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paschal-feast is the remaining break in the silence which we have to notice. This also has a distinct connection with his keeping of the whole law, for the time of life at which he is reported to have arrived at the period in question was a year short of the age at which male Israelites were privileged to commence the observance of the festival. We have examined the exceptions to the blank in the history of our Lord corresponding to the first thirty years of his life; and in every case (excepting the adoration of the Magi, which is a kind of presage of his royal character) discern in the inspired narrative a jealous silence on every incident that does not tend directly to prove his accurate fulfilment of all types essential to his priestly office. This leads at once to the inference that the peculiar character in which our Lord offered an atonement for sin, and became an instructor of the world, was that which inspiration aims at making prominent. We are bidden to contemplate not so much the exalted personage, not so much the object of worldly admiration, but the instructor of mankind. If he works a miracle, it is to draw attention to his teaching; when he teaches, it is to elevate those who give heed. And this inference extends to the whole canon of inspiration, and adequately accounts for silence on all other topics, that the moral perfecting of the race, or to speak scripturally, the restoration of sinful man to the divine image and favour, is the object sought in every page. Moral and spiritual advancement must be a pre-requisite to further enlightenment of mind. I have yet many things to say unto you,' observed our Lord to his disciples during the last days of his earthly sojourn, but ye cannot bear them now' (John xvi. 12). And may not this be said of the Church even yet? The subjoined promise awaits a future plenary fulfilment. When He the Spirit of Truth is come he shall guide you into all truth (ver. 13), for the revelations expressed in terms so comprehensive must extend to infinity in amount and require eternity for their development.

Reason and Scripture alike bid us wait for future communications of knowledge. No one has yet discovered limits to the inherent powers of the human mind. Moral obliquity diverts its operations, physical infirmity retards them, but its own pure essence demands only free scope that it may fulfil the original

That this was the purpose for which our Lord was now taken up, viz., not to celebrate the Passover, but to appear, as one of the male Israelites, at a stated time of such appearing before the Lord-to be made, in short, a disciple of the Law, and to undergo a ceremony something like to our confirmation-is presumptively cer tain even from what is recorded of his mode of employment in the temple, when he was found sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them and asking them questions; and astonishing those who heard him by his understanding and answers.' -Greswell, vol. i. p. 343.

design of its creation. The anticipation of such a state commends itself to reason, and is confirmed by revelation. And when this state shall open upon us, we may well conceive that things hitherto unrevealed shall be made plain. In short, the silence of Scripture suggests the subjects of future revelations. And here another question occurs to us, whether the soul's advancement will not be regulated by distinct progressive steps. The world has hitherto witnessed a succession of dispensations in which the light has struggled from dawn towards the culminating point of noon. Prophets and kings in one dispensation have desired to see things seen by fishermen in the next. The least in the new kingdom was greater than the greatest prophet of the preceding. The same order may still be observed, and what it just enters into the heart to conceive at one period, shall be palpable to sight and hearing at one still future. Our highest mental pleasures depend on the previous awakening of inquiry. The mind prepares its storehouse for the admission of new treasure. Who has not counted the strata in some precipitous cliff and pondered over the successive creative dispensations thereby indicated; each one of them implying the lapse of millenniums? Creative agency has been ceaselessly at work, and the wondrous timepiece that has recorded its operations is literally graven with pen of iron upon the rock. This analogy we safely apply to the moral dispensations of the past; we hazard the conjecture of its applicability to those of the future.

We have already observed that no dissertation can exhaust the subject now under inquiry. It is not easy to bring one so indefinite under distinct investigation. Consequently, it is not less difficult to lay down canons of interpretation. But the foregoing discussions of particular instances of Scripture-silence have so far embodied principles, that we may venture to enunciate them without elevating them to the rank of distinct rules.

I. When silence is observed on any given subject, ascertain whether it is absolute or partial.

II. Is the subject one wherein analogy would have led us to expect a revelation?

III. The fact of suppression being ascertained, how does it bear upon truths already known?

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In this state we leave the inquiry, claiming no more than to have suggested certain aids to reflection' to those who love to penetrate the surface of biblical study, and dig deep into its mines; to those who are prepared to infer from the silence of Scripture the definite scope of revelation, and to discern the peculiar value set upon the truths revealed by Him who is their author.

PASCAL'S

PASCAL'S CONCEPTION OF THE PECULIAR

ESSENCE OF CHRISTIANITY

IN RELATION TO PHILOSOPHY IN GENERAL AND THE COMMON NATURE OF THE RELIGIOUS CONSCIOUSNESS.

A LECTURE, by Dr. AUG. NEander.

Translated from the German by the Rev. J. TULLOCH.

IN our former lecture,a on Pascal, we considered his views in so far as they related to the philosophy of religion, or the general nature of the religious consciousness. We did not enter upon his view of the special nature or essence of Christianity. We will now, however, do this, while we at the same time follow out the train of reflection in our former lecture. And, in doing so, it will be equally our aim to discriminate between the great truths in Pascal's system, available for all ages, and his own special Jansenistic conception of them, with which, as we formerly pointed out, they have no essential connection.

It is Pascal's great merit, as we explained in our first lecture, to have seen more profoundly and defined more precisely than any other the original ground of difference between the religious and every other species of apprehension. The clear conception of this forms the only safeguard alike against scepticism and dogmatism, scholasticism and rationalism. And it is especially important for our age to hold it firmly, when, on the one hand, the peculiar province of religion is like to be sacrificed to a one sided Intellectualism, which would swallow up everything, and on the other, the distinction between a mere creed, however systematic and clearly expressed, and the essence of religious faith and life, threatens to be always placed more in the back ground.

Pascal presupposes two factors as necessary to religious apprehension: the communication of God with the spirit of man or revelation, and the corresponding inward susceptibility, or divine

a A translation of this lecture was inserted in No. VI. of the Journal of Sacred Literature.

b Den genetischen process, wodurch, und die eigenthümliche Art wie das Erkennen göttlicher Dinge, das religiose Erkennen sich von anderen Arten der Erkenntniss unterschiedet.

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Erkennen,' as in the previous sentence, which is used indiscriminately throughout the lecture with erkenntniss, and would perhaps be more strictly rendered cognition.'

principle

principle in man, which, bursting its bonds, must resign itself to the revelation of its great Author. The religious disposition can only exist where this divine principle in man susceptibly unfolds itself to God. This holds true of all religious apprehension, whether produced through the divine revelation in nature or in Christianity. It is everywhere the same law which regulates revelation, and the manner in which it takes place is expressly conditioned just to excite in man the divine principle, without which this revelation cannot be apprehended. All depends upon the will, which determines the human disposition either to God or to the world. Such a thing as a compulsory revelation, a demonstrable system of truth, capable of being sensibly apprehended and seized upon equally by all through the medium of the understanding or reason, were neither possible nor desirable. All has been and is designed to lay hold of the free susceptibility of the human spirit-the motive power of the will;d and thus it is that what constitutes revelation to one who yields with susceptible sense to the religious disposition is, and in fact must be, a cause of stumbling to another in whom this disposition is wanting, and who is ruled only by a worldly bias. What excites faith in the one will only confirm unbelief in the other. Such is the necessary process of development-dependent entirely upon ethical forcesof religious conviction. And just thus is there, in all the revelations of God, as well in nature and history generally, as in the special revelation of His grace in christianity, such a mixture of light and darkness, of that which on the one hand invites to faith, and on the other ministers to doubt; everywhere God revealing and yet concealing himself-revealing himself to the susceptible, concealing himself from the unsusceptible-all with a view to this ethical process of development of faith, which, going out from the inmost soul, is determined by the very nature of the will. Pascal, it is true, from his Jansenistic point of view brings here into application the opposition of the predestinated and non-predestinated, and would lead back the distinction between them to God himself. But this is something by no means essentially connected with the great truth unfolded by him. There ever remains the same antagonism in the ground-inclination of men, with a view to which all revelation is given, although it may not be true, with Pascal, that this opposition is to be traced to a divine decree as its cause. The great law which Pascal applies to the development process of the religious apprehension is, in fact, just that expressed in the words of Christ, He that has, to him shall be given.'

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We will now, in confirmation of what we have said, adduce

d Den Uebel der Willensrichtung.

some

some of Pascal's luminous statements. In one of his letters of date 1648, for the first time published by Faugère, he gives the first expression to these views. We must,' he says, 'regard ourselves as criminals whose prison is quite filled with representations of their deliverer, and with the requisite directions for obtaining their freedom. But it must be confessed that we cannot read these sacred symbols without a supernatural light; for as all things speak of God to those who know Him, and reveal Him to those who love Him, these very things yet tend to obscure Him from those who do not know Him.' (i. 9.) And so also in another letter of the year 1656 (i. 38),If God continually revealed himself to men faith could have no value, as we could not help believing; and, if He never revealed himself, there could hardly be such a thing as faith.' This he applies to nature, as a veil under which God conceals, and yet reveals himself; and likewise also to the letter of Holy Scripture as a similar veil. 'Thus the Jews,' he says, 'by adhering to the letter were misled into unbelief. And, even so, the infidel, resting in the mere contemplation of natural effects fails to recognize the great creative cause of all. The Jews, likewise, thus saw in Christ a mere man, without recognizing the higher nature in Him.' • All things hide a mystery. All are a veil which conceal God-the Christian must recognize Him in all.' 'So also,' he says in his Thoughts (ii. 113), I wonder much at the boldness with which some endeavour to demonstrate to the unbelieving the existence of God from the works of nature. I would not so much wonder at this attempt if they addressed themselves to the believing; for to them, who have a living faith in the heart, everything that is manifestly appears as the work of the God whom they adore. But it is very different with those in whom this living light is extinct, and sought to be revived-those destitute of faith and grace, who, while searching with all their light, all they see in nature, which might lead them to the knowledge of God, yet only find obscurity and darkness; to say to such that they have only to behold the least of the things which surround them and they will find God revealed therein, and, as at once a proof of this great and important truth, to point to the course of the moon or the planets, and profess to have thus accomplished its demonstration, is truly to afford them ground for believing that the evidences of our religion are very

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e It is the letter from which this and the immediately succeeding quotation are taken, that I have referred to in the note at the end of the article as so strangely omitted in the translation of Pascal's miscellaneous writings just published by Longman.

De toute leur lumière,' meaning, of course, all their natural powers of understanding, in contradistinction to that divine and living intuition of the truth which they want. weak,

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