Union Of The Divine And The Human In The Externals Of Christianity -- By: I. E. Dwinell

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 016:63 (Jul 1859)
Article: Union Of The Divine And The Human In The Externals Of Christianity
Author: I. E. Dwinell


Union Of The Divine And The Human In The Externals Of Christianity

By Rev. I. E. Dwinell

It is the object of this Article to trace and illustrate the mingling of the divine and the human in some of the externals of Christianity.

Christianity does indeed, as a life in the soul, work itself out in external results, in which results and process also there is a certain blending of the divine and the human. But it is not this part of its exterior which we are to consider. In addition to these lodgements of Christianity in the domain of sense, standing between Christians and the world, there are lodgements in it, standing between them and God, channels through which he communicates spiritual good. Among these are the Sacred Scriptures, the Church, and the Sacraments. It is the vital union of the agency of God and the agency of man in the production of this section of our religion, which furnishes the object and scope of this discussion.

It may be readily admitted by all, that there is some connection between these two agencies, in the sphere contemplated; that God furnishes an element, and man an element, in these externals. At the same time, there is no very general definite conception of the way in which these diverse forces work together to secure the desired result; nor in what proportions; nor to what extent; nor where the one leaves off, and the other begins. Some give the superiority to the divine agency, and only a subordinate, mechanical agency to the human. Others reverse the order, magnifying man’s part, and depreciating God’s. Others conceive of them as acting side by side, conspiring to one result, but disconnected, with an unappreciable but real gulf between them; and others, as consecutive, joining together, or seeming to do

so, — for they do not absolutely touch — endwise; the one doing its part, and abruptly terminating, and then the other taking up the work and finishing it.

The true conception, as we shall endeavor to show, is very unlike any of these. According to this, the divine and the human interpenetrate and blend dynamically, in the production of the established outward elements and facts of Christianity between God and man, but in such a way that neither loses its nature or integrity. Neither overlies or crushes the freedom of the other. Each acts, and acts freely, according to its own laws; and yet both act together, interpenetrating but not fusing, one but two, two but one. The divine agency is everywhere present, but it does not extinguish or overshadow or crowd the human; and the human is equally present, but it does no violence to the divine. The divine is in the human, yet is not lost in it; the human is in the divine, yet it is st...

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