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38Elucidations.

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I.

(Vicar of the Lord, p. 27.)

The recurrence of this emphatic expression in our author is worthy of special note.  He knew of no other “Vicar of Christ” than the promised Paraclete, who should bring all Christ’s words to remembrance, and be “another Comforter.”  Let me quote from Dr. Scott333333    The Christian Life, vol. iii. p. 64. a very striking passage in illustration:  “The Holy Ghost, after Christ’s departure from the world, acted immediately under Christ as the supreme vicegerent of his kingdom; for next, and immediately under Christ, He authorized the bishops and governors of the Church, and constituted them overseers of the flock (Acts xx. 28).  It was He that chose their persons, and appointed their work, and gave them their several orders and directions:  in all which, it is evident that He acted under Christ as His supreme substitute.  Accordingly, by Tertullian he is styled ‘the Vicarious Virtue, or Power,’ as He was the Supreme Vicar and substitute of Christ in mediating for God with men.”

II.

(She shall be called woman, p. 31.)

The Vulgate reads, preserving something of the original epigrammatic force, “Vocabitur Vir-ago, quoniam de Vir-o sumpta est.”  The late revised English gives us, in the margin, Isshah and Ish, which marks the play upon words in the Hebrew,—“She shall be called Isshah because she was taken out of Ish.”  This Epithalamium is the earliest poem, and Adam was the first poet.

As to the argument of our author, it is quite enough to say, that, whatever we may think of his refinements upon St. Paul, he sticks to the inspired text, and enforces God’s Law in the Gospel.  Let us reflect, moreover, upon the awful immodesty of heathen manners (see Martial, passim), and the necessity of enforcing a radical reform.  All that adorns the sex among Christians has sprung out of these severe and caustic criticisms of the Gentile world and its customs.  And let us reflect that there is a growing licence in our age, which makes it important to revert to first principles, and to renew the apostolic injunctions, if not as Tertullian did, still as best we may, in our own times and ways.

III.

(These crimes, p. 36.)

The iniquity here pointed at has become of frightful magnitude in the United States of America.  We shall hear of it again when we come to Hippolytus.334334    Tertullian speaks of the heathen as “decimated by abortions.”  See ad Uxor., p. 41, infra.  May the American editor be pardoned for referring to his own commonitory to his countrywomen on this awful form of murder, in Moral Reforms,335335    Lippincotts, Philadelphia, 1868. a little book upon practical subjects, addressed to his own diocese.

Hippolytus speaks of the crime which had shocked Tertullian as assuming terrible proportions at Rome in the time of Callistus336336    Bunsen, vol. i. p. 134. and under his patronage, circa A.D. 220.  But in this case it was not so much the novelty of the evil which attracted the rebuke of the Christian moralist, but the fact that it was licensed by a bishop.


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