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and glories ofnature disappear in their unseen cause. It is not the tar he sees, it is the congeries of laws it represents; it is the great keleton of the universe, stripped of foliage, light, and warmth, shich stands up before him-a shadow as well as a skeleton. His vind, or temperament, may be called the cold jelly in which the beteor of the Hebrew genius spent itself. Paul possessed great balytical and logical power, coupled, however, with a passionate ad lyrical nature; but Spinoza is "Old Analysis” himself. Yet his impossible to deny bim profound penetration and thoroughping honesty. His very inability to sympathise with the imagina100
, the enthusiasm, and the taste for the marvellous which istinguished his countrymen, led him to do the more justice to the moral element of those writings with which he could sympathise. is piety proceeded not so much from the heart as from the legal
orderly character of his genius, which in some points reminds # of Moses, although it is of a much colder cast. With the childlike and benevolent spirit of Christ, Spinoza was less en rapport, ltkough he acknowledges the spirituality and universality of his recepts
. The attempt to resuscitate Spinoza's writings from the oblivion
which they had fallen, is not likely to be hailed by a very ge portion of the public. Those who sympathise with his views to the canon, will prefer the more modern rationalistic books
the subject, where the question is treated with the advantage the lights of recent criticism. His theology, like that of all Pansists
, is sterile, and can never propagate to any great extent. It sublime thought indeed, that of the Divine idea giving without fe, withholding
or punishing without hatred, looking rather to the be than to the individual, to the whole than to the parts, pursuing eternal silence its own dignified and inscrutable path. But it ks the life, interest, and beauty which the doctrine of the fatherod of God, and some of the other elements of evangelicalism, sent. The evangelical creed offers a kind of certainty and security which men and especially women are fain to cling, and which cannot essentially disturbed even were the more philosophical and liberal ories turning out to be true. Should Spinoza's dream be realized, Christian can only sink, spent and lost, in the same ocean with rest of mankind. If all men are to be saved, he will, of irse. If a few only are to be singled out, he has the best of inces, to say the least ; a chance which is increased to certainty the case of the Papist, of the Methodist, or any religionist who Ids personal assurance. And hence the popularity of these creeds th a vast number of men, women, and children, who like the srtest cut to heaven, and think the shortest the securest. Where tre is no doubt as to religion, there is seldom any as to ontward irality, and thus the votaries of unhesitating creeds are usually
correct and often zealous in conduct. Unquestionably, too, element of child-like submission which implicit faith and assui imply, exerts a beneficial effect as the teacher of humility, in general of sincerity. On the other hand, evangelical sec is sometimes apt to lead to uncharitableness, to dogmatisi narrow-mindedness—with some, to efforts at proselytising of pharisaic type which Christ denounces; and with others, to s isolation or fierce fanaticism.
The vital want of Spinozism, as of all similar systems, is that Christianity so abundantly supplies—the want of a great h link uniting us with the divine of one who is at once Man and —who unites human and genial elements with perfection as a racter, and infallibility as a guide. This is the sublime truth Christianity gave us originally, and which the Reformation res Many infallibilities, such as that of the Pope—of the Churc Creeds and Confessions have perished to belief. But th fallibility of that great scheme of moral and religious which radiates from and centres in the Divine Prop! Galilee, is the real and only Rock of Ages. It satisfies want in the human bosom, and is not opposed, we believe, conclusions of manly and candid intellect and research. It tutes the kernel of Christianity, rescued from that husk and which were necessary to its concoction--the essence of the Ol New Testaments freed from a thousand minute and non-es elements, which yet were of immense importance to its grow development. It is the high task of this age to extract that and collect that essence, and in this we should not omit to o even the writings of the “noble and misunderstood " Spinoza.
It is impossible not to congratulate ourselves, on the whole the attitude the best and wisest of Christians are now ass towards their opponents ; they are not only forgiving then hate them, and blessing them that curse them, but they are fi out that many of their apparently bitterest foes were frien brothers—friends in mistake, and brothers in disguise. Th discovering something good even in Hobbes, and suggest Spinoza. God forbid that it should ever be otherwise ! God that the illiberal reaction which has begun both in England Scotland, should, from a petty, become a large and multitu movement, through the mere force of false and unprincipled u A Church which does not now allow the fullest margin for i is doomed-may remain a Church, but will be deserted by thi and true; and a Church, however large, which has no new ir tion to boast of—which shall include no great progressive within its ranks—which, while boasting of its plusquam ] unity of opinion, may thus only prove that the vast majority ministers are below the standard, where, in the present day,
inquiry must arise, and may produce divergencies of view; they are shrieking gorillas instead of thinking men, which trust mainly in dogma, mechanism, and money, and discover ep sympathy with the young and struggling souls, with the rer speculations and uncertainties of the enormous majority inking laymen, and with the profound and determined inquif the age-such a Church may attract the ignorant, overawe imid and superstitious, repay the mercenary, and fascinate whose ambition is at once unprincipled and small, but can be a Pharos of light, or a centre of hope and promise to the years of the nineteenth century.
SUNDAY READINGS.No. VI.
THE HOLY CHILD JESUS.
I breakfast on Sunday, June 17th,” says Dr. Robinson, “I walked out o the top of the hill over Nazareth. Here a glorious prospect opened view. The air was perfectly clear and serene; and I shall never forget chanting panorama that burst suddenly upon me. There, to the south, : magnificent plain of Esdraelon; to the east, the sea of Galilee and the of its surrounding hills; to the north, the snow-covered summits of B; to the west, Carmel and the Mediterranean, gleaming in the morn1. In the village below, the Saviour of the world had passed his childFrom the spot where I sat, his eyes must often have gazed upon the id prospect around me. I remained for some hours under the shadow of lost in contemplation." 1.8, in imagination, also visit the pleasant breezy summit of those encirills, and think of the bright vision that once lighted up the “village " where the people sat in darkness. are the notices of the “Gospel of the Infancy" in the Scriptures. No l-inspired Murillo was commissioned to paint the picture of the early f that life, which was like a fair lily in the wilderness. We have four arratives of the Passion, but only a few descriptive touches of the childof Jesus. Let us gather up the few hints dropped by the evangelist. egrew in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man." The lity was developed according to the regular laws of nature. A trifling ent to make respecting anyone else, but noteworthy in relation to Him hom dwelt all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” In the holy of dwelt the Everlasting Light; but it beamed only with a dim restrained ce through the mysterious veil which separated it from the
human mind uinistered in the first sanctuary." That some bright rays broke through ark curtain in childhood, it is impossible to doubt ; but the full revelathe consciousness of the complex mystery of divine and human personmust have been reserved for after-days. Only gradually was the WonOne revealed even to himself; and the innocence and weakness of childdwelt unchanged beneath the overshadowing glory of the Infinite.
Unchanged so far as this, that the finite intellect did not cease to be ch like, since, as to Omniscience, there was the hiding of its power; but not 1 rally uninfluenced by the divine companionship, since the image of God sh forth from a face like the blue heavens without a cloud. We may well bel that the labouring fancy of art, through all the centuries, has failed as to depict worthily the childish countenance that expressed the sweetness majesty of Eternal Love. A light of more than angelic perfection must! shone around that head on which were to rest so “many crowns." Wei well suppose that, in earliest infancy, a divine unusual calm surrounded holy child, growing up in blissful silence; and afterwards that a cons affectionate obedience, an industrious compliancy with the will of his mi pondering mother, and freedom from all sinful passion or boyish vulgarit temper, attested the early beauty of the Rose of Sharon blooming in the sh
Yes; how the mind labours after the conception of the scenes in that penter's workshop and home, then the most sacred temple in the world ! think, for example, how the first efforts of Joseph and Mary to convey to opening mind knowledge of the things of God, were met with wond readiness by a revelation from within ;-how all the rays of wisdom shi from without grew pale before the bright effulgent light from the interi his soul ;-how his understanding in religious knowledge seemed a gre from inward life much rather than a building piled up by external agenc how the prattle and the playfulness of early childhood were in his cas free from vanity and passion, if, indeed, the holy childhood bore not ra in a natural exceeding pensiveness the prophetic traces of his destiny a Man of sorrows; so that a melancholy seclusion of spirit, not less thu innate sublimity of thought, separated from other children the “ rejecte men;"—how his early prayers were not the form of an infantile liturgy repel night and morning, in joy or weariness, without thought or care, but from earliest use of speech and dawn of reason the passionate divine breathin a heaven-born soul, turning by a natural instinct its eagle eye upon the si spirits; a soul without the sense of sin, that feasted itself the d brightness as upon its proper intellectual aliment—a soul not once distu by anger or moroseness, crafty dealings, or the spasms of obstinate self-# a spirit that moved evenly in its orbit, like a bright planet unclouded by mists of evil, and poised in serenity upon the “poles of truth."
Devout fancy, methinks, delights to dwell upon the image of this Prin the kings of the earth in his earliest boyhood. See him in Joseph's workshi he grew old enough to lend a hand of help, however trifling, to that. man,” the Carpenter of Nazareth, now holding the tools required in cession, now trying an unsteady hand with the hammer or the saw, while and again Joseph was struck dumb and brought to a halt in his industry sudden glance at that marvellous countenance like a window into heave by some soul-searching, truth-piercing question from his lips. See him a on clear Sabbath mornings, in the village boy's best attire, clean and holy "spotless lamb," hasting in Mary's hand, in good time, to the synagogu the hill-side - where he was brought up;" there distinguished amidst crowds of formal or noisy worshippers by his devout attention, by the ze his adoration, and by his voice as the chorister of God in psalmody up! with the warmth and vigour of an angel's hymn.
See him, too, sometimes, when a little older, on summer evenings, ascen the heights alone, to gaze abroad over the vast panorama of northern Pales while the Mediterranean lay westward like " a sea of glass mingled ! fire" flashing under the beams of the descending sun, and Hermon Hung! the radiance from his snow-crowned summits,—there gazing until the s twilight had darkened into the gloaming, and the firmament was alight the constellations ; when he, the Son of the Blessed, would prostrate him
e the King of Eternity, and pour out the ardour of his youthful spirit in cstacy of delighted worship, or in the lonely far-resounding voice of a 1. Was there ever such an altar, or ever a worshipper so pure ? len, what must have been the influence of the Holy Child at home? In
households, the chief formative influence descends from the elders of amily upon the younger ones. Here it was the reverse; the grand ting religious influence was from the child upon the elders; his character ting truth and love upon all around; the thought of God and of eternity growing brighter and clearer in his mind; his presence a lesson, his life cessant example of the glory of religion. ry interesting, also, to inquire how and when the consciousness of his deslawned upon him. Did Mary early acquaint him with the prophecies rent on before him; with the visions of angels that shone over his birth thlehem; with the solemn blessings of Simeon and Anna in the Temple; the visit of the magi to the manger, under the guidance of the wandering with the inspired dreams of Joseph; and the Egyptian journey, under the il direction of heaven? Unless her lips were sealed, she would have been unlike other mothers if she did not. Then, who can properly imagine was the effect of those outward instructions, combining with the promptf the Spirit that equally announced from within his celestial origin? gh can be conceived to assist us to understand that his feelings would be ar to himself, when promised for the first time that he should accompany rents and the devout persons of Nazareth to Jerusalem, to celebrate in emple the great spring festival of the Passover. That Temple would be a much more than the cottage at Nazareth, his father's house. The only int of his childhood recorded in the gospels occurred during one of these visits. The festival was over. The sacrifices, the loud exulting songs : Temple service, were completed. The many thousands of Israel were rsing again in scattered caravans to their homes. The sunlit metropolis, its groves and gardens, was fading in the distance. The pilgrims halt for evening rest, when it is discovered that Jesus was not there. Joseph and return, seeking him “in sorrow." We know the misery occasioned by issing of a child. They hunt through the streets and lanes of the city, hrough the open squares. They inquire at every inn; they look in at synagogue. At length, on the third day, they bethink themselves of the le
, with its vast surrounding colonnades. There the people were accustomed lk, and to sit under the shade of the cedar roofs shining with inlaid marble old. They find a crowd assembled round a number of learned scribes and 18. Approaching, they hear the voice of a child—it was their lost son.
rushed in, mother-like, “Son, why hast thou dealt thus with us ? t ye not,” replied he, “that I must be at my Father's? Where should I it at home?" They understood not the saying that he spake to them. his answer indicates that he at least understood his own relationship to
A warning was here for Mary; it behoved her henceforth to learn that n the human was subordinate to the divine. isons also there were for the doctors of Jerusalem, the great authors and urters of the system of pharisaic formalism under which the nation sat in
There, on high benches, they sat, clothed in their long robes, led with their phylacteries and high-sounding titles, “had in reputation
the people." At their feet sat the marvellous boy, his bright open beaming with the lustre of heaven, his eyes (afterwards to be as a
of fire) flashing with the living glances of an intelligence which ashed all who beheld it. That was a terrible tribunal for learned pharisao confront--the mind of the honest and God-fearing child! It is often alt to answer the questions which ordinary children propose on estab1 doctrines and institutions ; but for those pharisees and doctors to have