Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

scattered believers have been fed through these pages with that full Gospel of the grace of God which can be apprehended only as the meaning of our Lord's triumph over death is discerned.

The necessity for continuance has therefore seemed too great to justify us in withdrawing. And so, amid an increase of cares and in dependence upon God to give the necessary strength and means, we give ourselves to this work for another year.

Another Volume.—We have ordered each year a hundred copies of the annual voiume to be bound. The volume for 1888 will soon be ready. The price for these volumes is one dollar, or the set of four volumes will be sent (postage paid) for three dollars. We will donate the four to the Library of any Theological Seminary upon the receipt of a postal from the Librarian authorizing us to send them at their charges by express. Our friends would aid us very much in this work, and aid in spreading the truth, by ordering one or more of these volumes for themselves or others. Either of the bound volumes will be sent with the magazine for a year for $1.75: or, the whole of them with the magazine for $3.00. The "Fire of God's Anger" or the " Mystery of Creation and of Man" will be sent with the magazine for $1.50.

PRESBYTERIAL CERTIFICATE.

Some of our friends have been anxious to know in what position we were left, as a minister, after withdrawing from the Presbytery. For their information we publish the certificate which the Stated Clerk was directed to prepare and forward to us, and which at a subsequent meeting of the Presbytery was approved.

After reciting the facts of the case and the report adopted, in which it was stated that " If Mr. Baker could hold his views privately, without agitating the Church, we would be content to retain the same position as heretofore to one whom we sincerely love and honor for his piety and ability," and which closed by recommending his withdrawal if he thought it incumbent upon him to urge his views upon the attention of the Church, the paper reads as follows:

"On the adoption of this report by the Presbytery, Mr. Baker asked permission to withdraw from the ministry of our church. The Presbytery granted the permission asked by Mr. Baker.

"In attesting to the above facts, the Stated Clerk of the Presbytery would add that the Rev. Lewis C. Baker has been uniformly, and up to the date of this writing, held in kind and fraternal regard by all his brethren of the Presbytery; they have declared their confidence in his Christian character and sincerity, and they still feel this confidence; they remember gratefully the prominent part he has taken in their common labors for the extension of Christ's kingdom, and they now part with him with deep regret and with earnest wishes and prayers for his welfare. The action taken in his case was not of the nature of a prosecution, but rather of fraternal advice in answer to a request offered by himself, and we believe it was the result of honest and conscientious differences.

Attest:

Henry Beeves,
Stated Clerk of the Presbytery of West Jersey."

Under the constitution of the Presbyterian Church, no man can be deprived of ministerial standing without a formal trial upon charges preferred and sentence of deposition. There was nothing of the kind in this action. It is evident that whatever authority as a minister was originally conferred at our ordination remains, although the right to exercise that authority in the Presbyterian Church was voluntarily surrendered. This was the understanding of the case by all the parties concerned.

ROBERT ELSMERE.

We have been reading this widely read book. We have also read Mr. Gladstone's review of it which we wish could be as widely read. That the book is interesting—its characters strongly drawn, and the religious problem it undertakes to solve strongly treated—no one will dispute. In these respects it is far in advance of some other recent attempts to discuss these problems under the veil of fiction.

The book brings us face to face with the profoundest question of the age. We are asked to consider, not only whether Christianity is a failure, but whether the whole Christian structure built upon the cornerstone of a risen Christ be not a baseless fabric. We are invited to confess that it is, and to consent to its demolition in order to the rearing upon its ruins of a new temple of humanity in which there shall be only a memorial tomb to the dead and martyred Jesus and the worship of his memory.

We have only two principal things to say about this book:

1. The Robert Elsmere here presented to us as the ideal saint of the new religion is not a Christian. By this we do not mean to say that he is not a good man, a righteous, self denying and saintly man. He is all this, but he is not a Christian. He is enthused with the love of humanity. He lays down his life for the brethren. He is a saint and a martyr, but of the type of Buddha and not of Christ. Never in any age was it so important as it is in this to define clearly what it is to be a Christian. The Scripture lines of definition have been all confused, until even the Church no longer clearly apprehends them. A Christian is a man who not only confesses with his month that Jesus is Lord and Christ, but believes in his heart that God hath raised Him from the dead (Rom. x. 9). He believes this not simply as a matter to which the New Testament writers in gospels and epistles bear constant and emphatic witness, but he has felt the power of His resurrection. He knows that Christ has risen because He has been revealed to and in him (Gal. i. 16). Men may call this delusion or mysticism, but thousands of believers in every age have thus known Him whom they have believed. This is why Christianity has lived, and will live through all these assaults. These Christians know that there is a divine power of life in humanity, and in their own souls and bodies, lifting them above the low level of their natural manhood into a new manhood whose potencies are spiritual and eternal. And they are sure that this could not be unless humanity had been raised above its natural and carnal conditions in some Son of Man in whom God dwelt and wrought out for the race this triumph. The Bible therefore not only teaches them to confess that Jesus is the Christ. They recognize that the outcry of their heart and flesh for the living God has been answered in Him. They have the witness in themselves.

There is no evidence that Robert Elsmere, even in his earlier devotion as a clergyman of the Church of England, and a professed believer in the resurrection, did his work under this conscious inspiration of an indwelling Christ. If he had he never would have surrendered his faith in this vital doctrine to the behests of the naturalistic formula, "All miracles are impossible." A divine witness in the heart cannot be dislodged by assaults upon the outworks of human testimony. The gifted authoress who draws for us this fine character does not understand what it is to be a Christian. Renan and his school do not know, and cannot appreciate, the grounds upon which the Church believes in the resurrection. And therefore this eloquent description of a Christianity that shall discard it, and seek to build itself anew under the inspiration of the example of Jesus, instead of in the power of His risen life, is the merest vanity. No such thing is possible. If Christ be not risen, our faith is vain; we are yet in our sins; we have no hope of a future life; we are false witnesses of God (1 Cor. xv. 12-19).

If, then, Robert Elsmere had been a Christian, his life rooted and grounded in the risen Christ, he would have had another standard of judgment in this matter than the Squire's learned treatises or his own rationalistic tests. He was, indeed, a saint, but not a "saint in Christ Jesus." We beg our readers to study the meaning of this frequent New Testament definition of a Christian. But we ask them also to bear in mind what we have said in previous

« AnteriorContinuar »