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With Light, and Love, and Peace, and endless Joy.
BONAPARTE'S OPINION OF CHRIST.
A foreign journal lately published a conversation related by Count De Monthalon, the faithful friend of the Emperor Napoleon :
"I know men,” said Napoleon, “and I tell you, that Jesus was not a man!
The religion of Christ is a mystery which subsists by its own force, and proceeds from a mind which was not a human mind.
We find in it a marked individuality which originated in a train of words and actions unknown before. Jesus borrowed nothing from our knowledge. He existed in himself a perfect example of his precepts. Jesus is not a philosopher, for his proofs are miracles! and from the first, his Disciples adored him. In fact, learning and Philosophy, are of no use for salvation; and Jesus came into the world, to reveal the mysteries of Heaven and the laws of the Spirit. Alexander, Charlemagne, and myself, founded empires; but upon what did we rest our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ, alone, founded his empire upon love, and at this hour millions of men would die for him. It was not a day'or people, that achieved the triumph of the Christian religion in the world. No, it was a long war, a contest for three centuries, begun by the apostles, then continued by the flood of Christian generations. In this war, all the kings and potentates of the earth were on one side; on the other, I see no army, but a mysterious force. Some men scattered here and there in all parts of the world, and who have no other rallying point than a common faith in the mysteries of the cross. I die before my time, and my body will be given back to the earth to become food for the worms. Such is the fate of him who has been called the great Napoleon. What an abyss between my deep mystery and the eternal kingdom of Christ, which is proclaimed, loved, and adored, and which is extended over the whole earth, -call this dying! is it not living, rather.”
Still they sing, with sweet voice, but perverse sense of Heav'n,
We'll not join them, my John, in so misbelieving;
A mock-boon 'tis withal in th’song's misconceiving, And it boots not that Heav'n is true, bright and calm,
For it must all the more shut out such deceiving! All but Heav'n the bold song or vilifies or mars, Above as below the “cycles of the stars!”
Thinks the soul that so sings, 'tis heavenward soaring, Wing'd on breath that bruits God, the dread founder, a cheat?
Unities, harmonies, prime systems uproaring,
Oh! is not this enough of rending, ignoring?
Joy and grief like the Lamb's, all, all falsest seeming!
False beauty's bright spirit, that bathes in its beaming,
Sure, the song's a weird tale, or wilder'd, mad dreaming,
To evoke crude chaos, ʼmid th' wild water's roaring,
Oh, not so primal light the huge mass exploring,
Not so the sons of God, all shouting, adoring!
None deem’d that endowments, forecast for the making,
And deem we so, so hope the soul's anchor forsaking? No, John, pow'rs conferred to crown life we hold fast,
Here living and dying, as in Heav'n rewaking!
Lo, conjoined in bright light, highest seen on life's roll,
Lo, this world's lief-side, Heaven's bliss here beginning,
Would this side own the song, though suaged all its sinning,
VOL. XVI.JULY, 1865.-No. 7.
THE HIDDEN SEED.
BY REV. A. H. KREMER.
"The kingdom of God is as if a man should cast seed into the ground; and should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how;
first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear."
In the economy of redemption, Christianity is presented to our attention as a life. It is not a mere notion, or sentiment, or even doctrine, but a living organism, just as real in the sphere of the Spirit, as is the growth and development of the body in the sphere of nature. Such is not only the teaching of the New Testament, but likewise of the Old. Aaron's rod budded and blossomed, and bare fruit, and continued in a state of greenness, and thus symbolized, not only the perpetuity of the holy ministry, but also the living character—the vitality of the true religion. It is not a dead, but a living sacrifice. Christianity grows and develops according to the laws of its own being. This is very clearly taught us in our parable. The analogy between the planting of the seed—its germination, and gradual growth, to full development—is at once striking and instructive. We are here taught the true covenant relations of our baptized offspring to the Church, our spiritual mother, and the gracious blessings to which such a relation entities them. This relation should be duly appreciated by the religious teachers of our youth especially, whether in the family or in the departments of more public instruction.
The seed is sown or deposited in the earth, and thus placed in a condition to germinate, and by the force of its own peculiar life, to penetrate the soil. If the necessary conditions be present, such as light, heat, moisture, fertile soil, and the cultivating care of the husbandman, the stock will
develop, by the law of its own life, until matured in the full-grown and ripe grain. The husbandman need only discharge his peculiar and appropriate duty to it; then, though he sleep, or be on a journey, or employed in other vocations, it will grow to maturity—it has life in itself.
Thus it is with genuine religion-the religion of Jesus. It, also, is a life, and will as certainly grow, as will the living grain, corn, or wheat. This life is in Christ. Hence, says the great Teacher, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should cast seed into the ground.” The kingdom of God is the Church, founded in Christ, and of which He is the life. He pervades it, as the soul pervades the body. Hence, the Church, by its own secret energy, will grow, and overspread the earth, as the seed sown in the field, will, in obedience to the law of its being, grow, and cover the field with an abundant harvest. But it must develop from the seed—from the infancy, the germ of its being,--then onward to its full development. So, also, Christianity embraces the whole of our human life--our early childhood, as well as our maturer years. Accordingly, the promise of salvation is to our children, and a place is given them in the covenant.
Christ begins our salvation where our fall begins. We are conceived and born in sin, and go “astray from the womb, telling lies.” Now, just here begins our redemption. Christ is conceived by the Holy Ghost, and born of the Virgin Mary. In His person is the true life of men. This life is in His body, the Church, and no where else. The Church is the Lord's vineyard, the gracious acre into which we must be introduced, if we would develop the Christian life and character, and become the heirs of immortality. Our relation to Christ must be organic and living. This the Saviour clearly teaches in the figure of the "vine and the branches,-also, in the figure of the body and its members. Here we are assured of a union with Christ as organic and real as the union between the vine and its branches, and the union between the head and members of the human body.
But what is the divinely-appointed method of being brought into this living and saving relation to Christ? Under the Old Testament economy, circumcision was the sign and seal of covenant blessings. This was the divinely-appointed mark of separation from the outside world. The circumcised constituted God's visible Church and people, and none other. Under the New Testament dispensation, the sacrament of baptism is the sign and seal of our living relationship to Christ. Hence baptism is appropriately called the sacrament of the new birth. Not, indeed, the new birth itself, viewed merely as an outward rite; but it places us into such relations in Christ's spiritual kingdom as to make sure to us the principle of a true spiritual life in Christ, which, with the presence of the needful and divinely-appointed conditions and means of spiritual growth, will develop the Christian life and character just as certainly as the grains of wheat will develop to maturity, with the presence of the proper conditions of vegetable growth. “ The kingdom of God is as if a man should cast seed into the ground,
and the seed should spring and grow up,”- “first the blade, then
after that the full corn in the ear.” These different stages of development, likened unto the kingdom of God, correspond with three stages of spiritual growth--babes, youth, and full-grown believers. We must be babes in the sphere of grace, as well as in the sphere of nature; born of the Spirit, as well as of the flesh. We must be born in the Church, as our spiritual mother, and “nourished from her stores unto eternal life.” This state of things demands our faith. The husbandman deposits his seed in the soil, suitably prepared, then sleeps and rises, giving himself no further care, believing that it will germinate and grow up, though he cannot tell how. Thus the Christian parent lays his child in the bosom of Christ, in the holy sacrament of baptism. He believes that Christ will bless that child, as He blessed children brought to Him when on earth, so that it will develop in Him a Christian character, instead of growing up more and more a child of the devil, under the unchecked power of a totally depraved nature. He knows not how, any more than the husbandman knows how the seed germinates, and penetrates the soil, and in due time culminates in the full-grown corn. But he believes, as the husbandman believes. He believes that Christ really blesses his child—that He blesses it with a new and spiritual life, that will in the end mature in immortal blessedness, just as the husbandman believes that the seed he sows will produce a harvest.
But our belief must not be mere presumption. Though the husbandman believes in the inherent law of life in the seed, yet he must aid that growth by appropriate culture. Weeds may choke and destroy; these must be removed, and all possible external aid must be applied. Thus it is in the kingdom of grace. In the economy of redemption, we do not only have
grace, but means of grace. The Church must nurse and foster her children-train them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. But we cannot train a dead plant. It must have life—be in the soil, and in connection with the necessary conditions of vegetable growth. So, also, our children must sustain a living relation to Christ, who is the only life of men, if our nurture and care shall be of any avail. By nature our children are spiritually dead. They are under the law of sin, which is the law of death. Hence, unless they can be brought into living union with Christ, all our culture and care will be bestowed upon that which is dead, and, consequently, as fruitless as the culture bestowed upon a dead plant. It should, therefore, be our first and deepest solicitude to bring our offspring into living relations to Christ, who is the head and life of the Church-the life of its infant, as well as adult members. Then, in the faithful discharge of duty, may we hope to see them develop the graces of the Christian character and life. This is clearly taught us in the parable, noticed at the beginning of this article. Were this teaching better appreciated, and were there a firmer belief, on the part of parents, in the grace of the blessed gospel for their infant children, and were this faith honored with a corresponding practice, our youth would more generally than they do, grow up in the fear of God, and in the saving knowledge of the blessed gospel.
But children, even when given to God in baptism, are by too many regarded as little better than unsanctified heathen, destitute of all saving grace, children of wrath, and doomed to death eternal, hoping at best to be violently arrested, in their downward course to perdition, in some propitious period of their earthly probation. I need hardly say, that this is in direct opposition to the teachings of Christ. He died for infants, as well as for adults, and He has made provision to sanctify their corrupt nature, and place them in a condition to develop, in their growing childhood, the fruits of a new and holy life in Him. If He can renew and sanctify them for heaven, as He must in their early death, He can also renew and