Imagens das páginas


cheated, not put off for a time, but fully and forever satisfied, conscience rests. This is evangelical repose, and it is fully adequate to all the necessities of our fallen humanity ; its hour of sickness and disappointment and darkest sorrow.

It fails not in the hour of death ; in the day of judgment it is fulness of joy.

At the same time the guilt of sin is not abated, nor palliated. In the vicarious sufferings and death of Christ it is seen that God abhors sin while he provides for its forgiveness. The evil of sin, which fills the conscience with indescribable and appalling dread, is not lessened nor lowered. It is still an unspeakable evil which the sinner rejoices with profound gratitude and consecration to Christ to be delivered from. Thus by the atonement of Christ the necessities of conscience are met and satisfied. "There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” Where all human philosophy fails, and all human endeavor ends only in blank despair, the death of Jesus Christ brings the needed relief.

Not that men reason in this way, not that they stop to analyze their mental processes in believing, or to take note of their feelings, but, just as the new-born infant instinctively desires its appointed nutriment the guilt-stricken, thirsting conscience accepts and appropriates the blood of Christ. "My flesh is meat, indeed, and my blood is drink, indeed.”

By the atonement of Christ the necessities of the divine nature are also met, the justice of God is satisfied. We do not lose sight of the great truth that God is the universal and compassionate Father ; that he looks with ineffable sympathy on all the human race. "God is love.” But God is a sovereign, a law-giver, a judge. And as such, sitting at the head of a government perfect in rectitude and design, adapted to make every subject infinitely and forever happy by obedience to its commands, he must, as we have seen, regard and execute the law. Were you a judge you would feel that the laws must be enforced. And if you were really a good man, you would not only have no sympathy' with offenders, but would feel moral indignation at their offences. In proportion to your love of order and right and justice, all the nobler elements of your nature would be excited and aroused to withstand


such conduct and demand its punishment. This feeling of anger and opposition toward all who wickedly oppose and wantonly aim to destroy a good government, is legitimate and righteous. Distant be the day when our rulers and our citizens generally shall have any other feeling. Just so the Scriptures speak of the divine indignation toward sin. If sin succeeds, the authority of God must go down. If sinners prevail, a righteous judge must leave the throne, and misrule and anarchy and wretchedness must spread their blight throughout his dominions. God can not allow this. The infinite goodness of his nature must resist the suspicion that such a state of things can gain a foothold in his empire. Hence, we read that God will by no means clear the guilty.

But more than this we read, and it is the natural expression of a necessary, constitutional feeling; " God is angry with the wicked every day.” Such an expression grates harshly on the ears of a certain class of people, but the trouble arises from misapprehension, from imputing to the Creator such selfish anger as sinful creatures feel.

God is not enraged, his anger moves like the stars, irresistibly, but silently and lawfully; moves upon offenders like the sun from morning to meridian in the midsummer of a torrid zone, the life of the world, but growing steadily hotter and hotter till it burns like a consuming fire. God's anger is the indignation of a just and holy conscience against unmixed sin ; a feeling which all holy beings in the universe must approve.

Now this feeling must be somehow appeased, this sense of outraged justice must be propitiated. That is no mercy which overrides or robs this sense of justice. In the atonement by Jesus Christ this necessity in the nature of a holy God is met. Taking the sinner's place, the eternal Son suffers his penalty, and thus this sense of outraged justice is appeased ; and now mercy can come forth with pardon for the guilty. That unfathomable pity which yearned for expression in the divine nature, can now, consistently with the claims of justice, and the maintenance of government, flow out to sinful man. In the sufferings and death of Christ, righteousness and peace have embraced each other. God is just, as the Scripture teaches ; feels himself to be just ; shows the sensitive, timorous conscience that

he is just; declares to the universe that he is just, while he justifies the sinner who believeth in Jesus.

The fact that he made his Son an offering for sin, is proof undoubted that there was no other way by which we can be saved. If we reject him, therefore, we are lost. There is no escape from the logical conclusion, there will be no escape from the judicial condemnation.



Christian Memorials of the War; or Scenes and Incidents Illus

trative of Religious Faith and Principle, Patriotism and Bravery in our Army. With Historical Notes by HORATIO B. HACKETT, Professor of Biblical Literature and Interpretation in Newton Theol. Inst: author of " Illustrations of Scripture,” "Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles,” etc. Boston:

Gould & Lincoln. 1864. Nurse and Spy in the Union Army ; Comprising the Adventures

and Experiences of a Woman in Hospitals, Camps and Battle Fields : By S. EMMA E. EDMONDS. Published by subscription only, by W. S. Williams & Co., Hartford, Conn. 1865.

SOME one has remarked that an impartial history of the late rebellion in this country can not be written by an American. However this may be, it is certainly the work of no other than Americans to collect and preserve the materials of this history. Of course, our public archives, national and state, are rich and safe depositories of these materials. Our government has also made provision for the collection and preservation of the archives of the so-called Confederate States ; and Dr. Francis Lieber, than whom no better man could have been selected, has been placed in charge of the work. But there are many facts relative to the recent struggle which lie outside of these public materials of our history, which are also worthy of preservation. It is true they do not belong strictly to the department of history. They are fragmentary records. As the records, however,



of personal experience they are full of interest, and serve best to illustrate the spirit which has characterized our loyal people during the past four years.

We are glad, therefore, to know that a society, of which Rev. Dr. Putnam of Roxbury is the president, has been formed in Boston for the purpose of collecting and preserving these fragmentary records. Letters and diaries, written by our officers and soldiers, containing matters of general interest, are solicited by this society. These will be properly arranged, and doubtless, from time to time, memorial volumes will be published. We bespeak for the society the hearty co-operation of every man and woman in the old Commonwealth. The importance of now searching out and bringing together these widely scattered fragments can not be overestimated. Time is the destroyer as well as the discoverer, and in a few years our search, if it be delayed, will be in vain.

This field has not wholly been overlooked. There are those who have already thrust in the sickle here and there, and proved how abundant is the harvest which awaits the reapers. Dr. Hackett's " Memorials of the War” is a rich store house of these occasional sketches. Intensely loyal, this eminent scholar, laying aside in a measure his favorite studies, watched the progress of the late conflict with an interest which never flagged. "Scenes and incidents, illustrative of religious faith and principle, patriotism and bravery in our army,” as they came under his observation, were gathered by him and carefully preserved. At length, with a view to their preservation in a more permanent form, a selection from these scenes and incidents thus collected was made, and published in the volume just mentioned. In this selection, care was taken to give a place only to those incidents which were well authenticated. Many of the narratives it was found necessary to abridge. In some instances they were extended by facts drawn from other sources. Explanatory remarks were added. The work was a labor of love, " a grateful service to the friends of our brave soldiers, as well as an act of justice to the soldiers themselves."

Of course only those incidents should be preserved which are entirely trustworthy. Exaggerated statements excite suspicion, if not disgust; and those who present them only injure


[ocr errors]


the cause they seek to promote. A clergyman, from Cincinnati, was recently preaching in the vicinity of Boston. In illustrating his discourse he related the following incident : a young man belonging to Sherman's grand army was captured by the enemy near Atlanta in the summer of 1864. With other prisoners he was sent to North Carolina, and there confined in a stockade. The brook which ran through the enclosure, and supplied our men with water, before entering the stockade, received the refuse from the camps of thirty or forty thousand rebels in the vicinity, so that its waters were filthy in the extreme. The young soldier was a Christian, he believed in prayer, and calling his Christian comrades together he united with them in prayer for water; and the next morning, when they awoke, their eyes were gladdened as they beheld a fountain of pure water gushing from the earth near them, where no water had been found before.

The prison, alluded to in this incident, must be the prison at Salisbury, as this was the only place in North Carolina where our men were confined at the time mentioned. The treatment to which our prisoners were subjected there was barbarous in the extreme. Indeed it was kindred to that which has made the prison pen at Andersonville infamous forever. Accordingly we find in the incident no exaggeration in this respect. The estimate, however, of the force stationed at Salisbury is wide of the truth; and the suspicion which it excites is by no means removed by the statement which follows. Had such a miracle been wrought, as is claimed in this account, it would have made an ineffaceable impression on the mind of every man in the prison ; and we should now have hundreds of living witnesses of its truth. No such witnesses can be found; and we do not hesitate, therefore, to pronounce the incident unfounded in fact, and wholly untrustworthy. Now, when, as in this instance, such a story is pressed into the service of religion, it produces an effect very different from that which is sought. A reflecting Christian, while he still holds the truth illustrated, will at once reject the illustration ; but any other, in rejecting the illustration, will be confronted with doubts respecting the truth itself.

We have been led to these remarks by the examination of the second book, the title of which we have quoted at the head of this

« AnteriorContinuar »