Advance In The Type Of Revealed Religion -- By: L. E. Dwinell

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 014:54 (Apr 1857)
Article: Advance In The Type Of Revealed Religion
Author: L. E. Dwinell

Advance In The Type Of Revealed Religion

Rev. L. E. Dwinell

There is not, and never has been, it may safely be assumed, a grander history in progress among men than that of true religion. All other histories centre in it, and are of value as they relate to it. The monuments of art, science, government, and humanity, are taken up into it or are its attendant ministers. Its sweep bridges over all time,—its two abutments resting in the two eternities, the one in the original and eternal purpose of God, and the other in the everlasting bliss of heaven. And if one could take his stand on some eminence commanding this world and the next, and have the disclosures of both fully before him, he would also see that, while the developments of time find their unity in the lines of subordination which bind them to true religion, and while true religion has from the smallest beginnings swept on by a succession of marches, laterally through the earth and downwards through the centuries, it has at the same time been undergoing a series of advances of far more moral grandeur and beauty; advances in its own revealed nature and character. He would see that, while historically, true religion has been progressing externally, it has, historically, been progressing internally also, revealing ever and again fresher beauties and higher perfections or elements of perfection.

Everything pertaining to a movement so sublime, and relating so directly to the highest interests of humanity, deserves careful study. We propose, therefore, in this Article, to discuss, rapidly, the Advance discoverable in the Type of Revealed Religion.

In treating this subject, it may exhaust the points of useful examination if we consider the Necessity of Advance,

its Nature, and finally some of its Illustrations and Verifications.

L The Necessity of progress in revealed religion lies in the fact that God, in dealing with the race to bring it to the knowledge and love of himself, has chosen to work in accordance with man’s mental and moral constitution. He might have disregarded this, might have shivered it as a potter’s vessel, and then, by a single touch of his almightiness, reconstituted humanity and given it, at once, a perfect religion. But he was not dissatisfied with man’s original constitution. He made him, in reference to the fundamental laws of his being, as he desired him to remain. He did not repent of his work. Accordingly, the problem was: How to join Divine interposition on to what was already in man, so as, by working through him, and not on him, to make him a thoroughly religious being. This could only be done by coming down to his capacity, adapting a syste...

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