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The Christian Time-View.

The Christian Time-View.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY JAMES MARTINEAU.



1 Corinthians vii. 29, 31, 32.

but this i say, brethren, the time is short: the fashion

of this world i'asseth away. 1 would have you without

carefulness.
BY JAMES MARTINEAU.



1 Corinthians vii. 29, 31, 32.

but this i say, brethren, the time is short: the fashion

of this world i'asseth away. 1 would have you without

carefulness.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 15, 2013
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THE CHRISTIA TIME-VIEW. BY JAMES MARTIEAU. 1 Corinthians vii. 29, 31, 32. but this i say, brethren, the time is short: the fashion of this world i'asseth away. 1 would have you without carefulness. Paul said this with a meaning which cannot now be restored to the words, and which makes them one of the grandest expressions of the true Christian mind. In no vague, indeterminate sense, such as ours, did he declare the remainder of this life ^ sho?'t;^ and we should much misunderstand his feeling here, if we took it for a commonplace sigh over the brief lodgment permitted to man on earth. It was not that he thought the natural term of our presence upon this scene too slight for earnest pursuit, and resolute achievement; not that he preached any- sickly and selfish indifFerentism, esteeming our days too transient for love, and our generation too perish- able for faithful service. He had no idea that the natural term would be completed, or the generation run itself out. Yet he felt assured that he and his disciples would be survivors of its destruction ; and so, urges on them pursuits of immeasurable ampli- tude, love of a passionless depth, and the service of none but eternal obligations. Instead of thinking, as 480 THE CHUISTIA TIME-VIEW. any man might do, 'Frail tenants are we of this
 
solid globe, — phantoms that come and vanish ; leav- ing nothing permanent but the forms of human things, which remain while the beings change, and the scene over which we have passed, like troops of suc- cessive apparitions;' — the apostle says, ' My friends, we should be of quiet heart; we alone are immortal amid perishable things, and among the vain shows of creation, remain the realities of God ; this world, though it seems like rooted adamant, is melting like a painted cloud away; the forms of human life, the structure of communities, the instinctive relations of r/sankind, which alone appear unchangeable, are alone about to cease ; and our individual being, of all things seeming the most precarious, is alone inca- pable of death.' Paul actually looked around him with the persuasion, that the stable products of history by which he was environed, the gigantic institutions, the proud traditions, the accumulated wealth, the disciplined force, the heartless slavery, that lay within the grasp of Koman power, existed by a feebler tenure than the sickliest infant's life; he looked to see them all, and the mighty arm that held them, crumbled into sand before his eyes. A strange and wondrous expectation this, seen from our point of view ! Afloat upon the tide of human things, in that poor frail skifl" of a Christian Church which he took to be an ark of God, how could he look at such frowning skies, and hope to ride the storm alone? But, in truth it was no common tempest that he thought to see; rather did he sail on in the belief, that the very seas of time beneath him were about to sink and flee away ; bearing with them the mighty fleet of human things into nothingness THE CHKISTIA TIME-VIEW. 481 and night; and leaving only that ark suspended in the mid-heaven of God's protection, to grow into a
 
diviner world. Well might he exhort his disciples to disentangle themselves from the elements about to perish ; to disregard the perils, and forget the toils, and transcend the anxieties, that beset them. Well might he remind them that they were living upon a scale, that made it shameful to brood on these things like an eager and wayward child; that they might live in obedience to their largest thoughts, and com- pute their way as through the first spaces of an in- finite perspective; and that, to minds so placed, nothing was so fitting as a serene spirit of poit'er; quiet, not from the extinction, but from the doubling of emotion, gathering into the same instant the feel- ings of opposite times, and making 'those that weep as though they wept not, and those that rejoice as though they rejoiced not, and those that used this world as though they used it not ; ' and all, reposing ' without carefulness ' on the will of God, seeing how soon ' the fashion of this world passeth away.' This was the apostle's manner of regarding life; and though we may say his expectation was false, we may doubt whether any man since has had one half as true. It is, at all events, unlike the error of our lower spirits, and arises from a mind, not too short-sighted, but too far-seeing', for the conditions of our mortal state. It rightly answers the great problem between true and false religion, — I should rather say between religion and no religion, — 'Which is the permanent reality. Life, or the scenery and receptacle of life ; the Soul, or the physical Objects of the soul?' Whoever deeply feels that one of these is eternal, must see the other to be evanescent ; 41 482 THE CHRISTIA TIME-VIEW. for, the duration of either is simply relative to the

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