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sect, within its own limits, plays itself off as the Church; not merely as a church, one amongst many, as the language at times goes; but as the Church, which by its very conception is one and not many, universal and not partial, catholic and not denominational. All this is much the same sort of inconsistency and contradiction, which we meet in the old heathen notion of national or local deities, gods pretending to be possessed of divine attributes, whose force at the same time stopped short with the boundary of a mountain or river. Still the gross inconsistency of the thing is not regarded; and a whole score of sects sit beside each other, all putting on the airs of Jupiter in their separate spheres, and smiling towards each other graciously in token of their mutual toleration and forbearance. Each of them bas its own tradition, its authority, its keys to open and to shut, its prophetical, priestiy and kingly powers and pretensions, the whole moral paraphernalia indeed of the papacy itself, only not on the same wide sweeping scale and not in the same bold open way. All this is a contradiction; but it forms at the same time an iinportant testimony to the truth of the Church, and is in fact a standing acknowledgment on the part of the sects, that their own starting point is false and untenable ; that the Bible and private judgment are not the sole factors of Christianity; that it must have the basis of a real historical existence besides to rest upon, in order that it may carry with it any true and proper authority in the world. In this respect Sectarianisın is a witness for important truth, in the first place against itself, and then of course still more decidedly against all mere Bible Christianity, its own natural and proper end,) as we have it here represented by Mr. Stockton and Mr. Craig.
The truth to which witness is thus borne is the objective being of the Church, and so in this view the authority which belongs to the living historical revelation of Christianity in the world, along with the outward letter and word of it contained in the Bible. 'To make the Bible the bearer of all necessary truth for the individual mind, aside from the presence of the living fact of Christianity itself, is virtually to deny this fact, and to fall into the plausible net of rationalism. There is always a grand fallacy then involved in the imagination, that we get nearer to the truth in proportion as we make use of the Scriptures for the purpose in an exclusive and independent way. That is in fact to wrong the inspired volume itself. This takes for granted throughout the living spirit of Christianity as a real revelation in the world, by which only from age to age its proper force and meaning can become fully known. A purely Biblical Christianiiy can never be a complete Christianity. It must be at the same time historical, the result of the real powers of the new creation working out in a whole way, from generation to generation, the solution of its own great problem.
J. W. N.
THE BIRTH DAY OF THE CHURCH.
$1. The Miracle of Pentecost. Next to the Incarnation and Resurrection of the Son of God; the outpouring of the Holy Ghost and the birth of the Church constitutes the most important and influential fact recorded on the pages of history. As a miracle of the highest order which is daily repeated on a smaller scale in the regeneration and awakening of men, it entered the sphere of our human life attended and certified by phenomena of a supernatural character. Thousands who witnessed it on the day of Pentecost submitted to its conquering power. Over the entire surface of society it has scattered in rich profusion the seeds of life, and is destined, under the direction of Providence, to transform by the energy of the Spirit the whole human family into the image of Christ and unite it in close fellowship 10 God. For the subject now in hand must not be regarded as an isolated, transitory event whose impress has been worn away by the march of time, but as the generative gerin of an infinite series of divine revelations in the course of history, as a fountain of life whose purifying waters flow with uninterrupted course through the channels of time into the bosom of a boundless eternity. The Holy Spirit who had hitherto enlightened, in a temporary and sporadic manner, a special class of men selected by Providence as the representatives of the Old Testament Dispensation, now appeared in the world as an integral, abiding member of its constitution, took up his residence in ihe hearts of a believing congregation, and has since manifested his power as the divine principle of light and life by means of which the redemption accomplished by Christ is to be made effectual in the conversion of men and the propa. gation of truth. Previous to his death our Lord expressly declared to his mourning disciples that the communication of the Spirit of Truth as an abiding blessing depended upon his going to the Father. “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if
I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. In his farewell discourses delivered before his death as well as in his final valedictory prior to the Ascension (Acts 1 : 8,) when He commanded them to tarry at Jerusalem till the promise should be fulfilled and they be baptised with the Spirit, He spake with special emphasis concerning the absolute necessity of his departure as the essential condition of the descent of the Comforter (v. 4, 5,).
That this remarkable occurrence which unquestionably constitutes one of the most prominent parts of history, might attract the attention of men of every clime and every longue, God, in His infinite wisdom, had selected, for the time of its appearance, from the three great festivals of the Jews that which bore a like typical relation to the founding of the Church as the Passover to the death and resurrection of Christ. According to the comunon reckoning from the 16th of Nisan when harvest season began (Lev. 23: 11, Deut. 16: 9), Pentecost came on the fiftieih day · after the day immediately following Easter Sabbath (Lev. 23: 15, &c.), and was honored by the Jews with a double nieaning. It was a festival of thanksgiving for the first fruits of the harvest which took place during the seven weeks preceding, and, on this account, is called in ihe Old Testament the feast of weeks or the feast of harvest.' Besides, according to old Rabbinical tradition, it had at the same time reference to the establishment of the Theocracy by the giving of the Law at Sinai which happened about this season of the year (comp. Ex. 19 : 1), and, on this account, was called the law-jubilee. Both significations coincided exactly with the nature of the first Christian Pentecost when the types of the Old Testament economy were gloriously fulfilled. For then were gathered into the
'John 16: 7, comp. the remarkable passage John 7: 39.: For the Holy Ghost was not yet given (namely to the believers), because that Jesus was not yet glorified,” and John 12: 24, where Christ speaks with reference to his death: “Except a corn fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit."
2 Hence the name, from the greek ημέρα πεντεκοστή οι πεντεκοστή merely as subst. (thus Tobiae 2: 1, 2 Macc. 12: 32.)
· Hag Haschebuoth” (Deut. 16 : 9, &c., Ex. 23: 16, Lev. 23: 15, &c.), αγία επτά εβδομάδων (Tobiae 2: 1,).
• " Hag Hakezir," also “ Jom Habecorim" (The Day of the first fruits, Numb. 28. 26).
6“Simchath' Hathorah.” As regards this meaning of the festival the Old Testament and the writings of Philo and Josephus convey no certain information. It was inferred, however, from a comparison of Ex. 12: 2 and 19: 1.
garners of the Church, as the matured harvest of the Jewish nation, the first fruits of the Christian faith. Then was established the communion of the new covenant with privileges in no way restricted to a single nation or age, but gratuitously offered to all nations and ages by God who in the place of the letter of thel aw written on tables of stone which had power only to destroy The awakened sinner, implanted in the hearts of his followers the law of the spirit of life which works by love.
In the second chapter of the Acts we have a brief but comprehensive account of this significant event and the circumstances connected with it. In the
era, on a Sabbath? day of the festival of Pentecost succeeding the resurrection of
"As regards the correctness of our era we agree with Bengeland Wieseler who admit that it commences four years too late. Comp. the “ Chronolog. Synopsis of the four Gospels” by Wieseler, 1843, p. 43, &c. Accord. ing to the statement of Luke (3. 23, comp. the corresponding chronological date in John 2 : 20) Christ was about thirty years old when baptized ; according to John he labored in his public ministry three years. He must have died, therefore, in the 34th year of his age.
* This view of the case must be adopted, because the 151h of Nisan, on which day according to the synoptic Gospels (with which also John, though apparently at variance with them, can and must be reconciled) Christ died, came on a Friday; consequently the 6th of Nisan of that year was a Sabbath Eve. If we reckon from this, according to the order given in Lev. 23 : 15, fifty days, we cannot obtain a Sunday as the late Dr. Olshausen (in his commentary on Acts 2: 1) supposed who evidently started, in his calculation, with the same supposition, but again a Sunday Eve as Wieseler righily judges (in his excellent“ Chronology of the Apostolic Period” 1948, p. 19). In his chronological system all the results of which, however, we cannot adopt, this learned scholar attempts to ascertain still more precisely the festival of Pentecost and places it on the 6th of Sivan or the 27th of May, inasmuch as, according to his calculations, Christ died on the 8th day of April of the year 30. But, now, this view stands opposed to the primi. tive and universal practice of the Church which was accustomed to celebrate Pentecost on a Sabbath, on the fillieth day after the Resurrection, and the tenth after the ascension of Christ. This difficulty, however, would easily be removed if we adopt the view of the Caraei, who alfirmed, in opposition to the Pharisees, that the word now in the decisive passage Lev. 23: 11, 15, 16, must not be explained as referring to the first Easter day (the 15th Nisan) which was kept as a Sabbath no matter on what day it came, but to the proper Sabbath, that is, the seventh day of the week. la such case Pentecost would always come on a Sunday. This same view has been ably set forth by the acute Hitzig who urges its correctness, mainly, on lexicographic grounds (Easter and Pentecost. Letter to Ideler-Heidelberg, 1837). But it cannot be proven that the customs of the Caraei were prevalent in the time of Christ. On this account the safest method, perhaps, is to refer the celebration of Pentecost on a Sunday by the Church to an evangelical opposition to Judaism as the reason, which, in the end also, caused the celebration of the Passover to be changed from fixed days of the month to fixed days of the week and of the Sabbath to a Sunday.
Christ, the Apostles and other disciples of Jesus, in number about 120, (comp. Acts 1: 15,) were assembled with one accord in their house of prayer, or, as seems to us more probable, in a department of the temple.' During the first season for devotion (about 9 o'clock in the morning,) unusual phenomena announced the fulfillment of an event which had been promised with the most solemn assurance, expected with the most intense de
Similar difficulties are connected with the place of assembling. Luke designates the place by oikos, C. 2 : 2, without any more precise determination of it. The majority of commentators, and amongst them Neander (Hist. of Apos. I p. 13, of the fourth Edition), admit that this expression in iiself resers most naturally to a private house. If we adopt this meaning to the exclusion of others, we must suppose that the disciples, having been assembled in an upper chamber (umepwov) which was used according to Orieotal fashion for prayer, (comp. Acts 1 : 13) stepped forth upon the flat roof, and thence addressed the people gathered in the forecourt; for in the house itself the immense multitude, of whom 3000 were baptized, could not possibly have been accommodated. But it is not absolutely necessary thal oixos be referred to a private house. In 1 Kings 8: 10 (LXX) the word denotes the whole temple; with greater propriety may it be taken for iepóv when, as in the present case, a single department is spoken of. It is not even necessary to recur to the passages in Josephus' Antiq. VIII, 3, 2 where the thirty side-chambers which surrounded the main edifice, are called over ; for the temple itself included several buildings, dixoi, oikocopai, (comp. Mark 13: 1,2, Math. 24: 1). Thal oixos in this present instance need not necessarily refer to a private house but to some department in the temple as both Olshausen and Wieseler conclude, will appear evident from the following considerations: 1. According to Luke 24 : 53 and Acts 2: 46, (comp. Acts 5: 42) the disciples assembled daily in the temple. They still adhered to the worship practised by their fathers. These statemenis of Luke, apart from any positive declaration, authorize the conclusion that on the day of Pentecost the disciples were wont to assemble in the temple and on this one particularly they would not fail to be present. But he even signifies this much by the remark c. 2. 15 that the event happened about the third hour (9 o'clock in the morning) when the Jews presented their daily morning sacrifices in the temple. 2. This supposition gives to the entire occurrence a greater degree of credibility and renders it more easy of explanation. The gathering of the multitude in the temple, particularly, admits of a more natural interpretation. 3. Finally, we may say with Ols. hausen that the event itself gains in importance if it be adınitted that “the solemn inauguration of the Church of Christ took place in the sanctuary of the old covenant.” It might be objecied, however, to this last remark that Christianity as an invocation of God in Spirit and in Truth attaches far less importance than either Judaism or Paganism, to the sacrednes of particulartimes and places. The first two reasons, however, prove to us conclusively that the out.pouring of the Spirit was accomplished within the precincis of the temple. The mere mention of Pentecost c. 2: I would lead us 10 suppose this much; the entire connection would warrant a reference of oikos to a private house only in case the text necessarily compelled to such a meaning. But the expression oixos itself by no means includes such necessity.