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mayors and aldermen and justices of the peace and pathmasters, and every one of them will receive his office as a trust from God. Men will desire office that they may the better serve God. Men will build railroads from one part of the city to another, they will sail in ships and fly in balloons from one part to another, they will buy and sell, marry and give in marriage, teach school and make money, and sweep the streets and vote, for the glory of God. They will be none the less diligent in business, but by their traffic and commerce, no less than by prayer and alms, the kingdom of God will prevail. Men knew not the Christ, because he was born in a manger; so now they know not the New Jerusalem, because it descends to some communities in a prairie schooner, and lives in a sod house, yet there is the home of the Christ, and the holy city of his abode.
It is not worth while to question wonderingly, What are the realities that correspond with these figurative descriptions? with the thought that we may expect to discover any very exact parallel, or that any such was intended. The dimensions, the descriptions, and the chronology are to be interpreted as part of the general picture which, when the features are inspected singly, becomes as meaningless as a single impression on a multichrome. The thousand years which this state is to endure is to be taken as a round number meaning almost forever. We ourselves use the term so.
When we wish to sell a piece of land almost forever, but not quite, we lease it for 999 years. That God would spend millions of years—which he counted as only a week-in fitting up the world for man, and thousands of years additional in a struggle which taxed to its utmost the Divine love and wisdom, and caused the death of Christ, to bring humanity to righteousness, and then cause all to collapse and come to an end in ten brief centuries, this would be inconceivable. How long the millennium will last, no man is safe in prophesying, but it may be said with entire safety that God has in no sense
bound himself to cut it short by reason of John's use of the expression, a thousand years. It is not necessary to multiply it by 360, on the utterly unauthorized "year for a day" theory, nor to multiply its number of days by 1000 years, on the principle that “a day with the Lord is as a thousand years.” Any such reduction of tropical language to cold arithmetic indicates hopeless inability to understand the spirit of the book. It is enough to know that the holy city is even now descending: it is not here in its completion and beauty, but “the foundation of God standeth sure," and through coming generations the superstructure will be revealed. Then, yea, even now, "we having the same spirit of faith” which in the Apocalypse causes the Hallelujah chorus to precede the binding of Satan, in cordial recognition of the good already attained, and in faithful anticipation of its culmination and triumph, may echo the glad song of heaven, “Hallelujah! for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth! The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever!”
THE IMPORTANCE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE
BY PROFESSOR ALBERT TEMPLE SWING,
WHEN a man enters the realm of research, and of argumentation over the results of investigation, it is of vital importance that he hold the fundamental principles of knowledge with very great clearness. Facts and theories, the real and the ideal, without the right method, will accumulate in everincreasing confusion. The more one seems to know, the less he actually possesses of true knowledge.
The historical instinct seeks to discover what has been in the past, and the manner of that being. What has been done and what has been thought; how it was done and how it was thought, are the questions which are ever arising. It is a search after reality as it has manifested itself to life and in life. The primal question is, What can be known? and the primary object of this paper is to emphasize the importance of distinguishing between that which belongs to the true record of history, and that which is only inferred from it; between facts, and theories as to facts; between science in its original and strict sense, and mere speculation, or science falsely so called. Human teaching can possess no inherent
1 Opening address before the Theological Seminary, Oberlin, September 20, 1894.
2 It is largely a question as to method. No attempt is here made to locate the line of division between certainty, probability, and possibility. An absolute theory of knowledge has never yet been successfully formu. lated. Every attempt thus far has led to divisions and confusion. Kant, the greatest of all contributors in this direction, is yet the most conspicuous failure of all,
authority. It is authoritative only as it presents truth, or reality, as it exists in the physical and spiritual worlds. So soon as a man's facts are exhausted, so soon as he has drawn upon all the truth he has in his possession, his function as a teacher sent from God ceases, and he must hasten frankly to declare, as Paul did, I do not have this of the Lord; these are my own private inferences.
Now the truth is, that what we absolutely and definitely know of past reality is limited. The record is incomplete as to its extent, and not absolutely correct in what it presents. It is only the human record of the real. It is the account of what has been seen and handled, so far as it has been preserved for us. For all practical purposes this kind of an account is abundantly adequate. It is not microscopic analysis which is demanded here. The world is wisely content if the general results have been obtained from honest witnesses. If further demands are made, they must be satisfied from other sources, if satisfied at all. Such is the nature of the historical record that we accept it as capable of furnishing genuine knowledge. The man who becomes so extremely sceptical as to doubt the possibility of genuine history in the past has nothing behind him upon which he can build; and, in like manner, he can have nothing before him for his thought. His infidelity is practical insanity.
But the incompleteness of the historical record is a fact of equal importance with its genuineness. The true history stops with the record. All the remainder of the past world, so far as our knowledge goes, lies in silence. It is the great unknown. It stands to us, and must ever stand to us, actly the same relation, so far as knowledge is concerned, as does the future beyond our own lifetime. Outside of the recorded history behind us, and of the personal experience before us, we have not history but inference; and if we step beyond this, we have not knowledge but pure speculation. It is also necessary to emphasize the fact that the so-called
VOL. LII. NO. 205.
historical record has not in every particular been found infallible. Some things have been accepted as history which we know to be not history.
On the other hand, it is also equally true that many things only inferred, without absolutely historical evidence, are true. All so-called history has not been history; and all speculative inferences are not mere subjective fancies without reality behind them. But here is a distinction which is fundamental and all-important. It is only necessary for history to demonstrate the fact that it is genuine history, in order to become absolutely authoritative. It is necessary for speculation to demonstrate, in some way outside itself, that it is more than speculation. Just here a fatal indistinctness has entered into the deepest questions of human life. In seeking to discover past reality the historical factor, and not the philosophical, must hold sway. The ideal may very well be sought elsewhere, but this is not to be its realm. Here the inquiry is for the real in experience, or in fact. It is not to discover what might have been, but what has been.
In this age of subjectiveness and of fertility in speculative dialectic, it is time to remind ourselves that the gaps of history are to remain gaps unless they can be filled by history itself. The artist who ambitiously restored one of the noted statues of Apollo by placing a lyre in the broken hand, had need to be shown later that the wanting member had actually held in it a bow, from which had just been shot the swiftflying arrow. And as to the Apollo Belvedere, it is now discovered that he did not hold a bow in his left hand, but an ægis with the terrorizing head of Medusa upon it. The question in art history is not, whether some one could be found who could paint a "Last Supper" better than Leonardo has done. The faded and scarred original stands best untouched by the modern brush. The child's astronomical
1 Grundriss der Kunstgeschichte, von Wilhelm Lübke (Stuttgart, 1892), Erster Band, p. 191.