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that it is an essential element in human conduct, - that you may as well undertake to balance a mill-stone by a feather, as to move the free agent one step without it ; and yet we go on, doing and expecting, as if this were only an incidental circumstance, and not a fixed law.
It is also known that sympathy and emulation are suns to the mind, that they double its capacities, quicken its powers, and bring out fresh shoots ; — yet these principles are not unfrequently disregarded by those, whose business it is to develope or employ the moral and intellectual powers of their fellow creatures. It has been found that fear is a debasing principle, that it chills and checks the operations of the mind, and shuts up the soul. Its use is obvious ; it was given to deter us from doing what is wrong or hurtful. But this principle is sometimes applied, not to deter from, but to prompt to action, with the vain expectation of obtaining that free and fair use of the powers which only produces satisfactory results, from the application of a law whose tendency is to prevent such use. Even the trite maxim, that example is better than precept, is sinned against every day. This often comes, we are aware, from weakness and indolence. Precept is so much easier than example, that we are ready to content our consciences with the lesser sacrifice, hoping to make up in quantity, what is wanting in quality. But if we had a thorough conviction of the authority of the laws of the human mind, however weak and inefficient might be our conduct, we should not be guilty of the mistake of attempting ends unless we could bring into use the appropriate means; at least we should not attempt them by means understood to be essentially inappropriate. If our fire was going out, and a vessel of water stood by our side, while the fuel was at some distance from us, although our indolence or incapacity might prevent us from going for the fuel, we should hardly think it advisable to throw on the water, in the hope that it would revive and feed the flame. Yet conduct not less irrational may be observed every day in our intercourse with mankind.
Many more instances might be mentioned, of that disregard of known laws, in our attempts to act on mind, which would be deemed absurd in our dealings with matter. It is not our design to make a complete list of such instances, but to enforce the principle, that, since nature in all her phenomena of mind, not less than in those of matter, is subject to regular laws, it is only in proportion as the teacher, the philanthropist, and the political reformer become acquainted with, and conform to these laws, that they can reasonably expect to accomplish their objects; and to this extent they may expect to accomplish them. Thus, if in education we observed the law, that the mind acts vigorously and does full justice to its powers only when its sympathies are alive and its desires ardent; that we do not work hard to obtain what we do not relish, comprehend, or love; that the services rendered by fear are feeble and false, those by love true and abundant;- if, in our attempt to better the condition of the poor, we kept in sight the principle that habits of industry and a regard to character are among the best securities against mendicity; if, in our plans for moral reform, we remembered that sympathy, occupation, and the acquisition of knowledge generate purifying processes in the character, and that religion is the soul's central light and power, the basis and bond of perfectness,
even if we made no new accessions to our knowledge of the philosophy of mind, our labors would be far more frequently, than they now are, rewarded by success.
But we are looking for new accessions. The impulse everywhere given to free enquiry, seems to act like the magician's wand on the face of society. “The Press," which, to borrow the words of a late writer, “bas rendered the world one great whispering gallery, whose faintest echoes are distinctly heard at the farthest end,” is pouring out its productions in endless variety and abundance. That grand principle, the diffusion of knowledge, is the product of our own times; there was nothing like it in antiquity. In its operation, an experiment on human nature is instituted, next to Christianity, the most momentous ever made
As knowledge is power, it is placing in the hands of the community, and of each individual that composes it, an engine mighty beyond all conception ; and, if knowledge be virtue, as it ought to be, and as we trust it is to be, this accession of power is destined to swell the fountains of human felicity and improvement, to an extent, which we, who are on the outskirts of this vast movement, can but dimly discern.
upon the race.
ART. V. - Meaning of the Title, “ Angel of Jehovah,” as
in Scripture ; being in continuation of the Article on the “ Deity of the Messiah not a Doctrine of the Old Testament.
We resume the discussion of the question, Whether the Deity of the Messiah be a doctrine of the Old Testament. In our last article upon the subject, we examined all the passages adduced by Hengstenberg, in which the Messiah is mentioned as such, or as the future anointed one,
whom God was to raise up for the deliverance of his people. The passages which remain to be examined are of a different kind. They are those, in which an angel of Jehovah is represented as having appeared to various persons, which angel is said by Hengstenberg and others to be identical both with Jehovah and with the Messiah. The discussion of the argument founded on the passages in question we regard as rendered necessary solely by the ingenuity and respectability of the learned men of the present time, who have adopted it; such as John Pye Smith, whose work on “The Scripture Testimony to the Messiah " is said to have placed him at the head of the English Dissenting theologians, and such as Hengstenberg, and the Andover theologians, who published his argument in their “Repository without comment. We are confident that no common readers of the Bible would imagine, that the angel, who was manifested to the patriarchs and others, was Jesus Christ. We suppose that few in fact believe it. We suppose that the common faith amongst those who have not been led astray by learned ingenuity aiming to establish a theory, is, that “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken to us by his Son,” and not until those last days. Still, as long as such an argument is insisted on by high living authority, the “Christian Examiner" must not regard it as unworthy of an investigation.
In the passages which we propose to examine, it is not pretended that the Messiah as such is denoted, or declared to be identical with Jehovah. It is not pretended by any writer, that the doctrine of the Deity of the Messiah is extracted from them, except by taking them in connexion with other parts of Scripture. From the passages themselves it is inferred by Hengstenberg, that the angel mentioned in them is identical with Jehovah ; and from other passages, and other considerations, it is inferred that the same angel is identical with the Messiah or with Jesus Christ. His argument is founded on an axiom not to be met with in any edition of Euclid that we have seen, namely, Two persons, being identical with a third person, are identical with each other. Or, to put it in language less abstract; If James and John are proved to be the same being with Peter, then James is John and John is James, By virtue of this axiom, if Jehovah himself and the Messiah are both proved to be identical with the angel of Jehovah, it follows that they must be identical with each other, and that the Messiah is Almighty God.
* See Christian Examiner for January, 1836. Vol. XIX. p.
We shall not stop to remark upon the confusion of ideas or the manifest contradictions, presented in the very statement of the doctrine which Hengstenberg undertakes to prove.
We will forget, as far as practicable, the nature of the doctrine, and consider the question entirely as one of Biblical interpretation. Our inquiry shall be, What is the true exposition of the passages of Scripture above referred to, from which the Deity of the Messiah has been inferred ?
The argument, as we have intimated, consists of two points, or involves two propositions ; first, that the angel of Jehovah is a distinct person from Jehovah, and yet truly and essentially the same being with him ; and, second, that this angel is the same being with the Messiah. Each proposition is to be proved by separate evidence. In the first place, therefore, we will consider the evidence brought to support the first. As the passages, which are supposed to contain the evidence of this proposition, resemble each other, and are all to be explained in
be as well to place before the reader several of those, which are regarded as the most important, so that, having the facts or phenomena of the case before us, we may be able to judge, which is the true or best explanation of the difficulties which they present.
Genesis xvi. 7.—“ And an angel of Jehovah found her [Hagar] by a fountain of water in the wilderness. V. 10. And the angel of Jehovah said to her, I will multiply thine offspring exceedingly, &c. V. 13. And she called the name of Jehovah, who spake with her, Thou art a God that mayest be seen. For, said
the same way,
she, do I not here see the light, though I have seen God? Wherefore the well was called the well of life, of vision.”
Genesis xviii. 1. “And Jehovah appeared to him [Abraham) amid the oaks of Mamre, while he was sitting at the door of his tent in the heat of the day. And he lifted up
and looked, and lo, three men stood before him; and when he saw them, he ran from the door of his tent to meet them, and bowed himself to the ground, and said, My Lord, if I have found favor in thy sight,
pray thee, from thy servant. V. 13. And Jehovah said to Abraham, Wherefore, &c. Is any thing too hard for Jehovah? About this time another year will I return to thee, and Sarah shall have a son. V. 16. And the men rose up from thence, and looked toward Sodom, and Abraham set out with them to accompany them on their way. V. 20. And Jehovah said, The cry concerning Sodom is great, and their sin is very gross; I will therefore go down, and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry concerning it; or if not, I will know. And the men turned their faces from thence, and went toward Sodom, but Abraham remained standing before Jehovah. And Abraham drew near and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked? xix. 1. And the two angels came to Sodom at even. Vy. 12, 13. And the men said, — For we will destroy this place, because the cry concerning them has become great before Jehovah, and Jehovah hath sent us to destroy it. V. 16. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters, Jehovah having compassion upon him; and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.
V. 18. “ And Lot said to them, O not so, Lord! Behold now thy servant hath found favor in thy sight, and great is the mercy thou hast shown me in saving my life. - And he said, See I have regard to thee in this thing also, that I will not overthrow this city, for which thou hast spoken. V. 24. Then Jehovah rained upon Sodom and Gomorrah fire and brimstone from Jehovah out of heaven." See also Gen. xxi. 17, 18; xxii. 1, 11 - 14.
Exodus iii. 2. “ And an angel of Jehovah appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush; and he looked, and behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. And Moses said, I will now turn aside and see this great sight, why the bush is not burned. And when Jehovah saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush and said, &c. V. 6. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of
* I have paraphrased this verse a little, to bring out what I suppose to be the meaning. The literal rendering would be,“ Thou art a God of vision. For, said she, do I not here see (i. e. live) after vision ? "
VOL. XX. 3D s. VOL. II. NO. II. 27