J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 3.)
The sorrows of Christ are more purely internal in the Gospels than in the Psalms. We have the history of the contradiction of sinners in the Gospels, but little of His feelings about them; whereas what I may call His own proper sorrows are fully brought out in John 12 and Gethsemane. In the Psalms it is much more His external sorrows. I am not speaking of atonement here. In Psalms 6 and 38 we get sorrows of death on the soul, but, literally, it is not Christ but the Remnant here, however far He may have in Spirit entered into them. It comes no doubt across us, as in Psalm 69, but far the most there is suffering from enemies; so even in Psalm 22, save the first verse which is not merely death - Psalm 102 is more His own sorrow. But in the Gospels we have only His own expressed - His mind as to the rest is not. Psalm 109 refers to enemies, so Psalm 71. Indeed the reference of the godly to his enemies is most frequent. In Psalm 116 again we have death; but save Psalm 102, and a small part of Psalm 69, I hardly know any that directly applies to Christ as this. The Gospels give it fully, as Hebrews 5 also. As a rule these Psalms apply to the godly - the Remnant - with known exceptions.
In Deuteronomy, Moses in reciting the destruction of the Tables and what followed, recounts that Jehovah, in desiring him to come up and receive the Law on the two Tables which he was to make, tells him to make an ark for them, the former are thus supposed presented without ark before the people, but it having been demonstrated that they were incapable of the Law, it is shut up in Christ - afterwards written on their hearts. This gives a very remarkable contrast of the place of the Law after failure, or man being a sinner; before, Moses carries them down to Israel and breaks them in the presence of Israel before their eyes - now. it is provided, in giving it, that it should be shut up in the ark of the covenant, as in fact it is in Christ, though afterwards it may be written in the heart when He owns the people. This analogical testimony, if it be justly understood, is of very great force.
Moses could give the Law at Horeb - broken in the golden calf; Elias could preach to bring back Israel apostate under the calves, but he returns, with his own heart broken, to Horeb again. Nothing but the resurrection of Christ can bring in other things for true and lasting blessing. Hearing is good, when the hearing is of grace and power - righteousness effectual, when it is accompanied with the judgment of evil, the putting away of sin by judgment.
303 As regards ancient Church traditions, it is wonderful what futile things they are. Beausobre has, I think, clearly shown that, in large measure, they come from the Apocryphal writings, invented to promote some devilish object or another, particularly the famous Leucius Charinus's. The virginity of Mary is treated by the early fathers on wholly other ground, and quite different stories invented at first to maintain it than the bold ground, taken at last, of Church authority. I have very little or no doubt, she had a family by Joseph. They believed brothers were brothers, for centuries, and first gave Joseph a former wife, and then had Mary brought up in the Temple by the priests. Nor did they believe in her perpetual virginity, properly speaking. But Peter's being at Rome, according to the actual tradition, certainly rests on the "Acts of St. Peter," I suppose of Leucius. Origen quotes from them, what afterwards became the belief of the so-called Christian Church. It is a pity Beausobre did not bring together, more soberly, the proofs in order. He affords an excellent clue, and many materials, but in rather a bantering way - just, it is true, for such miserable trumpery, in one sense, but not exactly worthy of dealing with Satan's power, nor so orderly nor plain a conviction as if more solemnly put together. See Beausobre's Histoire, etc., chaps. 2 and 3.
The notion of Catholicity, with the majority of Christians outside it, and the most ancient Churches rejecting it, is simply absurd, as to witness. It is grossly the character, as to Apostolicity. Rome was not founded by an Apostle, though that be not really the force of the word.
The notion that events happening on earth, quite late in historical times, before a public exercised in all matters so as to be tending towards no faith in anything, and going on for three years or more with a public government trial at the end, related in its result by heathen historians of the empire - connecting itself by public facts, from that day on, with the state of that empire - a fact believed by hostile Jews or adverse heathen - should be a myth, is simply ridiculous. But it does prove this, that the eternal, moral, spiritual principles involved in the life and death of Jesus are so immense that they eclipse, so to speak, to a thinking, I do not say converted person, the historical facts, and what does this show? I look upon it as a divine mercy, and proof of goodness, that Christianity is a religion of persons and facts. It is more real, more simple, more divine, deeper yet more accessible. God become a Man! I have not ideas in man's mind about Him, but Himself. It is not what love is in my mind, but God who is Love. So even atonement - not a questionable reconciliation in abstract possibilities, not expiation wrought by love. Yet the principles, in relationship with God in these facts, are so deep and immense that they absorb, specially when He is not really known, the facts in which they are verified.
304 Reasoning proves nothing but the justness of a consequence. Truth of facts in not its domain. I do not believe mathematics - the evidence is demonstrative of relations of quantities, of number or form. I may believe (otiosely) an adequate evidence, as many did in the Lord's miracles; John 3. They were right, it was a judgment formed, as to a fact, on adequate evidence. It had the certainty to their minds of a moral demonstration. No man can do "unless"; but it was otiose, and hence raised no question - men call this "certain" sometimes. It is only that from no disposition in the soul, no interest in the question - there is no question raised. So the disciples at the tomb - they saw and believed and went home, "for as yet they knew not the Scriptures that he must rise again from the dead."
Dislike or desire may hinder faith, or desire may dispose - quod volumus. It is too good news. Mary stood at the sepulchre weeping - she loved too much to take it for granted easily. If I say, "Baron so and so has an estate beyond Moscow," you believe me and say, "I dare say." If I say, "You have," you say, "No! I have no relatives, no connections in Russia." Now mathematical truth is the showing equality or inequality of quantities, when form or expression is different, by relations they bear to some common known quantity - save by an abuse of the term it is not faith or belief.