« PreviousContinue »
M a 5 Worolojv); second in order of time, but first in the depth and inwardness of his representative life. He is the great mystery of humanity, hid from ages and from generations, but at last made manifest to his saints (Col. i. 26, 27); “that in the dispensation of the fullness of times, God might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth” (Eph. i. 9, 10); “to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known, by the Church, the manifold wisdom of God” (Eph. iii. 9, 10). He is our peace; the medium of our reconciliation with God; the source thus of a new order of consciousness, in which all previous antagonisms are brought to an end (Eph. ii. 14-22). He is the universal solvent, through whose force the elements of the ethical world are subdued and constituted into new form (Gal. iii. 26-28; 1 Cor. iii. 21-23). Christianity in this view is a new creation, greater and more glorious than the first (Col. i. 16-18). All moral relations come, in Christ, to new significance and force. He is such a real fountain of freedom and power, as never was in the world before. What the law could not do, being weak through the flesh, (Rom. viii. 3, 4,) is accomplished by the mystery of the incarnation; the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, sets men free from the law of sin and death. He is himself, our righteousness and life, (1 Cor. i. 30,) in whom we have redemption through his blood, (Eph. i. 7,) and by whom we have received the atonement (Rom. v. 11). He has abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light (2 Tim. i. 10). He is the foundation of the Church ; it starts in his person; its whole magnificent structure serves only to reveal the full force of the mystery of godliness bere brought into view,(1 Tim. iii. 15, 16,) the riches of the glory of God's inheritance in the saints, and the exceeding greatness of his power towards them that believe, according to the working of his mighty power which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him on his own right hand in the heavenly places (Eph. i. 18-20).
Again, however, we forbear. The difficulty is not to find prooss in the New Testament for the position here called in ques tion, but to make room for them and set them in order. They crowd into view from every side. The idea of a new creation flowing from Christ, and actually lodging in the constitution of the world the force and power of a divine life which was not in it before, may be said to underlie, as a tacit assumption at least, every portion of the evangelical record. To our ears it sounds strangely, we confess, to hear this view of Christianity called in question by any who pretend to follow the Bible as their rule and guide. If the incarnation wrought no change in the spirit
ual posture of the world, but left it in its relations, capacities and powers, just what it was from the beginning, we may well ask with trembling anxiety: In what then did it consist, and what force has it for our salvation ? Could the mystery be real, if it brought no real difference into our life? Can we rationally admit at all the entrance of the Eternal Word into the organism of humanity, if the fact be so taken as to involve no modification still of its previous state, no entrance into it at the same time of a new principle of light and ltfe? The question is not, of course, whether the human world out of Christ remains what it was before; but whether that part of it which is comprehended in Christ, and which forms thus the true central stream of its his. tory, has not come to be filled with new substance and sense. The new creation holds in the bosom of the Church and not beyond it; but it holds there, at the same time, as the inmost substantial sense of humanity itself, the form in which it is required to become universally complete. Christianity, so far as it prevails, is the actual elevation of our general life into a higher sphere of existence. History is made to possess contents by it, which had no place in it before. The possibility of a real and full solution of the problem of man's life, hangs on the actual coming of Christ in the flesh (1 John v. 4, 5, 11, 12, 20). By this, humanity is made complete. He brings into it light, life and immortality, is himself the principle, and fountain, and immediate ground of all this, in the constitution it receives through his person. Just here is the broad chasm, which separates between all rationalism and the true christian faith. The Unitarian sces in Christ only an outward teacher, who accomplishes our salvation by his excellent doctrine and holy example. Does it, how. erer, alter the case materially, to allow the mystery of the incarnation, and yet turn it into an outward occasion only in the service of the same end? If Christ be no principle of life for humanity, if he be not in truth the power of a new creation in its constitution, it follows necressarily that it needs nothing of this sort for its redemption. This is at once Pelagianism.
Let us not be told inen, that it savors of the transcendental, and contradicts the Bible, to say that “the Lord is perpetually born anew in the hearts of believers,” and that Christ is the “principle of a new creation” for the human race. It savors sadly of the rationalistic, to have any other view; and we may well be amazed, to find such skepticism placidly arrogating 10 itself the title evangelical, as its own special distinction, and boldly underpinning its want of faith with the pretended wholesale authority of the Bible. Unitarianism plants itself too on the “teaching of the Bible," with quite as much reason, and full as good a grace.
J. W. N.
UNIVERSAL HISTORY-THE INDIANS.
Preliminary Remarks. We now leave China and pass over to the history of India. But it is necessary to premise that our attention will be exclusively occupied with its western division, or as it is now called, Hindostan. Chin-India, or Farther India, and the Indian islands, have never been the theatre of any eminent historical exploits. As their inhabitants never contributed to the growth of society, or the advance of civilization, we pass them by without any further notice. Those nations alone have a valid claim on our consideration which had a character peculiar to themselves, or exerted a controlling influence on the world in a political, scientific, artistic and religious way.
Geographical Outline. The mighty peninsula of India, like Italy, in Europe, stretches its immense surface southward towards the Indian Ocean. Its southern portion, known in history by the name of Decan, and forming the peninsula proper, is surrounded by water, and occupies a naturally isolated position. Its northern portion, which is traversed by two large rivers, the Indus and the Ganges, extends to the base of the Solyman and Himmaleh mountains. Its natural qualities and geograpical features are distinguished by their grandeur and by their variety. Its scenery is sublime and enchanting. Surrounded by the Arabian sea and the Indian ocean, irrigated by two noble stream: which pour their fertilizing inundations over a vast extent of territory, embracing within its bounds the declivities of three mountain ranges, and well-watered plains of unvaried riches and unbounded luxuriance, wild, ferocious animals, it possesses an unexampled power of vegetation, tall, majestic forests, stately palms, aromatic shrubs, and every variety of natural productions in rich abundance. In this country so admirably adapted for the cultivation of a civilization peculiarly its own, have flourished from the earliest periods on record, a remarkable race, whose history is well worthy of our notice. Hindustan extends somewhat above twenty-four hundred miles from north to south, in breadth about fifteen hundred miles from east to west.
Influence of these Geographical Relations. In India as well as in China, the physical configuration of the country has left its impress clearly printed upon the character of its inhabitants. The surface of China presents a uniform aspect; its social, political, intellectual and religious spirit is marked by a tedious sameness, never strives to surmount the culture it has already attained. Not so with India. An endless diversity is the main feature of its geography. Nature seems to have been determined to favor Hindostan with all the innumerable forms of her beautiful life Here the most opposite extremes that can possibly exist on the surface of our planet, meet and extend to each other the hand of friendship. Her face wears a continually changing aspect. India is split into several distinct divisions, differing in formation and appearance. In the north and in Decan, the rivers run in totally different directions; chains of lofty mountains, large, extended tablelands, deep fruitful valleys, uninhabited deserts and unhealthy marshes, are scattered over the country. Its surface never presents an even, harmonious appearance, but is broken into numerous sections, each marked by particular features. The Indians likewise have not the same character throughout, but seem to correspond to the special locality they severally inhabit. An intense individuality approaching to egotism, which spurns intercourse with foreigners, marks their character.
History of the Indians. The history of Hindostan divides itself naturally into three principal periods. As for many centuries past it has made no real advancement in civilization, we will pursue the came course we took with China, and delineate its history from its beginning down to the present day, confining ourselves to the most important facts.
The First Period. 1600 B. C.-327 B. C.
Of the character and civilization of the people who are said to have inhabited India previous to the year 1600, as well as of the chronological tables used by Indian historians, we possess no satis
factory accounts. It is a fact, however, authenticated by indubitable evidence, that about this time a powerful race descended from the Northern mountains and subjugated the country. Of the fabulous accounts which obscure the records of these early times, we will only mention the supposed invasion of Semiramis, the celebrated queen of Assyria and Bactria, during the reign of the Indian monarch Stabrobates (in Sancrit, Stha vara patis, lord of the world). It was recorded by Ctesias, a Grecian author, who imagined that it occurred in the year 2000 B. C. The account of the victorious march of Sesostris, who is said to have overrun entire India, rests throughout on no historical probability whatever. The annals both of India and Egypt, contain no notice of these expeditions ; nor have modern researches thrown any light upon the subject.
Beside other weighty considerations, which seem to prove that India came into contact with the western world at any early period, the Scriptural account of the commerce carried on by the Phenicians and Jews, in the time of Solomon, with Ophir, and a few expressions to be found in the writings of Homer, point most clearly to an acquaintance with the Sancrit language and India.* It may be affirmed with considerable certainty, that the Indians, though they never travelled beyond the bounds of their native land, carried on, nevertheless, a considerable commerce with the Phænicians, 1000 B.C., whose enterprising spirit led them forth from their homes to explore distant countries.
On account of the scarcity of authentic sources of information, our knowledge of the first period of Indian history, which extends to the year 327 B. C., when Alexander the Great invaded the country, is exceedingly limited. Every truly important historical occurrence proceeded from the activity of the Arier or Sancrit people, who had abandoned their abodes in the northern mountains and conquered India. During this period, the division of the inhabitants into four orders, or castes, took its rise. The manner of its origin is
REMARK.—The word xacoltepos, for example, in Homer, is closely allied to the Sancrit Kastiza. Besides, the length of the voyage to and from Phænicia, as described in the Bible, favors the supposition that Ophir was situated in India. On the western coast of India was situated a city similar jo sound to the name Ophir. In addition to all this, it must be borne in mind, that in the Coptic dialect, India is always called Sophir.