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THE CHRISTIAN WAY《基督教底蕴》[En/cn]

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THE CHRISTIAN WAY (基督教底蕴:十之八)


By DR W. R. MATTHEWS

Revelation has always been communicated in poetry and symbol and never in scientific or philosophical terms. It is far more like a man trying to tell us that he is in love than a man trying to explain the physiological, psychological and sociological aspects of falling in love. It is an expression of a lived experience, not an analysis of a reported one. And though theologians rightly explore by reason the meaning of revelation, they can never get away from the symbols in which the revelation is enshrined. If anyone thinks that all this throws doubt upon the value and veracity of revelation, 1 would suggest that he study the place of symbol in all our knowledge. He will be surprised to find how little, if any, is not symbolical.

  上主的启示总是以诗歌和象征来传达的,从未用科学或哲学上的用语。这很像一个人告诉我们他在热恋,而不是他在试图解释热恋时有关生理、心理以及涉及社会的各个方面。这是生活经验的表达,不是分析生活经验的报道。神学家们用理性去发掘启示的意义,尽管他们是对的,他们永远不可能超越出启示所寄身的各种象征之中。如果谁认为这些说法会让人怀疑启示的价值和真实性,我想建议他研究一下象征在人们所有知识中的地位。他将会惊讶地发现,不是象征性的知识真是少之又少。

  [revelation“启示”:在讨论基督教义时,把这个英文字(无论是大小写)翻译为“启示”似乎都还能被接受;本段的revelation都是小写,但好像能容许“显灵”之类的特别意义。]

St Paul was well aware of the approximate character of the doctrines that he firmly believed. "Here we see in a mirror, in a riddle", he says, though he looks forward to the life of the world to come when he will see "face to face" and "know as he is known". It would be well if all theologians had remembered this. He is also well aware of another important truth about doctrines - that so long as they remain simply propositions to which we assent they are a dead letter; they became true for us when they mould our inner experience. Thus the "process of the Christ", His birth, death and resurrection, is the pattern of the life of the believer. The old self is to die and be buried with Him so that the new man in Christ may be born, or that we may be risen with Him. Thomas Carlyle, in one of his earlier essays, remarks that much which has been taken as external fact must be recognized as inner reality. Profoundly true, but St Paul had said it already.

  圣保罗对于他所坚信的基督教义只是近似真理的特征,是非常明白的。“在这个世界,我们是在镜中看,在谜中看”,他说;他盼望的是即将到临的世界,那时他将“面对面”地看,才可“认识上主的真面目”。要是所有的神学家记得这点就好了。对于各个教义,圣保罗还深知另一项重要的真理——只要一些陈述依然不过是我们同意的陈述,它们只是死字眼;只有当它们对我们内心的经验构成影响,才算是实话。这样,“基督的历程”,他的生、死和复活,就成为信徒的生命模式。旧日之我将跟基督一起死去,一同被埋,新人将在基督之中诞生,或是我们可能跟他一起复活。卡莱尔在他早期的一篇文章中提到,被认为是外在事实的本质,必须当作内在的实质。他的话极为正确,但是圣保罗老早就说过了。

Anyone who professes the Christian faith as his philosophy of life is at a disadvantage compared with those who have some other, merely secular, system of beliefs and values. They can point to themselves and invite us to notice how happy and admirable arc their lives. A Christian can never do that, for he cannot forget the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican and he knows that he must cry, "Lord, be merciful to me a sinner". It is a part of his philosophy of life that any good that he does or achieves comes from the grace of God. That need not prevent him, however, from trying to state what elements in his creed have been most effective in his experience and most real to him in times of stress.

  任何人宣称已把基督教信仰当作他的人生哲学,比之只掌握一些其他只是世俗的信念和价值系统的人,要不利得多。那些人可以指着自己,邀请我们看,他们的生活多么快乐,多么令人羡慕。基督徒不能那么做,因为他忘不了法利赛人和那位收税人的寓言,他知道自己必定会喊叫,“主啊,请宽恕我这个孽徒”。他的人生哲学的一部分就是,任何他所作或所获得的成就,都是来自上主的恩赐。在他的信念之中,经过经验证明最为有效、而且在紧迫时刻对他最为真实的信条,他是可以试图加以说明的,信奉上主并不会阻止他那么做。

  [the Publican“?收税人”:译者对圣经并不熟稔,他只知道publican有一个较早的意义是“收税人”,采用这意义也许跟法利赛人容易搭上关系,而构成这里所含示的故事。

To me St Paul seems to have the answer that I need. There are many things in his teaching that are obscure and, perhaps, so coloured by outworn modes of thought that they mean little to us, but the profound spiritual experience which inspires him is, I believe, true and valid. To live by faith is the centre of his message. Sola fide is a theological slogan with which I could not agree without careful qualifications. I should, for example, strenuously oppose any suggestion that reason has no place in religion. But sola fide is a good maxim for the conduct of life. Faith is not simple belief. It is a state of mind in which the will plays a dominant part. When I make an act of faith, I resolve to "adhere to God" as revealed in Christ; I turn the whole of my self towards Him and I determine that I will remember this turning of my self, so far as I can, throughout the days of my life, whatever the distractions and temptations to forget. No doubt, faith involves accepting certain belief which I cannot demonstrate; it is an act of choice; but it is also a self commitment to the God in whom I believe.

  对于我,圣保罗似乎提供了我需要的答案。在他的教言之中,有多处是意义不明的,也许是历经 过时的思想模式所左右,他的话语对我们寓意不多,但是他那种对人们有所启发的深湛的精神经历,我相信是真实而有效的。“凭信仰而活”是他的信息的中心。“唯有信仰”是神学上的一句口头禅,我必须做过仔细的分辨之后才可以同意。例如,任何人要是说理性在宗教之中没有地位,我是会坚决反对的。但是,“唯有信仰”也是一句适用于人生行为的好格言。信仰不是简单的信念。它是由意志扮演主要角色的一种心理状态。当我按信仰有所作为,我决心要紧随基督所显现的上主;我把整个自己向他交出,我决心在我一生全部的日子里全力记住这样的交出,不管要舍弃多少引诱和诱惑。无疑的,信仰涉及我无法证明的若干信念;这是一种选择;但这也是对于我信仰的上主的一个自我承诺。

[历经 过时:在这两个词之间,译者特别让“经过”之间稍空,以帮助读者阅读时轻松些。《语文建设通讯》曾就这问题提出来讨论过,有的朋友们觉得在这种情形下,无妨在两个词语之间加一个小圆点,作为特别标记,译者觉得后一办法更具明确性。]

Profoundly true, too, is the insight, of St Paul concerning the Christ within. To die with Christ and rise again with Him is not a mere metaphor, and the Apostle's mystical words about being identified with Christ have been tested and found valid in the experience of many believers. To me, at least, they ring true, and I will only say that, if I had kept them more steadily before me, I should have many fewer things in my life to regret and repent than I have.

  同样十分正确的是,圣保罗有关基督在我们内心的高见。与基督同死、与基督一起复活,并不仅仅是比喻的说法,他所说与基督同在的神秘话语,经过许多信徒的实证并发现有效。对于我,他的那些话极为中肯,我现在要说的只是,如果我更为坚定地信守那些话,我这一生需要惋惜和悔恨的事情,会少得多。 (十之八完)

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