The Cross In Nature And Nature In The Cross -- By: Edward Hitchcock

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 018:70 (Apr 1861)
Article: The Cross In Nature And Nature In The Cross
Author: Edward Hitchcock

The Cross In Nature And Nature In The Cross1

Rev. Edward Hitchcock

In the conclusion of some lectures, prepared by me a few years ago, on the bearings of geology upon religion, I remarked that I had found “something of the Cross in nature, and something of nature in the Cross.” Perhaps, however, I did not attach a very definite meaning to this phrase, till my attention was called to it anew, of late, by the request of a missionary friend and former pupil (Rev. Charles Hartwell), now in China. I propose, in this Article, to state the results of this renewed examination; for I have found, and will attempt to show, that the statement, instead of being mere poetry and sentimentalisrn, is the exponent of a great and important truth.

I am aware that the doctrine of salvation by the cross is universally regarded as a matter of pure revelation. And so it undoubtedly is, as to the facts. But often, when revelation

discloses some great truth, and gives us a clew to its relations, we may find important collateral evidence and illustration in nature. In some able works, such as Butler’s Analogy and Harris’s Preadamite Earth, we find some aspects of the mediatorial work, presented in the light which reason casts upon it. I would follow in the same path; and hope to show that, along the line of junction between natural and revealed religion, assisted by the light that comes from the Bible, we may discover, on the side of nature, profound principles, that form the basis on which the revealed facts of redemption rest; and thus obtain some insight into the mystery which, from the beginning of the world, hath been hid in God.

The position I now take on this subject, and shall endeavor to establish, is the following:

The original constitution, and natural and moral history of this world, show it to have been created, fitted up, and intended from the beginning, to be a theatre for the work of redemption.

Perhaps some explanatory suggestions may make this position better understood.

If professed Christians were inquired of, whether they see evidence, in the constitution and course of nature around them, and in the natural and moral history of the world, that it is in a fallen condition, that large class who reject most of the peculiar doctrines of the Bible as we understand them, would say that no such evidence exists; and many others, whose views are evangelical, would reply, that the laws and

operations of nature appear to be perfect, and that the sole difficulty lie...

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