« AnteriorContinuar »
the subject. We know not to what section of the Church Mr. Mercer belongs, but certainly the statement that we can offer. proper sacrifice," savours strongly of popery.
There is very little in common between the Congregational Lecturer and the author of "Why the Cross of Christ ?” Their conceptions of God's relation to the eternal law and his government of the moral universe differ totally. Mr. Mercer, in his anxiety to maintain that there is complete harmony between God's nature and the eternal law, and identity between the Divine will and the punishment of sin, seems to us to represent God as helpless in relation to the penalties of transgression. Speaking of the suffering due to sin he says: “ God's holy nature could not be satisfied without the full measure of this suffering being meted out somewhere. . . . Nay, it will of itself fall somewhere --would of itself fall somewhere,-even if God wished it to be otherwise." If this were true, who could unfeignedly believe in the forgiveness of sins ? Where is the possibility for any exercise of mercy ? We do not believe that God governs the moral universe on such commercial principles, as to require that “Christ should really endure as much pain as was deserved, as a punishment for the sins of the redeemed.”
Mr. Mercer's treatise is certainly not a successful reply to Mr. Dale. It is refreshing to turn from the former book to the latter, which abounds in passages of beauty, power and eloquence. May we quote one passage from this great work? We select the reply of Mr. Dale to the question which the Rev. James Martineau says has never been answered.” Mr. Martineau asks:
" How is the alleged immorality of letting off the sinner mended by the added crime of penally crushing the sinless ? Of what man-of what angel-could such a thing be reported without raising a cry of indignant shame from the universal human heart? What should we think of a judge who should discharge the felons from the prisons of a city because some noble and generous citizen offered himself to the executioner instead?”
To this Mr. Dale replies :
“Mr. Martineau must accept all our facts before he has a right to bring a moral charge against our doctrine. He must not discuss the evangelical theory of the Atonement on the Unitarian theory of the Person of Christ. But his analogy is doubly false : false to his own conception of God ; false to our conception of Christ. On his theory, God can pardon the sins of men without an atonement, but a judge can only acquit or condemn—the prerogative of pardon does not belong to him. On our theory, Christ is infinitely more than the most 'noble and generous of citizens' who could offer himself to the executioner instead of the guilty. He is Himself the Representative-and more than the Representative-of the law which has been violated. The question which Mr. Martineau has asked is irrelevant. The true question is, Whether the act of Christ, in enduring the suffering which He must otherwise have inflicted, is an “immorality,' 'a crime' which should raise 'a cry of indignant shame from the universal human heart'?
“For an answer to that question I can trust the universal human heart' to which Mr. Martineau appeals. Wherever the real facts have been known, instead of
a cry of indignant shame' there has been a cry of thanksgiving and of worship. Had God insisted that before He would forgive sinful men, some illustrious saint or some holy angel should endure the agonies of Gethsemane and the awful sorrow of the Cross ; had He refused to listen to the prayer of the penitent until His anger had been allayed, or His retributive justice received what would have been an unreal satisfaction, through the sufferings of one of His creatures who had kept all His commandments, then Mr. Martineau's question could have received no answer. However voluntary, however eager, might have been the sacrifice on the part of saint or angel, God could not have accepted it without perplexing and confounding all our conceptions of His moral character. But is there any 'immorality,' any 'crime,' anything to provoke'a cry of indignant shame' in the resolve of God Himself, in the Person of Christ, to endure suffering instead of inflicting it ? Will any man who confesses that Jesus Christ is God manifest in the flesh cry "shame' when He, the Moral Ruler of men, to avoid the terrible necessity of condemning us to eternal death, assumes our nature, is tempted in the wilderness, endures the ingratitude, malignity, and scorn of those whom He has come to save ; submits to be charged with blasphemy, spat upon, scourged, nailed to the Cross, passes into that outer darkness' into which He must otherwise have driven the human race for its crimes, and dies of a broken heart through the greatness of His sorrow? 'Immorality!—it is the most wonderful proof of the infinite love of God. • Crime !'—it is the supreme manifestation of God's moral perfection. But for this, we might have thought that self-sacrifice, which is the flower and crown of all human excellence, was impossible to God. We see now that
every form of heroic love and mercy by which our hearts are thrilled in the story of the noblest of men, is but the shadow of the transcendent and eternal perfection of the Most High. 'An indignant cry of shame'! It is this expression of the righteousness and grace of the Moral Ruler of mankind which has kindled the most passionate love that has ever glowed in the hearts of men on earth, and it is this which is celebrated in the most rapturous anthems which are ever rd in Heaven.”
THE LAST BOODHIST CONTROVERSY IN CEYLON. Pantura is a small town' twenty , teachings of Boodha relative to the miles from Colombo, where there is human soul; and so roused his enea very large Boodhist temple, situ- mies that they challenged him to an ated on an elevation by the side of open discussion. the road. It is often well filled Accordingly the 26th of August, with devout worshippers, especially 1873, was fixed upon.
A tempoon poya, or new and full moon days, rary building was put up, with a and other festival times. To this bamboo partition across the centre, place, our late laborious Native mis- as well as on the platform, which sionary, the Rev. David de Silva, had been erected at one end of it, to was appointed in 1873.
divide the Christians from the Boodknown throughout the Island as the hists. The Boodhist side of the learned champion of Christianity, building was ornamented with fesand being well read both in Pâli toons of sacred flowers, that is, such and Sanscrit was considered even by flowers as the people are accustomed the Boodhists to be no despicable to offer in the temples, while the foe. Scarcely had he settled down Christians contented themselves in his new Circuit when he com- with the graceful feathery leaves of menced a course of lectures on the the sago palm, which are evergreen
and fit emblems of the glorious cause language, which was perhaps rather they had espoused, and were assem- above the comprehension of the bled to vindicate. On the one side greater part of the assembly, and were Goon-a-narda Unnânsay,—the his voice was thin and somewhat latter word being equivalent to shrill, though clear. Arrangements honourable,-generally known as Mi- had been made that the discussion gettu-watte, with about two hundred should extend over two days, comyellow-robed priests. On the other mencing at eight A.M. and termiwas the Rev. David de Silva, sup- | nating at five P.M., with an interval ported by a large array of European of four hours for rest and refreshand Native clergymen, and cate- ment. chists, representing the Baptist, the As Mr. de Silva was considered Church and the Wesleyan Mission- the aggressor, he opened the proary Societies. Every district had ceedings, thus giving Migettu-watte sent its quota of villagers, and by the advantage of the last
word. He seven o'clock in the morning all commenced by stating the point at available standing places in the issue, namely, “What is the docenclosure were well filled.
trine of Boodhism with reference to Migettu - watte is perhaps fifty the soul ?” He showed that Boodyears of age, and as described in the hism taught that man had no soul, Official Report of the Controversy, and that the identical man received “rather short, very intellectual-look- not the reward of his own good or ing, with eyes expressive of distrust, bad actions. He brought forward and a smile which may be construed extracts from Boodha's sermons and to mean either satisfaction or con- from a standard poetical work to tempt." Years ago, having quar- prove that “sentient beings are relled with his brethren, he was
those who have the five Khandas : turned out of the priesthood, but namely, organized bodies, sensations, built a temple of his own at Mut- perception, reasoning powers, and wall, near Colombo, where he estab- consciousness.
.” Then followed other lished a printing-press, and issued extracts which made “sentient bemany pamphlets against Chris- ings" to be those who possessed the tianity. The Rev. David de Silva twelve Ayatarnas (“organs”), an was of middle height, with a plea-eye, bodily form, an ear, sound, a nose, sant expression of countenance, odour, a tongue, flavour, a body, having a noble forehead which de- | touch, mind, and events; and other noted deep thought and hard study. extracts making out that “Nama He was accustomed to dress in the Rûpa" constituted the whole man ; European costume, and had mixed this “Nama Rûpa” meaning sensaso much with English people that tion, perception, the faculty of reason, he was able to express himself in touch, and mental objects. Next their language with almost as much he proceeded to quote Boodha's own ease and fluency as in his own. words to show that he taught that Migettu-watte possesses a fine voice the soul existed neither in the and is a thorough orator. He ad- Khandas nor the Ayatarnas, nor yet dressed the audience in simple lan- in Nâma Rûpa, but that all these guage appealing continually to them could be completely broken up; and as to the likelihood of his opponents seeing that nothing was to survive understanding Pâli. Mr. de Silva of the present man, any being which on the other hand, never at a loss should exist hereafter, and suffer for words, spoke in classic and chaste punishment or reap rewards for
actions committed in this world, one, the complete change sensamust be a different being. He re- tions undergo every moment, which ferred to various passages of Scrip-results in the production of new ture to show why Christians believed emotions; the other, that change in the existence of the soul; as, for understood by the phrase, 'going example, Luke xxiii. 43, 1 Cor. v. to another world.' The hair we 3, etc., and ended by pointing out
have on our heads is not the same the inducements Boodhism holds we had when we were infants. out to unrighteousness, imploring Simultaneously with the termination the audience at all risks to weigh of man's career, a change takes the replies and hold fast to the place, causing the production of a truth,
being, to whom the quintessence of Migettu-watte began by attacking man's desires is transferred. It is Mr. de Silva's speech as desultory not a new being, because the desire and rambling. He said, "Because producing the being is not a new the living principle is a thing not desire, but the result of those that easy to explain, it did not follow preceded it.”
no such thing. The Migettu-watte then burst forth Christian's idea of a soul
that into a contemptuous tirade against without any change that soul goes
the idea of the existence of a soul : to a state of happiness or misery at asking of what shape it is, whether death. If
like an egg, a stick, or a fruit, and heaven with all its imperfections, adding, if Christians could not exand is human still, therefore the plain the exact nature of a soul, being who enjoys heaven must be that was a proof that no such thing He then produced one of
existed. He assured his audience Mr. de Silva's pamphlets, in which that Christianity teemed with errors,
verses of the Bible, and proceeded to point out a few of which Mr. de Silva had translated them. Wherever the Christians into Pâli, and endeavoured to prove went, in order to enlist the sympahis incapacity for explaining Bood- thies of the people on behalf of the ha's abstruse metaphysics, by the Being they wished them to adore, errors of translation found in those they gave to Him the name of some
"The body,” said Migettu- god already worshipped in that watte, -"namely, sensation, percep- country. Thus at Calcutta, Christ tion, discrimination, and conscious- was called “Iswara,”—Iswara being ness,—at a man's death does cease a god highly venerated by the to exist ; but the being produced Hindoos; and in Ceylon, Dewi-yansimultaneously with this extinction, wahansa, the gods in whom the is not a different being. The Bible Singhalese believe, is the word the is not the original Bible written by Christians apply to Jehovah. MiMoses and others, and used by the gettu-watte next attacked various first believers in Christ; but they expressions in the Bible. God is could not say it was a different called a "jealous” God in the Engbook, the substance in both being lish Bible, and in the Singhalese In like manner, though
version that word had been altered no part of a human being was trans- to mean something different." Would ferred to another world, the human that the Protestants would imitate being produced in consequence of the Roman Catholics, and never
was not a different one. alter words in their Bible.” God is Human beings have two deaths : said to have "repented."
then omniscient as the Christians insinuated, to deceive the people. assert ? God told the Israelites to Mr. de Silva next quoted a passage place a mark on the lintels of their of a Boodhistical work, to prove doors on the night of the Passover, that the same word may have that He might distinguish between various significations, and such was their houses and those of the the case in all languages. Even Egyptians. Is God then omnis- his opponent had continually used cient? What need was there for the word artma ("soul"), though commanding Moses to perform a denying its existence. He, howmiracle ? and if he could not per- ever, wisely refrained from entering suade Pharaoh to let the Israelites into any lengthened refutation of go out of Egypt to perform a second, the supposed errors in the several and so on ? If God were omnis- texts of Scripture brought forward cient He would have known before- by Migettu-watte, as these same hand the effects of those miracles. objections had been, as he said, The Christians say, God is Al- already refuted by him in previous mighty; and yet we read, “He” controversies. (God, like the evil spirits) “could Migettu-watte then rose. He not drive out the inhabitants of the argued that Mr. de Silva's explanavalley, because they had chariots of tion of the errors in Pâli, in the iron.” (Judges i.19.) The orator ended pamphlet that had been spoken of, his remarks by saying he had clearly was by no means satisfactory, beexplained what the Boodhists mean cause he ought not to have copied by a living principle; and now it the passage without alteration. remained for Mr. de Silva to explain He appealed to the people. Had what a soul is. Also he challenged any attempt been made to exhim to bring forward his author- plain the reason why God was ities to prove that Boodha likens a called in the Bible a "jealous” God? human being to a brute, otherwise No. It was impossible to do so. he should consider him guilty of True, Mr. de Silva had alluded to having uttered falsehood.
the refutation of the expression, The meeting then adjourned. “ It repented the Lord,” in “ The
At the next session, the first Banner of Truth," a pamphlet pubpoint taken up by Mr. de Silva, lished by the Christians after a was the attack of his opponent as to previous controversy. He himself his knowledge of Pâli. The title of had read and answered that, but to the pamphlet he had referred to refer to it was no reply.
What was Selections," and the passage answer had Mr. de Silva made as to which had been pointed out was the reason of the various miracles copied from a Burmese Testament. Moses
to perform before The title given to Christ in Calcutta Pharaoh ? What proof had he given is Iswara—a Sanscrit word signi- that the Christians' God was not fying a being endowed with great afraid of iron, and that He delighted power and might, hence the pro- not in sacrifices of blood ? Then priety of applying it to our Saviour. about the soul. The audience could The title Dewi-yan-wahansa is used easily understand why Mr. de when speaking of God in Singha- Silva had not explained the nature lese, simply because the language of a soul. The Boodhist doctrine does not afford a better word. of man's future was not intelligible Neither of these titles had been
to persons of limited knowledge. adopted, as Migettu-watte had The being who would hereafter