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V. 4. And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ?
V. 5. And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest : it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. * V. 6. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise ; and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
V. 7. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
V. 8. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
V. 9. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
Chap. 22, v. 6. And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh to Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.
V. 7. And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me ?
V. 8. And I answered, who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.
V. 9. And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid ; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me
V. 10. And I said, what shall I do, Lord ? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus ; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do,
V. 11. And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came unto Damascus.
Chap. 26, v. 12. Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
V. 13. At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
V. 14. And when we were all fallen to the earth; I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
V.15. And I said, Who art thou, Lord ? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
V. 16. But rise, and stand upon thy feet : for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in which I will appear unto thee.
V. 17. Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom I now send thee.
V. 18. To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.
The unmistakeable marks of legend first strike our attention in these accounts. In two of them it is Paul only that falls to the ground, and (according to the second account) 'the men which journeyed with him stood speechless.' But in the third account we read, “And when we were all fallen to the earth !' Again, in the first account, the men who were with Paul are described as “hearing a voice, but seeing no man.' But in the second account the writer says they heard not the voice!' The simple direction to Paul to arise and go to Damascus is also enlarged, in the last account, to a considerable speech.
But-to our question. What kind of an appearance does Paul experience ? Appearance ! why, where is there any appearance mentioned ? There is the wondrous light, in each of the three accounts; and we are told that a voice is heard—but where is there a word relating that anything was seen? Strange kind of an appearance this, my friends! So far from seeing
anything, Paul appears to have been struck blind with the glory of the light, and to have been led to Damascus in that state. Only, here again the marks of legend puzzle us—for, in the first account, there is evidently a blindness understood; but we speedily read, 'And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened he saw no man.' Then the leading into Damascus is described ; and immediately we are told that Paul was .three days without sight,' although we had just been told that his eyes were opened !' But note the words, that when his eyes were opened- he saw no man ! Paul was looking about for something, then, pretty eagerly, having seen nothing, as yet—but he saw no man!
And so a mere internal impression is all that we are presented with, in this appearance of Jesus to Paul. Remembering that the same verb, he was seen,' is applied by Paul to the experience of Cephas, of the Twelvë, of 500 brethren, of James, of all the Apostles, and of himself-what are we to think of the experience of Cephas, or of James, or of the Twelve, or of the 500 brethren ? Paul sees nothing, in our human and natural sense: he merely believes that he sees: and yet he sets down his internal impression in the same list and catalogue with theirs, as if their seeing and his own were of the same nature. If he had not thought so, is it possible that a writer like Paul-so skilled in making subtle distinctions—would have omitted to tell us ?
Paul's real case is this: his witnessing of that grand martyrdom of holy Stephen flashes upon his ardent mind new and astounding thoughts: he had held the clothes of the martyr's persecutors while they stoned him; but the sublime conduct of the sufferer would render him aghast with wonder: conviction would begin to work : it would be aided by what he saw of the life and conduct of the other Christians whom he persecuted: and, in spite of his desperate struggle to cling to his old persecuting faith -a time must come in which his prejudices would fall prostrate before the might of his judgment. It did come—but whether áinidst thunder and lightning, occurring while he was on his persecuting journey-or how, or when, or where-one would not be bound to say, seeing that legend has evidently laid hold of the pen of the writer of the account.
But if a strong enthusiastic mind, which had opposed Christianity, could, at length, conceive that it witnessed, supernaturally, the risen Christ, who can wonder that the disciples who loved Jesus, and had all along cleaved to him, should overcome their doubts, and rise into similar, or even more striking and seemingly tangible visions ? There is no need, therefore, to set down the Evangelical accounts as the production of deceit. Let us abandon that vulgar and most absurd way of talking. We have only here to analyse the workings of the human mind. It is not the testimony of broad history that we have to consider-for Jesus is never recorded to have appeared, after his resurrection, to his enemies-to the crowd-on the open stage of observation. Even the 500 whom Paul (and only Paul) talks of are ' brethren'--followers of Jesus, that is to say. The appearances, then, even on the largest scale, are confined to the enthusiastic-though even some of these doubted' on one occasion. The possibility of believers feeling confident that they saw what they longed to see is not so very difficult to conceive.
And that the apostles would long to see their buried master was natural. They loved him; and, whatever be the judgment we form of the miracles generally, there was something so extraordinary about this young man of
Nazareth, that he had impressed his followers with the strong belief that he was the long-promised Messiab. His death gave a shock to this belief; but the earlier and long-cherished impression began to revive, and as it began to revive they would feel the mental nécessity of bringing their new notions into consistency with their old: that is to say, they would have to receive into their minds the idea of a Messiah that had to suffer and die. But a Jew of those times fled to his scriptures perpetually : he could have no opinion without deriving it from thence. The 53rd of Isaiah, the 22nd Psalm, &c., where the man of God is represented as afflicted and bowed down to death-they would be seized upon, in his frame of mind, and the idea of a Messiah that was to undergo ignominy, suffering, and death, would transplant the old idea of a Messiah that was to be an earthly conqueror. Luke describes the risen Jesus, that, “ beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded into them in all the scriptures tha things concerning himself-i. e., that Christ ought to have suffered such things." But we must rather take that as the occupation of the disciples themselves, without the tuition of their risen Master, I suspect. And when they had thus adopted the new idea, the ignominiously-executed Jesus was not lost but still remained to them. By his death he had only entered into his glory (Luke, 24 ch., 26 v.), in which he was in visibly with them always, even unto the end of the world (Matth. 28 ch. 20 v.)
But how could he fail,' continues Strauss, "out of this glory, in which he lived, to give tidings of himself to his followers ? and how could they, when their mind was opened to the bidden doctrine of a dying Messiah contained in the scriptures, and when in moments of unwonted inspiration their hearts burned within them (Luke xxiv, 32).- how could they avoid conceiving this to be an influence shed on them by their glorified Christ, an opening of their understanding by him (v. 45), náy, an actual conversing with him ? Lastly, how conceivable is it that in individuals, especially women, these impressions were heightened, in a purely subjective manner, into actual vision ; that on others, even on whole assemblies, something or other of an objective nature, visible or audible, sometimes perhaps the sight of an unknown person, created the impression of a revelation or appearance of Jesus ; a height of pious enthusiasm which is wont to appear elsewhere in religious societies, peculiarly oppressed and persecuted. But if the crucified Messialı had truly entered into the highest form of blessed èxistence, he ought not to have left his body in the grave : and if in precisely such Old Testament passages as admitted of a typical relation to the sufferings of the Messiah, there was at the same time expressed the hope : thori wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thy holy one to see corruption (Ps. xvi. 10; Acts ii. 27); while in Isa. liij. 10, he who had been represented as led to the slaughter and buried, was yet promised å prolongation of his days : what was more natural to tho disciples than to reinstaté their earlier Jewish ideas, which the death of Jesus had disturbed, namely, that the Christ remaineth for ever (John xii. 34), through the medium of an actual revivication of their dead master, and, as it was a messianic attribute one day to call the dead bodily from the grave, to imagine him also as returning to life in the manner of a resurrection?”
That the original belief among the Apostles was merely that Christ had been raised from the dead in an invisible or spiritual manner is probable, from Peter's words, in his Epistle, where he describes Christ as being "put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.” But perhaps enough has been said on this point; and we may now advance to the consideration of another question—whether the disciples' persuasion that Jesus was risen was strengthened by the removal of his body, or by their own removal from the immediate locality of his sepulchre ?
(To be concluded in next number.)
Our 'GLORIOUS' CONSTITUTION.--'A State or Commonwealth,' says Milton, 'is a society ! sufficient in itself in all things conducible to well-being and commodious life.' Will this definition answer to Britain as parliaments now are ?-when all depends on a set of men authorized by a very small minority both as to numbers and property? It is a common maxim in politics, that in every state there must be, somewhere, an absolute and irresistible power over the people. But this is to be rightly understood, or it will lead to mistakes. In a monarchy, as France, the whole power is in the king against all other voice : this is proper tyranny. At Venice, it is in the nobles exclusively'; this is proper aristocracy or oligarchy. In Holland (excepting some errors and deviations) the whole power is in the States; that is, or should be, the people, but does not descend low enough, and leaves the bourgeoisie considerably enslaved. In England, the whole power is in the King, Lords, and Commons. Therefore in monarchies, the people, the chief object, have no share of power. In oligarchies, the people have as little. In republics, the people have a share of power. But in our mixed government the people are swallowed up in King, Lords, and Commons. To say therefore that there must be in every country an absolute power somewhere orer the people, and in which they are to have no share, is making the people mere beasts of burden, instead of what they are, viz, the original of power, the object of government, and last resource. Our courtly people therefore, to quiet our minds on this subject, tell us, we have a very great share in governing ourselves, as we elect our law makers. We have seen what this amounts to. And if any Englishman is satisfied, I can only say he is thankful for small mercies. James Burgh's Political Disquisitions, 1774.
ORIGIN OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT.—To take away all such mutual grievances, injuries, and wrongs, i.e. such as attend men in the state of nature, there was no way but only by growing into composition and agreement amongst themselves, by ordaining some kind of government public, and by yielding themselves subject thereunto, that unto whom they granted authority to rule and govern, by them the peace, tranquillity, and happy estate of the rest might be procured. Men always knew that where force and injury was offered, they might be defenders of themselves; they knew that however men may seek their own commodity, yet if this were done with injury unto others, it was not to be suffered, but by all men and all good means to be withstood. Finally, they knew that no man might in reason take upon him to determine his own right, and according to his own determination proceed in maintenance thereof, in as much as every man is towards himself, and them whom he greatly affects, partia? ; and therefore that strifes and troubles would be endless, except they gave their common consent, all to be ordered by some, whom they should agree upon, without which consent there would be no reason that one man should take upon him to be lord or judge over another.--Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity.
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MERCANTILE PHILOSOPHY. SOCIETY in England has outlived the theory of feudal institutions; but a reverence for rank and ancestry, is still an integral part of the mind of our country. Yet a poor Duke or a poor Lord is, in the estimation of the many, inferior to a rich merchant. Our “ Merchant Princes” have been married and intermarried among the descendants of the old nobility, and the commercial element is essentially in the ascendant.
A purely commercial state of society manifests its influence in a variety of ways, the most striking of which is the increased activity of all its members. Men are quickened and enlivened in all their active energies. Whilst I sit and watch the very motions of these Manchester operatives, as they pass and repass along the streets, it is impossible not to observe that they are more active than the peasantry of the agricultural counties. They do not bustle ; but they move sharply on. Like the machinery at which they work, they move with a kind of monotonous speed; yet they are sharp, ever on the alert,-and, in conversation, like to be considered witty.
The increased activity of men constrained within natural bounds is itself a good. It is a more general development of faculties, and partakes more of energetic animal life than the slow growth of merely vegetative existence. The excess of activity, however, is a great evil, and one to which the operatives of large towns are constantly liable. Their mission, in the age of missions, is to work, but not to enjoy life. How the excess of activity is to be guarded against, and the better part of the commercial spirit retained, is a question easier asked than satisfactorily answered. The leaders of commerce refuse to give heed to such a question. With them every additional gain increases the means of further gain, and the thirst of gold knows no limits. The appetite grows by what it feeds upon. To suppose then that enterprising merchants would generally entertain such a question, would bespeak an ignorance of the ways of men. The restless force with which a prevailing and strengthened passion presses forward in hopes of success, begets a disregard of means, and forgets or overlooks evils. With men whose habits are purely commercial, inoral and intellectual considerations, if not under-rated, are over-borne by “the pressure of circumstances," and hidden amidst the dust and noise of what is called "practical utility.” Aristocracies are corrupted by the possessions which they inherit, and of the real value of which they are ignorant: they step into wealth and luxury, and become, in time, effete and effeminate. Commerce on the other hand, begets power, for sometime retains it, but in its love of conquest over matter, it is apt to destroy the source of its own strength, To my mind this seems to be one of the great evils, against which, England, as a commercial state, has chiefly to guard. We know the old saying, “ money is