Abbildungen der Seite

rough attention to the resources of information. In the true human child the increase in wisdom follows the increase in stature, but ends not with that. A thoughtful man is always learning.

We are not derogating any from the divine character of Christ in affirming, that His increase in wisdom followed these natural and ordinary laws of mental development. The self-imposed limitation of His omniscience involved just such a necessity. The preternaturalness of His character did not remove the necessities inhering in His naturalness. His Divinity did not make Him an unnatural prodigy. He was a true human child in the sphere of learning, as in the sphere of every other sinless feature of our nature. No miraculous agency superseded the necessity, even in His case, of acquiring knowledge in the usual method. Speaking humanly, His increase in wisdom was made after the ordinary method of mental improvement—an inquiring habit and contact with written and spoken thought. We find evidence of both these in the only incident of His boyhood that is recorded-His being found in the temple by His reputed parents, hearing the doctors of the law, and asking them questions. He was, then, both an attentive listener, and an eliciting inquirer. And, when reproached by His parents for the uneasiness His absence from them had occasioned, He makes the reply: “Why did ye seek me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?” In this answer, we discover only the dawning consciousness of the relation He sustained to the Father.

Nor is the subsequent surprise of the Jews, who knew the privations and want of educational facilities of His youth, at His remarkable display of wisdom: “How knoweth this man letters, having never learned ?" any serious objection to this theory of the progressive nature of His mental development. While contending for a true natural and normal development, we should do great injustice to the fact and presence of Deity within Him, if we should ascribe this increase in wisdom only to outward suggestions and impressions. Without doubt such educators, like the steel and the flint eliciting the spark, had their effect. But we cannot doubt, that there was inward and divine tuition. We cannot tell how the Divine Mind

operated upon the human mind of Jesus. Yet the subsequent facts of His life—the wisdom of His teachings—would warrant the belief of such divine operation and tuition-influences from above, as well as culture from without. But now, while this extraordinary improvement manifested by Jesus, was promoted by that divine nature with which His human nature was united, yet it was promoted in a manner which did not interfere with the plan, according to which His physical and intellectual abilities were, like those of other men, gradually to increase.” Speaking of this mental development, Ellicott says, His “wisdom waxed momently more full, more deep, more broad, until, like some mighty river seeking the sea, it merged insensibly into the omniscience of His limitless Godhead.”

This fact, now, ought not to shake, but rather confirm and strengthen our confidence and faith in His full mediatorial character and merits. For, persuaded by the strongest evidences of His Divine nature, we see His Human nature, both on his physical and intellectual sides, developing itself in a perfectly free and normal way; and thus convincing us fully, if any thing can, that He was a perfect child, a perfect boy, a perfect man, hallowing these several stages of human life and development by Himself passing through them.


It is still farther added, “He increased in favor with God and man.' There is intimated in these words, that development of the finer moral sensibilities and spiritual qualities, which rendered Him an object of increasing satisfaction to God and man.

This brief hint gives us to understand, that those silent years of His secluded childhood and ripening manhood were not without their effect in His moral character and growth. Moral development pre-supposes the presence, and opposition, and triumph over evil. Moral discipline can only hold in actual conflict with, struggle against, and the steady resistance of, all sin from without or from within. There can be no doubt, that, all the years of His earthly life, Jesus was meeting sin from without. The fact crops out very unmistakably in that thrice-repeated assault by Satan upon our Lord's moral integrity in the wilderness. Those temptations were no shams-not the mockery of a fight with the Devil--no incidents happening by the way for scenic display. They were those terrible trials of our Lord's purpose, which left Him stronger* because of the evil repelled, and better prepared for the final conflict with, and triumph over A pollyon. It is true of us, "fresh strength is got by every mastery of self.” It could not have been less true of our Saviour, fresh strength was gained by every victory over sin pressing steadily upon Him from without. Did not His meeting and repelling sin in this way enter into the perfection of His character by suffering, of which such direct mention is made in the epistle to the Hebrews? The life of Christ, antecedent to His entrance upon His public ministry, was not in vain as regarded His own character and work. It was meritorious and atoning in bracing Him up

for His final and more terrible conflict with the Prince of Darkness. "It constituted part of that satisfaction to Divine justice He came to yield; it was part of His humiliation and suffering, and, therefore, a part of that everlasting righteousness He brought in." The resistance of sin in His youth, being as much a moral necessity as the resistance of sin in His manhood, makes the actualized holiness of the earlier periods of His life as truly mediatorial as His passion and death on the cross.

There is a deep meaning, we apprehend, in these words of Christ, “The Prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me,"-a declaration which may be taken as an “intimation of the actual approach to the Second Adam of that Old Serpent”—an intimation taking in the whole of His earthly life, looking backward to the dawn of moral consciousness, and forward to its victorious close. We cannot think, that, even in those secluded years, which the Scriptures pass over with solemn reserve, there ever was a period, which was not marked by the temptations peculiar to childhood and youth. We cannot but think, that He met the same temptations to waywardness, wilfulness, and disobedience, yet always without sin. The Apostle expressly tells us, that He was “tempted in all points like as we are."

Then was He tempted like children are, as well as like men are. Then the same temptations precisely met Him, as meet other youth of the same age. Even as His life, after His entrance upon His public work, was not passed in a purity and serenity of atmosphere never stirred by the foul breath of pollution, so we cannot think, that even His childhood and youth were unmarked by the temptations peculiar to those periods, and

* Luke iv. 14.



the buoyancy of spirits belonging to them. The Old Serpent left his slimy trail in the house at Nazareth, and in the carpenter's shop of that quiet village, where Jesus wrought in humble and dutiful submission to His reputed father, as well as in the wilderness directly after His formal inauguration to His mediatorial work proper. The temptations peculiar to youth must have pressed upon Him just as really as did those fiercer assaults of Satan in the wilderness. This follows necessarily from the fact, that His assumption of human nature “brought His life into a real struggle with all the sinful elements of that nature,” yet without actual sin. “Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.

Just as in the merely human child, temptations, encountered and overcome, confirm and strengthen moral character; just as every mastery over self imparts fresh strength for fresh contests; just as every wrong disposition and temper corrected makes the next victory more easy and 80 by our Lord's encounters with evil from without, and its uniform overthrow, was developed that human moral perfection, which increasingly rendered Him an object of Divine complacency and delight.

This statement of the case brings out the process of redemption as linked inseparably to the person of Christ. We see Him gathering up in His own life the moral conflicts and struggles with Satan pressing on us in the several stages of human existence. We see Him lifting up in His own person, in infancy, in childhood, in boyhood, in the moral perfection of manhood, our own fallen nature, and in His glorification making room and provision for the full glorification of infants, children, youth, and fullgrown men. These antecedent struggles and sufferings would, indeed, have had no redemptive virtue and merit but for His passion and death ons the cross, in which they are at last all gathered up and complemented, even as His passion and death would have been without mediatorial and atoning efficacy but for His resurrection and ascension, in which the glorious finish is put to the whole gracious scheme of redemption.

It follows now from all that has been said, that the childhood of Christ is not without special significance and grace. Its merits meet the demerits of our sinful childhood. The holiness and obedience of His youth cover, in the sight of God, the unholiness and disobedience of our youth. And thus

is, the saving power of His life touches and meets the needs of our life at all points--the Saviour of infants, the Saviour of children, the Saviour of youth, and the Saviour of them, who, in a kind providence, reach the full measure and crowning age of human life. From the cradle to the His life was sacrificial and mediatorial-one continuous work

cross, of atoning grace.

And this view, instead of depreciating and lowering the Saviour in our estimation, tends certainly and greatly to elevate our conceptions of His character and work,--tends, too, to fill us with that love to Him, which should inflame our hearts, in view of all He has done and suffered,—tends, too, to strengthen our confidence in Him as the complete Saviour.




BY L. H. S.

During the first year after the publication of Luther's writings, they had been introduced, by means of an active commercial intercourse, and the fairs, beyond the Rhine, to Lorraine and Alsace, even to Lyons, and other manufacturing towns of France, where they were eagerly seized, secretly multiplied, and soon even translated into the respective vernaculars. They were considered, by the Romanists and Papists, as containing an epitome of all heresies. The educated laymen consumed them, as the forbidden fruit of the spirit of the times. In the quiet cells of the monastic brothers, before even the influence of Zwingli and Calvin could open a path for itself, they wound up many a mind to the knowledge of evangelical truth, and won many confessors of the new doctrine, which was, indeed, only the old doctrine, concerning the misery and the salvation of the sinful children of men ;-—and these, on the prevalent corruption of the Church and the Priesthood, were led into many an internaland external contest, followed in cases, by no means rare in the School of the Cross, with horrible consequences, and bloody scenes. After the news of Luther's heroic courage at Worms had been generally disseminated, the all-absorbing excitement became still greater. In the city of Metz, in Lorraine, every person had taken sides for or against, on this Lutheran question. Not a day passed, not a meeting of priests and the laity, without contention and strife over the same, and preaching, indeed, was publicly carried on, in the same way. One could hear, from the pulpit, the bitterest censures on the doctrines of the Church, and the manner of living of the priests, and the people streamed, in flocks, to hear such preachers.

One of the most pious and courageous, of these witnesses for truth, was Jean Chastellain (Johannes Castellanus), a monk of the Order of St. Augustine, a well-educated man, of large, portly appearance, and, on account of his affability, of great popularity; who, being furnished, to an extraordinary degree, with ability, as a popular speaker, saw all hearts and minds turned towards him. He appears to have attained the truth for himself, not so much through Luther's writings, as from independent investigation in the same direction. In 1523, he delivered the Advent sermons, at Vic, a little town in Lorraine, not far from Metz. During Lent, of the next year, 1524, he made his appearance in the latter place. In the impressive sermons that he delivered, with great eloquence, and to constantly increasing numbers, in the Church of the Augustinian Monastery, at that place, regardless of consequences, he rebuked the sins and vices of the prelates and priests, and, especially, the mendicant friars.

the mendicant friars. But, the more he became established in the favor of the nobility and the people, the more furiously the hatred, and thirst for revenge on him, burned with the priesthood. Towards the end of the year 1523, Duke Antonius, of Lorraine, issued an edict, forbidding any one to possess any of Luther's writings, and ordering that any priest, proclaiming Lutheran doctrines, either openly or secretly, should be immediately seized, bound, and delivered to the Inquisition. In fact, on the strength of this edict, Chastellain was summoned to the Episcopal palace, where several abbots and prelates-among others, the Abbot of St. Antonius, of Viennois, and also the High Steward of the Cardinal John, of Lorraine, and Martin Pinguet, Governor of the neighboring town of Goritz-awaited him. They overwhelmed him with reproaches, on account of various asserted calumnious expressions, and heretical assertions, which had been employed in his sermons, and they called him a Lutheran apostate. He uttered, even at this time, similar reproaches; his bold answers only made his enemies more determined against him. As was natural, he did not suffer himself to be put out, as to his style of preaching: On repeated occasions, he declared, publicly, that no fear of man, no peril of death, could induce him to conceal the truth; then he added, whoever, whether priest or layman, had any fault to find with his addresses, should come to him, and he would convince and satisfy him; and if not, he would undergo the punishment. On the next Whitsunday, he was to preach, according to the custom then, at noon, in the open street, before the church of the Holy Ghost. Secretly, an order was sent to the preacher, to prevent this at any price, and, instead of Chastellain, rather to allow a certain Jacobin monk to speak. But a man of great wealth, living in the city, obtained early information of this order. He had an announcement made by a bailiff, when the people had collected, before the Church, that a Jacobin should not dare to comply with the command. So the sermon was dispensed with. This occurrence created a powerful sensation in the city. The hatred of his enemies could not longer be satisfied with half



An effort was now made, to entice Chastellain out of the city. Another Augustinian monk, named Bonnestraine, was bribed with thirty dollars. This one was to carry him the false information, that the Provincial of his Order wished to speak to him, and was expecting him, in the neighborhood of a place, which he designated. Chastellain fell into the trap, and went with Bonnestraine, and a novice, on the journey. As he passed through Goritz, information was communicated to Martin Pinguet, the

He sent men in quest of him. Chastellain concealed himself in the forest of Chamblé. Here he was discovered, taken, and carried back to Goritz. This occurred on Ascension Day, May 5, 1524. Two days after, they removed him to Nomeny, in order to keep him in safe custody, in the castle at that place. The magistracy of Metz, who prized and loved him, began to take an interest in his case. They had sent soldiers out to release him, already, on Ascension Day. These sought throughout the night for him, in vain. On the following day, Friday, they arrested fif

or sixteen citizens of Goritz, at the very gates of the city, and kept


« ZurückWeiter »