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of the lowest caste, Galilean fishermen, were speaking in different tongues the wonderful works of God. This power the Scripture declares was given them from on high. The Spirit of God had descended upon them; they spake with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. To the body thus endued it is said a multitude joined themselves. They were regarded with more and more jealousy by the priests and doctors of the Jews. But they spread themselves through Palestine; they went into other lands. Everywhere, they declared that they came in the power of the Spirit, who had thus broken down the barriers of language and race; everywhere they said that this Spirit would be given to those who believed their message.
Are we to conclude from this story that the Christian faith broke loose from the Jewish faith, as Buddhism broke loose from Brahminism; that in each case there was a vehement reaction against caste narrowness and local boundaries; that in each case this reaction was associated with the recognition of a spirit dwelling in men? There may be much plausibility in such a notion; for many reasons it would commend itself to certain modern philosophers. Only they would say, In order to make out this resemblence, it is necessary to divest the scriptural story of its halo of mystery and marvel. Take it as it stands, and all you learn from it is, that on a certain occasion a strange phænomenon was seen, unlike any that had previously occurred, or was to occur again; at
THE FULFILMENT OF A PROMISE.
variance with the constitution of man and the dealings of his Creator. In that form it offers only a seeming analogy to the Buddhist doctrine ; seeing that the latter assumes the presence of a divine and diffusive spirit to be the proper characteristic of humanity, at least in its noblest state, and that on this ground it oversets the caste principle not for a particular emergency but altogether. If, however, you are inclined to admit that this is the confused narrative of a remarkable epoch in Jewish history (and indeed, in the world's history) when there was awakened in the nation, or in a part of it, the consciousness, previously slumbering, of a capacity in men generally for that knowledge which had been confined to the priests-a narrative surrounded, as all Hebrew narratives are, with a divine machinery-we will admit that you have established your case.'
I submit that one part of this statement is quite incorrect. If I read the story as it stands, I shall not merely be told that a certain event happened at a certain time and in a certain place; I shall be told that this event was the fulfilment of a promise made to the fathers of the Jewish nation; I shall be told that it was intended for those of that generation, and for their children. These assertions, it will be remembered, are very prominent in the discourse which the writer of the Acts of the Apostles attributes to St. Peter. One therefore who believes his statement cannot look upon this descent of the Spirit, with all that
was implied in the circumstances of it, as violating the laws of the human constitution, as an exception in the plan of the Creator. He must look upon it as expounding that constitution, as carrying out that plan. But on what grounds, it will be asked, can it be alleged that the principles set forth in the Jewish scriptures and the Jewish economy were asserted and realised by a transaction which seems to destroy the exclusive hierarchy, ultimately the exclusive national limitation, which lie at the root of them? The answer to this question will, I believe, shew that the affinities of Christianity with Buddhism are much closer and more extensive than they would be on the hypothesis of the former being a rebellion against Judaism; on the other hand, will explain wherein the difference between them consists, and what that 'miraculous halo' which is imputed to the Scripture narrative, has to do with it.
We turn to the earliest of the Jewish records, and we find it declared that God made man in his own image, and gave him dominion over all the other creatures he had formed. Before a word has been said about the difference of one people from another, here is a broad fundamental assertion respecting man as man. Perhaps you will say, 'Yes; but this is set at nought by one which immediately follows it; the fall of Adam is the real, though the creation of man may be the nominal, beginning of the history.' As we are examining these records to find what they actually affirm, I consider the simplest, nay, the only
RECOGNITION OF EVIL IN THE BIBLE.
honest, method is to take them, as beginning where they seem to begin, not to assume a starting-point of our own. It will then be seen more clearly whether they have a connexion with each other, or are only a collection of Sibylline leaves; whereas, if we insist that the Divine drama opens at a certain chapter, and that all which precedes is prologue, we do not find the connexion, but make it. The arrangements of divines may demand such violence upon the text; but I do not think it is ever justified by the conscience of simple and devout Christians. I believe they would be shocked to the last degree if you insisted in plain language upon their believing that the constitution of God was nullified, destroyed, or even at all affected, by the evil acts of man. Undoubtedly, there is the fullest, most immediate recognition of the fact that evil entered into the world. There is no tampering with experience, no attempt to represent the universe as something else than it is, in order to make it accord with the account of its origin. There is no hint of a golden age, during which sin and death were not upon the earth. We are told that the very first man forgot that he was made in the image of God; yielded to the temptation of an inferior creature; came under death. He denied the law after which he was created. And each of his descendants is shewn to have the same propensity to obey that which he was meant to rule; to disbelieve in Him whom he was meant to obey. But neither the first man nor any of his successors N
could make this degradation and disobedience anything else than an anomaly and a contradiction. The worst man in Scripture is never represented as evil in any other sense than because he fights against the law under which he exists, and of which his very transgression is the continual witness. And therefore in the Bible God is ever represented as addressing Himself to the creature whom He had formed, as awakening in him by His voice a consciousness of his right condition.
He is represented as speaking thus to Adam when he was hiding himself from His presence; as speaking thus to Cain when he was meditating his crime, and when he had committed it. In each case it is assumed that the creature addressed stood in a direct relation to the Creator, however he might be denying it and determining to shut himself out from it. And I need scarcely remind you, that he is treated, after the fall as well as before it, as still intended to have dominion over the earth and the animals upon it. The ground is cursed for his sake: in the sweat of his brow he must till it; but he does till it-he does subdue it. He is continually disposed to treat it as his master, but he is compelled to act as if it were his slave-compelled at the same time to remember that its power of producing nourishment for him depends not upon himself, but upon an Unseen Will, which he is ever inclined to lose sight of. The punishment of the race when lust and violence had spread over it, the preservation of it in a family, the blessing under which the sons of