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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary

Mystery

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Secret (from, to shut the mouth.) It is taken,

1. for a truth revealed by God which is above the power of our natural reason, or which we could not have discovered without revelation; such as the call of the Gentiles, Ephesians 1:9 ; the transforming of some without dying, &c., 1 Corinthians 15:51 .

2. The word is also used in reference to things which remain in part incomprehensible after they are revealed; such as the incarnation of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, &c. Some critics, however, observe that the word in Scripture does not import what is incapable in its own nature of being understood, but barely a secret, any thing not disclosed or published to the world. In respect to the mysteries of religion, divines have run into two extremes. "Some, " as one observes, "have given up all that was mysterious, thinking that they were not called to believe any thing but what they could comprehend. But if it can be proved that mysteries make a part of a religion coming from God, it can be no part of piety to discard them, as if we were wiser than he." And besides, upon this principle, a man must believe nothing: the various works of nature, the growth of plants, instincts of brutes, union of body and soul, properties of matter, the nature of spirit, and a thousand other things, are all replete with mysteries. If so in the common works of nature, we can hardly suppose that those things which more immediately relate to the Divine Being himself, can be without mystery. "The other extreme lies in an attempt to explain the mysteries of revelation, so as to free them from all obscurity.

To defend religion in this manner, is to expose it to contempt. The following maxim points out the proper way of defence, by which both extremes are avoided.. Where the truth of a doctrine depends not on the evidence of the things themselves, but on the authority of him who reveals it, there the only way to prove the doctrine to be true is to prove the testimony of him that revealed it to be infallible." Dr. south observes, that the mysteriousness of those parts of the Gospel called the credenda, or matters of our faith, is most subservient to the great and important ends of religion, and that upon these accounts:

First, because religion, in the prime institution of it, was designed to make impressions of awe and reverential fear upon men's minds.

2. To humble the pride and haughtiness of man's reason.

3. To engage us in a closer and more dilligent search into them.

4. That the full and entire knowledge of divine things may be one principal part of our felicity hereafter. Robinson's Claude, vol. 1: p. 118, 119, 304, 305; Campbell's Preliminary Dissertation to the Gospel, vol. 1: p. 383; Stillingfleet's Origines Sacrae, vol. 2: 100: 8; Ridgley's Div. qu. 11; Calmet's Dict.; Cruden's Concordance; South's Serm. ser. 6. vol. 3:


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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Mystery'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. http://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/cbd/m/mystery.html. 1802.


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