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wonders of the life and character of Him to whom they bear witness, than convinced by any argument for their inspiration that can at that stage be presented. It will be time enough to consider the less obvious arguments for the divine authority of the witnesses, after the more obvious arguments for the divine authority of Him, to whom they witness, have been presented in all their strength. It is important that the mind of the inquirer be directed to Christ as speedily, and kept there as steadily, as possible. After His claims are felt and acknowledged, it will be easy to satisfy him as to the divine authority of the Scriptures, and of all that can be fairly included under Christianity as a system.

On behalf of this method we have to urge, first, that it is the scriptural method. The apostles had to deal with intellectual doubters, as well as with those who were. morally averse to the Gospel; yet they invariably presented Christ as the first object of faith. They made frequent use of the Old Testament Scriptures, it is true, especially in dealing with those who were already grounded in the belief of them; but we never find them urging belief in the Scriptures as the first thing, and faith in Christ simply as the result of their acceptance. When Paul preached on Mars Hill, he did not try first to convince his heathen audience of the divine authority of the Jewish Scriptures, but passed at once from the common ground of the truths of natural religion, to the setting forth of Jesus and the Resurrection. No one, indeed, would gather from anything in the apostolic writings that their idea was that God had revealed Himself in a book, and that, by receiving that book, a Saviour would be found in its pages. It was rather that God had revealed Himself in His Son, who is therefore urged on the acceptance of men; and when the testimony of the


prophets or their own witness is referred to, it is not as an objective revelation to be received as such, but simply as an inspired testimony to Him. The idea is not: God, who has given us the books of the Old Testament, is now preparing for us the books of the New; but, "God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by (literally, in) His Son." And it will be remembered that the apostle Peter, speaking of those prophets, represents them as "scarching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow," so that, in their view, the personal Christ was regarded as the Alpha and Omega even of the Old Testament Scriptures, they deriving authority from Him rather than He from them. Most explicit of all is the apostle John, who insists so strongly, both in his Gospel and in his First Epistle, that the personal Christ is the Word, that "the Life was the Light of men." "God so loved the world that He gave -not a book or a religion, but-"His only begotten Son."

Most significant of all is the example of Christ Himself. While He very frequently refers to the Old Testament Scriptures as of divine authority, He never presses them as an objective revelation to be received as such. He always guides the faith of His hearers directly to Himself. In the one passage where He seems to set forth the duty of searching the Scriptures (John v. 39), the reason He gives is not that they are an objective revelation-He rather discourages that idea by the significant words: "in them ye think ye have eternal life "—but simply this: " for they are they which testify of me." When He sets forth the order of faith, it is not: "Ye

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believe in the Old Testament, believe also in the New; but, "Ye believe in God, believe also in me." And still more pointedly: "I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life." We do not forget when we are preaching the Gospel, that Christ said, "I am the Way." We do not forget, when we are ministering to believers, that He said, "I am the Life." Why should we forget, when we are dealing with doubters, that He said, "I AM THE TRUTH"? The words of the risen Saviour, in the opening passage of the Apocalypse, indicate the true scriptural order, alike of sequence and importance: "I am Alpha and Omega, the First and the Last; and what thou seest, write in a book."

Referring to the witness of the Holy Spirit, who should afterward speak through the apostles, Christ said that He would not speak of Himself, but would testify of Him. We have a striking illustration of this in the fact that those Scriptures which come to us through inspiration of the Holy Ghost, call so little attention to themselves in any part, but always keep the person of Christ as the great object on which the minds of men should rest. In the Gospels, how entirely is the personality of the authors, and even the agency of the Spirit Himself, kept out of sight, so that the readers may see "Jesus only." And so with the other books of the New Testament. The apostle Paul indeed was constrained, by the peculiarity of his position, and in consequence of certain objections which had been raised to his official authority, to insist upon the fact that he was a fully accredited apostle and qualified to testify the things of Christ; but even with him this was exceptional, and evidently distasteful, while no one is more careful than he to put forward the personal Christ as the great object of faith, and the sole foundation on which the Christian temple

should be reared. And, when he has occasion to speak of the authority and value of the Old Testament, in that passage which has been considered the locus classicus of the doctrine of Inspiration (2 Tim. iii. 15, 16), he is careful to urge the central importance of "faith which is in Christ Jesus."

While little attention is called by the inspired writers to themselves or their writings, there is still less said of Christianity as a system. There is a striking absence of all those abstract terms with which all modern Christian literature, and especially our apologetic literature, is so profusely adorned. The word "Christianity" does not occur at all, and we can think of no expression which can be fairly considered its equivalent. We look in vain for any reference to "the Christian religion." The word "religion" occurs in only three places, and in none of them is it used in the comprehensive sense in which we use it now. It may seem to some strange, that the New Testament could have been written, from beginning to end, without any use of words which we find necessary on every page of our writings which refer to the same subjects. The explanation is very significant. Where we should write "Christianity" the apostles write "Christ.” Instead of "the Christian religion," they write, "the gospel of Jesus Christ," or "the truth in Jesus," or simply "the faith," meaning the faith which has Christ for its object. From all which it seems sufficiently obvious that the scriptural method of presenting the truth to the intellect, as well as to the conscience and heart, is to put Christ Himself always in the front. The evangelical method of apologetics is certainly the scriptural method.

We shall now proceed to consider the working advantages of the method we are urging. And we shall find it of great value for the accomplishment of both the

great purposes of Christian Apologetics, which are to guide the inquirer into the truth, and to defend the truth against its assailants.

The main advantage, for purposes of instruction, is one which has been already adverted to in explaining the method, viz.: this, that it is the natural order of thought, from the simpler to the more complex. The importance of a simple and progressive order of thought can scarcely be exaggerated. It will be remembered that Des Cartes, who may be considered as the founder of modern philosophy in its critical development, began his investigations with the subject of Method, and published as the Introduction to his works "A Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason." In that discourse he lays down two leading rules, one negative and the other positive. The negative rule is the famous one about doubting everything to begin with, and so reducing the mind, so far as its beliefs are concerned, to a sheet of white paper. The positive rule is as follows: "To conduct my thoughts in such order that, by commencing with objects the simplest and easiest to know, I might ascend by little and little, and, as it were, step by step, to the knowledge of the more complex." Now, modern scepticism is so faithful in its application of the Cartesian negative that we cannot meet it to advantage without a faithful application of the Cartesian positive. But the positive rule of Des Cartes, obvious and obviously important as it is, seems to have been little regarded by the majority of writers on the Christian evidences. The inspiration of the Scriptures is one of the most difficult questions in the entire compass of theology. It cannot be discussed and settled without encountering a multitude of difficulties, many of which may prove serious stumblingblocks in the way of an inquirer, who has as yet no solid

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