Page images

The scholar is at a discount among us; we advantage from having mastered and consumed have come to regard him as something that is as it were the condition or obstruction that made and not grown, and to look upon his before concealed the existence of such fact from accomplishments as we do those of the rope- him. dancer or circus-rider, as having no root in him- Christian experience teaches us that in overself, but a mere outside or acquired skill, pur- coming the world we are not to renounce it, to chased at the expense of his general strength, cast it from us, to say we will have no commerce and which a few pounds of native talent, well with it, and so insulate ourselves from our weak, grounded in bone and muscle, in an emergency sinful brothers on the glass tripod of exclusivethat requires ability instead of craft, would snr- ness, but on the contrary teaches us to use it, to pass by all odds. Of the human parrot and lip go out boldly amid its facts and forces, its sins learned this is true, but to the genuine scholar, and vices, its blind instincts and brute powers, whose knowledge is organized faculty, and whose and, by mastering and subduing them, turn them memory is a bank and not a miser's chest, it has into right channels and make them the servants no application. The learned man of all others of high immortal ends. We must use it as the should be the wise man, the brave man, the thrifty farmer uses his marshy land, ditch it and strong man, the hopeful man, who can shame drain it, redeem it from frogs and lizards and difficulties and look disaster out of countenance, festering pools, and prepare it for the sweet who can see through the surface and show of clover and the joysome lark. things, and in the crash of events, when the The true Christian will not give the road to ignorant and short-sighted quake and cower like Satan, will not tremble and look abashed at his supple dogs/ stand up firm and undaunted, a approach, will not shun the village blasphemer pillar of fire and a front of strength to guide and or scoffing infidel, but, in the terrible might and support. Let the scholar do his own thinking, beauty of a conscious superiority, confront them and put handles to his ideas, and he will redeem boldly and cheerfully and make them feel by his his credit. The man who amasses a fortune by words and looks their own littleness and meanhonest industry and enterprise is an example for ness, and give them a glimpse of that ocean of him to follow. His wealth is a measure of his being and power into which his soul is an inlet, strength, and if he be not sordid and avaricious, and from which they are so far removed. It is every dollar is representative of his inward worth; only your weak, cowardly sentimentalist that he is indeed great by reason of what he has walks on stilts through the world, and fears lest

he be contaminated by contact with his fellowOur landlady refuses to buy her coffee ground; men. says it is stronger if she grinds it herself, a fact What we have said of the Christian in connecwhich none of us are disposed to deny. Let the tion with the vices and misguided forces of the scholar imitate her example, and depend upon world is equally true of the mind by itself. Our his own private will to crack the vexed kernels animal faculties and instincts, whose promptings of science and philosophy and not upon the and tendencies are evil, are not to be eradicated, patent leverage of any body else.

crushed, or neutralized, but are to be subdued, Obstacles, we repeat again, are tools if we governed, harmonized, disciplined, and, under the know how to use them. See how the farmer control of the intellect and the moral intuitions, does it: the rock in his meadow he breaks up be made subservient to higher ends and purposes. into materials for a fence, and so is benefited not For this were they created, not to lead but to only in having the obstruction removed from his follow, not to be the master but the servant, and field, but in having a wall which it contributed in keeping the relation thus established we are to build for the protection of that field. So a strong by the whole might of our nature. man who successfully resists a temptation or overcomes an evil habit is benefited not only

BE ALWAYS READY. negatively by having avoided the baleful consequences to which the indulgence of the tempta- Nothing is so terrible as death to those who tion or continuance of the evil habit would have are strongly attached to life. To what purpose rendered him obnoxious, but is benefited posi- is the happiest life if by a wise and Christian tively by the very circumstance of having over. course it does not conduct us to a happy death? come such evil habit or temptation. So, also, a Why do we so cling to life? It is that we do not man who makes a new discovery in science not desire the kingdom of heaven and the glories only reaps an advantage by the enlargement of a future world. The true way to be ready for thus given to his mental vision and the new the last hour is to employ the present hour well, forces put in his hands, but derives a far greater and ever to expect the final one.



Scripture Cabinet.

ir, 1.

THE TEMPTATION OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST IN THE yet without sin; that is, he was tempted just as any WILDERNESS.-" Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit man may be tempted sinlessly. But where, in the into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.Matt. temptation coming from without, is the point at

which sin begins? or at which the temptation itself [Instead of our ordinary preparation for this de- becomes sin? We answer, it is where the evil, enterpartment, we give the following elaborate discussioning from without into the inner nature, is accepted of our Lord's temptation from Dr. Nast's forthcom- into the personality and kindles a conflict. On the coning Commentary, translated from the German by trary, we find no sin in the temptation when the evil, Professor William D. Godman, of the North-Western as proffered from the outer world, is only mentally University:)

contemplated, and is rejected without wavering by No human eye and ear heard and saw what came the inherent power of the Spirit and of love. So it to pass in the wilderness. The precious experiences is evident how Jesus could be tempted without sin. of that vicarious struggle were afterward communi- He was tempted in all respects; that is, in the two cated to the disciples, either by an especial revelation conceivable ways; namely, l. He was assailed by or, which is more probable, orally by our Lord him- that which allures to evil. 2. He was susceptible of self. If there were need of an outward confirmation pain and fear, and the power of these emotions has a of our inward assurance that this mysterious trans- tendency to divert from the path of the divine. But action had an important reference to our salvation, against both forms of temptation the power of his that confirmation might be found in the fact that it spirit and of his love to God proved itself pure and is related by three of the evangelists, and by two of undefiled. The temptation of the first kind is exhibthem minutely. In proportion as we recognize the ited to us as a seductive attempt upon Jesus in the practical import of this subject do we desire a scien- wilderness; of the second kind we have the most retific apprehension of it as part of the great scheme markable example in the struggle at Gethsemane." of redemption. Its moment in the spiritual life is The other question, whether we must not attribute the warrant for its interest in theology. Two diffi- to Christ, as God's son, as we do to God himself, the culties, however, of a theological nature have been

pure impossibility of sin, is already in part answered, urged. It is objected, 1. That it must have been though it may be well to enter into it more thoroughimpossible for the Son of God to sin; that, therefore, ly. Ebrard expresses himself upon it as follows: the temptation could have had no reality. 2. That “Since the Godhead in Jesus was under the form of if we admit the reality of the temptation, and con- humanity, so was the form of his holy will, in him sequently the possibility of sin in Jesus, we can no as in all men, that of the choice between the possilonger ascribe to him an absoluto sinlessness; for bilities which his understanding cognized; in other temptation, it is asserted, implies of necessity an in-words, the holiness of the God-man must manifest citement to evil, and incitement a minimum of evil itself outwardly as a constant choice of the good, itself. Let us begin our investigation with a consid- and, therefore, the possibility, nay, the constant acteration of the second objection, which Dr. Ullman uality of temptation was the necessary result of the meets thus:

incarnation of the Son of God. Since in Jesus was · Temptation is all that which has the tendency to the fullness of the Godhead, his will of course always lead a free being away from the good and unto the determined itself for the good; but his self-determinevil. That which tempts may either lie in the free ation to the right way was just and human in him, being himself as unlawful lust and inclination--this and was manifested only under the form of the choice kind of temptation, of which James i, 14, discourses, between two things brought before him. His human presupposes a germ of evil in the inner nature of the holiness, therefore, stood not in an absolute inability man, and, of course, is not predicable of Jesus—or to sin--nicht-sündigen-können-but in a continual, it may come from the outer world, as a motive to genuinely-human, free decision for the good; and action presenting itself from without. God is unsus- therein lay the possibility of his being tempted." ceptible of temptation, because in his absolute per- The abstract possibility of consenting to temptafection lies the unconditioned necessity of goodness; tion was connected, however, at the outset with the but a created moral agent may be tempted, and, perfect certainty that this consenting would not take therefore, even Jesus in so far as he has become par- place, because God, by virtue of his ability to foreticipant of human nature. Accordingly, it is said, see the self-determinations of a free being, foresaw "Jesus was, in all points, tempted like as we are- that his Son, as man, would, with human freedom,

[ocr errors]

without sin, withstand all temptations. For the pre- other light than the Logos having become man, upholds cise reason that he intended the redemption of sinful the side of human freedom perhaps too strongly, and man did he send his Son into the world-of whom he that of the divine necessity too feebly, when he says: knew that his conflict with the power of darkness “How could Jesus be an example to us who, in the would end in victory. Since this subject is of prac- course of this earthly life, must decide for God's will tical importance and yet belongs to the most difficult amid the pressure of the world's temptation, if his will problems of theology, we subjoin the pertinent utter- were decided through an antemundane determination, ances of three distinguished German theologians. through the eternal submersion of the Logos and the

Ullman says: “The plan of redemption ordained Father? and if, therefore, bis self-determinations, of God, aforetime prepared for execution through within his earthly life, were but the natural and necthousands of years and through thousands more de- essary working of the antemundane determination ? signed to work out its results, could not fail of its The free disobedience of Adam has brought us into end. Yet this must have happened, if we suppose the state of sin; and only the free obedience of the that he who was appointed Redeemer might himself second Adam could place us in the state of righteousfall away from God through sin. In this view it be- ness. Romans i, 19. The first Adam renounced the comes a wholly-inadmissible, yea, fearful thought, inwrought drawing of his nature toward his Creator that Jesus could have actually sinned. Thereby the and Father, although God put him upon the easy plan of God would have been frustrated, and the probation, that he should deny bis natural appetite pure center of light for the world and history would for the alluring and mysterious fruit of one among have been extinguished. It appears, indeed, to be a the trees, out of love to God and honor for his word. necessity, intrinsic and wrought into the moral order In the second Adam, as the Son of God, was a draw. of the world, that Jesus should not sin. In him, ing of nature toward the Father of an essentially however, necessity and freedom coincide. He could higher kind than in the first Adam, who was only a not be otherwise, but at the same time he would not soul created in the image of God. But the thirtybe otherwise than sinless. With perfect freedom, in three years' probation of the second Adam through submission and self-renunciation, he conformed to the world of sin, in the midst of the sorest conflicts that higher necessity which was fulfilling itself in his of sorrow, was infinitely more severe than that of manifestation. Both necessity and freedom must be the first Adam; yet the second Adam never denying so associated in our conception that neither shall in- and drawing toward the Father, renounced always validate the other. The necessity of a goodness thus and only the nature-will even for the un-nature of perfect is one always free and voluntary; the free- death and of being forsaken by his Father. The first dom is one not doubtfully choosing and vacillating, Adam was not willing to learn obedience, though he but firmly and victoriously directed to the good. But was only a man: the second Adam, though God's son, even this higher freedom does not absolutely exclude was ready to learn obedience even unto death. The the possibility of evil. As human, it does not pass sinless development of Jesus thus came over purely into the divine necessity; there is a pos- through a free self-determination for the will of God sibility of evil, but it is only external, abstract, sim- revealed in his inner self; through a free yielding to ply cogitable-eine blosse denkbarkeit. So the pos- the powerful drawing of his eternal Spirit-Ilebrewg sibility of evil exists, but is never realized. Like a ix, 14-toward God; through a free renunciation, mathematical quantity ovolved in calculation, which hatred, and giving unto death of those life-impulses is not actually used, it is every moment eliminated of his outer nature which came into conflict with by that which is higher, the consciousness of God that will of God according to which Jesus should and the pure love of the divine, so that it never ac- take his way through want and dishonor from men, quires a real, practical-praktisch-significance." nay, more, through the inner feeling of being for

Still more explicitly does the pious Steudel express saken by God.” himself-holding up, however, the side of freedom There is another question of too much moment to more than that of necessity: “Although it lies in the be passed unanswered: In what way hare we to conconception of Christ as Redeemer, that he did not ceive the approach of Satan? Or, What was the status actuate the possibility of sin, yet he is the sinless of the tempter himself! one only in so far as he had the ability-möglich- This question has been variously answered. In keit-to sin. He could not be Redeemer if he sin- order to explain the mysterious "how" of the forthned, therefore sin in him is not to be conceived. But coming Satan, commentators, particularly the rathe conception of the Redeemer was only to be real- tionalists, have fallen into hazardous expositions. ized through one who while he could sin yet did not. Some hold this account to be a parable, in which Christ, as one to whom sinning was absolutely im- Jesus made known to his disciples a universal truth. possible, would not be man; the human nature in But how obscurely must we think Jesus to have him would be nothing else than appearanco; he would spoken if the apostles could have mistaken a parable have continued to subsist in his divine nature.


for history! Matthew, certainly, was well skilled in he emptied himself, which emptying consisted in en- distinguishing parabolic from narrative relation; tering into the conditions of human nature, and his and, accordingly, when Jesus spoke in parables, the object in doing so could not have been to present fact is always expressly stated by this evangelist. humanity as a nature inaccessible to evil, but as one Besides, as a parable, this account would have an able freely to keep itself pure from evil, and thereby unusual aspect, and such as is no where else assumed. to secure the possibility of its purification from evil." When Christ speaks parabolically of himself, e. g.

Gess, though he contemplates our Redeemer in no Luke xix, he always presents himself under the guise

to pass

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

we are.

of another person. Here, however, he himself would in Satan nothing else than the false idea of the Mesbe personally introduced into the parable, and Satan siah which had been formed in the minds of the cowould be the parabolic person; besides, by this ex temporaries of Jesus, and which his pure messianic planation, the significance of the temptation for Jesus spirit repulsed with perfect decision and without heswould be entirely lost.

itation. This false idea of the Messiah, it is said, Others represent the temptation as a vision. The originated with Satan, and must have presented itself temptations are conceired as presenting themselves to Jesus when he was on the point of coming forward to the Lord in a state of ecstasy, as pictures of the as the Messiah. Since to his mind the precise end imagination tioating before his soul. But would the for which the Father had sent him into the world Lord have imparted to the evangelists a mere vision stood clearly defined, so, with equal clearness, must in the form of a historical narrative? Moreover, in have been revealed in his thought that which stood an ecstasy the temptations, except the third, could opposed to this determination. All this, and his unhave been no real temptations from without. And, conditional rejection of whatever did not agree with then, how unworthy of his character is the concep his destination, did Jesus impart to his disciples untion that the second Adam, only in a vision or ec der the form of an outward occurrence. It is said stasy, not in a wakeful, reflective condition, should that Jesus represented in a similar manner an inner have resisted the temptations of Satan! It is, there-experience as an outward phenomenon when he said, fore, manifest that the temptation of Jesus was some “I beheld Satan, as lightning, fall from heaven." thing real and objective. Yet even here opinions The objection to Ullman's explanation is, that it diverge. Some would understand by Satan a Phari does too much violence to the text, and makes the see who approached Jesus with proposals suited to history too nearly like a parable, although the temptthe carnal expectations of the Messiah. But in this ation, in this view, is a reality. Others, although supposition it is no more apparent than before how they hold fast to Satan as a tempting personality, the Lord could clothe such an event in such a form. admit, notwithstanding, no outward, visible appearance And, withal, this rationalistic explanation is so con of Satan. They say: Since the prince of darkness is trary to the common principles of interpretation that a spirit, so the opinion that his assault upon Jesus it was abandoned, till lately Lange revived it in the was of a purely-spiritual nature is not contradictory following form:

to the text, and is on the whole more probable. “ We can not assume that Satan became incarnated, Christ must have been tempted in all things like as nor that he appeared as a specter, wben he approach

But, to us, Satan does not appear in bodily ed the Son of God with his temptation. We can, form, but tempts us through the insinuation of evil therefore, conceive of the temptation in no other way thoughts. To this opinion it has been objected that, than through the medium of historical relations. if the temptation of Jesus proceeded only spiritually The kingdom of Satan was represented by the per it could not be clearly distinguished from one through verse principles of the Jewish hierarchy, and that tho his own thought, arising out of his own heart; and, Synedrium just at that time looked for a Messiah therefore, either the reality of the temptation or the after their mind, we are expressly informed in the sinlessness of Jesus would be endangered. But this Gospel of John. That deputation which was sent objection is not well grounded; for if we consider the from Jerusalem to catechise John the Baptist respect words of the temptation, as thoughts thrust in by ing the Messiah, according to the data of the evan Satan, the temptation comes upon Jesus from without gelists, must have returned to Jerusalem at the very as really as if Satan in corporeal presence had spoken time when the forty days of Christ's abode in the the words. To this apprehension of the case the wilderness came to a close. May we not suppose that only valid objection is that the words, “the devil the Baptist, who had just been divinely assured of taketh ... and setteth him," appear too constrainJesus' messiahship, would feel it his duty to give to ed. Dr. Stearns explains the suggestions in this the deputation of the Synedrium, who had inquired theory in the following manner: “With reference to of him concerning the Messiah, some definite direc the first suggestion, to change the stones to bread, tions where they could find him, after he had told the Redeemer, in a moment, recognized it as a temptthem that the Messiah had already appeared in their ation, and repulsed it instantaneously, because such midst? He knew Jesus had gone to the wilderness; an act would have manifested distrust in God, who those men from Jerusalem could very easily find him had supported him during the forty days' fast, and on their return, and after hearing the testimony of impatience under afllictions which he should endure John we may suppose they were very anxious to see till God should be pleased to release him. In the him. How natural, then, to suppose that Jesus met second temptation we have to distinguish between them just as he was on the point of leaving the wil the going to Jerusalem and the mounting the pinnaderness, and that they proposed to him their messianic cle of the Temple, on the one side, and the challenge programme! No less strange should it appear to us, to throw himself down, on the other side. The that Christ related this fact to his disciples in the former, as well as the latter, appears to have been a form he did; for he called Peter also “Satan,' when suggestion of Satan, for it is said, “The devil takoth that disciple wished to lead him away from the path him.' But the former had nothing wrong in itself, which the Father had prescribed for him. Why and the Redeemer might not have recognized it as might, therefore, the historical temptation, brought coming from the tempter. Many weighty reasons about by official proposals of the Jewish hierarchy, might have inclined him to go to Jerusalem and to not properly be called a direct temptation of Satan?" ascend the Temple. These reasons, though pressing Ullmann, and other German expositors, recognize upon him from without, he might not, as man, be VOL. XX.-16

able to distinguish from his own thoughts; he might the messianic promises, begins his kingdom in exter. hold them for his own and follow them as innocent. nal might and splendor, and, in order to success, must So soon, however, as the thought to throw himself overthrow the princes of this world. But the rery down, in order to astonish the multitude by a mira antithesis of this was the condition and the work of cle, and to support himself in doing it on the prom- | the true Redeemer. The contrast is elegantly set ises of the Scriptures-80 soon as this thought pre- | forth by Dr. Krummacher, in his sermon on the sented itself, instantly the Redeemer discerned that temptation of Christ, of which the following are the this proposal, involving in itself the greatest pre- main points: Compare the situation of our Lord with samption, came from tho doril, and, therefore, he that of our first parents before the fall. There is definitively and decisively rejected it. So, in the the garden of Eden; here the gloomy desert. There last instance, it could not be sinful to ascend a mount are the trees lovely to behold, with fruit inviting to ain in order to view the surrounding countries. When the taste; here are thorns and thistles, the harvest Luke says, 'the devil showed him all the kingdoms from the sowing of sin. There are perfect enjoyment of the world in a moment of time,' we can not un and delicious substance of every kind; here is want derstand it as if, from this mountain, all the several in the greatest extreme. There is the eternal Father kingdoms of the world were visible to the bodily eye. walking in the garden; here Satan is unfettered on It must, then, have been through a working of Satan the plain. There, forsooth, is temptation, as well as upon the imagination of Jesus. That Satan was per- here; yea, there, as here, a “hath God said.” But mitted to hold before the soul of Jesus a picture of there is the prostration of the tempted; here, the fancy, they also must admit who maintain a visible victory of the assaulted. There is the down-coming appearance of Satan. This opinion is totally differ of the curse upon the earth; here is the expulsion ent from the attempt to resolve the whole narrative of the curse, and the bringing back of the blessing. into a vision. The soul of Jesus was not defiled by Forty days and forty nights did the Savior spend, as the picture before his imagination, nor does the did Moses on Mount Sinai, without food and drink, temptation thereby lose any of its significance. So in unbroken meditation and prayer. Then, at the soon, however, as came the proposal to receive all last, and doubtless with excruciating hunger, that the kingdoms as a gift at the hands of Satan, then weakness of his human nature, which of itself is sinthe Savior hesitated not a moment to repel the igno less, asserted itself. This condition furnished Satan minious and blasphemous proffer with the words, a tangible point for his first temptation. In the full "Get thee behind me, Satan.'"

power of his individual personality advances the There remains but one other view, and that is to prince of darkness against the “Light of the world," assume an outward embodied appearance of Satan and begins his temptation of that being, after the standing before Christ. Ebrard holds the latter, and manner of the first temptation in Paradise. His “art remarks as follows: “It pertains to the dignity of thou" is nothing else than a disguised “hath God Jesus that the prince of this world should appear to said," alluding to the voice from heaven at the baphim without a mask; neither as a deceptive juggler, tism. It involves the demand that he should prova nor as a specter, nor as an angel of light, but in the himself to be the Son of God. “Show it, if thou art shape of the fallen angel-prince. How this shape the Son of God. To a being of thy dignity it is not was constituted I know not, and it were foolish to fitting to be in want and to suffer hunger. Make use desire to know. Only this much can be determined: of the power conferred on thee and help thyself. 1. That it was no goat-footed caricature of a beast, Why wilt thou languish? Spare thyself for thy great derived from Germanic heathenism, but a shape anal work, for the good of thyself and thy miserable peoogous to the body of man, sinco all angels have ap ple; employ thy miraculous energy and begin thy peared to men in a shape analogous to the human; work of the world's transformation. Every thing and, 2. That all the seductiveness of Belial as well waits thereon. Show thyself greater than Moses. as all the terribleness of the depravity of Satan—the Change the stones into bread, the thorns into vines, former enticing, the latter threatening in case of the the thistles into fig-trees. Expel want, and sighing, failure of the enticement-was manifested in his ap and tears from the earth; and in order that the world pearance before Christ. If Jesus, according to this may know who has nppeared in thee, give order to view, appears as being bodily in the power of Satan, the blasted Paradise that it bloom again." The devil this is no more offensive than that, at a later period, in would persuade Jesus to become a world benefactor voluntary humiliation, he should be in the power of according to the flesh, in order to set up his kingdom, the children of Belial. The spirit of the Father not with the garland of thorns, but with the crown " drove" him into the wilderness in order patiently, of royalty. The Lord, without condescending to anquietly to receive the temptation. In becoming swer directly the question whether he was the Son of tempted he was entirely passive, but so much the God, referred the devil to the manna given the people more active in refusing to be led astray."

of Israel in the wilderness-Deut. viii, 3—to which In order fully to understand the temptation we Satan himself had alluded, and gives him to undermust keep our eye on its christological significance. stand that himself had not come into the world for In the thrco temptations Satan presents to the soul personal enjoyment, but to suffer want as long as it of Jesus the picture of a carnal, Jewish Messiah, who should please God, who was not in need of the patuwins for himself and his own, not through serving ral means in order to furnish him support. At the and sorrow, the glory which only, after a perfect vic same time this answer implies the truth: “I came to tory, should resplendently break forth, but, relying prepare for the languishing people, in the way of upon his miraculous endowments and the letter of humiliation, another and a more real bread than thou

« PreviousContinue »