The Physical Basis Of Our Spiritual Language -- By: W. M. Thomson

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 029:113 (Jan 1872)
Article: The Physical Basis Of Our Spiritual Language
Author: W. M. Thomson


The Physical Basis Of Our Spiritual Language

Rev. W. M. Thomson

No. I. — Introduction

The kingdom of heaven is at hand,” was the startling cry of the voice in the wilderness of Judea. “What it meant we do not now stop to consider. It coincides, however, with our general purpose to remark that the “voice “could only have been uttered in Palestine. Elsewhere the very terms of the proclamation would have been incomprehensible. There the solemn announcement was not only understood, but it arrested the attention of the whole community. It was not the first time the thing had been heard of. This is implied in the abrupt form in which the proclamation was published. The Baptist knew that the idea was quite familiar to those he addressed; that it, in fact, embodied the hope of Israel. From the very beginning the promise had gone forth, and in manifold forms had been repeated, that God would in his own time set up a peculiar kingdom on earth. Under figure and shadow and symbol and type, this promise had been renewed from age to age; and towards the fulfilment of it prophets and kings and holy men had directed their longing eyes, “but died without the sight.” The delay had indeed been long, and trying to the faith of the saints;

but no longer than was necessary. A vast and complicated system of preparation was essential for the establishment of such a kingdom among men, and this could not be hastened. The kingdom was to be diverse from all others — moral, spiritual, and not of this world. To reveal and permanently establish such an empire demanded, amongst other things, as an indispensable prerequisite, an adequate means of communication between the creature and his Creator; in a word, a peculiar spiritual language, by which the thoughts of God could be made known to man. Without this no such kingdom was possible, and the attempt to establish it must have proved a failure.

The main object of this and of some ensuing essays is to investigate the methods adopted by divine wisdom to evolve, enrich, and perfect this language of the kingdom. It is satisfactory to find at the outset that, numerous and complicated as were the instrumentalities employed, and extending over so many generations of marvellous history, they may for the purpose of study and illustration all be ranged under two fundamental expedients; the selection, training, and governing of a peculiar people; and the creating and fitting up for them an appropriate home. Abraham and Canaan; the Hebrew nation, and the land of promise; these are the pivots on which the entire scheme, so far as our present inquiry is concerned, is made to revolve. By and through the Hebrew people, their marvellous history, and the long...

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