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hearts and intellects, that did not, indeed, eradicate their prejudices as to the reign of the Messiah; nay, that allowed their prejudices still to exist even to the last moments of His earthly stay, and yet an influence, that so subdued the force of all prejudice, that in the midst of contrast and contradiction, they still loved, honored and adored Him, as “the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Here, then, if any surprise could arise as to the high eulogium passed upon Peter, we see the apparent objection vanish, in the very circumstances of the disciples, the very prejudices in which they necessarily shared until the Spirit was given, and yet, these not so strong as to prevail over their faith in “Christ, as the Son of the living God.” This faith was not derived from the dictates and data of earthly calculations, not from “ flesh and blood,” but from the silent, yet powerful influence asserted over the mind, which, despite of all the incrustations of prejudice, and all the lack of wordly pomp, ever rallied around this holy ground, this is the MesSIAH, “ the Son of the living God.”.
There was, then, something in the confession of Peter that justly warranted the high commendation,—“Blessed art thou Simon Barjona," &c. It was in him the triumph of faith over prejudice, a faith which did not as yet reign supreme in the unclouded purity of the Spirit's teaching, and which still, therefore, had, as yet, to contend with the clamors of "flesh and blood," but which, whenever the conflict arose, would silence every latent scruple in an unreserved confession, that “ Jesus is the Christ.” The commendation bestowed on Peter did not end here. Our Lord had just called him by his original name, Simon Barjona, or son of Jonas, the name by which he had been exclusively known before he became a disciple; and our Lord, as we may see in many instances, addressed him generally by this, his proper name, especially when He had any thing particular to say to him. But as He proceeds in this address, He drops the original name and calls him by that also which He had once given as indicative of character, and which, ever after, he continued to bear with his original proper name. “And I say unto thee, That thou art Peter.” If we ask why address him now by this name, after the former, the reason must unquestionably be sought in the meaning of the name, and the nature of the passing scene. The name we know means stone, not a stone, but that hard and durable substance, so called, whether in larger or lesser fragments, stationary or movable. Our LORD had given it to Simon, as indicative of firmness and perseverance, of which the solidity
and durability of the substance, stone is the most expressive image. In the emphatic substitution of this name, then, we see our Lord means something more than when He called him Simon, his ordinary name. There was something more than ordinary here; something more in accordance with the extraordinary name he had received ; and the occasion, therefore, more particularly justified or called for the application of that name to give greater expression to the fact. Simon and his fellow disciples, notwithstanding the untoward exterior of our Lord in regard to the world, had continued with Him, faithfully, like the hard substance from which he was surnamed, and yielding to no unfavorable impressions from the prejudices of men; they had still endured amid evil report and good report, the firm friends of Jesus; and as Peter, ever ready to give ardent expression to the cherished convictions of his mind, takes up the word for himself and the rest at the same time, so to him particularly and appropriately is now addressed the name once given as happily characteristic of his firmness in general, and now as happily illustrated by the firmness with which he, in common with the rest, had endured against the temptations of powerful prejudices, the dictates of flesh and blood.” Thus, as far as we may be allowed to fathom the reasons both for the high commendations bestowed on Peter in the first, and the substitution of his surname in the second instance, we may say these reasons fully apply to both instances, and happily coincide and strengthen the conclusion. The disciples had to contend with their own prejudices during the whole of our Lord's ministry. The confession of Peter is a triumph over these, strong as they were ; this triumph elicited the eulogium in the first instance, and the recurrence to the characteristic name, Peter, in the second instance; each based upon the enduring firmness of the disciples in opposition to the dictates of “flesh and blood," or the conclusions drawn from our Lord's humble exterior. Hence our. Lord ascribes this triumph of faith over prejudice, to the Divine Power alone, the Father Almighty acting on their minds through His ministry and thus by the force of his own goodness and exalted nature, infusing that spirit that constrained them to feel and believe, notwithstanding the apparent contradiction, that he was indeed, the MESSIAH, “the Son of the living God.”
Now, if we bear in mind the whole scope of the paragraph under consideration from beginning to end, through the whole of the eight verses, the subject turns on the doctrine respecting the Messian, or the question, whether Jesus were the Christ or not. With this question the LORD opens the section, and with a reference to this also, he closes it. This remark, duly weighed, is the true key to every sentence in the whole section, and the obvious solution of any difficulty that might be supposed to exist. With this key we expound the expression,-“Upon this Rock I will build my Church.” The doctrine or the confession respecting the person of Jesus as the Messiah, is the theme of the whole ; and we find in this, the only consistent, rational, and we may say obvious interpretation of these words. With this we shall leave the subject for the present. The ground here taken is so far chiefly negative and general, but sufficient, even thus far, to obviate any application of the words in question to any individual, and to point us to the general subject of the whole paragraph as the particular object of the expression “this Rock." The former is based on the historical sense of the word Rock, as used by Moses, Hannah, David, and the prophets; the latter is derived from the context. We have been compelled to digress somewhat for the sake of fullness, in order to meet a very natural surprise at the high commendation bestowed on a seemingly natural or obvious declaration, and find in that very commendation a reference to prejudices which the disciples had still not allowed to subdue their faith, and thus an argument in harmony with the whole subject of the context, viz: the confession that had been made.
These negative and general grounds might of themselves suffice to establish the true sense, and we might here leave the subject to the decision of common sense, that whilst Moses says,—“The LORD, He is the Rock;" Hannah sings,—“Neither is there any rock like our God." David also_" The Lord is my Rock;" “ The God of Israel, the Rock of Israel," 2 Sam. xxiii,-we can refer the same word in the mouth of our LORD to no object in the discourse but what again refers us to Himself. In a word, we are forbidden by every just principle of interpretation to believe there was here any other rock intended than that which formed the subject of Peter's confession, “ Jesus the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
We propose to consider the more direct arguments derived from an examination of the sacred text itself, and on which the sense is often too exclusively rested, in another article ; and there we pledge ourselves to show, that, upon the soundest principles of exegesis, every verse of the paragraph contains some reference to this sense, and that it can be only that which Felix Romanus long since applied to the “ sai raven snerpa," i. e., super ista confessione.
VOL. 1. NO. I.
ART. VI.-DR. JARVIS' VINDICATION.
To the Editors of the Church Review :
Rev. GENTLEMEN,—In the number of the New EngLANDER for October, 1847, Prof. Kingsley has renewed his attack on the great points of Chronology maintained in my “Introduction to the History of the Church.” His first attack was made in the April number of that periodical; and I had no opportunity to wipe off his aspersions, but that which was presented to me at the beginning of June, 1847, by the publication of my Sermon on the Presence of God in His Church.” In that Sermon I had had occasion (p. 23) to speak of “this part of our country,” meaning the New England States, as having been “settled by that small but energetic sect, which, under the usurper Cromwell, from their hatred to Episcopacy brought the Monarch and the Primate of England to the scaffold." This is an incontrovertible fact; and I stated it as such without wishing or meaning to assert, that their present descendants, who have spread themselves over our vast republic, are answerable for their father's sins, or are generally affected with their unchristian temper, although they are now suffering the consequences of both.
The Pilgrim fathers, as they are now familiarly called, had all the great and good qualities of the Anglo-Saxon race. Their bitterness proceeded, as I believe, from their peculiar theology; and in the great body of their descendants who have departed from their narrow and bigoted notions, the bitterness also has been left behind. By various counteracting moral causes, continually operating more and more, the original bitter spirit is now confined exclusively to those who are still under the original influences. To illustrate my meaning, I will mention our own venerable Diocesan. Every one knows that he is of the pure pilgrim race; yet who has ever accused him of any bitterness? In the memorable Charge, delivered to his Clergy in 1843, with how much meekness, yet with how much strength of argument, did he expose the utter absurdity of the Puritan system ! one contrast with it, the virulent attack of the New Englander, which he was thence made to suffer, and then say where was the bitterness, but with the peculiar and original theology? Let me now mention my own family. We are New Englanders; and my grandfather, who was a Congregational deacon, was the first who conformed to the Church of England. We are of the same stock with the Massachusetts
family, and of pure English blood. They have been weaned from the fanaticism of their forefathers, as well as we; but it has been under political, rather than religious influences. If they retain a reverence for the “ Pilgrim fathers,” it is as the founders of a new political empire, and not as Calvinistic sectarians. I doubt whether any of them have made a pilgrimage to the Plymouth rock, or kissed the blarney-stone of New England. Certainly we never have, who, under better influences, have become Churchmen.
And now let me challenge any one to point out any act of bitterness in all my writings. Professor Kingsley himself acknowledges that in the “Chronological Introduction," he did not meet" with an opinion which might not be holden unqualifiedly by a Congregationalist.” If in reading my book, he had found any thing which he thought erroneous, and had expressed his views directly to me, either publicly or privately, I could not possibly have taken offense. On the contrary, I should have thanked him, and either have defended my positions, or have withdrawn from them. It was his selection of the New Englander as his vehicle, which led me to identify him with that virulent publication. In the recollection of past intercourse, I had always cherished a warm friendship for him. I was wounded by the thought, that he had joined an association who had shown themselves to be such bitter enemies of the Church, and all Churchmen. Was I not justified in believing that he had imbibed their spirit, and that his friendship for me was extinguished by party animosity? I verily thought so, and wrote under the influence of that opinion ; but I declare solemnly that not one particle of anger or bitterness existed towards him; and if I said any thing which wounded his feelings, I am sorry for it. The only personal reflections which escaped my pen, were in the concluding paragraph of my preface. His denial of the attempted concealment with regard to the Gregson estate, seemed to me a confirmation of the idea derived from his having joined the ranks of the New Englander. If I had then possessed Mr. Chapin's book,—“Puritanism not genuine Protestantism,” in which the whole history of the New Haven Glebe is so clearly stated, I should not have fallen into the loose language which I uttered from recollection merely, and of which Prof. Kingsley very justly accuses me. But even after reading what is there said, I cannot see that the turpitude by which the writings recorded were concealed, has been explained away. The conclusion that it proceeded from the intolerance of the age, in a Puritan community, is