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" that is sin. It is sin when the creature wills differently from, or contrary “to, God--when it apostatises from the Creator, when it is without God “ (for to be without, is to be also against God)—when it inclines itself to “ disobedience, to egotism, selfishness, and self-will.” Here is a truth far beyond Protestantism; there is nothing here of hereditary depravity or original sin. There is nothing of that “lie,” so often preached in the pulpits, by which the fancied sin of a mythical Adam is imputed to all men, and from which unjust imputation they have no power to free themselves, but must await the good pleasure of a partial Deity who may, or may not, take compassion on them. No! the Mystic theology is far above such low views of man and God. In it, man stands or falls by his own acts or deeds. A Jewish Bible, and a so-called Christian theology, may teach differently; good, but shortsighted, men among the Apostles and Fathers of the Church may have viewed the matter in another light; the Reformers may have failed to perceive this truth (and doubtless such are the facts of the case), but what of that, when the Revelation of God Himself, found in history and in our souls, shows us the correctness of the teaching? Yes! man stands or falls by his own action; if he obey the laws of God, then is his salvation sure, and if he obey them not, he suffers the just and necessarily resulting penalty. Yet even in man's disobedience, the Universal Father has provided for his recovery by the suffering which results therefrom. Not God, then, but Man, is chargeable with the sin and evil around us. God's laws are good; if all obeyed them, virtue and happiness would be the result. God, however, leaves man free to obey or disobey, and if he disobey, He has justly (and kindly as justly) provided that he shall suffer. In the suffering is contained a teaching ; not God's vengeance, but the good of man is subserved by it; and by obedience man becomes his own Redeemer.
In looking, then, at the German Mysticism as a whole, we find that while it greatly aided the Reformation for which the world was ready, by creating a new religious life among the people, it yet contained truths which the Reformation failed to work out, and which only those who have shaken off the trammels of the Churches have yet accepted. Indeed, much of the teaching of the German Mystics points to truths which must be incorporated in the New Reformation. Its fundamental truth is this : that the Divine and Human are intimately related, and that God reveals Himself in the human soul; a truth dimly perceived by the highest thinkers in all ages; and one by the recognition of which only is religious progress possible; because then Priestcraft, Spiritual Despotism, and thraldom to the ignorance of the past, will be impossible. When men have come to the belief that God speaks to their own souls, that He speaks continually, that He is, in fact, a Living God, then must all Book Revelations and priestly systems become hateful to them, as fetters on their souls' freedom, and each man will see that no priestly attorney should be allowed to come between him and God.
It is only while men look back to a time when they believe men were wiser, holier, better, closer to God,- to a time when God inspired men to speak truths which have forever made their authority paramount over all succeeding generations, that they can consent to overlook the fact that the wisdom and holiness of this present time is equal to that found in the ages of old, and that as many of God's trutlis find their expression now as in times when humanity was less advanced—or rather many more. Two evils result from this; first, that men undervalue, ignore, and therefore lose the benefit of thie truth and wisdom found in the humanity around them; and next, that they
lose faith in themselves, as being essentially inferior to the men of the past. It is this want of self-reliance on the part of men that has made Spiritual Despotism possible. This idea, then, of God in man—God dwelling close to the souls of all men, which lies at the basis of all theistic Mysticism, is a noble truth, and one which it will be well for the world when all men recognise. In the recognition of this alone is it possible for humanity to comprehend its true dignity, and therein, and therein only, lies the possibility of those achievements, that constant progress onwards to higher, and ever higher, spheres of thought and action, for which man is adapted, and which his Creator intended him to compass and accomplish. A true conception of human dignity is, in fact, at once the guarantee against many evils, and an earnest of every kind of virtue, and mental and moral progress.
Mysticism, as developed in connection with Christianity, is useful as disproving the ridiculous claim made by the orthodox that Christianity should be looked upon as radically different from all other religious systems; and also as pointing out the possible developments of the Christian Ideas. If we find that the Christian Ideas are capable of variation and development, if we find that Christianity grows with the growth of the ages, that new ideas and new truths are welded into it as man progresses in knowledge, that the Christianity of one age differs materially from that of another, the logical and necessary inference is that Christianity, like all other religions, is the product of the human intellect, and not a gift of Infinite Wisdom, that it is a growth out of, not an importation into, history. That this is so, no one acquainted with history-not, perhaps, as it is commonly written, but in all its bearings, as exemplified in the growth, intellectually, morally, socially, and religiously, of the various nations-will for one moment hesitate to acknowledge. We lay no stress on the changes wrought in the Christian Ideas by the agency of Priestcraft, although they might afford some support to the argument; but content ourselves with asking this question, Does Christianity, as taught by Christ, as expounded in the Gospels, satisfy the religious wants of the man of this Age? That it does not is a fact recognised by the highest thinkers in this age. At the same time no one can doubt that the grand principles of Love and Self-sacrifice which pervade the whole teaching of Christ, must ever form a part of all true religion.
One by one, as the Ages have rolled, the great religious truths which man now owns have been discovered and enunciated. Long ages it took to give a spiritual form to man's idea of God; anthropomorphism entered into all the ancient systems of religious teaching, and God was reduced to a likeness to man, or rather (to speak correctly), the highest ideal of humanity was taken by men to represent the Divinity. Then came the idea that God is a spirit; not as a revelation from heaven, but as the outgrowth of man's intellectual, moral, and spiritual progress. As with the conception of the Deity, so with all the other religious ideas, the same growth is perceivable, corresponding with man's advance in other respects. Shall we suppose, then, that Christianity is a finality, any more than any other religion which preceded it? Its grandeur consists in this, that it has so much of eternal truth about it, that on the sympathetic, the emotional side of man's nature, it gives almost perfect satisfaction, but that it can be looked upon as a religion satisfying all sides of man's nature, and fitted for a complete Philosophy of Life, is certainly not the case,
Neither Christianity nor Mysticism can be looked upon as a complete Philosophy of Life; they both appeal only to one side of human nature, Among the many developments of Christianity found in the history of the Churches on the side of doctrine, Mysticism is (as already hinted), that which kept the closest to the teaching of Christ. Love lies at the basis of both ; both appeal to the feelings rather than to the reason; both ignore, to a great extent, the practical side of life. But the practical side of life has its claims upon the Religious Teacher, and therefore we say, neither Christianity nor Mysticism can be accepted as a complete Philosophy of Life, although both teach much which must go to form a part of it. The Religion of the Future, that which we, as Religious Reformers, seek to establish, is one which shall satisfy man on every side of his nature, and may serve him as a guide and help in every relation which belongs to him as a human being-every condition in which he shall find himself placed ; a Religion of the whole human nature, satisfying the intellect, loyal to the intuitions of the soul, and not oblivious of the fact that the Great Creator has made man with passions and physical functions and capacities. Such a religion will seek to instruct man on all sides of his nature, will accept all truth, whencesoever and however it may come, and will consist in doing the truth more than in believing it. It is worth while for all honest-minded men, incumbent on all truth-seekers, to earnestly inquire, Is Christianity such a religion? We speak not now of the Christianity of the Churches, that all candid, unprejudiced minds must be aware is not such; but we speak of Christianity as it was taught by Christ. The answer to that is, as we conceive, a very simple one. Christ taught the truth, but not the whole truth, he taught the truth as far as he saw it, and not seeing the whole, naturally mingled it with some error. So evident is it that Christianity does not include the whole truth, that the more candid of the thinkers within the Church, the Maurices, the Jowetts, the Milmans and others, find themselves forced to admit as much. Dean Milman bas put this admission into plainer language, perhaps, than any, in the introduction to his History of Latin Christianity.
Our business, as Religious Reformers, is to develope Christianity in accordance with the wider knowledge, the more mature wisdom of this present century. We seek not, as our enemies say, to overthrow Christianity, but to accept all the truth Jesus taught, and to work in his spirit, as he would have worked had he lived now. A grand, loving, earnest, truthful soul was in the man Jesus, he was the last who would have confined men in their search for truth in any particular, or have refused to accept any truth because it was new. Living in a dark age, he knew not much that science, human thought and energy in various fields, have disclosed to us; in these days he would have been the first to condemn that narrowness found amongst those who pretend to be specially his followers, and the last to blind his eyes, as they do, to any part of God's Revelation to man. That Christianity is capable of development, is at once the condemnation of those who pretend that it is comprised in any of the theories and systems of the Past, and the proof of the wisdom of Jesus Christ was no system-monger, but a free-thinker, and we look upon those German Mystics, at once forerunning and outstripping the religious progress achieved by the Reformation, as men who were working in his spirit. We hail them and him as among the great and glorious spirits of the Past, who earnestly sought the spiritual progress of mankind, and anticipated in their teachings much truth not yet worked out, or incorporated in the religious systems accepted by the majority of men.
JAS. L. GOODING.
THE BOOK OF JOB.
BY G. L. BAUER. We should place the Book of Job either in the age of Solomon, or in that immediately subsequent. In the ideas contained in the Book of Job there is a striking similarity to those which are found in the Book of the Proverbs. Several commentators are of opinion that the former is the joint production of some of the wise men who lived during the reign of Solomon, or soon after his death.
This book is the most sublime and beautiful poetical work of the Hebrews : it surpasses all their other writings in the excellence of its religious sentiments, especially in the purity of its notions concerning God. It may with justice be stýled the masterpiece of antiquity. An author who, in a period of general ignorance, could so far expel from his mind the prevailing prejudices and superstitions of his country, and could work out for himself a belief and morality so compara. tively pure and reasonable, must have attained to a high degree of intellectual advancement. The subject of the poem is wholly religious, but it is deeply melancholy, owing to the gloomy views entertained by the author of an hereafter; to him the future is wrapped in an appalling darkness. The object of the work is to explain in what manner the sufferings of the good may be reconciled with the existence of a just providence, and also to afford strength and consolation to the afflicted. Job, the hero of the poem, is an Arab; his opponents are Arabs or Idumeans: they are ignorant of Israel's faith and Israel's worship. Their God is the God of all men. The name Jehovah is employed by the narrator, who in the prologue speaks of himself as an Israelite; but, in the dialogues between the several personages who are introduced in the drama, the name of Israel's national God is carefully avoided.
The opinions of the writer are expressed by Job; excepting always those hasty and impatient exclamations, which are uttered by him when irritated by acute bodily suffering, or when heated by controversey and the unjust accusations of his adversaries. The opponents of Job adopt the popular notions of a Providence, and contend—that to suppose that God does not reward virtue, and punish vice, is to impeach the Divine justice :-that a just God cannot do otherwise than secure to the righteous the fruits of their well-doing, and visit the wicked with the curse of His displeasure ;--that, consequently, whoever is harassed by misfortunes, sickness, poverty, or other ills, though indeed to human observation his conduct may appear not only innocent, but praiseworthy, he is nevertheless to be regarded as receiving the just retribution of guilt ;-that, if a man experience adversity, he is assuredly guilty in the sight of God. Job held other and more enlarged views of this subject; they will be considered in a distinct section.
$ 1.-NOTIONS OF JOB'S ADVERSARIES CONCERNING GOD AND PROVIDENCE.
Four opponents of Job, each sustaining his individual character, are introduced into the poem. Eliphas, Bildad, and Zophar agree in their defence of the divine Providence. The arguments employed by Elihu, a younger speaker, differ but little from those used by his companions; but he is much more moderate in his language, and is desirous of acting the part of a mediator.
ELIPHAS.—God is the only God. He is therefore called either Eloah (in the singular number, and not as formerly Elohim), or else, the Almighty. He is the Creator and Governor of the whole earth. The weather and all the phenomena of nature depend on Him. He brings the machinations of the wicked to nought, and rescues the oppressed. “Shall a man be more pure than his Maker." * “I would “seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause: which doeth great "things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number: who giveth rain “upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields : to set up on high those that “ be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety. He disappointeth “the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise. “He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is
* Job, iv. 17.
"carried headlong. They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the “noonday as in the night. But He saveth the poor from the sword, from their “mouth, and from the hand of the mighty."*
God is just and holy. “Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a “man be more pure than his Maker?” of “Man more just," so that he shall be able to charge God with injustice in the awards of fate: “ more pure," so that he shall be able to charge his Maker with the violation of holiness in rewarding vice.
There exists an intermediate order of beings between God and man, His angels or messengers. These are not free from failings. They appear to men in night visions in order to instruct them. They have no tangible form; they are spirits, phantoms, who are only recognised by the soft breath which precedes them and announces their approach. “Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine " ear received a little thereof. In thoughts from the visions of the night, when “deep sleep falleth on men, fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my “bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood "up: it stood still, but I could not discern the form thercof: an image was before "mine eyes; there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying, Shall mortal man be “ more just than God ? shall a man be more pure than his maker? Behold, He “put no trust in His servants; and His angels He charged with folly.” “Behold, “He putteth no trust in His saints; yca, the heavens are not clean in His sight."S
The providence of God is shown in the good fortune which attends the inno. cent, and the evil fortune which pursues the guilty. This is the contested point
this is the position which it is the object of the Book of Job to confute. “Re. “member, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the “ righteous cut off ? Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wicked“ness, reap the same. By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of His “ nostrils are they consumed." ||
Afflictions sometimes befal" the good and pious, but they are merely chastisements permitted by God for a while, in order to promote the accomplishment of some wise though secret purpose. Such chastisements are always of short duration. “Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not “thou the chastening of the Almighty: for He maketh sore, and bindeth up: He 6 woundeth, and His hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles : " yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee."T
The punishments of God may be averted by repentance and amendment of life. “If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away “ iniquity far from thy tabernacles. Then shalt thou lay up yold as dust, and the “gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks. Yca, the Almighty shall be thy “ defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver. For then shalt thou have thy “ delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God." **
A man's righteousness cannot be profitable to God: man cannot by obedience and worship add to the happiness and perfection of the Almighty. "Can a man be “ profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself ? Is it “any pleasure to the Almighty that thou art rightcous? or is it gain to Him, that “thou makest thy ways perfect?"tt.
Notwithstanding the justness of this sentiment expressed by Eliphas, his views of religion and virtue are strictly selfish.
(To be continued.)
LONDON: PUBLISHED BY M. PATTIE, 31, PATERNOSTER Row, AND GEORGE
GLAISHER, 470, New OxfORD STREET.