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and said to the guilty one whom men would have stoned, “ Neither do I condemn thee,” was to wield in the end an implacable vengeance; that he, who desired before he died to be remembered by his lowly and sorrowful companions, was to appear in material pomp as the arbitrator of the whole earth's destiny.
But there are clearer and more decisive evidences. The writings of the New Testament, as plainly as those of the Old, ascribe the high prerogative of pronouncing sentence upon the deserts of men to the Almighty only. are come,” as the Epistle to the Hebrews has it, Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant, and to God, the .Judge of all.” And not only is the Supreme Being everywhere thus recognized as He to whom “every one of us must give account of himself, but the Saviour expressly disclaims every pretension to any delegated authority of so extraordinary a kind. “I judge no man," he said at one time; and at another, “ Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?” And more strikingly, “ If any man hear my words and believe not, I judge him not; for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.” There are many instances of judgment mentioned which utter a plain warning not to construe too narrowly the pictured style of the East. 66 The men of Nineveh and the queen of the south," said the Saviour, “shall rise up in the judgment and condemn this generation.” Who imagines that this has any. thing to do with real events or a future retribution, or that he meant more than to bring forward for the reproach of his countrymen of that day those ancient examples? The Assyrian transgressors repented at the preaching of so paltry a prophet as Jonah, but these remained hard under the word of God's own Anointed. The Arabian queen came from far to listen to the wisdom of a prince, who showed in the dishonored close of his days that the highest wisdom of all was wanting in him; while these would not receive the word of life, that was brought nigh to them, and that entreated their acceptance. Again, and more remarkably, he assured his twelve disciples that “in the regeneration” they should " sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” No one thinks for a moment of any other than a spiritual power and the reign of the Gospel. Once more, Christians themselves, as such, are exalted to this very supremacy, which has been assigned exclusively and in a miraculous sense to their Divine Master; and this is an instance still more full of instruction for us than either of those before appealed to. “ Do ye not know," writes Paul to his Corinthians, “ that the saints shall judge the world ? Know ye not that we shall judge angels ? " Here is a claim of the most astounding character, - a claim that arrayed itself in aftertimes in a thousand forms of priestly domination. What! shall the condemnation of one another, and the lordship over one another, never cease ? Shall the frail and guilty, who at the highest point of their improvement fall short, and in their purest condition are suppliants for pardon, be employed to pronounce God's blessing and curse on their fellows, and on those who are above their fellows? No one dreams of such a thing. But how, then, can they be said to judge at all ? Just as every unsullied character and every excellent deed convicts and shames the depraved and base-minded. Just as every teacher of righteousness condemns those who will not keep its law. Just as every one, who declares the crowns of joy that are laid up for obedient souls, and the penalties that will at last crowd up the path of wicked men, is set forth in the Bible as bestowing the glory and inflicting the doom.
At this point we approach the more positive part of our subject. We begin to perceive the respects in which Christ is indeed the judge of men. Under the allegorical picture is now set the true key. Instead of shuddering at the details of a stupendous but fanciful external consummation of all things, we discover a spiritual doctrine of righteous retributions; a revelation of such benedictions and anguishes as hang over human conduct already, and give sign to every man that he should choose and prepare his portion on the King's right hand. There is a single sentence in one of our Lord's discourses, that leads at once to the conclusion in which we may rest. It is where he puts by the title of Judge, as that title would naturally be understood, and adds,
“ He that rejecteth me hath one that judgeth him ;— the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.” It is “the word,” then, and not the person, the precepts and offers of the Gospel, and not he who published them, that shall take the throne. As it now teaches and pleads, it shall then reign and decide. Nothing is more common in the language of the Bible than thus to make the name of an individual stand for his instructions or his influ
We hear, without any liability to mistake, that Moses was read in the synagogues; and we need not stumble at the saying that “ Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever." Paul follows evidently in the same strain when he declares that “ God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to the Gospel.” And even in pronouncing that, he carefully distinguishes those who have enjoyed the privileges of the Christian faith from those who never heard its immortal tidings. The Jew and the Greek and the Roman were each to be reckoned with according to his special light and advantages; for there is no partiality with God. “ To every man according to his several ability," is the Divine apportionment. To every man according to his several merit and endeavor, is the Divine decree.
In reducing thus to its simplest terms the doctrine of Christ judging the world, we by no means make a slighting estimate of the figurative modes in which it has been pressed upon human imaginations and sensibilities. There is great efficacy and value in them; for spiritual facts need to be colored that they may be seen. Nay, there is a positive truth in them, far surpassing the most subtile abstractions of a boasted “ Positive Philosophy.” We should be willing to recognize a poetic and pictorial truth, as well as a precise and absolute truth, or we are else very far from the whole kingdom. Let the Judgment sing itself to us in a hymn; let it depict itself to us as the scene of a drama; we will listen and look with reverence. But after all, they do but illustrate the fact of our accountableness, that unchangeable fact, and the thought of a retributive future, that ineffaceable conviction. No matter what exposition we put upon this or that phrase of holy writ. No matter if we regard as more or less
ideal the attempts to portray the final awards of God; whether they hang in the frame of a Scripture narrative, or look down upon us from pontifical halls. The principle that there labors for expression is still the same; and it is the principle only that abides the same. The words of one age will change their application to the minds of another, and the most masterly paints that can glow upon any material surface will grow smoky with homage and pale with time. But we can never get away from the fundamental sentiment of our own consciences. It underlies everything that language can utter or art delineate. We must first unlearn to reflect or to dread or to aspire. We are all amenable to various tribunals. We are all sinners before God. We all stand in retributive relations to things visible and invisible. We are all reached, or we shall be, with the question that will be so hard for many to answer: 66 What have you done?” What have you done with the time that was flitting by in counted hours, — with the means and powers that were all of God's grace, - with the life that was not your own? What, with the friends you should have gladdened, the strangers you should have helped, the enemies you should have forgiven? What, with your natures, created in a divine likeness and illuminated by visions from the Lord ?
6o O that Book! whose leaves so bright
Will set the world in severe light:
"Ah then, poor soul! what wilt thou say,
And to what patron choose to pray,
“O, when thy last frown shall proclaim
The flocks of goats to folds of flame, And all thy lost sheep found shall be, Let ‘Corne, ye blessed !' then call me.
• When the dread · Ite' shall divide
Those limbs of death from thy left side, Let those life-speaking lips command That I inherit thy right hand.”
ART. V. -- INTUITIVE MORALS.
An Essay on Intuitive Morals : being an Attempt to popularize Ethical
Science. Part I. Theory of Morals. Part II. Practice of Morals. Book I. Religious Duty. London. 1857.
We have here a new and somewhat original treatise upon the philosophy of morals and its application to practical life. Two volumes have already been published, bearing the titles which we have indicated, and are to be followed by a third, relating to Personal and Social Duty, which, when completed, will furnish a full treatise upon theoretical and practical ethics. It is published anonymously, but it is understood that the author is an Irish lady. We should find it hard to name the English scholar of the other sex to whom we should have ascribed the book, — so wide is the range of its scholarship, and so broad and generous at the same time its deductions. There are not many men or women equal to it anywhere.
She sets out with the conviction that human nature con. tains within itself all the elements of growth and progress, as the plants in the vegetable kingdom, and the lower orders of the animal creation, that the instincts of the human mind and heart afford a revelation of the purpose and the destiny of man, as the properties and instincts of other organized beings declare what they were made for. Upon the basis of this conviction our author enters upon the investigation of the subject of ethics. The first part of the treatise, being the theory of morals only, divides itself naturally into four heads, inquiring what the moral law is, where it is to be found, and showing that it can be obeyed, and why it is to be obeyed. One might think that we have had theories enough presented already, to exhaust the subject here involved, and that there is no more truth to be known, and no further light can be shed upon the truth, which lies inactive in the understandings of men. But the very inactivity of moral truth is evidence that men do not apprehend it aright, and hence the student of morals can never rest satisfied until he has sounded the depths of the subject, and brought up into the light of real conviction the truth which is needful for the perfect development and practice of righteousness.