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God, and to re-establish the kingdom of childlike obedience and love.
The explanation of each of the ten commandments, in the smaller Lutheran catechism, begins with the words, “We must fear and love God." This is to awaken the conscience of the child, and to impress upon him the fear of God; but love is joined with fear. In these two words are contained the law and the gospel, the Old and New Testament presentations of the commandments. Conscience and the law continually remind sinful man of God's holiness and justice, and drive him to repentance. But the most anguished conscience will find peace in looking to the forgiving love of Christ; in faith in him who beareth the sins of the world.
The Holy Scriptures repeatedly point us to the holiness, justice, and love of God as our model. “Be ye holy, saith the Lord, as I am holy.” “ Be merciful, as your Father in heaven is merciful.” “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” But Christ includes all in the words “ Be ye perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect."
Thus, we repeat, He admonishes men to return to God; to reestablish their original likeness to him; and He, who is "the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person,” the beginner of our faith, as he will be the finisher of it, will not neglect the work of his hands. The hour of his death was the hour of the birth of a new world, victorious over sin and death, loving and wellpleasing to God. After His return to his Father, he sent us the Holy Ghost, to complete the work which he had begun in the hearts of men, and to extend the kingdom of God over the whole earth. He, the educator of the human race, is the master of all teachers; he must guide them in all truth, must bless their labors, and teach them to pray. Only under bis guidance can a Christian ethical training prosper, the image of God be renewed in the child, holiness and love planted in his heart, and wickedness and unlovingness rooted out.
But who can enumerate the manifold offences of parents and teachers, against the rules of a Christian ethical training!
The conscience of children is laid asleep instead of being awakened, and sins are treated as pardonable weaknesses.
In the place of a godly conscience is even planted a lying spirit; a devil's voice is placed in the hearts of the children. Thus, there is held up before them, as the highest object of attainment, not acceptance with God, but the false and deceiving glitter of honor among men; notwithstanding the warning voice of the Lord, “How can ye
believe, which receive honor one of another, and seek not the honor which cometh from God only ?” How often must we hear it said, What will people say? Foolish parents refer their children to "people" as the highest tribunal; to the customs of the multitude who are walking on the broad road which leadeth to destruction ; instead of early impressing upon them the bold expression of the apostle, “ For what have I to do to judge them also that are without ? ”
A similar practice is that of teaching children to put on a hypocritical behavior before people, to assume rootless and lifeless pharisaic virtues, such as will pass current with those who do not look for any ethical basis of action, and with whom the show will
for the substance.
If we follow the life of the fleshly minded, back to their youth, we shall very often discover many serious faults in their parents. The first seeds of the dominion of the flesh in them were often planted either by the unjustifiable neglect of their parents or by act. ual positive misleading. Who can describe the influence upon a child's soul of vile loose dances, of vulgar plays, of reading bad romances? How often have cards and loto during childhood originated the subsequent fury for gaming; and how often have deluded parents taught these dangerous games to their children!
Many things might be said of the bad examples set before children by the thoughtless and even wicked remarks which they hear grown persons make.* But enough has been said to explain the meaning of the term “anti-Christian, immoral miseducation."
RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF WISDOM.
With sin is closely allied error ; deviation from true ways. Adam's naming of the beasts in Paradise indicates the profound and godlike power of mental penetration which he possessed before the fall. For it is said that, as the man named them, “that was the name thereof." This divine approbation of Adam's nomenclature showed that the names were competent to express the natures of the various animals; and would certainly not have been bestowed upon the names which modern science has arbitrarily invented and bestowed on them.
But the restoration of this primitive innocent wisdom is an object to be sought after. It is the object of all intellectual training; and is intended to destroy error, and lead to the real truth; just as it is the office of Christian ethical training to destroy sin, and to lead to virtue by faith.
As conscience may be considered a correlative of original sin, so ** The utmost reverence is due to the young; if you are meditating any thing vile, disregard not their tender age." How many Christians does Juvenal put to shame!
the reason may be considered a correlative of original error; as an intellectual conscience; an organ of intellectual self-knowledge.
Defenders of Christianity have said much against the reason ; and quite as much might be said against the conscience. We have seen that in men, instead of the true conscience, the voice of God, there may enter a false conscience, the voice of the devil, betraying into all evil. In like manner the reason may become false, especially through pride. When not thus distorted, it represents God's truth in man, as the conscience does God's holiness and justice.
" The reason," says Hamann, “is holy, right, and good; but it can produce nothing except a conviction of the universality of sinful ignorance." Thus, the right reason will make us humble; and points sinful, ignorant man to a holy and all-wise God. Through an unboly, wrong, and wicked reason, on the contrary, comes, on one hand, the boundless presumptuousness of pretending to know absolutely, to recognize truth as God does; or, on the other hand, a doubt of all recognition of truth, a proud and cold acataleptic condition. The good and holy reason of a Christian applies itself, under the Holy Ghost, to that learning which guides into all truth. In this schoolthe school of humility—it learns to know its intellectual limits; and the boundaries between the regions of faith and of sight. It recognizes the fact that, since the fall, man has been in the “ region of dissimilitude,” and distinguishes between that which is given bim to know and that which is the subject of faith; those incomprebensible mysteries whose essence God alone understands, because he is that essence.
Absolute truth, as it is in God, is just as inaccessible to man, as long as he is imprisoned within his earthly tabernacle, as is absolute holiness. He who asserts that he possesses the absolute truth must also mean that he is absolutely and completely holy; and armed with divine power.* “Knowledge, and power, and holiness are identical.”
A strife for wisdom, analogous with the strife for holiness, lasts every man his lifetime, in the pursuit after truth.
There is also an intellectual miseducation, analogous to the ethical one, in men perverted and turned away from God. Puffed up with a conceit of wisdom, they are deceived as to the limits of it. They also mistake the giver of all knowledge; do not ask him for wisdom; do not thank him for the intellect which he has given them; for they think all knowledge the fruit of the powers of their own minds. But their labor, which is not performed in God, which seeks not the
· Not that every truth is merely apparent, and is uncertain; but that every truth contains something entirely comprehensible, and at the same time something entirely incomprehensi. ble. This is true even of the profoundest essence of mathematical truth-of its ultimate base. See the chapter entitled " Mysteriously Kerealed."
glory of God, but of themselves, is a servile labor, without a blessing and without peace. This is unfortunately the character of the usual scientific labors of the present day; and this perverted belief in so many learned men has a most powerful and most evil influence on the instruction of the young. Vanity impels the learned men; they impel the young by vanity, and lead them to make a show before people with what they have learned. Thus it happens that all pleasure in what they learn, and the mode of learning it, is entirely driven away, and replaced by an idle pleasure in the praise of men; and all which is cursed by such vanity must of necessity wither away. While both old and young, teachers and scholars, are, like Narcissus, foolishly burying themselves in a vain self-admiration and self-respect, still others fall into the same snare, by devoting to ungodly scientific labors their whole lives, words, and actions. Students of nature, wholly absorbed in the creature, ask not after the Creator; but live in a modern heathenism; and philologists, neglecting every thing that is Christian, worship false gods with the ancient classics. Such errors as these have a destructive influence on youth.
I have elsewhere discussed various other errors, both of teachers and of the lawgivers of pedagogy.
Man is to “have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” This dominion was that of the image of God, in the name of God; peacefully recognized by all creatures. Thus the painters place Adam and Eve in Paradise, at peace with the lions and tigers around them. But when man became disobedient to God, the creatures became disobedient to him; for they had reverenced him only as the viceroy of God.
There, however, remained to man a species of dominion, even after the fall. “And the fear of you,” said God to Noah, "and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth, and upon every fowl of the air, upon all that moveth upon the earth, and upon all the fishes of the sea; into your hand are they delivered.”
But this was not the original peaceful dominion; it was a dominion of fear and terror. And a commandment of fear caine also from the Lord. As he had before the fall given man all manner of herbs, and the fruit of trees, for food, so he said, after the flood, "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things.”
Therefore, even to the present time, the dominion of fallen man is such over the beasts, that they fear him, as rebels do the power of
their ruler; and his weapons, still more than his divine image. But the prophecies in Isaiah of a future time, when a young child shall lead a lion and a lamb together, and when the sucking-child shall play upon the cockatrice's den, point to a restoration of this human dominion over the beasts. Daniel in the lions' den, and Paul, whom, according to the Word of the Lord, the viper did not injure, are the forerunners of that dominion which man shall again possess, not by the power of his weapons, but by faith.
The passage of the Israelites through Jordan and through the Red Sea, the powerful prayers of Elisha for and against the rain, Christ's stilling of the storm by the words “Peace; be still,” and his walking upon the sea-all these point to a future dominion of man over inorganic nature also; a moral dominion, in the power of faith, in the power of God.
The various healings of the sick point to a similar future power.
But, it may be said, all that we are saying relative to the restoration of human powers is simply arguing from a miraculous past to a miraculous future.
It is true that at present we have only the shadow of that past and future time; and it is only with that shadow that we have at present to do.
Thus thought the most judicious of philosophers, Bacon, when he said, “Knowledge and power are the same" (Scientia et potentia hominis coincidunt in idem.) In proportion as man knows nature, he rules it. Bacon every where requires, not merely a theoretical knowledge, but a practical, efficient power. With all theoretical knowledge of nature there goes also a practical art; an art of operating upon nature, mostly based upon scientific knowledge.
Thus we do in fact rule the creation, not by the mental magic of words, strengthened by faith; but we make it serviceable to us by searching into the nature and powers of different creatures, bringing them under our power, and setting one to work upon
another. We tame and improve animals, we improve plants, guide the lightning, constrain steam to serve us, fly by the aid of gas, cure by all kinds of medicine, and light is made to serve us in the place of artists.
In this realm man rules, and he seeks in all ways to extend his dominion. The present time boasts especially of this extension. But this is no gain, if all nobility of feeling, all sense for higher things, are to be choked and destroyed; if all intellectual power is to become slavishly subservient to the earthly; and if man, utterly blinded with bis convulsive efforts, is to seek material objects only.