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history, language, literature, science, art, and the thought which these evoke, can all be vivified by the ruling purpose of God in the distribution and continuance of our race. If the students in these schools are to be the leaders in the church, and if the church's one work is the thorough evangelization of the world, then the answer to the question we are discussing is obvious, and needs no formal utterance. If the work of Foreign Missions holds the high place we have endeavored to indicate, and its main features are those we have endeavored to outline, then it demands an abiding place in the best thoughts of our best leaders, and the personal services of some of the foremost among them. The field is one, and the work is one. If this divine truth is the controlling principle in our Christian education, we shall not want for trained spiritual leaders, either at home or abroad. The minds of our Christian students will be constantly directed to the whole field and the whole work, and will be prepared to deal with the problems that meet them either there or here. They will not wish to rush unharnessed into the conflict, nor be easily dismayed by difficulty and toil. And the influence of our educational institutions upon foreign missions will not be less through the pastors and churches at home, than through the missionaries sent into the foreign work itself.
Our schools, then, in a word, must be places of Christian training for the evangelization of the world—the seats of missionary intelligence and missionary purpose. They should be filled and guided by that spirit which is at once historic and prophetic, looking before and after, seeing in the signs of the times the lessons of the past and the opportunities of the future, understanding that He whose providence has shaped in the fires of the centuries the facts and forces of to-day intends that they shall be the instruments of the greater victories to which the same providence now summons us.
Ceozee Theological Semihary.
THE present state of the argument for Christianity is somewhat peculiar; and if we fail to notice the real point at issue, the controversies now raging are not a little perplexing. Christianity professes to be a historic religion. That claim is put forth on every page of the Christian documents. That claim is either true or false. The opponents of a historic Christianity have skillfully drawn away the attention not only of the multitude, but even of educated men, from the vital question at issue; and they have succeeded in provoking discussion upon those incidental matters which, though interesting, have but a very subordinate relation to the main object of the controversy. They have started so many objections which, though not vital, are yet perplexing; they have raised so many inquiries about minor matters supposed to be antagonistic, that the very multitude of their raids upon the debatable ground between the two hostile camps has confused some good men, and alarmed more. The real points at issue are very few. Nor does it need large learning to determine them. Any man, with an ordinary library at hand, may settle them for himself. And these once decided, no difficulties, however numerous, touching matters not vital, can ever again disturb an intelligent faith.
Here are the Christian documents. The inquiry need only refer to those which are called "the four gospels." For, these true, the Old Testament endorsed in them is true; and, moreover, the gospels true, the Acts and the Epistles of the New Testament premised in them are likewise authenticated. Three questions cover all the ground. First: Did books substantially like these four gospels exist in the earliest Christian centuries? The unwilling concessions of Strauss to this fact, as well as those of Renan; the testimony of early Christian writers who were the friends and sometimes the companions of the evangelists; the references of heathen and Jewish as well as of Christian writers to these documents as authentic records of what the Christians then believed, are a sufficient testimony on this vital point of the early existence of the books. A second point relates to the writers. There being no other claimants for the honor of the authorship of the books, and no break in the chain of historic belief in this matter, the question turns on Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, as competent or as incompetent witnesses and historians. That the usual motives for deception were wanting is generally conceded. It is also plain that no motives can be imagined for a deception of such a character. And even if a motive to such a deception could be supplied, such a deception is an impossibility for anybody, much more for men of their calibre.
The theory of imposture surrendered, is the theory of self-deception any more plausible? Enthusiasts, with fancies for facts, would have fared ill in publishing their pretended histories to a keen generation in which not a single false or even exaggerated statement could have passed unquestioned. Names, dates, places, references to streets and to persons, are all scattered through these four gospels with a lavish hand. And with such means of detecting the error furnished them in these books, it is certain that the skillful opponents of Christianity would have seized upon any alleged fact, and have proved it a falsehood if they could have done it; and thus would have inflicted such a blow upon the new religion as would have crushed it at the outset. For, of all methods of destroying the force of the new faith, none could have been so efficient, none so easy, as to show, if that could have been done, the falsehood of its authentic documents on a question of public fact. And as to the theory that the gospels might have been composed partly by good men and partly by bad men, it would be enough to say that the "might have beens" of the world are not the proper matters of historic inquiry. No absurdity were greater than even to imagine the singular conclave, where pious saints and impious knaves met with the purpose of foisting Christianity upon the world; one party supplying a miracle and the other furnishing the lofty moral teaching which was to accompany it, and the two to he woven so closely in one narrative that, like the seamless robe of Jesus, no man could part it. Or, if the good men and the bad men are supposed to have worked apart, what more incredible than that bad men should retouch the draft of good men, and their patch-work of evil be undiscernible from the true fabric, unless, indeed, it be the more incredible supposition, that good men should consent to retouch the draft of evil men, knowing them to be evil men, and thus endorsing their wicked work! Strange good men, those!
The third point of vital importance is the fair transmission of documents so earnestly sought, so highly prized, so widely read, so suggestive of matters for controversy, and so thoroughly discussed from the very day of their publication that the interpolation of a new text on any disputed point—there was no motive to introduce a new text on any other—would have been as impossible, and, for the same cause, as impossible in the second century as it is to-day. These three points once settled, a thousand questions may be raised as of things more or less probable. But the great controversy is ended. And while there may be interest in subordinate inquiries, an intelligent faith in God's Word will never again be disturbed.
In his admirable work, "The Restoration of Belief," Isaac Taylor puts the matter thus:
The subjects of debate in the Christian argument have come in an inverted order. The logical order is this: Are the principal facts on the reality of which everything rests, real or not? If they are true, the conclusion carries with it all we need? If they are untrue, then a laborious discussion concerning the literary merits, the age, the authorship, will barely repay the few who abound in leisure and learning.
This great fact not a few of the opponents of a historical Christianity have completely overlooked, and hence their sorties are nearly valueless for their own cause. And on the other hand, the brochures of the friends of our religion have done us good service, exactly as they have assumed the historic credibility of the evangelists, and then have shown how other facts have supplemented those of sacred story. Young, in his "Christof History," Peter Bayne, in his "Testimony of Christ to Christianity," and Bernard, in his "Progress of Christian Doctrine in the New Testament," have all worked in this line. Such, too, was the view so admirably followed by the author of " Undesigned Coincidences," and by Paley, in his "Horse Paulinas." Paley's work, however, while it showed the connection of the Acts with the epistles, had less to say about a point raised by skeptics since his day—the connection of the Acts with the gospels. Bernard, in the book above named, has shown this connection in a way that leaves nothing more to be desired about the doctrines of the New Testament. But it was not his design to do what somebody ought to do; viz., to show how the men of the gospels and Acts have been developed in the epistles into just such men as we have the right to expect, if Christianity be true; how John and Peter and Paul, by the lives they lived, by the doctrines they taught, by the facts which they either assert or assume, attested continually the records given us in the gospels; so that we have not only four gospels, but as many gospels as we have men; the length of each gospel graduated by what we know of the men.
I propose to take one of these men, the apostle Paul, to show how, in the known circumstances of the Christian faith in the first century, there must have been some such man conducting himself somewhat as he is represented to have done; how, Christianity true, this man is the product, and so the additional proof of it; to show how he, living as he lived and writing as he wrote, either assumes or restates for us the great Christian facts which are recorded in the gospels; to show how they mould him, and he in turn incidentally confirms them, so that he is to us a witness for their truthfulness, his character and his work being impossible aside from those facts.
1. As to the antecedent probability of such a man as Paul, let it be remembered that all great movements crystallize about some man. Jesus did not travel among the nations. When he died he left a gospel with a world-wide aim, but with no suitable leader to carry it before the world. Peter was the leader, for the hour, among the Jews. But he is obviously unfitted by his training — or, if you will, by his lack of training — for leading the movement among the cultivated, or even among the uncultivated masses of the gentile world. While the Master lives, Peter is the acknowledged spokesman of the disciples. He presents their requests to the Master, and the Master assures them in assuring him. But a man is needed with both Hebrew and Grecian culture, who among the educated men of that day can push the ideas which carry the Christian facts; and among the illiterate but still fair-minded masses, can rehearse the facts that carry with them the new ideas; a man that can watch carefully the ebb and flow of the popular sentiment, and is well abreast of the thinkers of his time; a man who has always been of pure morals, so as to be above all suspicion of fraud or self interest; a man honest and independent enough to dare to follow the true and the right, yet not so independent of ancient authority as to be ready to sacrifice himself to the latest novelty in thought or belief. There