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the worshippers by one remove from God. He is a Being, external to them, distant from them, personally unapproachable by them; their thought must travel to reach the Almighty; they must look afar for the Most Holy; they dwell themselves within the finite, and must ask a foreign introduction to the Infinite.
He is not with them as a private guide, but in the remoter watch-towers of creation, as the public inspector of their life; not present for perpetual communion, but to be visited in absence by stated messages of form and prayer. And that God dwells in this cold and royal separation, induces the feeling, that man is too mean to touch him ; that a consecrated intervention is required, in order to part Deity from the defiling contact of humanity. Why else am I restricted from unlimited personal access to my Creator, and driven to another in my transactions with himn? And
in this system, our nature appears in contrast, not in alliance, with the divine, and those views of it are favoured which make the opposition strong; its puny dimensions, its swift decadence, its poor self-flatteries, its degenerate virtues, its giant guilt, become familiar to the thought and lips; and life, cut off from sympathy with the godlike, falls towards the level of melancholy, or the sink of epicurism, or the abjectness of vicarious reliance on the priest. Worship, too, must have for its chief aim, to throw off the load of ill; to rid the mind of sin and shame, and the lot of hardship and sorrow; for principally to these disburthening offices do priests and rituals profess themselves adapted :—and who, indeed, could pour forth the privacy of love, and peace, and trust, through the cumbrousness of ceremonies, and the pompousness of a sacred officer? The piety of such a religion is thus a refuge for the weakness, not an outpouring of the strength of the soul : it takes away the incubus of darkness, without shedding the light of heaven ; lifts off the nightmare horrors of earth and hell, without opening the vision of angels and of God. Nay, for the spiritual bonds which connect men with
of more ritatirert :ದ The ceremonie co wship agenda o za give them to vinted to alisema duties tu perts
, so ist and reverents lusive and must plation betre Gaz And the Pret ind
the Father above, it substitutes material ties, a genealogy of sacred fires, a succession of hallowed buildings, or of priests having consecration by pedigree or by manual transmission; so that qualities belonging to the soul alone, are likened to forces mechanical or chemical ; sanctity becomes a physical property: divine acceptance comes by bodily catenation; regeneration is degraded into a species of electric shock, which one only method of experiment, and the links of but one conductor, can convey. And, in fine, a priestly system ever abjures all aim at any higher perfection; boasts of being immutable and unimprovable; encourages no ambition, breathes no desire. It holds the appointed methods of influencing heaven, on which none may presume to innovate; and its functions are ever the same, to employ and preserve the ancient forms and legendary spells committed to its trust. Hence all its veneration is antiquarian, not sympathetic or prospective; it turns its back upon the living, and looks straight into departed ages, bowing the head and bending the knee; as if all objects of love and devotion were there, not here; in history, not in life; as if its God were dead, or otherwise imprisoned in the Past, and had bequeathed to its keeping such relics as might yield a perpetual benediction. Thus does the administration of religion, in proportion as it possesses a sacerdotal character, involve a distant Deity, a mean humanity, a servile worship, a physical sanctity, and a retrospective reverence.
Let no one, however, imagine, that there is no other idea or administration of religion than this; that the priest is the only person among men, to whom it is given to stand between heaven and earth. Even the Hebrew Scriptures introduce us to another class of quite different order; to whom, indeed, those Scriptures owe their own truth and power, and perpetuity of beauty; I mean the Prophets; whom we shall very imperfectly understand, if we suppose them mere historians, for whom God had turned time round the other way, so that
they spoke of things future as if past, and grew so dizzy in
dings are s
2.0. urte s bec, 18 3
of electric shoc he dicks a priestor na on; bizto ges no antes
me to I ploran committed to
pian, rot Teen
on the lines
, and the lead andare and derotica con una s if its God wer da: and had beprestan'a 3
a perpetua bentice
igion, in proportions prare a datait le a pársical sztit,
at there is no other in mis; that the priest st
sgiren to stand better 1 Scriptures incare der; to wboz W power, and whom he shalet
. Ps. li. 16, 17.
om mere histurias
unto me; I am weary to bear them.” “Wash you, make you clean.”* Whatever, in these venerable scriptures, awes us by its grandeur, and pierces us by its truth, comes of the prophets, not the priests; and from that part of their writings too, in which they are not concerned with historical prediction, but with some utterance deeper and greater. I do not deny them this gift of occasional intellectual foresight of events. And doubtless it was an honour, to be permitted to speak thus to a portion of the future, and of local occurrences unrevealed to seers less privileged. But it is a glory far higher, to speak that which belongs to all time, and finds its interpretation in every place; to penetrate to the everlasting realities of things; to disclose, not when this or that
and quickly disappear; to make it felt, not in what nook of duration such an incident will happen, but from what all-embracing eternity the images of history emerge and are swallowed up. In this highest faculty, the Hebrew seers belong
a class, scattered over every nation and every period ; which Providence keeps ever extant for human good, and especially to furnish an administration of religion quite antisacerdotal. This class we must proceed to characterize.
The Prophet is the representative of God before men, commissioned from the Divine nature to sanctify the human. He bears a message downwards, from heaven to earth; his inspirer being above, his influence below. He takes of the holiness of God, enters with it into the souls of men, and heals therewith the wounds, and purifies the taint, of sin. He is charged with the peace of God, and gives from it rest to the weariness, and solace to the griefs of men. Instead of carrying the foulness of life to be cleansed in Heaven, he brings the purity of Heaven to make life divine. Instead of interposing himself and his mediation between humanity and Deity, he destroys the whole distance between them; and
* Is. i. 13, 14, 16.
only fulfils his mission, when he brings the finite mind and
An earnest speech, a brave and holy life, truth
inistration of religios
must proceed to dance entative of God betres
nature to surtit els rds
, from Learen beste Huence below. He mais de 7 it into the soul i res
and purifies the best des
2 of God, and gires for
to the griets of menu italy
to be cleansed in Bazale to make life divine Instant mediation between functie le distance between they are
1. 13, 14, 16.