that ideal, which gives widest scope to the individual, and most perfectly asserts and maintains his inalienable rights, has been welcomed with gratitude. But in the exuberant joyousness of liberty, men have forgotten its deep solemnity; in the freshness and vigor of its delights, they have lost sight of its serious responsibilities.
Liberty [says Orville Dewey] is a solemn thing; a welcome, a joyous, a glorious thing, if you please; but it is a solemn thing. A free people must be a thoughtful people. The subjects of a despot may be reckless and gay if they can. A free people must be serious; for it has to do the greatest thing that ever was done in the world—to govern itself. There is no point in the great human welfare, on which men's ideas so much need to be cleared up, to be advanced, to be raised to a higher standard, as on this grand and terrible responsibility of freedom. In the universe there is no trust so awful as moral freedom, and all good civil freedom depends upon the use of that.
This sentiment lays bare the very foundation on which our government rests. Here the citizen is the sovereign. The power is with the people. They are the principals, the lawful masters; the official is a servant, created by them, and accountable to them. The exercise of political influence is not optional. The wise and faithful use of the power with which the government clothes him, is a duty that the citizen owes to himself, to his country, and to his God—a duty he cannot sinlessly set aside. The success of republicanism in America will depend upon the people's accurate appreciation of their civil obligations, and the fidelity with which they discharge them.
If this conspicuous experiment at self-government should fail, it will be, not because of the wishes of enemies abroad, nor of the base intrigue of conscienceless, traitorous politicians at home; but because of the criminal recreancy of the masses of the people, because of their sinful failure to administer the solemn trust reposed in them. It is becoming that we should gratefully appreciate our peculiar immunities—that we should rejoice in our civil and religious liberty; but we should remember that our boasted freedom is the measure of our grave responsibilities. There is no inquiry that can more appropriately engage the earnest attention of the Christian patriot, than that which seeks to determine the nature and extent of political duty, and the means by which it may be discharged most successfully. Such inquiry involves a review of the history of the past, an estimate of the facts and tendencies of the present, and a contemplation of the hopes and possibilities of the future.
I. Our History. If we would wisely control the present, or shape the policy of the future, we must heed the lessons of the past. American history is peculiarly Christian history. Hither Christian men fled from the tyrannous intolerance of the Old World; here, themselves to practice an intolerance in some instances more cruel. The darkest chapter in our colonial history is its record of fines, imprisonments, and other punishments, inflicted upon men because of their religious belief and practice. The story of the progress of thought among the Colonists, toward that free sentiment that ultimately supplanted the state church and made religious liberty a distinguishing characteristic of our government, is too long to admit of insertion here.1
The time invites review. The thought of the American people is now directed to the hastening close of the first century of our national history, with a force that causes reflection. It is natural to contrast
1 It is well told by Isaac Backus, in his "History of Hew England, with particular reference to the Denomination of Christians called Baptists."
the extremes of the rounding period. We go back along the path of the years, and linger as learners amid the instructive scenes of a century ago. We stand in the presence of men whose self-forgetting consecration to the cause of humanity has ranked them among the most noble of earth. We sit in their councils, we are moved by their eloquence, we catch the inspiration of their elevating enthusiasm. We see glowing in them the fire of a righteous indignation, kindled by the unholy acts of her to whom, with genuine filial attachment, they had been accustomed to look as the "Mother Country."
The policy of Great Britain was not righteousness, but revenue. Her power was prostituted to the gratification of a grasping and insatiable cupidity; which, by its intolerable oppressions, outraged, and at the same time strengthened, the sentiment of human right in the heart of her colonists. It was the intense heat of those "trying times" that forced to maturity and to fruitage the sentiments whose seeds were already germinating in the souls of the noble men of '76— sentiments that found such clear and intense expression in the memorable paper to which they affixed their names ninety-seven years ago. The second day of July, 1776, was historic. It was the birth-day of a more perfect liberty than had ever been conceived of, as the right of man. The beneficent influence of the decision of that day in the Congress of the thirteen colonies, will be continued after the pen shall have fallen from the nerveless grasp of the earth's last historian. It was on that day that the resolution of independence was passed. Then was it resolved, "That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent states. That they are absolved from all allegiance to the British crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved." The spirit that animated, and the principles that guided the members of that Congress, have been enshrined in the language of John Adams:
The greatest question has been decided that ever was debated in America. And a greater, perhaps, never was nor will be decided among men. When I look back to 1761, and run through the series of political events, the chain of causes and effects, I am surprised at the suddenness, as well as the greatness of this revolution. Britain has been filled with folly, and America with wisdom. It is the will of heaven that the two countries should be sundered forever. It may be the will of heaven that America should suffer calamities still more wasting and distresses yet more dreadful. If this is to be the case, the furnace of affliction produces refinement in states as well as individuals; but I submit all my hopes and fears to an overruling Providence, in which, unfashionable as the faith may be, I firmly believe. The second day of July, 1776, will be