LIFE

IN

CHRIST

A Study Of The Scripture Doctrine

On

The Nature Of Man,

The Object Of The Divine

Incarnation,

And The Conditions Of Human

Immortality

By Edward White

 

Third Edition, Revised And Enlarged

 

 1875

 

Author of the “Mystery Of Growth,” etc.

E. W, Brathay House, Tufnell Park, London

 

 

A new preface by William Robert West

http://www.robertwr.com/

     The doctrine of unconditional immortality of a deathless soul being in a person and leaving that person at the death of the person makes it impossible for Christ to give life to that soul; if it had immortality it would already have life and could never not have life. All Christ could do is give it a reward or punish it.

    “Life In Christ” by Edward White was published in 1875 may have been one of the first major protest against the doctrine of an immortal soul. He says the soul being immoral is not taught in the Bible but they did know of life after the resurrection. For the most part this book teaches the truth on the doctrine of the soul and Hell however there are a few things in it that are unbiblical.

      The English spelling of in 1875 was far difference than that of today. So difference that it would make reading difficult for most of today’s readers. I have updated only the spelling and some punctuation.

Example of some of the changes:

Š       Favour updated to favor

Š       Lobour updated to labor

Š       Realise updated to realize

Š       Thou updated to you

Š       Knoweth updated to knows

Š       Honous updated to honor

Š       Mt. xxviii. 12 updated to Matthew 28:12 as some would have trouble reading xxviii.

Although many names are not spelled as they were in 1875, the old spelling of names was not updated

Š       An example of spelling of words that was not updated

o   Mammalia = ?

o   Dominat = ?

o   Dolours = ?

Life In Christ

Edward White

A STUDY OF THE SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE

ON THE NATURE OF MAN,

THE OBJECT OF THE DIVINE INCARNATION,

AND THE CONDITIONS OF HUMAN IMMORTALITY

By EDWARD WHITE

Author of the “Mystery Of Growth,” etc

     “But the angel of the Lord by night opened the prison doors, and brought them forth, and said, Go stand and speak in the temple to the people all the words of this life. And when they heard that they entered into the temple early in the morning and taught.”

THIRD EDITION REVISED AND ENLARGED

LONDON

ELLIOT STOCK, 62, PATERNOSTER ROW

1878

Yes, even the lifeless stone is dear,

For thoughts of Him who late lay here;

And the base world, now Christ has died,

Ennobled is and glorified.

No more a charnel house to fence

The relics of lost innocence,

A vault of ruin and decay;

The imprisoning stone is rolled away

Tis now a cell where angels use

To come and) go with heavenly news,

And in the ears of mourners say,

“Come see the place where Jesus lay.”

Keble.

Hazell, Watson and Viney, Printers, London and Aylesbury.

PREFACE TO THE THIRD EDITION

     THE present edition of this work is not a mere reprint of the last, but has been revised with the utmost care, and represents the effect of the friendly and adverse criticisms to which the two former editions have been subjected. Of the adverse notices the foremost place belongs to the thoughtful article in the Church Quarterly Review. Since, however, the able and generous writer distinctly “eschews textual criticism and detailed argument,” and prefers to discuss the doctrine set forth only in its “general bearings,” and under what he terms “comprehensive views,” I have been able to derive little advantage from his labor. This book rests the question of Immortality wholly on interpretation of Scripture; and with those who decline that line of thought, the author also must decline to enter into controversy. The British Quarterly and London Quarterly Reviewers have each advanced objections to previous statements, which I have here attempted to show are either founded on misconception, or else are suggestive of amended modes of representation. Archdeacon Garbett has published some papers in the Christian Observer for 1877, which I am compelled to say, after respectful and repeated perusals, seem to me to consist chiefly of authoritative assertions, or appeals to authority, on the immortality of the soul, and which wholly avoid the discussion of weighty objections even to that tenet. A very able and generally candid anonymous writer in the Methodist Magazine of the present year has made the most of the case on the side of traditional opinion; but, while suggesting some valuable improvements in the argument, he has avoided the discussion of the most important exegetical and theological questions. From each of these writers, however, I have learned something; and I wish to explain in this place that in order to avoid encumbering a book, intended now for popular use, with numberless footnotes and references, I have without further comment either modified or withdrawn statements in matters of detail which seem to me to have been reasonably censured. Each of my critics who cares to examine closely this edition will discover in such modification the effect of his observations, and is at liberty to conclude that, in whole or in part, I have been convinced by his criticism. While desirous of rendering justice to all opponents, I have to regret that the main argument, scriptural and complex, for the doctrine here defended has been scarcely adverted to. Reviewers have nibbled at phrases and special criticisms, but have avoided the principal questions both of interpretation and of a harmonious theology. When they do theologies, as in the remarks of the Church Quarterly and London Quarterly Reviewers, on the question whether the existing human race owes its being to law or to grace, their mutual contradictions, as I have pointed out in the proper place, might suggest to each a less confident tone of exclusive “orthodoxy.”

     In this edition will be found a new note On Jewish and Rabbinical Opinion, affixed to chapter 17; and the substance of my recent replies to the Revelation J. Baldwin Brown’s Lectures on Conditional Immortality is incorporated with the text.

     In again offering to the public a work of which the wider circulation must needs be fraught with consequences of incalculable moment for spiritual good or evil, I can but repeat the conviction that although, as in other revolutions of religious opinion, some evil attends change, the ultimate result will be wholly for good. It was originally written, and has now again been revised. Under a deep sense of responsibility to the Most Righteous Judge Eternal; and the persuasion of truth borne in upon my own mind by the study of the Holy Scripture has now been sanctioned, not only by the confirmatory faith of many of the most learned and able critics in our generation, but by the assenting voice of a great multitude of thoughtful and devout Christian people in Europe, Asia, and America.

     If the reader who cares little for scientific opinion finds the opening sections not to his taste, he can commence the perusal of this book at the fifth chapter, without serious hindrance to the understanding of the general argument. The English reader will find the occasional occurrence of Hebrew and Greek type no obstacle to his ready comprehension of the discussion.

     I shall conclude this preface with four notable citations. The First is from an incisive reply to Canon Liddon’s sermon On Conditional Immortality, in Paul’s Cathedral, by my friend and fellow laborer, the Revelation Samuel Minton, M.A., who, by his works on The Glory of Christ in the reconciliation of all things, The Way Everlasting, and The Harmony of Scripture, and not less by his singular ability, judgment, temper, and self-sacrifice, has made the idea that immortal life is in Christ alone a subject of general interest throughout the English-speaking world. Mr. Minton thus expresses the drift of our joint contention:

     “Scripture is silent on man’s necessary immortality. It is trumpet-tongued on the other side. From beginning to end it positively labors to impress upon man that he is not an immortal, indestructible, but a dying, perishing creature; who, if he desires to inherit eternal life, must accept it as the free gift of God in Christ, and seek for it by patient continuance in well-doing. The alternatives of life and death, immortality and destruction, are incessantly put before us in every shape and form. Dogmatic assertions, warnings, promises, arguments, illustrations, and necessary inferences, are massed together in such a way that it might have been thought impossible for any human being to misunderstand them. The very object of Christ’s death is again and again declared to be, "that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life:" yet Scripture, we are told, pre-supposes that man is absolutely imperishable, and must spend an everlasting life of some kind, whether he believes or not. It teaches that "whosoever dose the will of God abides forever;" but pre-supposes that every one must abide forever "either in weal or woe!" It teaches that "if any man eat of this bread he shall live forever;" but pre-supposes that every man must live forever, whether he eat of it or not, — pre-supposes the "unutterably solemn fact that each one of us in this cathedral must live on forever and ever." It teaches that "the wages of sin is death;" but pre-supposes that man’s spirit is essentially deathless, and that his body having been raised from its first temporary death, can incur no second death, but must "live eternally on in weal or in woe." It teaches that the" end" of impenitent sinners "is destruction," even "everlasting destruction;" that "like natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed," they "will utterly perish in their own corruption;" that they will be "cast forth as a branch and withered…cast into the fire and burned, "burnt up like" chaff" with unquenchable fire; that" a fiery indignation" will "devour" them; that they, “shall be cut off," and" shall not be; "that "into smoke they shall consume away;" that they shall "lose their own souls," — "lose themselves;" all of which pre-suppose-what? — Why, something that would render it absolutely impossible for any one of these things ever to occur. In fact Scripture is tortured by this human philosophy into meaning the very reverse of what it says.”

     The Second Citation is from a letter with which I have been favored by Mr. Stokes, Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge, and Secretary of the Royal Society; in which he deals with the objection often made that, according to us, “the wicked are raised from the dead only to suffer,” and that this throws a dark shadow upon the attributes of God Professor Stokes says:

“I never could share in the difficulty which some seem to feel heavily, regarding the doctrine of life in Christ, on the ground that, on that supposition, the raising again of the wicked, which Scripture unequivocally teaches, would be an act of cruelty on the part of God. The difficulty seems to me to be based on the assumption that the sole object of their resurrection was that they might be punished. Even if it were so, I think it could be shown to be consistent with, or even conceivably required by, a scheme in which mercy and justice are blended together; but it appears to me that Scripture represents judgment (kriðsiv), the display to the whole rational creation of the justice of the ways of God, rather than punishment as such (kriðma), as the primary object, so to speak, of the resurrection of the unjust as well as of the just. (See for instance, 2 Corinthians 5:9, “For we must all be made manifest before the judgment seat of Christ, in order that each man may receive the things done in the body, according to the things that he did, whether it were good or bad.” See also John 5:29; Romans 4:12). And though to the wicked judgment will issue in condemnation, and they will receive their final doom, it is surely as easy to regard this, and whatever suffering may either accompany (see Matthew 11:22) or follow the judgment, as a necessary result of the manifestation, as it is to regard it as a consequence of a supposed immortality of the soul.”

     The Third Citation is on the practical working of the traditional dogma on future retribution, from a speech by the Revelation R. Suffield. At a meeting held in 1873 in Sion College, an interesting paper was read by the late Lord Lyttelton, which subsequently appeared in the April number of the Contemporary Review. In the course of the debate, which followed, a remarkable statement was made by the Revelation Rudolph Suffield, formerly a Roman Catholic priest. He observed that no one knew so well as a priest what was passing in other men’s minds on religious subjects; and that his own opportunities of ascertaining the effect of the popular doctrine upon the minds of those who really believed it had been very considerable. At the request of one who was present, he afterwards wrote out the following abstract of the testimony, which he then gave from his own experience:

“I am bound by honor now to observe faithfully the regulations to which I was pledged when a Roman Catholic priest. I am permitted by those to be guided by the knowledge of character and results obtained from the confessional, but so as never to point things to individuals. My extensive experience for twenty years as confessor to thousands, whilst Apostolic Missionary in most of the large towns of England, in many portions of Ireland, in part of Scotland, and also in France, is, that excepting instances I could count on my fingers, the dogma of hell, though firmly believed in by English and Irish Roman Catholics, did no moral or spiritual good, but rather the reverse. It never affected the right persons; it frightened, nay tortured, innocent young women, and virtuous boys; it drove men and women into superstitious practices, which all here would lament. It appealed to the lowest motives and the lowest characters, not however to deter from vice, but to make them the willing subjects of sad and often puerile superstitions. It never (excepting in the rarest case) deterred from the commission of sin. It caused unceasing mental and moral difficulties, lowered the idea of God, and drove devout persons from the God of hell to Mary. When a Roman Catholic, I on different occasions conferred on this subject with thoughtful friends among the clergy, who agreed with me in noticing and deploring the same sad results. From the fear of hell we never expected virtue, or high motives, or a noble life; but we practically found it useless as a deterrent. It always influenced the wrong people, and in a wrong way. It caused "infidelity" to some, "temptations" to others, and misery without virtue to most. The Roman Catholics are very sincere and "real;" and we found it difficult to avoid violating the conscience, when we told them to love and revere a God compromised to the creation of a hell of eternal wretchedness, a God perpetrating what would be scorned as horrible by the most cruel, revengeful, unjust tyrant on earth.”

     The Fourth Citation is from the contribution of Mr. W. R. Greg (author of the Enigmas of Life) to the “Symposium” on The Future Life, in the Nineteenth Century for October 1877. His words are surely among the most pathetic and mournful ever written in modern literature, and prove the necessity for some further discussion of that doctrine of Christianity which enables its believers to say, “We know that if this earthly house of our tabernacle be dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens”:

“I have of course read most of the pleadings in favor of the ordinary doctrine of the Future State; naturally also, in common with all graver natures, I have meditated yet more; but these pleadings, for the most part, sound to anxious ears little else than the passionate outcries of souls that cannot endure to part with hopes on which they have been nurtured and which are intertwined with their tenders affections. Logical reasons to compel conviction, I have met with none — even from the interlocutors in this actual Symposium. Yet few can have sought for such more yearningly. I may say I share in the anticipations of believers; but I share them as aspirations, sometimes approaching almost to a faith, occasionally and for a few moments perhaps rising into something like a trust, but never able to settle into the consistency of a definite and enduring creed. I do not know how far even this incomplete state of mind may not be merely the residuum of early upbringing and habitual associations. But I must be true to my darkness as courageously as to my light. I cannot rest in comfort on arguments that to my spirit have no cogency, nor can I pretend to respect or be content with reasons, which carry no penetrating conviction along with them. I will not make buttresses do the work or assume the posture of foundations. I will not cry "Peace, peace, when there is no peace." I have said elsewhere and at various epochs of life why the ordinary "proofs" confidently put forward and gorgeously arrayed" have no help in them;" while, nevertheless, the pictures which imagination depicts are so inexpressibly alluring. The more I think and question the more do doubts and difficulties crowd around my horizon and cloud over my sky. Thus it is that I am unable to bring aid or sustainment to minds as troubled as my own, and perhaps less willing to admit that the great enigma is, and must remain, insoluble.”

     It remains only to add that in preparing the present edition I have been again much indebted to the revising accuracy of my friend Dr. Emmanuel Petavel of Geneva, the leading advocate of the same views on the continent of Europe; and also for some valuable suggestions to the Revelation Charles Byse, of Bex, Canton de Vaud, who has kindly undertaken a French translation of these pages, which will be published at Geneva in 1878. -- E. W. December 1877.

_________________________

Preface To The First Edition

     THIRTY years ago, in 1846, I ventured to publish a volume setting forth the doctrine of Immortality through the Incarnation, which at that time had few other public advocates in this country. If the idea had been original it would have been self-condemned. It was but a revival of the oft-repeated and unsuccessful protest of better men. For example, Dr. Isaac Watts himself, the flower of Nonconformist orthodoxy, had maintained, one hundred and fifty years before, all the essential principles of that work in his book on The Ruin and Recovery of Mankind. Speaking of the sentence of Death passed upon Adam he says (Question 11),

“Who can say whether the word death might not be fairly construed to extend to the utter destruction of the life of the soul as well as of the body? For man by sin had forfeited all that God had given him, that is the life and existence of his soul as well as of his body; and why might not the threatening declare the right that even a God of goodness had to resume all back again, and utterly destroy and annihilate His creatures forever? There is not one place of Scripture that occurs to me, where the word death, as it was first threatened in the law of innocence, necessarily signifies a certain miserable immortality of the soul, either to Adam, the actual sinner, or to his posterity.” And again, building on that foundation, he maintains the total destruction of their spirits, in the death of the children of wicked men, all over the world (a detail in which I do not agree with Dr. Watts); denying the natural immortality of their souls. “It does not follow that the Great God will punish the mere imputed guilt of Adam’s infant posterity in so severe a manner [as to consign them to eternal misery], or that He will continue their souls in being, whose whole life and being is forfeited by Adam’s sin.” (Question 17)

     These premises carry with them logically all the critical and theological conclusions, which have been deduced from them by us, in relation to the Christian economy; yet the whole church of Christ has continued to honor Dr. Watts as one of the chief singers of the orthodox faith. The modem reproduction of the same ideas was nevertheless assailed on all sides as heresy, and the inevitable penalty for that offence in England has ensued in ecclesiastical experiences nonetheless painful because cheerfully endured in humble trust of the Highest Approval.

     The volume with which, after so many years of additional thought and experience, I now appear before the public, excepting a few pages revised from its earlier predecessor and later pamphlets, is entirely new; though for convenience in future reference bearing the old title. After the labors of so many learned writers the question may fairly be asked whether there was room for another discussion; above all, whether there was room for so large a volume treating on a wide range of topics in which, partly through want of space, and partly through lack of ability, few of the subjects could be exhaustively handled. The defense is simple, and I hope sufficient; firstly, that my early ideas have somewhat cleared up in certain directions in the course of subsequent reflection; and next, that the object of this book is to exhibit the bearings of the central doctrine of Immortality on the present state of Anthropology, and on the acknowledged truths of Revelation, rather than to elaborate any one branch of the argument. No one hitherto has treated the question precisely in this coherent method: and yet conviction often comes when men can be persuaded to look round a large circle of ideas, while doubt remains so long as they consider only a few of its degrees. The reader, therefore, will not anticipate a treatise exclusively or chiefly on Future Punishment, but rather a discussion of the Source and Conditions of human Immortality; and no one will even comprehend the scope of this book who regards it merely as an argument for “Annihilation.”

     In contemplating the reception, which may be given to my labor, I know that no one who questions an ancient and established belief, supported by a large majority of learned Christians, has. Either right or reason to expect contemporary praise. For his mistakes he does not deserve it, and his demerits therein will be plentifully rewarded. For the truth, which perchance he may also maintain, society is scarcely prepared. Such an enterprise, therefore, should be taken in hand by those alone who, feeling what Roger Williams called “the rocky strength of their grounds,” are satisfied, for the present, with an appeal to the Master of Truth in Heaven, to the judgment of some few careful and thorough readers on earth, and to the better opinion of posterity. This is indeed an appeal, which is made by every futile dreamer, but it has been also made by all who have labored and suffered effectually for forgotten truths in times gone by. The system of ideas here presented has yet scarcely passed through the stage of obstinate British misrepresentation. When our notice-writers and preachers have ended their declamations against the” miserable doctrine of Annihilation,” the public will begin to see that “the more part” have mistaken the general question altogether; —and then religious students will probably gather courage to proclaim—what must first be held somewhat in reserve. Perhaps all lasting and beneficial changes of belief are brought about with less danger to the fabric of faith when thus allowed slowly to percolate through society, rather than when forced indiscriminately or before their time on the attention of the multitude.

     It is inevitable, then, I regret to acknowledge, that even in a tolerant age, this work, if regarded at all, should incur at present in many quarters severe reprehension. Its basis, a thorough belief in the Divine Authority of Christ and His Apostles, in-cluding faith in their Doctrine of Evil Spirits, as an essential part of Christianity, will deeply displease some, as old-fashioned and uncritical. It will also incur the reproof of the easy-going thinkers in all churches, by whom definite persuasion, founded on painstaking interpretation of Scripture, is declared to be the certain mark of a narrow and shallow capacity: as though it were quite certain that the subject which is most obscure and beyond our reach, in a Divine Revelation, would be the very scope of Redemption; or, if not obscure, then unimportant; as though anything whatever is important, if not to know the revealed character of God, the true end of the Incarnation, and the real nature and destiny of Man. The issue of this argument, the supposed establishment of the Evangelical Theology on a firmer foundation, will displease perhaps still more, since this form of faith is just now much out of fashion. The organs of opinion appointed to defend systems of belief already established, rather than to inquire into their truth, cannot be expected, however generous the spirit of their writers, to regard favorably a book which combines ideas gathered from so many schools and churches. Its abandonment of the doctrine of endless misery will be denounced as dangerous by men whose disapproval cannot but occasion regret; while its earnest inculcation of a “wrath to come,” of the nature of positive and even physical infliction from the hand of Heaven, will be regarded as intolerable by nearly all parties alike. A long experience has made known the price, which must be paid for so much individuality of faith, and so much freedom of confession.

      Nevertheless, although this book, having so hard and unequal a battle to fight, may be found too skeptical by the orthodox, and by far too orthodox for the skeptical, I believe that its main argument (to be carefully distinguished from those secondary opinions which accompany it) will gradually win the adhesion of a large and growing class, who, knowing the outlines of present scientific doctrine, and likewise the history of theology, have found the truth to lie partly in what is termed skepticism, and partly in the ancient creeds of Christendom. My chief desire is that these pages may assist the Christian belief of some whose faith is a half doubt, and also of some whose doubts have expelled faith altogether. For there are many scientific men who have concluded too hastily, that because biology reveals no future state, there is therefore neither” Judgment to come” nor “Life everlasting.” I meet such reasoners here, on their own ground, with “glad tidings,” and proclaim to them “JESUS AND THE RESURRECTION.” Unless there were a loftier object in view than a negative reform of the doctrine of retribution, my life should not have been devoted to the promulgation of these principles. It is the positive truth on Christ’s Salvation, now more than ever endangered in Europe, which has been throughout the main concern; and it is with such aims that I now respectfully submit these endeavors to the judgment, not however exclusively, of the theological public.

E. W,

BRATHAY HOUSE,

TUFNELL PARK, LONDON,

September 1875.

CONTENTS.

BOOK THE FIRST

ON THE NATURE OF MAN AS CONSIDERED UNDER THE LIGHT OF

SCIENCE ONLY; WITH OTHER PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS

CHAPTER 1 — The Alternatives of Human Destiny—Extinction or Immortality

CHAPTER 2 — The Mind of Animals as Real as the Mind of Man

CHAPTER 3 — On the Mortality of Animals

CHAPTER 4 — A Brief Review of the Relation of Man to the Animal Races, as considered under the light of Science only

CHAPTER 5 — On the Numbers and Intellectual Condition of Mankind

CHAPTER 6 — The Orthodox Doctrine on the Nature and Destiny of Mankind

CHAPTER 7 — On the possibility that Christendom has erred on the Doctrine of Human Destiny

CHAPTER 8 — On the Immortality of the Soul

BOOK THE SECOND

THE OLD TESTAMENT DOCTRINE ON LIFE AND DEATH

CHAPTER 9 — On the Account given in Scripture of the Original Constitution of Man

CHAPTER 10 — On the Nature of the Death threatened to the Ancestors of Mankind in Paradise as the Penalty of Sin

CHAPTER 11 — On the Results of the Trial of Adam in Paradise, and the Entrance of Redeeming Mercy

CHAPTER 12 — The Serpent in Genesis: an Excursus on the Scripture Doctrine of an Evil Superhuman Agency concerned in the Destruction of Mankind

CHAPTER 13 — The Patriarchal Doctrine of a Future State: Animal Sacrifice—Indications of Patriarchal Faith in a Future Life by Resurrection

CHAPTER 14 — On the Death-Penalty of the Mosaic Law

CHAPTER 5 — The Doctrine of Future Rewards and Punishments in the Poetic and Prophetic Books of the Old Testament

CHAPTER 16 — On the Opposed Doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees in relation to a Future Life; and on Christ’s Rejection of boar

BOOK THE THIRD

THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCTRINE ON THE OBJECT OF THE DIVINE

INCARNATION, AND THE METHOD OF REDEMPTION

CHAPTER 17 — The Incarnation of the Life; or, the Logos made Flesh that Man may live eternally

SUPPLEMENT TO CHAPTER 17 — 1. Note on Christ’s Discourse on Life at Capernaum 216. 2. Note on the question, whether the words of Christ on Future Life are to be interpreted according to the sense of the Pharisees; with a view of subsequent Rabbinical opinion

CHAPTER 18 — Justification of Life

CHAPTER 19 — The New Covenant of Life in the Blood of Christ; or, the Nature of the Death of Christ, and its place in the Divine Government as an Atonement for Sin

CHAPTER 20 — On Regeneration unto Life, through Union with the Incarnate Word, by the Holy Spirit, the lord and Giver of Life

CHAPTER 21 — (lades, or the State of Man between Death and the Resurrection, under the Economy of Redemption

CHAPTER 22 — On the Question, Whether the Holy Scriptures teach that any sinful persons, dying in ignorance of Christ, are evangelized in Hades

CHAPTER 23 — The Resurrection to Life Eternal at the Coming and Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ

BOOK THE FOURTH

THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCTRINE OF FUTURE PUNISHMENT

CHAPTER 24 — On the Future Punishment of the Second Death. Excursus, on the Moral Ideas associated with the Terms Life and Death

CHAPTER 25 — Examination of the Principal Scripture Texts supposed to teach the Everlasting Duration of Sin and Misery

CHAPTER 26 — On the Support given by some Fathers of the Primitive Church to the Doctrine of Life in Christ, and on the process by which the prevailing opinion of Man’s Immortality became the Creed of Catholic Christendom

CHAPTER 27 — On the Doctrine of the Ultimate Salvation of all Men, commonly called Universalism

BOOK THE FIFTH

THE BEARING OF THE DOCTRINE OF LIFE IN CHRIST ON THE

FAITH AND PRACTICE OF MANKIND

CHAPTER 28 — On the Influence of this Theodicy on the Christian Life

CHAPTER 29 — The Practical Influence of the Doctrine of Life and Death Eternal on the Hopes and Fears of Ungodly Men

CHAPTER 30 — Missionary Theology: an Inquiry into the Influence of this Theodicy on the Method and Spirit of Missions to the Heathen

CHAPTER 31 — The probable Influence of the Doctrine of Christianity, as here presented on prevailing Atheistic and Deistic Skepticisms

 

BOOK THE FIRST

ON THE NATURE OF MAN, AS CONSIDERED UNDER THE

LIGHT OF SCIENCE ONLY; WITH OTHER PRELIMINARY QUESTIONS

 

CHAPTER 1

THE ALTERNATIVES OF HUMAN DESTINY, EXTINCTION OR

IMMORTALITY

     MAN, who has scaled the heavens by the ladder of his astronomy, and by the study of the rocks divined the history of the globe, finds a more insoluble problem in his own nature and destiny. Though wearing so many crowns, as Earth-subduer, Legislator, Soldier, Poet, Philosopher, and Saint, this Image of the Infinite, nevertheless, scarcely arrives at the maturity of his powers ere death carries him away. He perishes like the moss or lichen beneath his feet.

     Thoughtful men are asking on every side, with ever-deepening intensity of passion, what is this mysterious doom of death, which overshadows all, which awaits and engulfs us all? — Is it indeed the end of our individual being? Does man, the “myriad-minded,” when he expires close his eyes forever on these star-lit heavens, to which he has gazed upward so steadfastly and so wistfully for a few brief moments in the midst of eternity? Does the bubble of life then burst, and resolve itself, as half Asia imagines, into the Eternal Substance; as the water, separated in the floating flask (so Buddhists speak), when the flask is broken, mingles with the ocean? Or does the thinking individuality survive, for a little while, or for endless ages? Is there, as Christendom affirms, a Spirit in every man, which defies destruction, and is destined, as of divine original, to soar aloft the immortal companion of the Necessary Being?

     Apart from a direct communication from that Being, what can we positively learn on these questions? Strange that the judgment of millions should be compelled to hover in uncertainty, even for an hour, between two prospects so different, as approaching extinction, and the promise of an endless life, — drawn by turns to believe in each by strong contradictory arguments. It is a difficulty which has been felt in all ages; for men have ever been divided, as now, into two parties — those who have judged that our portion is in this world only, death ending all, and those who with varying degrees of confidence have embraced the hope of immortality.

     Whence this divided judgment of mankind? Plainly it has been caused by our double relations, to the mind, which is below, and to that which is above us. Beneath us is a world of animals, to a large extent intelligent and sensitive, to which we are allied by manifest and deep-seated similarities of structure. This world of animated natures is forever dying out of life, affording no indication whatever that in a single known instance the vital principle survives in dissolution. Are man’s relationships with these neighboring organisms so inseparable as to involve a similar destiny?

     But whence the violent recoil from such a belief? This recoil itself argues some superiority, for we cannot imagine even the highest rank of the animals speculating on the arguments for and against a future life. Whence the grand desire of eternal survival? It springs from man’s perception of the Divine; for in addition to one world of mind and will beneath us in the animal races, man, looking around and above himself, perceives on all sides clear indications of a Divine Mind, unseen, but pervading nature, a Mind which evidently exists in independence of material organization, and endures forever. Is man the closer kindred of those transitory organisms, or of this Intelligent Power that lives through eternity, from whom he has manifestly sprung? There is a confounding balance of evidence on either side of these appalling alternatives.

      The very power of apprehending God, the eternal Author of nature, as a physical Agent and moral Governor, of rising in the strength of a spiritual faculty to conceive of the Everlasting Cause, argues surely, it is said, some real and deep relation with the all creating Spirit. This longing of the purest and loftiest souls for an endless life, this apprehension of judgment to come, suggested by an evil conscience, this instinctive shock at the prospect of speedy extinction in the perfection of our powers, surely indicates some relations with the permanent forms of being, even with that original and unchangeable Essence. But is this a relation absolute and permanent, or only conditional? Is it common and essential to the human race, or does it depend on individual development? If a part of man’s nature is thus eternal, wherefore death? What is death? What faculties survive the stroke? Why is a future union with God coincident with a destruction of the organism, which unites us with the physical universe? If man has a portion in eternal life, why should apparent death be the doorway into perpetual being?

     From age to age we ask these questions with earnestness of the heavenly Power, who nevertheless regards us with a silence unbroken from century to century, —unless what is commonly called Revelation be the answer of the Eternal Being to the aspirations of man. Apart from such revelation nature offers no satisfying solution to our doubts. The thought indeed soars to the heavens during our lifetime, but for all that the brain returns to the dust.

     The relation of man to the Deity as his destined coeval is, indeed, under natural conditions, rather a sublime speculation than an established fact, — I mean this relation, which carries with it the certain prospect of abiding forever in God. For it may be that moral disobedience, or a persistent choice of evil, has incurred the penalty of a death, which closes the gates of eternal life on the offenders. It is not enough to prove our immortality that we can meditate upon it or even desire it. Why, it may still be asked, if we are to live forever, is the Infinite Creator Himself so regardless when we die? Whence this dumbness of the Everlasting Cause? Why, if immortality is ours, is Nature so silent as to our destiny, —or so threatening?

     For, notwithstanding these loftier thoughts, the progress of exact knowledge in physiology brings out into ever clearer view our intimate relations with that organic world which seems to exist but for a moment. So long as man was studied apart from the system of living creatures around him, it was possible, by a persistent reviling of the animals, and a resolute exaltation of humanity, to hold almost any magnificent opinion respecting our nature and destiny. Theologians and poets had it all their own way. But since the scientific survey has embraced in one panorama the complex system of life upon the globe, it has been impossible to found theories under natural light on the view of a single species; or to establish hypotheses of man’s exclusive immortality on physical or metaphysical phenomena which are found to characterize all living things.

      Professor Haeckel, the boldest of the Evolutionists, assumes that the old argument for survival has been completely swept away. The birth and the death of man are now studied in connection with the birth and the death of all animated beings, and the result hitherto has not been to confirm the popular opinion respecting the infinity of the prospects of any part of man’s constitution under the law of its creation.

     Setting aside (says the physical inquirer) any supposed revelation from God, and restricting the view only to the world of animals and of man, what do we really know respecting any life beyond death; know with a clearness of evidence which deserves to be called science? For we have no reason to be governed by a belief in that life except as it is proved to exist by evidence. What, then, are the conclusions, which are reached when we conscientiously study under one view the organic world of which man forms a part?

     First of all, the animal races are produced by a generative process of which every step is wonderful, but in which there is no ascertainable distinction between the vital and the organic elements of their constitution. In each creature produced under these processes there is a living germ, which has power to build up the organization with all its members, faculties, and mental or sensitive capacities. No one can separate in observation the life from the organism in which it coheres. The faculty is the effect of the development. When the organism dissolves the life seems to dissolve with it.

     Mankind, say these biologists (whose judgment we now simply represent, as illustrative of the course of modern thought apart from revelation), is produced by processes not merely analogous but identical. There is absolutely no difference, as an ancient philosopher observed, between the process through which is born the “wild ass’s colt,” and that by which man is brought forth upon the earth. What we call mind in man is created under universal laws of the brain-producing energy of nature. We trace up sensation, perception, instinct, thought, and developed in constant connection with nervous and cerebral systems, from the lowest to the highest organisms. There is a steady progress in the organization, but in all cases alike the generative process is one. With brain and ganglia there is mind, without them none. The laws, which govern the hereditary transmission of qualities and powers are the same for all. If a common mode of origination may furnish any indication of destiny, comparative physiology holds out, we are told, no hope of survival for the human intelligence in that death, common to animals and mankind, which seems to swallow up organism and faculty in one abyss of destruction.

     The processes of development, nutrition, and decay, are identical for animals and for mankind. The faculty, whether of body or brain, gradually developed, as gradually wastes away. What ground for the confident assertion of a perishable life in the one case, of a deathless being in the other? Rather is it not evident that all through the lower world Mind is but one of the manifold energies of life, and that life, whatever its essence, dissolves with the organization? Science knows nothing, affirms nothing respecting substance or essence. It affirms nothing respecting metaphysical annihilation of the material out of which organisms are built. It declares simply that Man and the Animals belong to one system of life. They are brought into being under one law. And there is no material or positive evidence of the concrete survival of any portion of the one series of organisms more than of the other. Any expectation of the survival of the vital force of man in death must then be founded on something that is not science. We know nothing of the postmortem existence of the thinking willing energy of man. It is known to us only as dependent on the brain and the circulation, developing with the brain, not developing if the brain be not developed (as in idiots), suffering disorder when the brain is injured, lapsing into insanity when the brain is inflamed, decaying when the brain decays, sleeping when the brain sleeps, and seeming to die away when the brain dies. The mind obtains all her knowledge of outward things and all enjoyment of them, as the animals do, through nerves, and ultimately through the brain. In childhood the brain is soft and tender, and the mind is feeble and soon overdone. In health the mind is strong, in sickness it loses its energy and grasp. In old age, when the brain is stiff and dry, the thinking power loses its pliability. It must go on in the old track. A blow to the brain is a blow to the mind. Mental disease, too, is hereditary, as every other bodily affection.

     Mental peculiarities are hereditary. Each child is manifestly the complex result of many individualities transmitting those peculiarities to posterity. Intellect varies not only with the mass, but with the texture of the brain. Narcotics and stimulants directly affect the mind. If the mind were absolutely material, or the result of material combinations, it could not be more completely under the influence of material agencies. Lastly, all the positive evidence is in favor of the transmission of mind or thinking power and will in generation, along with the other elements of the fabric. Where and what is this Soul or Spirit, so independent of the organism as to be created by a separate act of power, so self subsisting as to survive naturally in its integrity when the body dies?

     If it be replied, that it is inconceivably appalling that this universe should be a thing of one substance only; that thinking power should be the last and highest product of its development; that this intellectual eye should open for a moment on nature which produced it, and should then be re-engulfed by the dead ruthless force which had given it birth; the answer is ready, that sentiment must vanish before fact; and that it is wholly impossible from a scientific point of view any longer to contemplate the human species apart from the immense life-system of the globe to which it belongs. The origin of man must be accounted for from the facts of nature, and those facts all point to a probable development of the human race from pre-existent forms of life. The last idea to be admitted by inductive study is the creation of species. Not until every possible change producible by life and force has been exhausted in theory, can biology allow the entrance of the hypothesis of direct creation.

     Such are the arguments of the ever-strengthening school of evolutionists; and under these views the prospects of mankind in futurity are restricted to the horizon which contains the animal races; since an immortal life cannot be supposed to have sprung from a perishable source.

     But even if the repeated creation of species were admitted as a hypothesis, it is further argued that the case of man is not materially improved. Here are nearly a million of species on the earth. Man at the head of them appears, in his barbarous and savage state, superior to them, indeed, but not so superior as to suggest either to himself in that state, or to us, the idea of a wholly different nature. Why should 999,999 species of living creatures be voted mortal and perishable, and the millionth declared to be immortal as to the animating principle, just because he sometimes wishes to maintain a continued existence?

     Perhaps the higher animals wish it too. How know we that the thinking principle can survive the breaking up of the organization in the one species, when it is dissipated in the cases of the 999,999? All that goes on within us, and within the animals, of the nature of sensation, feeling, thought, will, is a product of the organization of the brain and nervous system, and therefore must be believed to cease wholly when the brain organization breaks up in death. Since the production of mental and voluntary power in men and animals is subject to precisely the same laws, why should it be held that the dissolution of the brain is attended by such marvelously different results as these, — in the case of all other species to bring the individuality to an end, in the case of man to set free the animating force for a life immortal?

     Besides, under either theory of the production of Man, whether by development, or by creation of species, humanity must be considered only as the highest manifestation of the life which covers the globe in air, water, and dry land. On earth we see life beginning in the form of a simple cell, passing by stages which are quite imperceptible from irritability into sensation, slowly ascending in an immense succession of grades through the various tribes of vegetables and animals, and finally culminating in Man, who, viewed as a whole, is much more marked by his resemblance in constitution and character to the animals than by his differentia. Man being thus zoologically a member of the life-system of the globe must not be imagined to exist under a special destiny. All life on earth ends in death, with no sign whatever cognizable by science of the survival of any element of consciousness. Doubtless, then, Man’s life exists under the same law, and is absorbed and swallowed up by the powers of destruction.

     It may be rejoined, however, to these frightful vaticinations that there is one physical consideration, which, under certain circumstances, might materially modify this conclusion. It is that Nature itself gives, even in the physical sphere, an emphatic warning against the assumption that all parts of an organization, which are produced at once, always perish together. We have but to look around to detect the weakness of this assumption. Look, it may be said, at any annual or biennial plant, the mignonette or hollyhock. The plant grows up from a seed in sun and rain, and produces its stems, its leaves, its buds, its flowers. In the flower the seed is produced, each seed possessing a life originating in the life of the plant, but capable of an independent survival. The autumn comes. The plant dies down. Does it all die, though all originating in a single organism? No, the seed survives, separates itself from the ruin, and is ready to spring up a new hollyhock in the following year. Suppose the gardener fails to clear away the ruin of the old plant. Its substance dissolves and melts into the earth. The seed then drops where the plant grew, takes root and shoots, composed in part of the material of its former self, — a veritable survival of the soul, and resurrection of the body.

     Throughout nature we discern this law of survival in operation. Portions of organisms survive the dissolution of the structure, with a life of their own. Thus, then, may it not be with the thinking power in men, or in animals, in one or in both? The, “soul” may be produced along with the body, and through a physical process; yet notwithstanding the dissolution of the brain, it is conceivable that it might survive in dissolution.

     It is impossible to prove, on the ground of purely physical evidence, that there is nothing in this argument. It is obvious that insect transformation even somewhat aids the speculation. Look at the moth, with his wondrous wings. What is his history? He is the,”soul” of a caterpillar. Mere again life-germs, which are all born together, do not die together. It is at least possible that there may be in animals, or in man, as Dr. Lionel Beale supposes, a life-force, a germ, which, though produced along with the bodily organization, may perhaps survive it.

     May perhaps survive it. This, however, is not science. Yet this, on the ground of physical knowledge, is all that can be suggested in support of a life beyond Summing up the evidence in a rough preliminary way, we must conclude with Haeckel, in his History of Creation, that the results of unaided physical inquiry at present are not favorable to faith in immortal life for man, as the outcome of the constitution of his nature. Among contemporary students who ignore moral considerations the direction of scientific opinion is strongly towards this tremendous conclusion that death ends all, — a conclusion so awful in itself, and so disastrous in its spiritual effects among the people, that we turn to examine afresh every link of the argument on which it depends. The more we examine them, the less pleasing is the prospect that opens, so long as we restrict our view to physical phenomena alone. The darkness thickens, and the grand old auguries of a metaphysical theology do not avail to dispel the deepening gloom. The outer and the inner worlds seem to be at war on the loftiest problems.

     Meantime some of our native skeptics are becoming strangely enamored of the doom, which they anticipate. The Fortnightly Review in 1873 gathered courage to encounter the darkness of non-entity in these words: “To pluck so gracious a flower of hope on the edge of the somber echoless gulf of nothingness, into which our friend has slid silently down, is a natural impulse of the sensitive soul, numbing remorse, and giving a moment’s relief to the hunger and thirst of a tenderness that has been robbed of its object; yet would not men be more likely to have a deeper love for those about them, and a keener dread of filling a house with aching hearts, if they courageously realized from the beginning of their days that we have none of this perfect companionable bliss to promise ourselves in other worlds—that the black and horrible grave is indeed the end of our communion — and that we know one another no more?”

      It is thus that the leading school of Biology reasons on the nature of man, deducing from its studies a conclusion in direct contravention to those large hopes of survival which the mind gathers from her intellectual being, from her communion with nature, from her apprehension of judgment, and from her aspirations after God. * See Dr. Alexander Bain on Mind and Body, 1874.

     The prevailing speculations on the animal origin of mankind in no degree qualify the blackness of the outlook. If, yielding to the spirit of revolt against the hypothesis of interferences and creations, science presses forward her conjectural principle of Continuity, as she has so much a priori reason to do, into the department of life, the result is certain to be, unless hindered by a positive revelation contradicting the conclusion, to infer that all life is one, and that as species are now varied under differing conditions, so they have been themselves produced by wider differences of condition in the past duration of the world; until at length Man has appeared as the outcome of the life-evolution. Mr. Darwin’s theory is not indeed proved; it halts on one leg for lack of positive evidence, as Dr. Elam and Professor Carruthers have clearly shown. But apart from Revelation, it must be allowed that it carries, at least on the physical side, a strong appearance of probability. And its whole weight, such as it is, goes into the scale of despair. If humanity be but a fractional link of the general biological series, the foundation of the hope of a special destiny melts away, like an ice-island in the sunbeams, from beneath our feet. The nature which has been evolved by a gradual development from perishable saurians or simians possesses no intrinsic immortality. Body and life with all their functions belong to the “dust”—to that universe of material forms, which pass away as we behold them. *

      It is in the midst of such contradictory arguments as these, the reasoning-grounds respectively of two opposing schools in every age, that the Christian Revelation appears, to compose the disputes of Idealists and Materialists; by showing that there has occurred a catastrophe in the beginning of man’s history, that his yearnings after life in the midst of death are the haunting remembrances of a ruined greatness, that he was originally created for an immortality conditional on obedience to God, but came under the law of Death by Sin,—and that it is the object of Eternal Love in Redemption to “create him anew” in the image of the Everlasting, by regeneration of nature, and by a resurrection from the dead.

* Many readers will recollect the pathetic grace with which Mr. Hawthorne has described, in Transformation, the physical and moral characteristics of the Faun, supposed by the ancients to represent human nature in its earlier relation with the animal world.

     It will be the aim of the following chapters gradually to unfold the argument for the survival of the fittest, on which these conclusions rest, and to maintain it against immemorial errors. But it is necessary to add some further preliminary studies in order to ascertain more exactly man’s place in nature, his actual condition, and the relation in which he stands to the million species of organisms of which he is the short-lived lord.

CHAPTER 2

THE MIND OF ANIMALS AS REAL AS THE MIND OF MAN

     THE study of comparative psychology, of mind and sensibility in their successive grades of development on earth, has been hindered by that traditional theology which has arrested the steps of science in every direction. The Bible has been held up as the standard of truth on all subjects of knowledge, from the highest to the lowest, and even the most gratuitously perverse misinterpretations of its statements have served with equal authority as effectual obstacles to the examination of nature. For two thousand years after its first discovery the true theory of the Solar System was hindered from attaining its right position in the world by a few vague quotations from the popular and poetic language of psalmists and prophets. The opening of Genesis, understood as a scientific cosmogony, effectually closed “the infinite book of secrets” in the geological record up till the present century. The notion of a universal flood and a mistaken view of the tenth chapter of Genesis have exerted, under like treatment, a similarly restrictive influence upon ethnology. The moral nature of the deity Himself has been concealed behind clouds of sacerdotal metaphysics. What wonder, then, if the natures of Man and of the Animals have been misconceived through the doubly refracting atmosphere of two erroneous but correlated theories respecting their place in the creation? In this case, however, the excuse of being led astray by the primitive documents of the Old Testament does not exist, for they conform in a remarkable manner to the facts of nature, and directly contradict the more modern psychology.

     There is no theological doctrine more firmly established than that there is an infinite difference between man and the animals in the essential quality of their inner being, and in their consequent natural duration. Man, says the Church, has a soul, — the animals have no souls. Man has reason; animals possess “instinct” only. Mind is peculiar to man. The animals have no moral nature; they have no understanding; the destinies of the two are therefore diverse. The animals perish totally in death. But man’s soul is spiritual, is of the nature of God, and therefore will naturally endure forever. The mind of man is indestructible. Its immortality is of its essence. It must live as long as its Eternal Maker. Being a simple and indivisible substance, the soul is indissoluble by any natural cause acting from without; and being once in existence, it exists forever. Even in matter nothing is annihilated. No atom perishes. Forms are changed. Organizations dissolve, —but substance remains. Much more must spiritual substance endure forever. The canon of the Everlasting has affixed an eternal destiny to mind; and the moral quality of man’s mind implies and demands eternal retribution from the Eternal Being whom it pleases or offends.

      Throughout Christendom it is held that the “inner man” is a natural heir of immortality, herein being distinguished from the beasts that perish, and this principle is maintained as a postulate of the religious life, co-ordinate with the recognition of the Being and Moral Government of God. It is held that the one idea suggests and implies the other. Belief in God and in the immortality of the soul are the two indispensable bases of religion. The soul, which can meditate, and long for the Eternal must be itself eternal. Moral relations with the Infinite compel an endless destiny. That which good men hope for, great souls aspire to, and bad men profoundly dread, in a world of reward and punishment, is supposed to depend wholly on the establishment of the doctrine of the soul’s immortality. It is not enough to rest on the purpose of God “to give to every man according to his works”— a greater or a less punishment or reward. It is held that the only safe foundation for faith in a future state, or for any divine worship, must be laid in the doctrine of man’s natural eternity of being.

     It has been difficult under such views to render justice to the animal world. Beside beings endowed with the divine attribute of eternal duration, these humble creatures have enjoyed but a small chance of consideration, — and the sublime “Immortals” have exercised but a sorry government over their perishable slaves.

      A more exact study of these enslaved races, however, is gradually opening the eyes of men to their delusions, and leading to that wider observation of organized natures on which alone solid opinion can be established. A few misquoted texts of Scripture can no longer avail to conceal the fact that a science of comparative psychology has sprung up, which shatters the metaphysical arguments on which hitherto theologians have so unwisely rested their hope of life eternal.

     For if man’s prospects in the future depend on the possession of mind, then must he either share this immortality with his animal neighbors, or consent to abandon his own expectation on that ground along with theirs. Whatever evidence there is that man possesses intelligence; there is equally clear evidence that it is possessed by them. The animals have real minds, cognizant of real ideas, and acting in various methods upon them. Mind is as varied in its developments as matter, though we know nothing of the nature of either. Whatever evidence there is that consciousness in man resides in an immaterial essence; there is the same evidence that it is immaterial in “the beasts that perish.” If man’s immateriality is to be made a basis for the argument of immortality, it must be extended logically over the whole area of life. The immortality of the animating principle of amoeba; and zoophytes is the legitimate inference from its immaterial quality, if the same inference is insisted on in the case of man. The argument, which is good for man is equally available for animalcule and for all intermediate grades. If the reply be made, by some enthusiasts, that the inference is accepted, it will suffice to rejoin that a bold inference, unsupported by a single particle of evidence, such as the known survival of one tiger’s, or even of one coral insect’s, “soul,” is but a weak foundation on which to build the eternal hopes of mankind. For, here, as elsewhere, the strength of the popular belief is inversely commensurate with the force of the evidence on which it reposes.

      Abandoning deceptive generalities, let us then observe the facts of nature. The general principles on which all material organisms are constructed are the same throughout the world — yet there is a boundless diversity in the application of those principles to the forms, sizes, powers, habits, and conditions, in the numerous orders of living creatures. In the same manner sensitive substance, whether in its essence differing from the substances of which chemistry takes account, or identical with them, is found from the lowest to the highest rank of the animals; but it is as varied in its developments as is the physical organization to which it is mysteriously united. From zoophytical life up to the mammalian there is a vast ascending scale of growing perfection in the body; but the scale is not less extended in respect of the animating moving principle, from the dull and sluggish sensibility which hovers on the borders of the insensate vegetable kingdom, up to the speechless reason of the elephant or the dog, which almost rivals, if it does not conspicuously surpass, the earlier developments of the childhood of man.

     What this inconceivable diversity of animating souls really is can be apprehended better by those who have somewhat studied the actions, propensities, and powers of the thousands of living species actually described by zoology. To each species there is an appropriate sensibility, — either a power of sensation and automatic action, or of observation, or of imitation, or of constructive invention, or of reason; capacities for varied enjoyment, passions wild or gentle, attachments individual or gregarious, propensities and instincts fitted to the element in which the creature lives, or to the circumstances under which its food is to be obtained. And if the consideration of the series of intellectual ranks among men from the lowest idiot up to a Newton or a Helmholtz fills us with wonder at the Power which from elements so few can elicit a variety so enormous of capacities, attainments, and character, that reverent wonder may well be increased when we turn to examine this lower frame of sentient beings in the animal world, — alike the work of that One Eternal Mind, whose reflected light dazzles us in the firmament and glimmers in the glowworm, blazes like lightning in a Shakespeare’s countenance, and illuminates the darkling labors of the honey-bee.

      Through a million of species, then, there is this widely varied creation of sensibility, consciousness; and power; but a fuller impression of the fact can be obtained only by remembering the countless myriads of individuals comprised under each denomination. Take one familiar instance, the bee, to which allusion has just been made. A hive may contain on the average about 30,000 bees. In this number there is first the Queen, with her appropriate mind, her perceptions, tastes, capacities, in common, with her subjects; and in addition the royal qualities of spirit, whatever they may be, which incite or enable her to take the lead in migrations or swarming, and the instincts which prompt her patiently to undergo the task of depositing the eggs of the future progeny, one by one, in the cells prepared for their reception. Secondly, there are the drones, as remarkably inspired with a love of home and of apparent idleness, as their sisters are endowed with a passion for perpetual labor. And thirdly, there are the true working bees composing the principal population of the hive, each one containing in its tiny form a ganglionic apparatus whose implanted instincts have occupied the labors of a hundred naturalists in imperfectly understanding them.

     In every working bee there are, 1, the senses of sight, hearing, taste, feeling, and smell; 2, the implanted love of work and love of honey; 3, the impulse to wander through the fields and flowers; 4, the skill to discover and carry off the three different materials needed in the hive; 5, the inconceivable power of remembering the way hone again, however distant, although the shortest line is certain to be taken in returning, with the infallible selection of the native hive if many are together; 6, the instinct to build the cells, after wax has been elaborated by digestion, or to deposit honey in them if that has been the object of the airy voyage; 7, the mathematical impulse to build in hexagons, the most economical form in respect of material, space, and labors; 8, the intelligence which can adapt general operations to peculiar circumstances; 9, the defensive passions which govern the action of the sting; 10, the loyal and gregarious affections which bind the workers to their maiden or dronish companions, and the whole colony to its parental queen.

     In every working bee there is all this mind, instinct, intellectual automatic machinery, —call it what we will; but what now is that power which, like the most delicate engraving on a gem, stamps these numerous minute energies upon the tiny brain of every bee of the innumerable swarms which from the birth of time have diffused the murmur of their music over the meadows of the temperate and torrid zone? We can scarcely be surprised if men in ages of hazier thought resolved such miracles of nature into the direct agency of the world-pervading Almighty Intelligence.

For what if all of animated natures

Be but organic harps, diversely framed,

That tremble into life as over them sweeps,

Plastic and vast, one Intellectual Breeze,

At once the Soul of each, and God of all.”

     It has been common in former times to sum up the facts of animal intelligence by stating that they possess instinct only, while man possesses reason and a moral nature. Their understanding, therefore, needed not to be considered as of the quality of mind properly so called, and doubtless it was mortal. Man’s intelligence, on the other hand, was of a wholly different nature, and doubtless immortal. It will assist correct thought on this subject to remember that by instinct is intended an impulse to the blind pursuit of some end which the agent does not understand or perceive — a definition which will comprehend a large portion doubtless of the operations of the animal mind. But not the whole, perhaps not half of the phenomena. An implanted instinct governs the action of the bee, the spider, the mole, the beaver, the nest building and incubating birds; and the human infant resembles the new-born colt in the instinct by which its life is sustained. But if it were intended to assert that none of the animals are conscious of aiming at a purpose, or perceiving the adaptation of means to ends, or of intelligently contriving such means under certain limitations, then the theory does not correspond with the facts. To speak of an elephant, a horse, or a dog doing by “instinct” such things as it has been taught would be as absurd as to talk of a child learning to read by Instinct. Docility is evidently characteristic of Reason. Moreover, “brutes are in many instances,” adds Archbishop Whately, “capable of learning what they have not been taught by man. They have been found able to combine (more or less) the means of accomplishing a certain end from having learned by experience that such and such means so applied would conduce to it. The higher animals show more of reason than the lower.”

      The difference between men and animals does not then consist in this, that animals are destitute of mind. They possess most of the faculties which we call mind in man. They possess sensation, perception, memory governed by fixed law of association, imagination, invention, reasoning power up to a certain degree; they possess the sense of beauty, and greatly enjoy beauty of form, of color, and of motion; and they signally excel in the various affections which bind them to each other, or to mankind. * There has been a general philosophical conspiracy to underrate the animals, Descartes even going so far as to declare that they were unconscious automata, in order to exalt the supremacy of man. It has been readily seen that if it is proper to argue the immateriality of man’s mind from the difficulty of imputing intelligence to matter or to atomic combinations, it would be necessary to impute equally immateriality to the sentient principle in brutes, if that sentient principle were allowed to be a true understanding But both premises and conclusion must be conceded. The animals are widely intelligent; and if that argues immateriality of the mind for man, it argues immateriality for them likewise. If no materiality in the thinking power compels the inference of immortality for mankind, it compels it also for the thinking principle in animals; — or conversely, if there may be a certain degree of mind in animals, and yet it may be neither immaterial nor immortal, it follows by necessity that human expectations of an eternal being, based on the sandy foundation of speculation on the essence of the soul, are as worthless as would be similar expectations indulged on behalf of the animal races around us. Arnobius, one of the Christian Fathers of the third century, vigorously exposes this fallacy in his second book.

Adversus gentes.

* The materials for forming a judgment on the limited but real intelligence of animals are easily accessible in a few well-known works of which the following may be mentioned: —Dialogues on Instinct, by Lord Brougham. Instinct, by Archbishop Whately. Instinct, or Curiosities of Animal Life, by S. Garratt. Entomology. Kirby and Spence. Passions of Aninials —E. P. Thompson. Chapters on Animals — E. Hamerton. IntelIigence of Animals — E. Leroy. Etudes sur les facultes mentales des animaux, comparees a celles de l”homme. Houzeau, De llnstinct — Flourens, Paris, 1864. On Automata — T. Huxley. See also on Animal Intelligence, Porphyry de Abstinentia, Book 2. Porphyry evidently thinks it is next door to cannibalism to eat such intelligent creatures.

     In a following page it will be shown that the Hebrew Scriptures with remarkably consent adhere to a representation of animal life, and of the relations between it and human life, equally removed from the errors of antiquity, and of modern times, while agreeing with the best deductions of science. The simple psychology and theology of the Scripture are interwoven with each other, and it is difficult to account for the persistent adhesion of so many primitive writers to one generally unwelcome but important series of statements and silences, except through the presence of some marvelous genius for correct thought in their nation, or some real inspiring guidance.

 

CHAPTER 3

ON THE MORTALITY OF ANIMALS

     THE animal species already taken account of have each their allotted term of life, and then without exception Death attacks and devours all their hosts. There is no exception to this universal law. Their existence is limited to a few days, hours, or years, and they then “return to their dust.” The denizens of the land, the air, the water, alike die, and after a space no trace remains of their individual being. The atomic elements which compose their forms are dissolved and dissipated, or are recombined by a wondrous chemistry; but the animals as individual beings utterly and wholly cease to be.

     This has been the popular and also the scientific view of animal dissolution. They were formed to endure but for a little while, and when their hour comes their existence ends absolutely. No argument of superiority on the part of higher quadrupeds, no delicacy or refinement of instinct in the insect races, is allowed by nature as a plea against the execution of the law, which consigns the entire animal world to extinction. Such is the conclusion of observation and reason respecting the animals. Their animating principle, whatever its nature, was called into being for purposes which are found in the physical structure alone, and which have no intelligible basis apart from the functions of that organism. When, therefore, the organism dies, the forces, which ruled and animated it are dissipated also. Each organism is developed from a germ, which unfolds both the energies and their instruments woven together into an inextricable unity. So long as this unity of life is preserved the ponderable and the imponderable forces work together to maintain the fabric. Everywhere oxidation is going on, oxidation either of the circulating fluid itself, or of the structures which it bathes, and whose losses it has to make good. Little by little every part of the body is continually moldering away, and as continually being made new by the blood. The blood is the life. When that ceases to flow, it ceases both to nourish and to be nourished. The brain is as dependent for its energies upon the blood, and upon continual combustion and reparation, as any other portion of the frame. Death is the cessation of all functions. It is followed by the speedy dissipation of the combined elements, which formed the organism. The ultimate atoms enter into new combinations. The forces are conserved in other forms. But the Integer, the Animal, which resulted from the former combination, is no more. Science knows nothing of the continuance after death of any willing or thinking or feeling faculty, which the animal may have possessed in life. *

      The desire to find some basis for hope of the soul’s survival in death for the human race has led not a few to attempt the establishment of a more general doctrine of survival which may include all higher animated natures; but this is simply a reaction from the opposite extreme of injustice which once refused to admit the reality of animal intelligence altogether. Once the brutes had no, “souls,” nothing but “instinct,” and even “no sensation”; now we are taught that they leave behind in death, at least in some cases, a spiritual residuum, which is destined to immortality. †

     * “The animal soul also terminates; the animal souls of beasts are simply special individualizations of the spirit of nature, and at death are resolved into the general spirit of nature of which they are manifestations.” — Delitzsches Psychol. † The Spectator newspaper has distinguished itself of late years very much in its defense of the immortality of domestic animals. This seems a somewhat arbitrary choice of favorites. Dogs, cats, and horses are useful creatures, but why should they be elected to live forever when so many denizens of land and water, though less familiar with man, appear to possess at least equal personal recommendations; and nearly all animals, under suitable tuition, might be developed into cattle similarly worthy of immortality? But our Spectator’s antipathies are sometimes as groundless as its sympathies even towards its human fellow-creatures. Its unreasoning dislike of the Free Churches, for example, is only less marked than its zealous advocacy of the heavenly destiny of its own dogs and feline associates.

     But this is not science. Science knows nothing of such survival, and all that we do know of the mode of the production of the sentient powers of the animal leads to a strong persuasion that death ends every individuality. It is impossible any longer to indulge infantasies founded on a partial attachment to domesticated animals, or arbitrarily to assert that the higher types of life are distinguished from the lower by immortality. That the system of life on the earth is one, and is either evolved in succession froth preceding forms, or, if separately created, is created on a homogeneous and progressive plan, is now demonstrated beyond reasonable contradiction. The phenomena of life, whether of nutrition, growth, movement, sensation, perception, intelligence, volition, enjoyment, are systematically evolved in nature without a break, from the lowest animal cell up to the highest of the mammalia; and science, notwithstanding the chemical diversity, declares her inability even to place her finger distinctly upon the line where vegetable life passes into the animal. * The highest are bound by the conditions of organic existence to the lowest, being part of the same family, as closely as the lowest are bound to the highest. It is contrary to solid knowledge to say that we have any evidence of the survival of the sentient or animating energy, as individual life, in the death of the higher animals. It is equally contrary to all that is known to dream of any mighty distinction between remote links of the series, such as would be found in the survival of some, and the final death of others. Where shall the line be drawn? The animal “mind” is a thing of infinite degrees, and one type of brain or nerve-energy passes by imperceptible shades into a higher or a lower. Why should a dog’s soul live forever, and a jackal’s sink into eternal death; or a leopard live on, while a rat or a toad shall perish? The longer we look upon the phenomena of life the deeper becomes the conviction that the law of nature for all living things on earth is, and has been always, death, dissolution, destruction of the individuality, dissipation of the component elements—whether of confervae, grasses, trees, sensitive plants, zoophytes, mollusks, or mammalia. Perhaps it is the law of planetary life throughout the universe. It deserves observation that the chemical difference between well-developed plants and animals is clearly fixed in this, that plants deoxidise and accumulate in excess, while animals oxidise and expend in excess; but, although the life-principle operates in these two opposite methods, and there is considerable difficulty in determining where the one excess is established over the other, there is no radical difference between them. There seems, then, to be as little ground for anticipating its survival in one case as in the other. Professor Michael Foster says that “in the fungi the double chemical process is found in equilibrio; and it may be clearly seen that the protoplasm, while continually being oxidised, is yet capable of constructing itself out of inorganic elements, though it flourishes much better when fed with ready-made material.”

* The apprehension of this difficulty is at length compelling some of our popular religious writers to advocate the broader doctrine of the survival of all life, including that of vegetation. In a paper in the Christian World Magazine for Nov. 1874, a pious writer informs his readers that in death “there is no reason for saying that the organizing principle has ceased to exist. This is as true of plants and of animals as of men, and three is no reason for supposing that when they die their principle of life is ended.” One may ask, perhaps, whether each flower-soul enjoys a separate immortality, or is that privilege restricted to the root or stem? We cannot but agree with these authors that the “reason” for believing in the survival of animals is precisely of equal force with that which encourages the belief in the survival of plants, that is, as they put it, “there is no reason at all for saying”—anything on the subject. A complete absence of evidence for one position, however, is not the same thing with an absolute proof of the contrary.

     The geological record witnesses historically to the action of the law of death, from the beginning of the earth’s inhabited state. The fossil remains of animals form a large part of the substance of the sedimentary rocks of the globe. “Of old,” says Professor Owen, “the earth was a scene of conflict and carnage.” Through past “eternal ages” death has reigned relentlessly over the organisms of this planet. The earth is an enormous sepulcher of buried forms. Fifty thousand extinct species of animals have been already exhumed and described. The existing species are slowly following their predecessors to the dust. The globe has passed through many transformations, through long-enduring summers, through long and dreary winters; oceans and continents have exchanged their places. Nature, prodigal of life, has filled the world with her wonders. Multitudes of creatures have been caused to find their very aliment of being in the slaughtered bodies of others; but all alike, without one single exception, having fulfilled their brief period of activity, have relapsed into the nothingness whence they sprang.

     Mr. Constable remarks with great force, that “there is no doubt that before the fall of man the penalty attached to sin, viz. death, could have had but one sense, and that sense the primary.” (Future Punishment, page 77.) By which no doubt he intends that if before Adam “fell” the word death had been used in conversation in such a world as this, the word could have had but one meaning, in view of the cessation of animal life, namely that of extinction. All living things “died,” vegetable and animal, in the sense of ceasing to be—and this was the sense which would therefore be naturally affixed to the term in the threat which warned the human pair to avoid the forbidden tree, if they would continue to eat of the tree of life and live forever. This is indeed to anticipate the argument of a future chapter; but the biblical threatening of death to Adam in paradise derives a clear significance from the history of this globe before he trod the earth. Nature was an all-devouring destroyer of the life, which she produced. “In the variety, the beauty, the polish, the sharpness, the strength, the barbed perfection of lethal weapons, no armory can compete with that of the fossil world.” The goodness revealed in the earth was not “infinite.” Nature’s plan of working on, through untold ages, was to shed a ray of light upon a life, then swiftly to swallow it up in eternal darkness. The Creative Energy was equaled by the Destructive Energy. The law of the planet was to “make alive,” and then to “kill”; and not a single organic form rose out of nothingness for more than a short space of time. Nature was a volcano that threw up from her depths millions of sparks and flashes of life, to be extinguished straightway in the eternal gloom.

 

CHAPTER 4

A BRIEF REVIEW OF THE RELATION OF MAN TO THE

ANIMAL RACES AS CONSIDERED UNDER THE LIGHT OF

SCIENCE ONLY

     BEFORE we advance to the study of the doctrine of Divine Revelation on the origin and destiny of man, it is necessary to consider more exactly the state of our knowledge on these subjects under the light of modern inquiry. The extent and limitation of this knowledge are faithfully represented by the speculations of contemporary philosophers.

     Mr. Darwin’s arguments on the descent of mankind from common ancestors of the simians form a portion, and but a small portion, of a far wider and more complex hypothesis, of the unity of the entire life-system of the globe, and of the descent or rather ascent of the higher animals from those of lower organization in the course of the past eternity. Apart from absolute proof of the truth of the general hypothesis of evolution respecting the animal races, it is clear that the theory of a semi-simian descent for man has not even a locus stands among probabilities. Not until it has been decisively proved that the mammalian in their present form are the result of a long precedent series of gradual transformations, so that the simians themselves can be traced to their predecessors and ancestral congeners, can it be seriously held as determined that man has ascended from the lower organisms. At present the theory, however strongly supported by the presence of rudimentary but undeveloped organs, halts, as Professor Agazziz in his latest papers frequently points out, from the striking predominance of hypothesis over evidence. For the variations in species under long tracts of duration, as in the crocodiles and marsupials, or under domestication, as in the dog and the pigeon, leave us still destitute of a single clear example of this transmutation of species into wholly new fertile types. The present law of nature steadily refuses to allow of the perpetuation even of hybrids, and hybrids are never bred except from congeners. While, therefore, there is an elastic capacity in many species to accommodate themselves to a certain extent to a change of circumstances, and there may thus arise changes of appearance, and even of structure, transmissible to offspring, these mutations, it is said, are governed by constant laws and are confined within certain limits. Species in our time have a real existence in nature; and a transmutation from one to another, so far as our present exact knowledge extends, does not exist. Thus, as Cuvier long ago remarked, all the differences of size, appearance, and habits which we find in dogs, leave the skeletons of this animal and the relations of the bones to each other essentially the same, and with all the varieties of their shape and size there are characters which resist all the influences of external nature, of human interference, and of time. *

     The geological record in its fossil remains fails to supply the missing links of animals under process of transmutation. If the hypothesis be true that in the past eternal ages all existing forms have been evolved from preceding organisms in a direct succession, there ought, since the rocks contain fossil remains, which carry us back to the beginning of life, to be found at least some clear examples of species in transit. No such fossil forms are discovered. † Fact, so far, opposes the theory.

     The result of observation, it may be further alleged, is the same in every land. Nature has preserved no general traces of the action of the supposed transmuting energy. Biology lays as firm a classifying hand upon tribes and orders of fossil animals as upon those of living genera. She is never lost in a haze of uncertainties, but finds her materials for classification in developments, which are separated by fixed intervals or special combinations in the organization, showing that if animals of different families have successively grown out of each other, at least no evidence remains of so wonderful a transformation.

     * Sec Whewell’s Indications of the Creator, page 100.

     † “As far as I have been able to read the records of the rocks, I confess I have failed to discover any lineal series among the vast assemblage of extinct species which might form a basis and lend reliable biological support to such a theory. Instead of a gradation upwards in certain groups and classes of fossil animals, we find, on the contrary, that their first representatives are not the lowest, but often highly organized types of the class to which they belong.” —Dr. THOMAS WRIGHT, F.R.S., President of Geological Section of British Association at Bristol, 1895.

     Since no considerable accession is likely to be made to the worldwide materials of our knowledge on this subject, it can scarcely occur even to sanguine minds to anticipate a physiological or geological proof of the ascent of man from preceding races; and this the less if the genesis of man is carried back to the quaternary period. All that can be determined seems to be, that the actual variations of species within their own limits shows that even the transmutation of one species into another is not an idea which ought to be summarily dismissed from the field of speculation. So far as we know, such transmutation is possible; and (apart from the antagonistic testimony of fossil geology, which is contrary to it) might be regarded as probable. So far as the physical structure is concerned, a view of the remarkable similarity of the anatomy of the Simiadae and Anthropomorpha to the anatomy of man, as may be seen in detail in Professor Huxley’s Manual of the Anatomy of Vertebrated Animals (pages 458-498), compels the admission that to whatever extent (no very serious concession) transmutation is probable in the case of animals generally, it is also probable in the case of humanity itself; but even here there is a serious difficulty in man’s loss of a furry coat and lengthened tail, and still more in the gain of so vast a brain.

     Embryology, which has been relied on to exhibit the actual passage of each individual of the higher orders, in the prenatal condition, through the forms of the lower ranks in nature, in the process of production — while it certainly adds some support to the general hypothesis of the unity of life — fails in several important respects to supply decisive evidence; since in every known instance nature leaps over whole orders in the embryonic development of the mammalia, and proceeds with a firm hand to the evolution of the permanent type, while resisting the perpetuation of hybrids.

     The general result, therefore, of recent investigations into the origin of man is this. There are certain presumptions that under different terrestrial conditions the formative power which now, produces animal life, and brings about marvelous changes of size, forth, color, and function within the limits of species, may have operated in former ages to the gradual or even saltatory development of really new species, and even of new genera, in an ascending series. And in the absence of distinct information to the contrary, we might conclude with precisely the same measure of inclination towards the opinion (an opinion which is not science) that mankind sprang from the Animal Races. But it is impossible to affirm that there is decisive evidence of such an origin. The geological record is distinctly in favor of the creation of groups by successive acts of divine power, or at least by successive acts of the plastic force of nature, whatever that may be. And hence the conclusion that man was created, as were the distinct species before him, is still at least as defensible as the opposite hypothesis. The Power which interposed at first to create germs may just as reasonably be believed to have interposed again and again, to create orders, genera, and species. The contest between the probabilities raised on one side by embryology and the observation of specific varieties, and the probabilities raised on the other by the contradictory evidence of the geological record, leave us at last uncertain as to the Whence and Whither of humanity. We require more light, — and above all a direct revelation from the Creator. *

     The question of the Antiquity of Man is closely connected with that of his origin, and with that of the history of the globe. Apart from the statement of any supposed revelation, assuredly the, last idea which would be suggested by the phenomena of the earth’s surface, or the condition of man upon it, would be that Man saw the light for the first time a few thousand years ago. All heathen who have speculated under natural conditions upon human life have assigned a vast if indefinite antiquity to the earth and its living races. And such undoubtedly would be, as Mr. McCausland argues, the conclusion derived both from the study of the recent relics of man found in the quaternary gravels, and from the ethnic variations of the human race itself as seen in the different countries of the world.

*As for Haeckel’s theory of the spontaneous generation from material atoms of those original vital germs out of which the living world has grown, this is clearly a, distinct a “leap into the supernatural” as that of which he complains in the Theistic hypothesis,—with this difference, that the theory of God will account for the origin and development of life, but the theory of atomic generation will not. See Dr. Islam’s important work, Winds of Doctrine or, Antomatism and Evolution (Smith, Elder, and Co., 1876); and Professor Carruthers on Evolution in Plants (Contemporary Review, 1877); in both of which a formidable scientific opposition is offered to certain hasty assumptions of the more advanced Evolutionists.

     But here again we are met by opposing and counterbalancing evidence, which perplexes the judgment, and leaves the mind halting between two opinions. Vague at best are the inferences, which can be derived from fossil geology as to the date of the production of successive species. It is as easy to speak of millions of years as of thousands, and as unsatisfactory as it is easy. There are clear indications of comparatively recent movements of the crust of the earth in certain portions, movements which, in conjunction with secular changes of temperature, may have initiated watershed conditions equal to the destruction of sedimentary strata of large extent in a comparatively small space of time. Nothing is more vaguely known than the age of gravels. That this was earlier and that later, may be safely declared; but when this river cut its bed through the sand and chalk of the Somme or of Southern Hampshire is more than the skilled geologist can tell. It may have been myriads of years ago, or it may have been in quite recent geological times.*

     The question of the birth of humanity is entangled with these geological uncertainties.

*Dr. Dawson, of Montreal College, who enjoys a respectable European reputation as a geologist, thus rites of the Somme gravels: “In 1565 I had an opportunity to examine the gravels of St. Acheul on the Somme, by some supposed to go back to a very ancient period. With the papers of Prestwich and other able observers in my hand, I could conclude merely that the undisturbed gravels were older than the Roman period; but how much older only detailed topographical surveys could prove; and that taking into account the probabilities of a different level of the land, a wooded condition of the country, a greater rainfall, and a glacial filling up of the Somme valley with clay and stones subsequently cut out by running waters, the gravels could scarcely be older than the Abbeville peat, less than 4000 years. Tylor and Andrews have subsequently shown that my impressions were correct.” — Journal of Geological Society, volume 25. Silliman’s Journal, 1868. — Story of the Earth and Man, page 294. 1873.

     In recent years a large and cautious induction of phenomena seems to have satisfied many able inquirers of the existence of man upon the earth in an age when not a few now extinct species of animals were living. The revelations of Kent’s Hole, near Torquay, where human utensils are found together with long extinct species, under twelve feet of stalagmite, upon which are piled fresh strata of earth and stalagmite, and then fresh relics of more recent races of men, are typical of numerous correlated facts brought to light in all parts of the world. It has seemed to follow that the men who fashioned the implements, found embedded in the same gravel or stalagmite or bone earth with the remains of cave bears, hyenas, and tigers, lived at the same time when these predacious animals inhabited the north of Europe, a time when elephants, rhinoceroses, and hippopotami wandered through its forests and tenanted its rivers. How many ages ago was it when the diluvium of Abbeville, East Croydon, or Bournemouth was laid down, when the implements were deposited, which are not found only in the loam, nor in the brick earth of the surface, nor in the intermediate beds of clay, sand, and small flints, but, beneath all these, in the breccia, among the relics of species belonging to the epoch immediately preceding the cataclysm by which they were destroyed? — After all possible deductions made (1) on the hypothesis that the elevating and depressing forces were anciently more active than at present; that the action of water and subterranean fire was much more violent and efficacious than we see it now to be; and (2) on the further hypothesis that many of the extinct animals whose bones are found in conjunction with signs of human life may have lingered far into recent historic times — as in the example of the wild ox of the Roman period—there still remains a large and accumulating mass of seeming evidence, that the antiquity of man, or manlike beings, reaches far beyond the narrow limits of the popular biblical chronology, which begins only with yesterday.” *

For the opposite view, see Dawson’s Stay of the Earth and Man, Dr. Dawson is not satisfied even with the current geological conclusions respecting the valley of the Somme and the Acheul flint implements. He thinks there was probably a flood caused by sinking of the European surface then inhabited by men, at the close of the glacial period; a flood which brought clay and gravel into the Somme valley, afterwards excavated by a powerful river from the south, within historic times. Nothing seems to rest on flimsier evidence than the doctrine of uniformitarian upheaval and depression. History gives us some assistance towards a definite recent chronology, but geology gone whatever.

     But here, as before, decisive evidence, under purely scientific conditions, of the unity and continuity of the human race, fails us at last. If the descent of man from the animals cannot be really established; if the descent even of one animal species from another cannot be thoroughly demonstrated; much less can the descent of modern humanity from the ancient types of the same genus be demonstrated by adequate proofs. There may have existed on earth different contemporaneous or successive species of men, as of animals; whose terms of being may have been closed by a catastrophe, to make way for a new creation. Or there may have been one human race only, of immense antiquity, varied by time and circumstance into the successive families who lived at the close of the glacial epoch, and afterwards multiplied into the many colored varieties of the whole earth in subsequent ages. * We seem to be gazing into a dim twilight where evidence on both sides of the problem may be gathered by a creative imagination in the gloom. * See Professor Ansted, Stray Chapters on Earth and Ocean, page 251. 3

     If now, from considering the physical structure of men and of animals, we turn to their mental differences, the probable argument for a separate origin and a direct creation of man, strengthens at every step in the inquiry. We find ourselves confronted with evidence, which leads to conclusions directly contrary to those, which on anatomical grounds favored the hypothesis of descent from the simians. Mr. Tylor himself has shown in his work on Primitive Culture, that as far back as we can trace human history, and as accurately as we can estimate the working of thought among primitive races and savage men, there is evidence of an intellectual, moral, and religious nature in Man, which, under even the direst debasement, distinguishes him from the brutes by an enormous superiority of endowment. No evidence has ever yet been adduced of the existence of races of men past or present, living in an absolutely brutal or irrational condition. No races are anywhere to be found or heard of in a condition, which is less remote from mere animal existence than it is from the highest human development of which we have as yet experience. No evidence has been found of any animal race rising above itself into a wholly different rank of intelligence, and therefore there is the utmost improbability, on psychological grounds, against the opinion of human evolution from the apes. But there seems also to be a difference in kind between the lowest races of men and the highest brutes, pointing to a difference of essential principle and therefore of origin in this “quaternary mammal.” That difference has been described by Archbishop Whately in his brief treatise on Instruct in the following terms: — ”Almost any animal which is capable of being tamed can, in some degree, use language as an indication of what passes within. But no animal uses language as an instrument of thought. Man makes use of general signs in the application of his power of abstraction, by which he is enabled to reason, and the use of arbitrary general signs, what logicians call "common terms," with a facility of thus using abstraction at pleasure, is a characteristic of man only.” A writer in the Quarterly Review has recently shown further that we may have, (1) animal sounds neither rational nor articulate, (2) sounds both articulate and rational, (3) sounds articulate but not rational, (4) sounds rational but not articulate. Now it is in Man’s speech that we find the first proof of a difference in kind. It is not speech, which has created man’s perfect reason; it is reason, which has created speech. The difference between vocal sounds capable of expressing general conceptions and abstract ideas, and vocal utterances which express sensations and emotions only, is a specific distinction. Therefore the most imperfect human languages offer to us an indication of a transition from irrational cries, while they differ from the highest speech only in degree.” *

* The usual difference of opinion, however, attends an inquiry in this department also. Professor Whitney, in replying to Professor Max Miller’s Lectures on Mr. Darwin’s Philosophy of Language, finds that animals possess the germ of the generalizing power; that a dog recognizes a man “in the abstract” before he recognizes the particular man; that there is no ground for doubting that speech and reason have been developed together; nor for doubting that both alike have been developed in untold ages from the animals who lived before us. See a paper by G. H. Darwin in contemporary Review, Nov. 1874. Professor Max Muller rejoins in the number for Jan. 1875.

     A second evidence of man’s specific difference from the animals is seen in the existence of his moral nature. When men assert that anything is right they mean to assert something different from it’s being pleasurable or advantageous. Even men who assert that the principle regulating human action should be the production of the greatest amount of pleasure to all sentient beings, must assert that there is either no obligation at all to accept this principle itself, or that such obligation is a moral one. It is needless to speak of the finer developments of morality in civilized lands. The present point of interest is that no nation or race has been found without some morality founded on a sense of right, and rendering them amenable to law or tribal custom. And this is again a peculiar characteristic of man.

     Religion is a still more marked distinction of humanity. Its fundamental ideas and emotions spring from a development of thought of which animals are apparently incapable. And these ideas and emotions are found, in an elementary stage, even in the lowest types of superstition.

     Lastly, the capacity for a boundless progress individually and socially distinguishes man from all the inferior races. There is surely some specific difference between those organisms which remain forever at the same level of intelligence and that mind which observes and studies the phenomena of earth and heaven, and subdues the whole world to its designs.

     Whether, therefore, we consider man’s power of Speech, his Moral nature, his capacity for Religion and Worship, or his power of indefinite Progression, we are led to the same probable conclusion, on purely scientific grounds, that this creature—though often sunk into the darkest depths of barbarism, so as to approximate towards the animals in the methods and ends of life to a degree which almost abolishes the human sense of superiority to them—was a distinct creation of the Infinite Power, and has not simply grown out of the next order of primates beneath hips by a natural evolution. A “beast’s heart” was not given to him at his origin.

     It remains only in this chapter to advert to the evidence of the age and origin of human nature supplied by written or unwritten Tradition.

     The distinctions between the variously colored and figured races of men in Asia, Africa, and Europe were as deeply marked five thousand years ago as they are to-day, as may be seen in the wonderfully preserved monuments and wall-paintings of Egypt. It is natural to argue, with Professor Owen, that no brief interval of time such as that permitted by the biblical post-diluvian chronology would have sufficed to allow of variations so enormous as those which then already separated the black races of Africa from the yellow men of China, or the white-skinned men of northern Europe, or western Asia. In what remote ages began these variations? How many myriads of years sufficed for the establishment of differences in the bony structure of the skeleton itself, in the cerebral capacity, in the external contour of the frame, in the tint and texture of the hair, the aspect of the countenance, the conceptions of the mind, and the general color and expression of the entire organism? How many millenniums sufficed to produce the differences in language, which are fixed and decisive at the time when we first catch a glimpse of the early men? Apart from heaven-sent information, science will naturally infer, that if no causes were in operation different in force and in quality from those now acting, the ages required for producing these variations carry us back into an antiquity where darkness covers all things. The wildest dreams of Indian cosmogony on the long eras of past history correspond better with the facts, if the facts have all been gradually produced, than do the trifling allowance of Mosaic millenniums, which can be counted on your fingers.

     Yet here once more strangely conflicting evidence awaits us; —for the history of the human race, actually known, in no instance goes backward to a period much more ancient than may be reached by a liberal stretching of the biblical chronology. The authentic histories of China, of India, and of Egypt, the three most ancient and most civilized states of the earlier world, carry us back a few thousand years, and there either leave us to gaze into total darkness, or supplement the lack of reliable narration by a fancy-picture of gods and demons of whose existence there is no evidence whatever. Now if mankind has inhabited this planet during numerous ages, possessed of the properly human faculties of speech and progressive intellect, it seems strange and almost incredible that no relics of the human population should be discovered answerable to so great a multitude and so prolonged a duration. The existing monuments of historic nations are certainly not ten thousand years old; —the earliest temples, pyramids, sepulchers, literary works, works of engineering art, are certainly of more recent origin. It is truly confounding to the judgment to learn that the only indications of the existence of innumerable men, or manlike beings, on earth in the quaternary ages are comprised in some flint implements for the destruction of wild beasts, and a questionable tooth, or skull, while there are no remains of dwellings, temples, or tombs of the Paleolithic epoch. It seems wholly unaccountable that a strictly rational order of beings should have lived on the earth through perhaps 100,000 years since the glacial age, and have left no signs of their presence or of their works except a few hunting tools; while their supposed descendants, the races of China, India, and Egypt, when they first appear in history, stand forth in possession of the arts and sciences, at least in a germinant form, and already have established great and mighty monarchies. The facts of history are more consistent with the hypothesis of a recent origin of the present race of mankind; and the osteological character of the alluvial record offers a signal confirmation to it. For it is unquestionable that even if human races have existed for many thousands of years on the globe, they have at least left no permanent signs of their habitations or their tombs in those distant ages, and no tradition which throws even the faintest light upon their history. The traditions which have descended to us from the earliest times in all nations in most respects resemble those which have taken a prominent place in the literature of the world in the recent monuments of the Hebrews and Assyrians. All authentic history begins with a flood, while the ethnology of Western Asia and Africa fairly agrees with the narratives of Genesis. The story of the Ark, and of the Deluge, with the very names of the patriarchs of Noah’s family and of his reputed descendants (as given in Genesis x.), are found in the ethnic and territorial names of widely separated historic lands, and so far yield confirmation to the Semitic tradition.

     [The earlier illustration of this statement will be found in Bochart’s Phaleg, in Bryant and Faber’s works, on the Origin of Pagan Idolatry, and the Mysteries of the Cabiri; in all of which some substantial truth was taught with old-fashioned and imperfect learning. But the complete evidence under modern treatment will be found in Smith’s and Kitto’s great Biblical Dictionaries, under the names of the Patriarchs referred to in Genesis x., and in the Bampton Lectures and Five Great Monarchies of Dr. Rawlinson; where the broader light of a new learning is, thrown upon the first ten chapters of the Pentateuch, and their historical value asserted against the superficial, loose guesses of idle theorists. I have been informed by the eminent linguist and missionary Skrefsrud that the ancient Santal traditions among the aboriginal Turanian mountaineers of Bengal agree in every respect with those of the Assyrians and Hebrews. Dr. Dawson, of Montreal College, a leading American geologist, goes so far as to suppose that the aqueous cataclysm which followed on the glacial period, and destroyed, by sinking of the earth’s surface, so many animals whose relics are found in the quaternary gravels and in caverns, occurred as recently as historic times, and was in fact Noah’s “flood.”]

     Here therefore once more we are encountered and discouraged by evidence leading in opposite directions. There is a certain measure of anatomical and biological presumption inclining us to think, under unassisted study, that all life on the earth is one, and that as the animals may have descended from earlier organisms, so man may have descended from the later types. There is, however, stronger geological evidence of a negative character to throw the utmost doubt upon any positive theory of evolution, while the psychological evidence in favor of a distinct creation of man, on a higher level, is such as cannot be fairly overcome by the present resources of biology. Again, there is some seeming evidence of the antiquity of man in relics and implements found in conjunction with extinct animals of the quaternary age. But, on the other hand, there are no remains of the buildings, and, many leading authorities add, no unquestionable remains of the bony fabric of the men themselves, who are thus supposed to have lived through untold centuries in the possession at least of elementary reason and speech. And when we scrutinize the positive historic evidence, we discover that no human history, not even the faintest authentic tradition, carries us back in any part of the world beyond the last few thousand years; while at the dawn of credible literature we find nations and kingdoms which offer to our study in their names and traditions a remarkable similarity to those of Moses and the Bible.

     The sum of this argument is that by the unassisted light of science and history we are able to reach no coherent or satisfactory conclusion as to the origin of mankind, its relation to the animal races, or its future destiny. Lower thoughts on each of these topics are at once checked by higher, and higher thoughts and hopes are equally checked by arguments which, if gloomy, spring from evidence that seems secure. We hover in doubt after all our pains between two conclusions, and know not certainly whether our ancestry is from the perishable life of the globe, or directly from the hand of Heaven; whether our destiny is to return wholly to the dust, or to spend eternity with God. Our nature bears traces of a double alliance, with earth and with heaven; we “know not what we shall be,” till we inquire at the oracle of Him that made us. The phenomena are such as well consist with the hypothesis of a nature whose destiny depends on its moral qualities, and, above all, a nature which has suffered under some deflection, which science may dimly divine without being able to elucidate or to remedy.

     In following chapters I shall attempt the task of interpreting the only series of writings, which bear marks of a truly divine original. In attaching importance to those writings as the records of a divine revelation the censure must be incurred of many who may have partially assented to the statements of the preceding pages. I shall offer no argument to such readers in support of faith in Revelation, except one, and that is the evidence of its heavenly character, which may appear in the course of our comments on its facts and doctrines. The books, which convey, in concurrence with the tradition of Christendom, so marvelous a revelation of Immortality to man through Union with God, carry with them an all-sufficing proof of their divine original. An effectual apology for the Scripture will be found in its right interpretation.

CHAPTER V

ON THE NUMBERS AND INTELLECTUAL

CONDITION OF MANKIND

      IN a work of which the main object is an inquiry into the destiny of mankind it is proper to attempt at least some vague representation of the numbers of sentient beings who are concerned in the question of death or immortality. And this is the more fitting, since any consideration of their numbers at once draws attention to their condition in respect of barbarism or civilization; with the advantages or disadvantages in religious training, which have marked their earthly history. So feeble is the popular imagination that almost any device is excusable, however aesthetically unworthy, in the attempt to arouse a feeling of wonder at the stupendous facts of the world’s population.

     One of the most recent and carefully prepared estimates of the present population of the globe, published by Major Bell,* gives the following figures as an approximate view of their numbers, arranged under the head of “Religions”:

Buddhists       483,000,000

Christians      353,000,000

Brahminists     120,000,000

Mohammedans     120,000,000

Parsees           1,000,000

Jews              8,000,000

Miscellaneous barbarians, fetish worshippers, and atheists 189,000,000

------------------------1,274,000,000

Giving a total of 921,000,000 non Christians, even by profession. *Other Countries. Chapman and Hall.

     Out of these throngs let the population of modern India and its contiguous provinces be taken as an example. Under the last census the numbers are estimated to be two hundred and eighty millions. Now if this number of men, women, and children, composing the variously-tinted races of Hindostan and Burmah, could pass in single file before the presence of a person able to fix a transient gaze of one minute’s duration (and a minute is not much to expend in thinking on an eternal destiny), sufficient to allow of the mind’s forming a distinct idea, that in each instance a being having in prospect the alternative of death or an eternal life was present to his view, then if the stream should roll on night and day, and the observer continue his task of looking on each in turn without intermission until all had passed by, it would require five hundred and seventy years to bestow this momentary notice on all the people now living in our Eastern Empire. Or, if they were arranged in lines of thirty abreast, forming a column as broad as that which fills the nave of an ordinary church, with a yard between the ranks, then that column would extend, if marching towards us, from the extreme border of Affghanistan, all through the Turkish empire, and across the continent of Europe, to the Atlantic shore—5,300 miles. And this prodigious total of living beings represents but one fleeting generation of the inhabitants of a single country under heaven.

     Starting with such an integer of thought it may be easier to imagine what is meant when statisticians speak of the present population of China as four hundred millions. We have but to increase by a third the breadth or the length of the supposed Indian column to form an idea of the army of yellow men, Confucianists, Buddhists, Laoutzeists, marching westward upon our borders, and then to conceive of the repetition of those enormous masses many times over in the past generations, diminishing the tale according to the due proportion for the remotest ages.

     The mind is overpowered by even this first effort to imagine the multitudinous throngs of ignorant idolaters who, in their various races and nations, have peopled the eastern world. We attain only the image of a tide broad and deep of living waters flowing on perpetually for ages, whose drops are individual souls, passing away into the depths of oblivion.

       A similar process of thought is required in application to the other habitable portions of the globe. 1. Northern Asia. On referring to the map it will be seen that all the great empires of the earlier world lie below the 40th parallel of latitude. To the north of that parallel, however, and over the whole breadth of Asia, there are extended two vast chains of mountains, forming by their connecting ramifications a species of gigantic network, or as it were the skeleton on which the surface of the whole country is disposed, and to which it is attached. The first of these and the more northerly extends through the southern part of Siberia, and with many changes of name is styled in general the Altaic range. The other great range commences in Asia Minor as the Taurus; thence passes through Media, to the north of Hindostan, as the Himalayas; thence through Tibet, till it loses itself in Central China. The vast interval of territory, across which flow the rivers descending from these mountain ranges, is measured by thousands of miles, and consists of lofty mountain plains, the haunts of numberless eagles and vast battalions of nomadic birds.

     These plains are on an average 10,000 feet above the sea-level, and have from the earliest ages been inhabited by tribes of pastoral and wandering barbarians, who have fed their flocks on the luxuriant herbage. They have been known in different eras and under different circumstances as Scythians, Huns, Tartars, Turcomans, Mongols, Kalmucks, and Mantchoos. These boundless tracts, exposed to an invigorating climate, have been studded in every age, not with cities and houses, but with the tents and encampments of migratory nations, often surrounded for leagues with their flocks and herds of cattle, horses, and camels, which constitute their wealth and supply nearly all their limited wants.

     To form a conception of the numbers of mankind who have inhabited these upland mountain plains of the Asiatic continent during even the last 6,000 years would be difficult indeed. Professor Heeren and the Abbe Huc may aid the imagination. The perpetual plagues of Asia, of China, of India, of Persia, in their multitudinous armies they have kept up nearly ceaseless war with the more civilized south. Millions beyond computation have from time to time descended to conquer the fair provinces that lay below them. In vain did China rear her northern wall, in vain the Indian aborigines trust for protection to the Himalayas, in vain the Persian empire make head against their incursions, in vain the Greeks oppose the pitiless unceasing storm that beat upon them from the mountains. The Tartars and Turcomans, and their more ancient congeners, have always proved the destroyers of Asiatic power, and their various races reign with more or less of independence at this very hour from Pekin to the Bosphorus. Empire after empire has fallen submerged beneath the deluges of savage force that broke age after age upon the south from these over-streaming fountains of barbaric life; and the population of Northern Asia is greater to-day than when Zenghis Khan led the swarming clans to battle, or a hundred years later the victorious Tamerlane.

     2. Next, let a moderately instructed reader, assisted by Mr. Layard and Mr. Palgrave, remember the names of Assyria, Persia and Arabia, and try to imagine how many millions of soldiers, similar to those sculptured in endless ranks upon the slabs of Nineveh, have lived, since the beginning, in those various empires. The more closely we fasten the mind upon a single populous territory, the deeper is the sense of incompetence even to imagine as a visual conception the mass of human beings who have tenanted it. What armies of ignorant fanatics have rolled forth age after age from ancient and modern Arabia alone! What a world of teeming life is suggested by even the merest shadowy outline of her history!

     3. Turning to the history of the Southern Oceanic hemisphere, a new barbaric scene opens, in the hundred thousand isles and islets of the great Pacific Archipelago. It is but recently that the veil has been lifted from these populous regions. In the vast islands on the equator — Sumatra, Borneo, Java, the Celebes, Ceram, New Guinea — the population is of a mixed blood. The numerous isles that lie to the south, comprehended under the names of Polynesia and Australia, are peopled by two races of men. The one race is allied to the Negro in possessing a Herculean frame, black skin, and crisped but not woolly hair, while the other race has skin of a light copper color, and hair bright, lank, and glossy, the countenance resembling that of the Malay. These islands contain a population, the whole of which, until recent improvements under Christian civilization, were in the proper sense of the word barbaric, and such they seem to have been from time immemorial. Everlasting and omnipresent war, carried on by savages who in infancy had been compelled to swallow stones in order to “give them hearts of stone for battle,” — cannibalism, the last brutal revenge against a fallen adversary, — infanticide so common that three mothers accidentally present at once confessed to the missionaries that between them they had slaughtered twenty-one children by burying them alive in the ground — so common that one chief at his conversion to Christianity exclaimed in agony that he had killed nearly twenty of his own — the degradation of women carried to an excess from which northern barbarism would have revolted — the immolation of wives at the funerals of their husbands, inhuman conduct to the sick and aged at which the hearer stands aghast with indignation — a habit of worshipping a set of gods, when they worshipped anything at all, the sight of which in our Museum moves horror, laughter, unspeakable contempt by turns — customs so filthy that the pen refuses to relate them—a taste so foul that a rat was a proverb among them for sweetness — an ignorance so profound that all manner of reading, writing, and arithmetic beyond the counting of a few digits, were beyond their comprehension — all these features combined to form as hideous a portrait of humanity as the globe could furnish. And it would be impossible to form even an approximate estimate of the number of millions upon millions who thus grew up in the Pacific Archipelago “without God in the world,” and apparently for the most part fallen from His likeness.

     4. Turning to Europe, we find that every step of progress made in prehistoric ethnology deepens the conviction that the earliest settlement of this continent is lost in the darkness of a remote antiquity; and some account of indefinite yet incalculable numbers must be taken in the general estimate for the clans and tribes and families who wandered or fixed their tents in the primeval forests. Arriving at historic times, there are distinct indications of a European population 2,0000 years before Christ. At the Christian era, indeed, Europe still presented a far different scene to the eye of Tacitus from that which it offers in the present day. A gloomy “black forest” extended through its centre, penetrated here and there by rivers, glades, and pathways. Immense tracts were damp and uninhabitable morasses, but free space was still afforded or created for a numerous population.

      Travelling westward from the eastern centres, among the first, though not the earliest pioneers of humanity through these dread solitudes, seem to have been tribes who bore the general name of Cymry, the most powerful branch of whom were the Keltae, or Gauls, the ancestors of the Gaels, the Welsh, the Irish, and of all the European Gallic tribes of France, Spain, and Italy.

     Following them after unknown intervals came the Gothic or Teutonic hosts who settled in northern and midland Europe.

     Lastly came the Sclavonic or Sarmatian inundation, the ancestors of the Russians, Poles, and kindred nations.

     Here, then, is another world of human beings extended over the whole breadth of a continent, and existing for ages and ages in a condition of comparative barbarism. Let any tolerably informed reader of the ancient history of Europe meditate on the names of Norway and Sweden, Ireland, Wales, England, France, Spain, Germany, Russia, Poland, and he will quickly perceive that another mass of barbaric life extended itself in many strata over these territories; and lasted for many centuries, in incalculable numbers, long before history began to take account of the deeds of individual men.

     5. Add, now, to these reminiscences of the dim and remote past those approximate views of the number and condition of the human race in Europe, which come with some adequate knowledge of the history of the ancient and modern civilized world. It will be necessary to repeat the imaginary operations before ventured upon for assisting the mind to bring into conception the facts of the Asiatic population. Let the student pronounce thoughtfully the names of the countries which border on the Mediterranean Sea, and which finally formed the stage of the Roman Empire, and strive at the same time to think of the ancient and modern populations of the shores of Western Asia, in Syria and Palestine; of Asia Minor in all its provinces and kingdoms; then, in Europe, of Greece in its wildest extension and complex development; of the countries south of the Danube, and north of the Alps; of Italy and its adjacent isles; of Switzerland, of France, of Spain and Portugal, and modern Germany; of England, and Denmark, and Sweden, and Russia. What imagination can picture the endless millions who have moved and lived and died over these countries during historic time? We reach after all efforts of imagination but a vague sense of watching the passage of a dense illimitable throng, that fills the wide area of vision as from a mountain-top, and slowly but steadily passes away, to give place to fresh masses of living beings in the endless series—onward and onward travelling in their armies into the great darkness. And though we now behold a still mightier stream of European life moving before our eyes, we know that these millions form but a fractional representation of the majority who have preceded them. The mind is lost under an oppressive sense of the multitudes who fleet like shadows across the scene.

     6. But the end is not yet. Another world opens before us in Africa, that fruitful mother of barbarians and slaves.

     Africa is 5,000 miles in length, and nearly 4,600 miles in extreme breadth. Its present population is estimated at 100,000,000. In order to think correctly of the contributions of Africa to the general suns of the human race, it must be remembered that this continent was settled very early — that as far back as even the earliest twilight of authentic history reaches we find the valley of the Nile swarming with that ingenious and industrious nation whose sublime monuments remain amidst the wreck of ages to move the wonder of the latest generations. Consider the millions of Egypt from the time of its earliest settlement until now, under its ancient rulers and under its modern tyrants. Then extend the view from Nubia and Ethiopia and the eastern coast — to that populous northern range of maritime states settled by the ancient Sidonians, thickly peopled at least 2,000 years before Christ. The most ancient sepulchral pictures and records of Egypt represent Africa as densely inhabited by swarming nations, and the interior not less than the sea-coast. As soon as men could paint they painted the negroes of the interior, as distinct in their type and color as they are to-day: thus leading us to think of ages preceding during which those types were forming. It is manifestly idle to attempt an estimate in millions of those hosts of the African continent in old times. All that we know for certain is that they exceeded computation. The more recent history of the continent in Roman and in modern times, from the days of Hannibal and Masinissa down to the latest discoveries of Livingstone and Stanley, must be considered in any attempt to imagine the stupendous total of African population in the northern half of its extent.

     There will then still remain to claim some notice the black world of southern barbarism, only in the present century made known to Europeans. Descending from the outlaws of the northern kingdoms, or from the slave-dealing nations of the interior, or mingled with immigrants from Insular Asia, the whole south is alive with tribes whose origin is lost in a dim antiquity. Bamanquatos, Bakones, Bakuenas, Baphiris, Bamagala-silas, Banaug-ketsies, Bakous, Kalagares, Barolongs, Matabeles, Zulus, Basutos, Bechuanas, Namaquas, Tambookies, Hottentots, — such are some of the strange titles of these now improving nations, whose forefathers divided the wilderness with the elephant, the tiger, the lion, and the rhinoceros, during untold ages. It is only when the mind is directed to the close study of some particular tribe of men that it awakes to a due sense of the numbers of human beings who are designated, from century to century, by a single tribal appellation. And it is when the student descends to a careful examination of the works of travelers and missionaries that he forms an adequate conception of the vile degradation of mankind, or learns how much lower than the animals, in many of the habits of life, humanity has sunk, over a large proportion of the territories of the earth.

     7. It remains now to close this rapid survey, designed to awaken thought rather than to satisfy it, by pointing to the broad expanse of the two Americas. The result of recent research and discovery is to render it certain that these two vast worlds of life have been tenanted from remote times by an enormous population. The reader will find the evidence of this for South America in the well-known works of Mr. Prescott, and for North America in those of Mr. Bancroft. This population has included mighty civilized nations such as the Mexicans and Peruvians, and tribes of Amazonian clay-eaters, as described by Humboldt, sunk as low in imbecility as man can sink when overpowered by the forces of nature, or his own vices. Over the north have swarmed the innumerable myriads of the Red Men from times now lost in a dim antiquity. At the rediscovery of North America by Europeans eight principal languages covered it, spoken by a wide variety of tribes. The first language was the Algonquin, spoken by about twenty nations, of whom the chief were the Delaware’s, Illinois, and Chippeways or Ojibbeways. The second was that of the Dahcottas. The third was that of the Hurons and Iroquois, including the Mohawks, Oneidas, and Eries. The fourth was that of the Catawbas. The fifth was that of the Cherokees. The sixth was that of the Uchees. The seventh was that of the Natchez. The eighth was that of the Chocktaws, including the Chiccasaws and the Muskogees. Let the reader reflect upon the meaning of this statement, and try to imagine, however vaguely, the swarms of men who in successive centuries spoke any one of these dialects— and even though the enormous woods of America were inhabited but by vagrant tribes, it will be speedily acknowledged that here again was a “multitude that no man can number.”

      But indeed every branch of historical study awakes a fresh sense of the multitudinousness of men in the ages departed. The simple names and habitats of families and clans who have left some trace behind them would fill volumes, and the longer we look at the past the more overwhelming becomes the view of the throngs who have labored, and loved, and warred, and sinned, and wrought righteousness upon the various zones of this planet. Language breaks down into idle expressions of wonder at the thought of all the tribes of the earth who are gone; for even a single specimen of each smaller company, gathered into one contemporaneous crowd, would leave us still astounded at the spectacle of a multitude which defied computation, and exceeded the utmost stretch of individual vision.

     And it is of these unimaginable pagan multitudes of Asia, Africa, Europe, America, and the Oceanic Archipelagoes, that the question is asked, Whence? and Whither?

     The established doctrine of European Christianity respecting them we shall attempt to describe in the next chapter. It is true that moral and religious doctrines cannot be decided exclusively by the numbers of the persons affected by them; yet even Divine Justice itself may in the matter of eternal judgment be presumed to take into account the numerical strength of the population which, like that of Nineveh, “knows not its right hand from its left.” And it is a very idle, affectation of stoicism which would wholly exclude the view of the numbers of the victims of any overwhelming calamity, or the hereditary ignorance or weakness, which rendered them so easily its prey.

 

CHAPTER 6

THE ORTHODOX DOCTRINE ON THE NATURE

AND DESTINY OF MANKIND

     THE term “orthodox” is employed in this connection as the most convenient mode of designating the doctrine which has prevailed in Christendom both most widely and most durably; for, although the Roman, Greek, and Protestant Churches have differed exceedingly on other questions of interpretation, there has existed a singular unanimity between them as to the facts and general principles which underlie what is held to be a correct view of the condition and destiny of mankind.

     The Reformation attempted no modification whatever of the basis of theology in respect of the doctrine of the Fall of Man, and its consequences to the human race. The dissident Protestant sects during all their earlier history stood fast on the old ways, and reiterated the principles, which have prevailed in the Church — at least since the age of Augustine. It is in the writings of Augustine that the first full and complete development of this system of ideas respecting God’s dealings with men is to be found. There is nothing entirely resembling it either in the New Testament or in the Ante-Nicene Fathers.

     The central thought of this doctrine springs from a belief, in which we sympathies, in the historical truth of the narrative of the trial and sin of Adam and Eve in the book of Genesis; but it branches out into several subordinate doctrines of vast extent and importance, not so plainly contained in that narrative.

     It has been held, with the nearly unanimous consent of the ancient theological authorities, and has been embodied as an article of faith in the judgment of the Church, that Adam the ancestor of mankind was created at first under a complex constitution; endued with a body that could die, which, however, served but as the shrine and tabernacle of a soul that should never die; this immortality of the soul depending ultimately on the will of God.

      It has been held that the death threatened to Adam in case of transgression is to be understood in several distinct senses, according to the part of his complex nature, which was affected by the judgment of God, and the relations to time or eternity borne by the different portions of the punishment. With nearly absolute unanimity it has been held by all the great historical Churches that when Adam sinned the sentence of death took effect upon his body, by ensuring the physical dissolution of his animal structure. This is technically called temporal death. Next, it is held that as soon as he sinned his soul was separated morally from God, and, since God is the fountain of, “spiritual life,” that apostate condition of Adam’s soul is described in sacred language as spiritual death —a description which is considered to be authorized by the Apostle Paul when he speaks of sinners being “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians ii. 1). And, lastly, it is held that when this life ended, and the naturally never-dying soul went forth into the unseen world of judgment, it was doomed to enter upon a prospect of everlasting suffering in hell, which is termed eternal death.

     It has been for ages the fundamental doctrine of Christian theology in Europe that in the original trial of Man in Paradise Adam was thus threatened with temporal, spiritual, and eternal death, this last sense of the term standing forever lasting damnation, or conscious punishment throughout the future eternity.

     Whether Adam as an individual person actually will undergo this triple condemnation is a wholly different question. But, as a representative man, there is a wonderful concurrence of divines that by his sin he incurred this appalling complex doom.

      The Confession of Faith of the Assembly of Divines of Westminster, representing the best thought in theology up to that time, only confirms the general judgment of Roman and Protestant Christendom when it declares, in the sixth paragraph of its sixth chapter, under the title of “The Fall of Man, of Sin, and of the Punishment thereof”—that “every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereto, dose in its own nature bring guilt upon the sinner, whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and so made subject to DEATH, with all miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal.”

     This, however, is but the beginning of sorrows. For the next universally received doctrine of the orthodox Church was, and is, that this direful destiny descended by inheritance from Adam upon the whole human race, so that every fallen human being, under the “covenant of works,” is born, 1, liable to temporal death; 2, under the curse of spiritual death; and, 3, certain to endure the woe of death eternal, or endless misery. It is held that this is the doom under which every human infant is conceived and born into the world (thrice happy the unborn!): so that endless misery is its destiny by the law, as the natural result of its descent from Adam, and before it has “done good or evil.”

      The Protestant Articles of Religion, framed herein on the lines of the ancient Church, expressly repudiate the idea that the curse of “eternal death” comes upon men only in consequence of personal active imitation of the sin of Adam.

     It is declared to be a congenital inheritance. Adam by his sin incurred eternal damnation in hell in the sense of endless misery; and this is the curse, which has descended as an heirloom on his infant posterity. Let us hear the Church of England in her IX th Article, “Of Original or Birth Sin.”

     “Original Sin stands not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk); but it is the fault and corruption of the Nature of every man that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam; whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness (quam longissime), and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusted always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world it deserved God’s wrath and damnation; “ by which the authors of the Article intended endless misery.

     The Westminster Assembly of Divines in the sixth chapter of its Confession is even more explicit.

     “Our first parents being the root of all mankind, the guilt of their sin was imputed, and the same death in sin and corrupted nature conveyed to all their posterity, descending from them by ordinary generation.

     “From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.”

     Then follows the fore-cited sentence. “Every sin, both original and actual, dose in its own nature bring guilt upon the sinner whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God, and so made subject to death, with all miseries, spiritual, temporal, and eternal.” It thus appears to be unquestionably the orthodox faith of Christendom that, before they have done good or evil, all mankind are born liable to eternal misery through original sin, and that the development of their corrupt nature, whereby they are made opposite to all good,” can only aggravate an eternal destiny to suffering already incurred through the transgression of Adam.

     The Augustinian divines of the Church of Rome, no small portion of the whole body, and the Calvinistic divines of the Protestant Churches, add to these terrible conclusions the further doctrine of predestination to damnation. The Assembly of Divines (setting forth the present accredited faith of the Church of Scotland) explicitly teach in their third chapter — that “By the decree of God, for the manifestation of His glory, some men and angels are predestinated unto everlasting life, and others foreordained to everlasting death.” And of the non-elect they say, “The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of His own will, whereby He extended or withholds mercy as He pleased, for the glory of His sovereign power over His creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of His glorious justice.”

     Since, however, these formidable super-additions are held by but a portion of orthodox Christendom, it is better to leave them out of present view. The statements in which the orthodox Churches are agreed suffice for the present purpose. The sum of the whole is, that mankind is born in a state of everlasting damnation, under a curse of Death, which is to be taken in the three senses, of bodily decease, moral apostasy, and everlasting misery. And from this doom there is no escape except by the grace of god in regeneration. “Except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.” All the unregenerate portion of mankind is destined to suffer in “everlasting fire.”

     There can be no question that these are the views under which the historical Churches of Christendom have contemplated the condition and destiny of the human race, and under which they have sought to apply the remedy in missionary enterprise and benevolence. In his letters from India, Xavier speaks only the uniform sense of his Church when he describes the destiny of the un-baptized millions around him as involving the prospect of eternal torment, and maintains that the un-evangelized millions of previous ages had descended to that irrevocable doom. In a letter of S. Francis Xavier, written in 1552 (edited in 1873 by Revelation E. Coleridge, of the Society of Jesus), he says, “One of the things that most of all pains and torments these Japanese is that we teach them that the prison of Hell is irrevocably shut—so that there is no egress there from. For they grieve over the fate of their departed children, of their parents and relatives—and they often show their grief by their tears. So they ask us if there is any hope—any way to free them by prayer from that eternal misery, and I am obliged to answer that there is absolutely none. Their grief at this affects and torments them wonderfully—they almost pine away with sorrow. But there is this good thing about their trouble—it makes one hope that they will all be the more laborious for their own salvation, lest they, like their forefathers, should be condemned to everlasting punishment.” “They often ask if God cannot take their fathers out of hell, and why their punishment must never have an end. We gave them a satisfactory answer; but they did not cease to grieve over the misfortunes of their relatives, — and I can hardly restrain my tears sometimes at seeing men so dear to my heart suffer such intense pain about a thing which is already done with, and can never be undone.”

     Not so logically or consistently have some Protestant divines of recent time sought to mitigate the terribleness of the prospect by tampering arbitrarily with the interpretation of the threatening of Death, on which hangs the system of Augustinian theology. Dr. Payne of Exeter (Congregational Lecturer on Original Sin) speaks indeed the general sense of English theologians of the latter portion of this age when he attempts to discriminate between the various senses of this threatening, and to direct their incidence more mercifully than has been the ancient wont of the Churches; but in so doing he opens the door to the entrance of a principle of interpretation which will inevitably destroy both his own doctrine and the elder scheme of doctrine which he assails.

      Smitten to the heart by the terrific dogma of the descent of the curse of eternal death, in the sense of endless suffering, upon the infant posterity of Adam, these “merciful doctors” have insisted upon a limitation of the signification of this curse as respects the personally guiltless. The old Roman divines had found in Paul’s argument addressed to their own Church (Romans 5:12) decisive evidence that the Death which “entered by one offence,” or “the offence of one,” “passed upon all men,” without any limitation, “even,” as Paul declares specially, “upon them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression.” Whatever reason, therefore, there was for understanding this threat in the triple sense, so as to include eternal misery for Adam himself (a point of belief on which no one seems to have entertained a doubt), there was exactly the same reason for believing that it descended in its direful integrity upon all his posterity. The case of infants might be indeed fearful, but there was no loophole of escape for them from the system, which embraced in its iron grip the whole race of man. To insinuate that for them the “eternal death” formed no part of the inherited curse was to break up the foundation of faith in redemption, and in the descent of original sin. Accordingly this position was maintained with the utmost firmness by all the Roman theologians, and not less by the Reformers. Augustine had set the example of such firmness. “It may, therefore, be rightly said (says he) that little ones dying without baptism will be in the mildest damnation of all (in damnatione mitissima). Yet he greatly deceives and is deceived who preaches that they will not be in damnation; since the apostle says, judgment was by one to condemnation.” (Multum autem fallit et fallitur, qui eos in damna One predicat non futuros. — Opp. 7. page 142.

     But that which they dreaded, as fatal to systematic divinity, has been asserted by our English and American divines of recent times. These affirm, apparently without any evidence, except that derived from their own sense of moral fitness, that although the death threatened to Adam himself included the threefold curse with eternal misery, the curse as it descended on the posterity dropt its most fearful signification, and came upon the human race in its birth only as a twofold doom, as temporal death, and an inherited corruption of their nature which is termed “death spiritual.” Thus, it is supposed, all mankind are born, not under sentence of eternal misery for Adam’s sin, but only under a corrupt constitution of nature, by which, when they come to years, they will incur that sentence by their own transgressions.*

     *Mr. Peill, an able representative of this opinion, says, “Thus it is evident from Scripture itself that the second death [or eternal misery] is not included in the penalty threatened against Adam, which began to take effect the day that he sinned. The second death comes only through personal unbelief, and not as the necessary result of the conduct of another. Reason and Scripture are both at variance with the doctrine that eternal death was included in the punishment incurred by Adam’s transgression. Reason declares it unjust that one man’s eternal destiny should be determined for him by the act of another. Such a view outrages man’s moral sense, conflicts with his personal responsibility, and is utterly incompatible with the equitable character of his present trial and its issues.” — Man’s Immortality Proved, page 38.

     Mr. Peill, therefore, will doubtless offer no objection to the use of our “reason” and “moral sense” in still further discriminating the meaning of the threatening of death contained in the Scriptural account of the fall of Adam.

     There is no doubt that this mode of treatment of the language of Scripture offers an immense alleviation. We learn no longer to look upon the countenance of a child, with all our orthodox progenitors, as on a wretched being under sentence of eternal misery for the offence of a distant ancestor. Some would even encourage us to regard the new-born child as born under Redemption, and by its birth into a world where Christ has died, entitled thereby to regenerating grace and everlasting glory. But this is an extreme view towards which few incline.

      The chief objection to this brighter representation of the results of the Fall of Man on the prospects of Mankind is that it proceeds on a method of interpretation fatal to the whole fabric of theology, which it seeks to uphold.

      If, from regard to our supposed sense of right, we operate upon the term death which describes in apostolic language the curse which has “passed upon” mankind (Romans v. 12) — if by an ipse dixit the enlightened Protestant expositor may sweep may at one stroke of his pen the whole tremendous prospect of everlasting misery from before the world of Adam-born children — what is to hinder, asks the more consistent Roman theologian the sweeping away of that third sense of death — or eternal misery in its supposed application to Adam himself, and all other persons affected by his behavior? A precedent in interpretation is established which will certainly be acted upon in a larger signification. The difficulty is already great of teaching that the “death” of the body, in the death threatened to Adam, signified its dissolution, while in the “Second Death” the same term, even in reference to the body, is taken for endless misery. But how much greater the difficulty of maintaining that the original curse was designed to convey the meaning of eternal suffering, if at the first occurrence of an objection, occasioned only by our tender compassion for infants, it is held that the word must be stripped of its infinite meaning in its application to them.

    The Augustinian system is best defended in its integrity. Take away one of its fundamental definitions, and it falls to the ground. The recent Protestant glosses breathe a compassionate leniency, but they endanger far more than they defend. Augustine and Calvin were solid logicians, and may be trusted in their estimate of what is necessary to the coherency of their theological system.

     We return, therefore, to the ancient doctrine, which is that the whole multitudinous human race, either through an hereditary curse, or through a transmitted corruption of nature which leads to an ungodly life, is, and has always been, in danger of a Hell never ending; from which danger it is delivered only by a remedy, so far as the present world is concerned, apparently of most limited application. “Broad is the road that leads to Destruction, and many there be that go in thereat.” If the word destruction is rightly taken for the idea of endless misery, the force of Christ’s words agrees with the general and ancient sense of Christendom that the majority of mankind have in all ages gone forward to endure an eternity of woe.

     That such “woe” will be proportioned to the deserts of the offenders no believer in Divine justice, not even S. Augustine, can for one moment have doubted or denied. The extreme ignorance of multitudes of wicked men may be regarded with comparative lenity. On the other hand, the offences of the most guilty, because the best informed, would with equal justice be followed by far more awful inflictions. Let us, therefore, now attempt to arouse the reader’s mind to consider what it is which Christendom professes in its standards to believe, whether in the case of those most lightly punished, or of those on whom will descend the heavier dooms. The main force of the orthodox doctrine on the effects of the fall on the condition of mankind lies in the eternity of those effects. Sin brings Death as its wages; and Death signifies eternal misery. It must be, then, a wholesome exercise to strive to realize the prospect. Every divine truth seems to be truer the more we dwell upon it and consider it. Truth unveils itself in its evidence and completeness to those who impartially endeavor to apprehend its bearings. God the Lord also is best known by His works; and if the issue of human life in its overwhelming numbers will be to fix, whether a majority, as most suppose, or a minority, as some few affirm, in an unchangeable state of torment, or misery, or even of darkness and sorrow, it must serve the interests of truth and righteousness, and of theology itself, to follow in the path of the poets and divines who have taught us how to meditate, first of all on future suffering, and, secondly, upon that everlastingness which is the measure of its duration.

     The writers who have of late years come forward to maintain the orthodox doctrine agree in their general conclusion. Let us seriously endeavor to understand what that conclusion is.

      It is — that, notwithstanding denial, there is compelling reason to believe that all who die un-forgiven shall suffer forever and ever—in hell. Words easily spoken and written, but which reveal their meaning, or rather a glimmer of their meaning, only to those who set themselves steadily to the task of realizing the doctrine. The significance of words is limited also by men’s experience, most persons being deficient in the power of vigorously conceiving of either suffering or duration. Those who have endured severe chronic pain for several decades of years, and those who have been visited by the more dreadful forms of mental anguish, are likely to attach a deeper meaning to such a phrase as “endless misery” than men whose strong health, or un-chequered history, or unimaginative natures have concealed from them the more woeful experiences of life. The generality of teachers who insist upon a literal eternity of pain seem to have little capacity for picturing to themselves what their doctrine portends. On some it seems to exert a hardening influence. They speak with something like contempt of a, “sensational recoil” from the idea of endless torment — as if there were nothing in it that ought to cause any difficulty to a devout, considering man. They evince no need of those alleviations by which gentler spirits seek to shade their eyes from the blinding prospect.* The believers in that prospect, indeed, are not agreed upon the degree or kind of suffering which is revealed as eternal; and those who anticipate the deepest horrors might seem, as is natural, to stagger at them less than those who believe in lighter inflictions.

*”Popular conceptions are taken largely from the imagery of Scripture, and from lurid sketches drawn by Dante and the poets. Hence men have come to speak of the lust as in flames. What if much of this teaching is a mistake? The fire that is never quenched may be the burning eagerness with which they cherish perverse desires, an eagerness that blights and blasts everything generous, as it has long since blasted everything holy. There are no doubt positive punishments as there are positive rewards; but the descriptions of each are largely figurative—"pearly gates," "golden streets," "flaming fire," "ascending smoke." Here again there is some relief.” — DR. ANGUS on Future Punishment.

     Unwillingly I add a few specimens of the mode of presenting the supposed threatening of Revelation from approved divines. That holy man, President Jonathan Edwards, says:

“Here all judges have a mixture of mercy, but the wrath of God will be poured out upon the wicked without mixture, and vengeance will have its full weight. We can conceive but little of the matter. We cannot conceive what the sinking of the soul in such a case is. But to help your conception, imagine yourself to be cast into a fiery oven, all of a glowing heat, or into the midst of a glowing brick-kiln, or of a great furnace, where your pain would be as much greater than that occasioned by accidentally touching a coal of fire as the heat is greater; and imagine also that your body were to lie there for a quarter of an hour, full of fire, as full within and without as a bright coal fire, all the while full of quick sense: what horror would you feel at the entrance of such a furnace! Oh, then, how would your heart sink, if you thought, if you knew, that you must bear it forever and ever! That there would be no end! That after millions and millions of ages your torment would be no nearer to an end than ever it was! And that you never, never should be delivered! But your torment in hell will be immensely greater than this illustration represents.” —Volume 3, page 260.

      Mr. Spurgeon, whose opinions represent in the most vigorous form, and with striking sincerity, the theology of the middle and lower classes of England, does not hesitate to hold before his hearers a prospect of endless physical agony:

 “Only conceive that poor wretch in the flames, who is saying, "O for one drop of water to cool my parched tongue!" See how his tongue hangs from between his blistered lips! How it excoriates and burns the roof of his mouth as if it were a firebrand! Behold him crying for a drop of water. I will not picture the scene. Suffice it for me to close up by saying that the hell of hells will be to you, poor sinner, the thought that it is to be forever. You will look up there on the throne of God, — and on it shall be written, "Forever!" When the damned jingle the burning irons of their torments, they shall say "Forever!" When they howl, echo cries, "Forever!"

“"Forever" is written on their racks,

"Forever" on their chains;

"Forever" burned in the fire,

"Forever" ever reigns.”

Doleful thought! If I could but get out, then I should be happy." "If there were a hope of deliverance, then I might be peaceful; but here I am forever!" Sirs! If you would escape eternal torments, if you would be found amongst the number of the blessed, the road to heaven can only be found by prayer,” etc.—Sermon preached in1855.

     It may be objected that this sermon was preached twenty years ago; but only three years since Mr. Spurgeon declared his adhesion to the former style of discourse on future punishment in these words:

"We are sometimes accused, my brethren, of using language too harsh, too ghastly, too alarming, with regard to the world to come; but we shall not soon change our note; for we solemnly believe that if we could speak thunderbolts, and our every look were a lightning flash, and if our eyes dropped blood instead of tears, no tones, words, gestures, or similitude of dread could exaggerate the awful condition of a soul which has refused the gospel and is delivered over to justice.” — Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit (revised and corrected), page 186.

     A still more graphic style of representation is common among Roman Catholic preachers. Those who believe in the beneficial effect of pictorial horrors on young and ignorant people might take a lesson from the religious manuals of the Roman priests. Mr. Lecky quotes the following, in his History of European Morals, from a Tract “for children and young persons,” called The Sight of Hell, by Revelation J. Furniss; published “Permissu Superiorum,” by Duffy (London and Dublin). It is a detailed description of the dungeons of hell: —

“See on the middle of that red-hot floor stands a girl: she looks about sixteen years old. Her feet are bare. Listen; she speaks. "I have been standing on this red hot floor for years! Look at my burnt and bleeding feet! Let me go off this burning floor for one moment!" The fifth dungeon is the red-hot oven. The little child is in the red-hot oven. Hear how it screams to come out; see how it turns and twists itself about in the fire. It beats its head against the roof of the oven. It stamps its little feet on the floor. God was very good to this little child. Very likely God saw it would get worse and worse, and would never repent, and so it would have to be punished more severely in hell. So God in His mercy called it out of the world in early childhood.”

     All this, says Mr. Furniss, is to last forever.

     Such representations would, however, be severely reprehended by the majority of educated orthodox preachers in our own time. To them the eternal hell is of a more spiritual character; but it is still eternal, its pains are to endure as long as the Nature, which is unchangeable and divine.

     For in addition to these inflictions, whether literal or largely figurative, our divines believe in a spiritual misery of lost souls, which is not figurative, but will consist partly in their remorse for the sins of tithe, and partly in the fact that, being immortal, they are condemned to sin, and to suffer for fresh sins, throughout ETERNITY. — But who knows what that means? The duration, which is immeasurable! It signifies that all the arithmetical power in the creation, after laboring for millions of years to invent numerical methods of expressing enormous successions of time, would thereby succeed in reaching in imagination only the beginning — the threshold—the earlier moments, of that unsearchable futurity which is the lifetime of the SELF-EXISTENT BEING,—and, it is said, the lifetime of the condemned. It means that beyond all such imagined epochs, counted out by human or angelic faculty, there will extend an infinite prospect of misery for sinful beings, in graduated but everlasting pain.

     I shall offer some reflections on these beliefs of various types in the language of the late Mr. Foster, author of Essays on Decision of Character, contained in a memorable letter to the writer, in the year 1841. *

Reprinted at length in the Life and Correspondence of John Foster, volume 1.

        “Nevertheless,” says Mr. Foster, “I acknowledge myself not convinced of the orthodox doctrine. If asked, why not? — I should have little to say in the way of criticism, of implications found or sought in what may be called incidental expressions of Scripture, or of the passages dubiously cited in favor of final, universal restitution. It is the moral argument, as it may be named, that presses irresistibly on my mind—that which comes in the stupendous idea of eternity.

       It appears to me that the teachers and believers of the orthodox doctrine hardly ever make an earnest, strenuous effort to form a conception of eternity; or rather a conception somewhat of the nature of a faint incipient approximation. Because it is confessedly beyond the compass of thought, it is suffered to go without an attempt at thinking of it. They utter the term in the easy currency of language; have a vague and transitory idea of something obscurely vast, and do not labor to place and detain the mind in intense protracted contemplation, seeking all expedients for expanding and aggravating the awful import of such a word. Though every mode of illustration is feeble and impotent, one would surely think there would be an insuppressible impulse to send forth the thoughts to the utmost possible reach into the immensity — when it is an immensity into which our own most essential interests are infinitely extended. Truly it is very strange that even religious minds can keep so quietly aloof from the amazing, the overwhelming contemplation of what they have the destiny and the near prospect of entering upon.

       “Expedients of illustration of what eternity is not, supply the best attainable means of assisting remotely toward a glimmering apprehension of what it is. All that is within human capacity is to imagine the vastest measures of time, and to look to the termination of these as only touching the mere commencement of eternity.

       “For example: — It has been suggested to imagine the number of particles, atoms, contained in this globe, and suppose them one by one annihilated, each in a thousand years, till all were gore; but just as well say, a million, or a million of millions of years or ages, it is all the same, as against infinite duration.

        “Extend the thought of such a process to our whole mundane system, and finally to the whole material universe: it is still the same. Or, imagine a series of numerical figures, in close order, extended to a line of such a length that it would encircle the globe, like the equator — or that would run along with the earth’s orbit round the sun — or with the outermost planet, Uranus — or that would draw a circle of which the radius should be from the earth or sun to Sirius — or that should encompass the entire material universe, which, as being material, cannot be infinite. The most stupendous of these measures of time would have all ended; and would, when completed, be still nothing to eternity.

       “Now think of an infliction of misery protracted through such a period, and at the end of it being only commencing, — not one smallest step nearer a conclusion: — the case just the same if that sun of figures were multiplied by itself. And then think of Man — his nature, his situation, the circumstances of his brief sojourn and trial on earth. Far be it from us to make light of the demerit of sin, and to remonstrate with the Supreme Judge against a severe chastisement, of whatever moral nature we may regard the infliction to be. But still, what is man? — He comes into the world with a nature fatally corrupt, and powerfully tending to actual evil. He comes among a crowd of temptations adapted to his innate evil propensities. He grows up (incomparably the greater proportion of the race) in great ignorance; his judgment weak; and under numberless beguilements into error; while his passions and appetites are strong; his conscience unequally matched against their power; — in the majority of men, but feebly and rudely constituted. The influence of whatever good instructions he may receive is counteracted by a combination of opposite influences almost constantly acting on him. He is essentially and inevitably unapt to be powerfully acted on by what is invisible and future. In addition to all which, there is the intervention and activity of the great tempter and destroyer.

     “I acknowledge my inability (I would say it reverently) to admit this belief, together with a belief in the Divine Goodness — the belief that "God is love," that His tender mercies are over all His works. Goodness, benevolence, charity, as ascribed in supreme perfection to Him, cannot mean a quality foreign to all human conceptions of goodness; it must be something analogous in principle to what Himself has defined and required as goodness in His moral creatures, that, in adoring the Divine Goodness, we may not be worshipping an "unknown God." But if so, how would all our ideas be confounded, while contemplating Him bringing, of his own Sovereign will, a race of creatures into existence, in such a condition that they will and must, —must, by their nature and circumstances, go wrong and be miserable, unless prevented by especial grace, — which is the privilege of only a small proportion of them, and, at the same time, affixing on their delinquency a doom, of which it is infinitely beyond the highest archangel’s faculty to apprehend a thousandth part of the horror.

      Can we,  — I would say with reverence—can we realize it as possible that a lost soul, after countless millions of ages, and in prospect of an interminable succession of such enormous periods, can be made to have the conviction, absolute and perfect, that all this is a just, an equitable infliction, and from a power as good as He is just, for a few short sinful years on earth — years and sins presumed to be retained most vividly in memory, and everlastingly growing clearer, vaster, and more terrible to retrospective view in their magnitude of infinite evil — every stupendous period of duration, by which they have actually been left at a distance, seeming to bring them, in contrariety to all laws of memory, nearer and ever nearer to view, by the continually aggravated experience of their consequences?

     Yes, those twenty, forty, seventy years, growing up to infinity of horror, in the review, in proportion to the distance, which the condemned spirit recedes from them; all eternity not sufficing to reveal fully what those years contained! — millions of ages for each single evil thought or word.

     “But it is usually alleged that there will be an endless continuance of sinning, with probably an endless aggravation, and therefore the punishment must be endless. Is not this like an admission of disproportion between the punishment and the original cause of its infliction? — But suppose the case to be so—that is to say, that the punishment is not a retribution simply for the guilt of the momentary existence on earth, but a continued punishment of the continued, ever-aggravated guilt in the eternal state; the allegation is of no avail in vindication of the doctrine; because the first consignment to the dreadful state necessitates a continuance of the criminality; the doctrine teaching that it is of the essence, and is an awful aggravation, of the original consignment, that it dooms the condemned to maintain the criminal spirit unchanged forever. The doom to sin as well as suffer, and, according to the argument, to sin in order to suffer, is afflicted as the punishment of the sin committed in the moral state. Virtually, therefore, the eternal punishment is the punishment of the sins of time.

     Under the light (or the darkness) of this doctrine, how inconceivably mysterious and awful is the aspect of the whole economy of this human world The immensely greater number of the race hitherto, through all ages and regions, passing a short life under no illuminating, transforming influence of their Creator; ninety-nine in a hundred of them perhaps having never even received any authenticated message from heaven; passing off the world in a state unfit for a spiritual, heavenly, and happy kingdom elsewhere; and all destined to everlasting misery.—The thoughtful spirit has a question silently suggested to it of far more emphatic import than that of him who exclaimed, "Have you made all men in vain?"“

     It was the absorbing meditation on such conclusions as these in early days which created in the writer the life-lasting purpose of at least striving to enforce them on his fellow-beings, if truths they were; or of shaking their pernicious hold on the public mind if one could solidly learn that they were delusions. It is a question in which all that is of profoundest import in the definition of the Divine Attributes of Justice and Goodness is concerned,—which touches more deeply than any other the springs of faith and unbelief,—and which clearly has bearings of the utmost moment on the whole system of human thought respecting both this world and the world to come.

     If these things plainly are indeed as described by theologians, it is as wicked as useless to palter with the evidence, or to conceal it from the world; and it is nothing better than cruelty to talk of alleviating the prospect. If it is true, let the truth be spoken, and let men recognize the facts of their existence on earth and beyond. Truth needs no alleviations.

     But, at all events, these things ought not to be believed except on decisive evidence, for a mistake either way will exert a prodigious influence on the religion of mankind. The danger is not all on one side, as most suppose. For there is nothing less than an infinite difference between a BEING who will so act towards His creatures and One who will not; between a God who will inflict eternal suffering, however slight, whether of mind, or body, or both, on creatures born of a degenerate race, and generally educated in ignorance of divine things, even when intellectually cultivated, and One who will not. A different feeling and a different worship will grow up out of the two systems of thought, just in proportion as they are realized by the worshipper.

     And the determination of the question is of equal importance in relation to the Creator’s will. If the Eternal Power will act as these writers suppose, it must, as they truly affirm, be highly offensive to Him to deny or dispute it. If true religions consist so largely in the element of fear, as it must on this theory, it is to detract from truth to represent God as less than He really is an object of terror to His creatures. But, on the other hand, if such thoughts never “entered into His mind,” — so the Almighty is represented in the book of Jeremiah as exclaiming, in reference to the momentary passage of children through the fire to Moloch, — if the whole doctrine comes, as many learned and pious men think, — men as learned and pious as any others, — from a violent wresting of the ordinary language of Scripture; if it have no surer basis than a determination to maintain the figment of the natural immortality of one part of man’s nature, of which the Bible itself never once speaks; if the doctrine of pain that shall never end be the offspring of the combination of a alse psychology with the traditional interpretations of a superstitious and uncritical antiquity, it is easy to see that the Deity must abhor the falsehoods taught in His name, in Europe as in Asia, and will highly commend the work of those who set themselves to overturn this stumbling-block, and to rend the dogma which at once veils from sinful men His real and awful justice, and from His children so much of the light of the eternal Love.

 

Chapter 7

On The Possibility That Christendom Has Erred

On The Doctrine Of Human Destiny

“The history of the Christian Church for the greater portion of its existence has been so little in consistent practical accordance with any Idea or Principle that is obviously Divine, that the merely being opposed to such a majority as it presents need not be to any spiritual mind a very distressing or a very dangerous position.” —  Frederic Myers, Catholic Thoughts, page 15.

     IT cannot be denied that the frightful doctrines on the future of humanity, described in the preceding chapter, though supported by the general authority of nearly all Christendom for at least fourteen centuries, are regarded with contemptuous skepticisms by the bulk of the existing male population of Europe, who assign these articles of “the faith” as the chief reason for their ever-extending and fierce revolt against Christianity. The external evidence of ancient miracle and prophecy, and even the stronger moral evidence of the Gospel, do not suffice to overpower the antagonistic conviction of the masses of educated and uneducated men in civilized Europe, that the “Catholic Religion” cannot be of divine original. The people who dwell in the interior of Churches have in general but a slight acquaintance with the ideas of those who are without. If by any remarkable awakening the Christian people could be made to understand the world of modern thought which surrounds them, they would discover from one side of Europe to the other that faith in the supposed divine revelation has almost faded away from the classes who are alienated from traditional religion. And the chief cause of such decaying faith is found beyond question in the views of the future which have been set forth in the preceding pages.

     Men hold that such conceptions of moral government cannot possibly be in accord with the thoughts of God, “whose tender mercies are over all His works.” This disbelief is not, indeed, a sufficient reason for rejecting Catholic Christianity; but it is a sufficient reason for subjecting it to a resolute re-examination. That which practically works so ill certainly cannot claim to be exempt from fresh scrutiny: especially since the disorder of latent skepticism has eaten like a cancer into the breast of the Church itself. Christians on all sides, exactly in proportion to their knowledge and culture, are tormented in our time with agonizing doubts as to the truth of the whole system of Divine Revelation, in consequence of the doctrine imputed to it on the destination of mankind. The positive declarations sometimes made, on the final salvation of the largely preponderant majority of men, as the result of their present term of probation, seem to rest on no solid foundation. They contradict the Bible itself. They are expressions of a hopeful piety, and little more. The fact of general ungodliness remains; and the Scripture record also remains, which consigns all persistently wicked men to eternal death. If death signifies endless misery, there seems no escape from the established dogma; but this dogma shakes the Christian faith even of its most devoted adherents. Richard Baxter himself describes the inward and dangerous struggle, which he often experienced in the effort to submit his mind to these supposed doctrines of “revelation.”

     There is especially one class whose case deserves attention, that of unwilling infidels. For it is right to add that infidelity is of two kinds, malignant and involuntary; and that there is a description of unbelief widely spread which does not take the form of virulent attack upon the Scriptures, but rather stands aloof in the dim intermediate territory between friendship and hostility. This is the infidelity of persons who, although not denying the apparent existence of some strong evidence for the divine mission of Christ, are yet so much confounded at the character of what they have been led to suppose are His doctrines as to pass their lives in a state of equilibrium or indifference; never breaking out into open skepticism, but never seeing their way to a clear persuasion and bold avowal of the truth of the gospel revelation. They have been taught that the doctrine of Christ is, that in Adam all fell directly or indirectly under the curse of everlasting misery, and that a certain number are to be saved from this dreadful doom in consequence of a divine decree in their favor from eternity past; all the rest departing to endless suffering for the glory of the justice of God. This, which is the common and popular belief, staggers them; their minds become confused, and finding no relief from the believers in Christianity, who maintain their “faith” in such doctrines mostly by a decided habit of not thinking upon them, they vibrate between the twilight of a half unbelief, and the thick darkness of a gloomy atheism. There are hundreds of thousands of minds of the class now described, — souls surely as valuable as the souls of the inhabitants of the South Sea Islands, on whose behalf all zeal is accounted praiseworthy. It is conceivable that a fresh examination of our theology under a new idea might bring to light for such minds a “hope full of immortality.”

     One question, however, of discouraging aspect confronts the earliest movements of the mind towards such re-examination of Christianity, in dim hope of discovering a more benignant yet tenable interpretation of its records: — Is it possible that God can have permitted a conception of His own character, so false as this must be, if false at all, to prevail during nearly the whole Christian era? Must we not regard the fact of the general acceptance of these doctrines, as articles of faith, as a sufficient evidence of their truth? And, further, can it be for a moment believed that instructed divines, who are to be counted by hundreds of thousands, belonging to all Churches, in every successive century of Christianity, can have erred so egregiously, as they must have erred, who have mistaken the sense of the Divine Revelation, supposing these doctrines to be not in the Bible, and to have formed no part of original Christianity? This is a question, which suffices at the outset to quell and suppress the rising spirit of inquiry, by an appeal to the conscious insignificance of the individual. And it might well prohibit a single step in advance, were it not that the continuous history of Christendom, both in science and religion, bids us take courage, and compels us, as the first of all duties, to fling aside resolutely the delusive fear imposed by paralyzing appeals to authority.

     For when it is asked whether it be possible or conceivable that Providence can have allowed any doctrine grievously misrepresenting the Divine Majesty to have taken root on earth, or in Christendom, the answer is obvious and direct, that the Almighty Creator has allowed every imaginable error respecting His attributes, physical, intellectual, and moral, to prevail among men, age after age, since the beginning of the world. One-half the world to-day is still idolatrous, or devoted to Buddhist atheism. And the Apostles departed from life (however wonderful this may be), declaring with one voice that, “strong delusion” awaited the subsequent generations of Christendom.

     When further it is naturally asked whether it be possible that so many millions of learned and pious divines and their followers in former ages can have erred in so great a matter as this, the answer must be, — assuredly it is possible. The Reformation is expressly founded on the fact that all Europe had erred on the most important doctrine of Christianity for more than a thousand years, during the darkness of the middle age, even on the central doctrine of our justification. There is no Church or Church party in Christendom which does not hold it for certain that it is quite possible for whole sanhedrims of the most respectable divines, notwithstanding their learning, and millions of the common people, to misunderstand important doctrines of revelation. Both Roman Catholics and Protestants believe that after the learned rabbis of Judaism have studied the Old Testament for eighteen hundred years, since the fall of Jerusalem, they are still wrong in regarding our Lord Jesus Christ as an impostor. The Protestants believe that all the learned and pious men of Romanism err in religion fundamentally. The Roman Catholics, in turn, believe that all the learned men of Protestant countries, and all their disciples, are in error on the foundation truths of Christianity. In the same manner all the Calvinistic divines of Europe believe that all the Arminian divines misunderstand two important doctrines of revelation; and the Arminians think the same of the Calvinists.

     Thus also the popular opinion, maintained by the large majority of Protestant divines, is in favor of the doctrine of Christ’s second advent after the millennium. But multitudes of learned Christians in each century have maintained that the right doctrine clearly is that Christ will return from the heavens before that epoch, and they therefore regard the doctrine of the majority as erroneous. In the same manner the majority of Englishmen profess to believe that the Book of Common Prayer “contains nothing which cannot be proved by warrant of holy Scripture;” and to all is known how many thousands of learned men, occupants of the benefices of the English Church, have upheld that position for nearly three hundred and fifty years. But all the learned Scottish divines, and all the English Nonconformists, many of whom have been the equals of their opponents in literature and ability, while fully sensible of the many excellences of the Prayer Book, maintain that the New Testament manifestly contains no warrant for Prelacy, Ecclesiastical Courts, baptismal regeneration, or the compulsory support of religion. Thus, finally, the opinion of Christendom, generally, is in favor of infant baptism, and the doctrine of baptismal regeneration; yet this does not hinder a minority, scattered through Europe and America, but earnest, learned, and able, from maintaining, with Neander, that the practice of the apostles obviously was to baptize only intelligent confessors of Christ, and that infant baptism, notwithstanding its universality and antiquity, is a pernicious error.

     On these grounds, then, we conclude that it is within the limits of parallel experience for Christendom to have erred even on matters so grave as those, which now occupy our attention. The history of opinion shows nothing more clearly than the immense influence of ancient traditions on learned criticism, and the gross ignorance or perverseness of many of the expositors who in ancient times pitched the tune which has been diligently followed in after ages. Let any one remember the critical processes by which modern Roman divines of the first distinction operate upon the Scriptures for the support of their ecclesiastical and doctrinal system; and think also of the armies of great names adduced in support even of the most audacious portions of that system; — and he will thenceforth learn to admit that other leading ideas in Christendom may be false and falsifying; so that even whole battalions of Protestant authorities may be found buttressing interpretations having a deceptive show of argument, while rotten at their very foundations. And it is not improbable that the errors, which have proved more dangerous and pervasive than any others may be found lurking in those psychological assumptions, which, unquestioned in Europe, as in Asia, underlie in both continents the fabric of strictly theological doctrine. In Europe the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul is the source whence has sprung the mighty determining tide of past thought on the destiny of man; and if that source has been a well-spring of delusion, its influence has extended over both time and eternity.

     The general object of this book is to show that here, in the popular doctrine of the soul’s immortality, is the fons et origo of a world of theological error; that in its denial we return at once to scientific truth and to sacred Scripture; at the same time clearing the way for the right understanding of the object of the Incarnation, of the nature and issue of redemption in the Life Eternal, and of the true doctrine of divine judgment on the unsaved.

Chapter 8

On the Immortality of the Soul

     THE not far from universal judgment of modern Christendom regards as one of the two foundation truths of religion the immortality of the soul; the other being the existence and moral character of God.

     It is held by the Christian community, as a first principle of faith, that man possesses a spiritual soul; and that this soul, either as the result of the simplicity of its substance, indissoluble by any natural cause acting from within or from without, — or as a consequence of a general law fixed by the Sovereign Will, that all thinking, free, and accountable agents shall live forever, — or as the effect of a special decree in relation to man, — is destined in every case to everlasting duration.

     By some writers the moral relations of the soul with the Eternal Nature of God are held to necessitate a corresponding perpetuity of existence. The soul’s relation to God as Moral Governor is held to involve an eternal continuance in being, to imply and compel an infinite destiny. 1 Such arguments may impose on the imagination of devout metaphysicians, but they do not carry with them any rational evidence. It might be answered, even out of the Scripture, that while to be “a God” to Abraham doubtless requires the eternal perpetuation of Abraham’s life, the renunciation of the relationship of a “God” to the disobedient on the part of the Almighty may involve the destruction of individual being. Human destiny does not depend, we may be assured, on any abstract ontological relation of the finite mind to the Infinite, but on the moral relations between the two, as declared by the Deity; and to be cast off by God may be to perish.

     * “As it is essentially bound up with a moral system which is undoubtedly everlasting, we have no other conclusion open to us than that the soul so constituted and related is destined for an immortal existence.” — PEILL”S Immortality Proved, page 28.

      “We hold by this principle of a God-consciousness, in man, a sense of the Infinite, the Perfect, the Eternal, which stamps him with the awful character of Immortality, for it could have no root, no permanent hold in a being whose nature is merely mortal.” — A. THOMPSON, Doctrine, the Old and the New, page 22.

     A second argument much depended on by some writers is derived from the general doctrine of the indestructibleness of substance. All things that exist, it is said, continue in being. Matter changes its form, but never passes out of existence. There is a perpetual conservation of substance and of energy. Nothing perishes. Nature makes known no example of annihilation. Combinations alter, but substance endures. This, which is demonstrably true of material things around us, must be true also, it is thought, of things spiritual. The whole analogy of nature, so far as known, is opposed to the idea of the destruction of substance; — whence it is argued the soul will last forever. In the poetic language of John Smith, the Platonist of Cambridge, “Nothing dies that can discourse, that can reflect in perfect circles.” Why should mind be less durable than matter? Why should intellect vanish out of being when every gaseous atom is naturally eternal? It is to assail a fundamental law of nature to presume on the destruction of mind. Nothing was made to perish; all substance was formed at first for an endless use under varying forms. Therefore also mind was formed to live forever.

     Such reasoning may amuse a theologian’s leisure, but it is wonderful that they can satisfy as a basis of hope any serious inquirer. That the soul of man is an uncompounded substance, or indivisible essence, has never been proved, and cannot be proved. All the evidence of comparative physiology rather favors the opinion that it is a complex and therefore dissoluble structure. 2 Of its essence we really know nothing. Of the destruction of its substance we know nothing. But as, when the body dies, it dissolves, and is no more a living organism, so, if it shall please God to break up the soul, its substance may or may not remain, but its individual life will perish, and it shall be no more a soul. That the soul of man is in its nature less dissoluble than the, “souls” of animals, to use the Biblical idiom, has never been shown — nor is likely to be shown on scientific grounds alone. All modern observation tends to the belief in the unity and continuity of nature. The sharp distinction between vegetable and animal is passing away. The sharp distinction between matter and spirit is vanishing also. Meantime this argument for immortality derived from the perpetuity of substance is equally valid for the eternal duration of all life; and no decisive anticipation of immortality for mankind as a substructure for religious faith can be deduced from a premises, which compels the conclusion of an equal immortality for the life-force of zoophytes and infusoria. * See Dr. A. BAIN on Mind and Body.

     † Mr. Peill dismisses the “living souls” of animals into non-entity in a brief decided sentence. “The immaterial principle in the lower animals, whose functions correspond to this sensuous element in man, not being a separate, self-conscious, and responsible nature, and being related simply to the wants of the animal body, will, in all probability, close its particular development upon the death of the body.” — Immortality Proved, page 15. But indeed most of the arguments on which this devout writer depends in proof of man’s natural immortality will appear equally available on behalf of the animals, to one who lives in close and friendly relations with them. John Wesley is known to have entertained strong hopes of their everlasting salvation, their immaterial nature with him involving their immortality. Good news indeed for the ephemera; but not a gospel founded on sufficient evidence.

     Writers of far greater weight than Mr. Peill, the authors of The Unseen Universe, seem to allow that their physical argument for survival of spine spiritual substance in man’s death is of equal value for the souls of animals, standing alone. But they do not discuss the question whether they are not making a larger demand on the faith of their materialistic opponents than is likely to meet with assent, when they propose as arguments for man’s survival a series of considerations which compel the simultaneous belief of the eternal existence of the whole animal creation. See page 162. Is it not true that these illustrations of the physical possibility of survival become valuable only after the moral and religious argument for survival has been established?

     A third, and more promising argument has, in all ages, been derived from the moral instincts of mankind. There is in men a widely developed instinctive expectation of survival in death for judgment. The good hope for, great souls desire, and bad men often profoundly dread, a, “something after death;” and this instinctive expectation of continued life with a view to retribution is thought to prove the soul’s indestructible duration.

    Men in all ages, and in nearly all lands, have looked with more or less of confidence for a life to come. The tombs of the ancient Egyptians testify to the established belief in a future state of blessedness or misery. It was not simply a speculation of the priesthood, but a fixed persuasion of the people. In every burial scroll and on every mummy-case there is a picture of the Balance of Justice in which the soul is weighed against the image of truth in the presence of Osiris, the lord of the under-world. The ancient literatures of India and China attest on every page the prevalence of a similar faith in the soul’s survival. In Greece Socrates expressed in death the common hope of good men, that they had an inheritance beyond the present life. Before Germany was Christianized the faith in the soul’s immortality was widely diffused over barbaric Europe. In modern ages the irrepressible instinct of survival practically triumphs in every country over the opposition of scientific materialism. No stress of physiological evidence on the structure and development of the brain, on the relation of the human brain to that of animals, on the dependence of thought on cerebral machinery, avails completely to silence the “oracle of God” within the heart, which tells us that “it is appointed unto men once to die, and after this the judgment.”

     No valid answer, I think, can be given to these arguments, if they are taken only for what they are worth, as morally probable evidence of survival or of revival; but if we are to be governed by accurate criticism it will be seen (1) that this probable evidence of survival is far from carrying with it an equal probability of eternal survival. The souls of men may survive for a time, and then lapse one by one into the universe, as four hundred millions of Buddhists still believe; or some may survive eternally, and some may perish. The light of Nature can give no assurance of everlasting duration for all souls. There may be a survival and a transformation, as in the example of many physical organisms, the last transformation to be followed by death. The butterfly rises from the chrysalis, yet the butterfly is not eternal. And (2) the probable evidence of survival arising from the moral consciousness, though it may hold out to men of the better sort, like Socrates, the prospect dimly seen, even of an eternal existence of some kind, whether material or immaterial, throws no light whatever on the cause or quality of that survival or resurrection. The fact may seem to be probable to the moral judgment, yet the reason of the fact be completely concealed. Thus, “in the ever touching dialogue of the Phaedo, it is easy to distinguish between the comparative solidity of the main hope of some future life, held by the Athenian martyr, and the worthlessness of most of the arguments for pre-existence and immortality by which that hope was supported. “Contradictories generate each other, therefore death leads to life eternal.” Plato might think it worthwhile, as a literary man, to spin such gossamer threads as these, but it was not by them that Socrates anchored his soul in his dying hour. No physical argument reaches further than to show that survival of the living energy is barely possible. No argument derived from the progressive nature of intellect offers solid ground until we are assured of the purpose of a benevolent Deity, which is not made very clearly known by the light of Nature. The apparent dependence of intellect on the brain, the black and ugly fact of death, and the ever-strengthening force of the argument for non-survival derived from the side of comparative biology, leaves but a faint glimmer of hope to be drawn from some imaginary law of “everlasting progression.”

     Nature “red in tooth and claw” may be thought to yield small signs of any special regard for humanity as one species of the million who consume the fruits of the earth. No, it is the moral argument alone, which carries weight, the probability of retribution or salvation by a living God. Good men like Socrates are drawn to believe, feebly or firmly, in an Eternal Justice, which will receive their souls beyond. But this shows that the ontological arguments for the soul’s immortality are practically valueless. The fact of survival may be correctly appreciated; the reason of it may be concealed, or concealed from many who have rightly believed the fact. It may not result from the nature of the soul as essentially immortal, but solely from the pleasure of God, that souls of men, of the character of Socrates, will survive in death, and live forever. It may not be in any degree from the nature of the soul, but from the purpose of God in judgment (who, adding fresh opportunities of salvation to human life, “exacts the more,” and inflicts fresh penalties on the whole nature), that wicked men are often led instinctively to apprehend a terrible future.

     Persons who accept the New Testament theology must moreover allow that no man, however “good,” can deserve an everlasting life in happiness. All men by nature are sinful, and by their sins have deserved future punishment, of which conscience warns the wicked in some degree. Therefore nature, if it teaches the immortality of the soul, might seem to teach for all sinners that is for all men, only an immortality in punishment. But indeed nature, which is the voice of Law, teaches nothing of the kind. So far as strict evidence is concerned, we are in the dark under natural conditions as to the future of the soul, except that judgment to come looms in the distance to some men’s fears. One philosopher dreams in one manner of its destiny, another in a different manner. (See this shown with great effect in Joseph Hallet’s Observations on the Soul and its Immortality, an excellent book, published in 1729.)

     An affecting summary of the arguments for immortality under natural light has been given by Mr. John Stuart Mill in his recent work on Religion. They are in part cited here, because by many Mr. Mill will probably be accounted an able expositor of what nature, carefully reasoning, really teaches as to the probability of survival, on most of the grounds on which theologians have rested hitherto; and it will be seen that his judgment is not on the side of hope: --

     “The common arguments (for immortality) are — the goodness of God; the improbability that He would ordain the annihilation of His noblest and richest work, after the greater part of its few years of life had been spent in the acquisition of faculties which time is not allowed him to turn to fruit; and the special improbability that He would have implanted in us an instinctive desire for eternal life and doomed that desire to complete disappointment. These might be arguments in a world the constitution of which made it possible without contradiction to hold it for the work of a Being at once omnipotent and benevolent. But they are not arguments in a world like that in which we live…One thing is quite certain in respect to God’s government of the world, that He either could not or would not grant to us everything we wish. We wish for life, and He has granted some life. That we wish, or some of us wish, for a boundless extent of life, and that it is not granted, is no exception to the ordinary modes of His government. Many a man would like to be a Croesus or an Augustus Caesar, but has his wishes gratified only to the moderate extent of a pound a week or the secretary ship of his trade union. There is, therefore, no assurance whatever of a life after death on grounds of natural religion.”

     To the same conclusion came the late Archbishop Whately, who says: “That the natural immortality of man’s soul is discoverable by reason may be denied on the ground that it has not in fact been discovered yet. No arguments from reason, independent of revelation, have been brought forward that amount to a decisive proof that the soul must survive bodily death.” * Archbishop Whately on Future Life, page 17.

     Dr. J. J. S. Perowne, after a careful summary of all the probabilities for survival alleged by Dr. M”Cosh, M. Renan, and Jules Simon, thus concludes:

“It cannot be said that such arguments make a future life certain. They make a future life not improbable, but they do not prove it. So far as they are strong, it is because in a degree, which we little suspect, we bring them in aid of our Christian faith; but apart from that faith they have no solid ground. Take away this faith, and these arguments lose their force. You are left in a world of shadows. The immortality of the soul is a phantom, which eludes your eager grasp.” † Hulsean Lectures on Immortality, 1868, page 31.

     It offers too remarkable an analogy between the teaching of Natural and Revealed Religion to allow of its postponement to a future page in this work (as a strict method might demand), that the Scripture, regarded as the multifarious record of divine movements for man’s salvation, speaks as little as Mr. John Stuart Mill, or any one else who utters the language of reason, of the abstract or essential Immortality of the Soul. Of the survival of souls in a Sheol, or Hades, it seems to speak often; of the actual eternal survival of the saved it also often speaks; but it never once places the eternal hope of mankind on the abstract dogma of the Immortality of the Soul, or declares that Man will live forever because he is naturally Immortal.

      That the doctrine of the Immortality of the Soul is never once explicitly delivered throughout the whole range of the Jewish and Christian Scriptures is a fact of which every reader may satisfy himself by examination; and it is a fact, which long ago has drawn the attention of thoughtful and exact inquirers.

     If the doctrine be true that the spirit of man is a deathless intelligence, a power destined by its God-imposed nature to endure as long as the NECESSARY BEING, we might surely have expected to find at least some few traces of this fundamental in the ages which were illustrated by direct communication with heaven. Neither men nor languages were so differently formed in antiquity as to necessitate a steadfast neglect of every verbal reference to an idea, which is alleged to lie at the basis of the system of Redemption; and one of transcendent importance in every aspect of the case, as the zeal of its modern upholders sufficiently testifies. If Redemption, and the Incarnation of the Deity which gave it its force, were “wasted” unless man were an immortal, and the object were to redeem him from endless misery, the idea of Immortality would have occurred at least as often as the idea of Redemption. In every other instance we obtain from the Prophets and Apostles clear and frequent expressions of the doctrines which they were commissioned to deliver; even of those which unaided reason was able to discover, as the existence of God and the difference between good and evil. But in this instance nearly a hundred writers have by some astonishing fatality omitted, with one consent, all reference to the Immortality of the Soul; no sentence of the Bible containing that brief declaration “from God,” or even a passing reference, which would have set the controversy forever at rest. In our own times scarcely a religious work issues from the press addressed to sinful men, scarcely is a public exhortation directed to them, without a distinct exhibition of the doctrine of Immortality, of deathless being in the nature of man, as the basis of the whole theological superstructure. Now, how shall we explain the remarkable fact that neither Apostles nor Prophets have ever once employed this argument in dealing with the wicked-- “You have immortal souls, and must live forever in joy or woe, therefore repent!” — an argument of almost irresistible force, if it be true? How, otherwise than by concluding that this was not their philosophy, that this doctrine formed no part of the “wisdom of God,” and that they were withheld from proposing it to the world by Him who has declared that the eternal life of the righteous is the gift of His grace, and that “all the wicked He will destroy”? We are taught, in certain cases, to argue confidently from the silence of the Scriptures; and since, as in the case of the priesthood of Judah (Hebrews 7:14), the Bible has, “spoken nothing” in any of its numerous books, during the fifteen centuries of its composition, concerning man’s natural or necessary immortality, one gathers courage to ask for the proofs of so important a doctrine. *

* The silence of Scripture on man’s natural Immortality is treated with great ability by the lamented PROFESSOR HUDSON, of Cambridge, U.S. America, in his works on Debt and Grace in relation to a Future Life and Christ our Life. Kellaway and Co., Warwick Lane, London.

     An eminent writer tells us, indeed, that “this is an old and futile argument. The word Trinity never occurs once in Scripture, nor Providence. Are both, therefore, to be denied? Was there no death under the old economy, or no everlasting life for the holy, for angels, for the blessed God? The complete fact is all in favor of the common view: men are said to be mortal, but mortal or mortality is never applied in either Testament to soul or spirit.” But this is to evade the argument. In every modern sermon, prayer, and hymn you hear of “immortal souls,” - and every modern address to man is founded on a declaration of their immortality; it is not so in any one of the many books which compose the “Bible.” And not only is the word not used, or any equivalent in Hebrew or Greek, but no single expression of Scripture can be pointed out in which man’s natural immortality is affirmed directly or indirectly, The argument is, that if the doctrine were true and important, it would not be left to divines to teach us that we are by nature immortal, any more than it has been left to them to teach us the doctrine of the plurality of Persons in the Godhead, or of God’s Providence; but it would be found everywhere in Scripture in one form of speech or another, that all men shall live forever.

     It may nevertheless be asked with reason: - “How is it that a doctrine which, according to you, is destitute of solid foundation in ontological fact, and which is not once explicitly acknowledged in the Hebrew and Christian Scriptures, has nevertheless taken a hold on the mind of the world in ancient and modern times so firm that the denial of it, even by conscientious inquirers, offers a serious shock to the religious consciousness of the age?”

     The answer to this question leads us to the consideration of a remarkable portion of the method of the divine government. The practical work of man’s world is carried forward for the most part under imperfect conceptions of the material system, and the practical work of the moral world has been carried forward under equally unscientific conditions. Until quite recently men labored and navigated under a false conviction that the earth was a plane, and stationary in the centre, while the sun, moon, and stars were whirled round it by a daily revolution of the sky. It is an advantage to know the truth of the Newtonian astronomy; but much sound work was done by mankind under an unshaken conviction of the truth of the Ptolemaic theory. In the same manner an erroneous psychology and theology have for ages dominated over the western world, as over the eastern; but even under such unfavorable conditions it has been possible to answer the chief ends of being in a life devoted to the service of God. The shock occasioned by learning that, after all, there is no reason to place our hope of eternal life on the basis of the soul’s immortality, but on the promise of the grace of God, is not greater than was the shock of learning, as Europe two hundred years since was compelled to learn, that the antipodes existed, that the earth was a rapidly moving globe, and that it revolved once a year round the central sun. In the ages that precede the popular establishment of physical, intellectual, and psychological truth there are interim beliefs, which serve well enough the purposes of practical life, although attended with many limitations and disadvantages. There is an elementary revelation of half truth to the senses, and a subsequent revelation of scientific truth to the soul.

     Such a belief has been the popular conception of the immortality of the spirit. It is, as we hold, when taken in the absolute sense, an error in philosophy and theology; but since it earned with it the belief of retribution it has served the ends of moral probation, by extending the views of men to another state of being, and by carrying the hopes of good men forward into eternity. As Mr. Heard strongly puts it in his chapter on the “Immortality of the Psyche “7” — The mistake of the Greek thinkers was the most natural one in the world; so natural that they are to be excused, nay, honored, for holding it. But for us to repeat the error is to betray willful prejudice. The one hypothesis was as good as the other as a provisional theory to account for the facts of the case. Without these hypotheses or landing-places, the heights of discovery would never have been scaled to this day. But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part is to be done away. So with philosophic theories of existence after death. Till life and immortality had been brought to light by the gospel, it would have been reasonable to argue, as the philosophers did, that the soul does not die because it cannot die. As there was no external evidence of existence after death, they were obliged to fall back on internal. The immortality of the soul was the hypothesis, which accounted very plausibly for the contradiction between man’s inner aspirations and the humiliating fact of his early and untimely death. But the resurrection of Christ as the first-fruits of the dead is a fact in these moral speculations, which is irreconcilable with all previous hypotheses. Either man is non-mortal because he is immortal; or he is non-mortal because the hour is coming in which “all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and they that hear shall live.” Those who embrace the latter doctrine as the revealed truth of God may well abandon the interim hypotheses of a darker time.

     That Christendom should have fallen back upon heathenish speculations, and returned to the beggarly elements of Asiatic and Athenian philosophy as the basis of hope, is consonant with other parallel portions of the history of European thought. Europe sentenced herself to fifteen hundred years of priest craft and restored paganism, through forgetting the lessons of primitive Christianity. 8 The Reformation has vindicated one half of the original divine revelation against the errors of the middle ages. It may seem incredible to many that the other half at least should remain still to be rescued from the superincumbent accumulations of pagan and Gothic thought. Yet wisely does Lord Bacon warn the modern world: — ”Another error,” says he, “is a conceit that of former opinions or sects, after variety and examination, the best has still prevailed, and suppressed the rest; so as if a man should undertake the labor of a new search, he were but like to light upon somewhat formerly rejected, and by rejection brought into oblivion; as if the multitude, or the wisest for the multitude’s sake, were not ready to give passage rather to that which is popular and superficial than to that which is substantial and profound. For the truth is, that Time seems to be of the nature of a river or stream, which carries down to us that which is light or blown up, and sinks and drowns that which is weighty and solid. “9 I must ask an indulgent application of this hypothesis to explain the facts, at least until the reader has considered the arguments of the following pages.

     1. “As it is essentially bound up with a moral system which is undoubtedly everlasting, we have no other conclusion open to us than that the soul so constituted and related is destined for an immortal existence.”

Peill’s Immortality Proved, page 28. “We hold by this principle of a God-consciousness in man, a sense of the Infinite, the Perfect, the Eternal, which stamps him with the awful character of Immortality, for it could have no root, no permanent hold in a being whose nature is merely mortal” — A. Thompson, Doctrine, the Old and the New, page 22.

     2. See Dr. A. Bain on Mind and Body

     3. Mr. Peill dismisses the “living souls” of animals into non-entity in a brief decided sentence. “The immaterial principle in the lower animals, whose functions correspond to this sensuous element in man, not being a separate, self-conscious, and responsible nature, and being related simply to the wants of the animal body, will, in all probability, close its particular development upon the death of the body.” — Immortality Proved, page 15. But indeed most of the arguments on which this devout writer depends in proof of man’s natural immortality will appear equally available on behalf of the animals, to one who lives in close and friendly relations with them. John Wesley is known to have entertained strong hopes of their everlasting salvation, their immaterial nature with him involving their immortality. Good news indeed for the ephemera; but not a gospel founded on sufficient evidence. Writers of far greater weight than Mr. Peill, the authors of The Unseen Universe, seem to allow that their physical argument for survival of some spiritual substance in man’s death is of equal value for the souls of animals, standing alone. But they do not discuss the question whether they are not making a larger demand on the faith of their materialistic opponents than is likely to meet with assent, when they propose as arguments for man’s survival a series of considerations which compel the simultaneous belief of the eternal existence of the whole animal creation. See page 162. Is it not true that these illustrations of the physical possibility of survival become valuable only when the moral and religious argument for survival has been established?

     4. Archbishop Whately on Future Life, page 17.

     5. Hulsean Lectures on Immortality, 1868, page 31.

     6. The Silence of Scripture on man’s natural Immortality is treated with great ability by the lamented Professor Hudson, of Cambridge, U.S. Amenca, in his works on Debt and Grace in relation to a Future Life and Christ our Life. (Munroe and Co., 134, Washington Street, Boston; and G.W. Carleton, 413, Broadway, New York.)

     7. The Tripartite Nature of Man, page 230-1.

     8. See Draper’s History of Intellectual Development of Europe

     9. Bacon’s Advancement of Learning.

BOOK THE SECOND.

THE OLD TESTAMENT DOCTRINE ON LIFE AND DEATH

CHAPTER 9 —On the Account given in Scripture of the Original Constitution of Man

CHAPTER 10 —On the Nature of the Death threatened to the Ancestors of Mankind in Paradise as the Penalty of Sin

CHAPTER 11 —On the Results of the Trial of Adam in Paradise, and the Entrance of Redeeming Mercy

CHAPTER 12 —The Serpent in Genesis: an Excursus on the Scripture Doctrine of an Evil Superhuman Agency concerned in the Destruction of Mankind

CHAPTER 13 —The Patriarchal Doctrine of a Future State: Animal Sacrifice—Indications of Patriarchal Faith in a Future Life by Resurrection

CHAPTER 14 —On the Death-Penalty of the Mosaic Law

CHAPTER 15 —The Doctrine of Future Rewards and Punishments in the Poetic and Prophetic Books of the Old Testament

CHAPTER 16 —On the Opposed Doctrines of the Pharisees and Sadducees in relation to a Future Life; and on Christ’s Rejection of boar

Chapter 9

On The Account Given In Scripture

Of The Original Constitution Of Man

“The notion of the separate existence of the soul has so incorporated itself with Christian theology, that we are apt at this day to regard a belief in it as essential to orthodox doctrine. I cannot, however, help viewing this popular belief as a remnant of scholasticism. I feel assured that the truth of the resurrection does not rest on such an assumption. What our Lord says, in answer to Martha’s declaration, "I know that He shall rise again," when He proclaims Himself the Resurrection and the Life, is to this point. The Jews then entertained a philosophical belief of a future state. Our Lord tacitly reproves an assurance on such grounds, by His strong reference to Himself: "I am the Resurrection and the Life: whosoever believeth in me, shall live, though he die." — Br. HAMPDEN, Bampton Lectures, page 310.

     WE have now reached that stage in this argument where it is necessary to commence an examination of the teaching of the Bible. This must be undertaken by us apart from any traditional theory on its verbal inspiration, for Holy Scripture loses rather than gains in authority over men’s minds by the enforcement of a uniform church-doctrine respecting the mode of the origination of its various books.

     The earlier chapters in Genesis are thought to bear marks of being a compilation from earlier documents, and carry with them admirable evidence of special adaptation to the limited intelligence of an infant nation. The less men know, the less they can be taught. A scientific statement of the genesis of the Earth and Man would have produced more confusion in Hebrew thought than it cleared away. There is a physical revelation made by God to the eye, which is neither infallible nor complete, which requires to be corrected by science, and the vision of the inner eye—yet which is useful, and adapted to the ends of common life.

      Thus nature presents the sun and moon of the same size and distance, and alike moving in the sky. Yet we do not herein impute to the Deity inveracity, knowing well that the false impression depends on the limitations of sense and the laws of perspective, while it answers the practical purposes of human existence sufficiently well. An analogous revelation in religion was of old consigned to the patriarchs, including a cosmogony and other monuments, which received their form rather from the limitations of man than from the fullness of God. Moses wrote truth on divinity in a fashion suitable to his times, but his was the unscientific eye, the unscientific voice. To see “God’s back-parts” was the vision vouchsafed to him. He was sent to teach the world that which would not do rather than to propose a binding theory either in physics or morals. The law made nothing perfect.

     The books of Moses were designed for the Church in its childhood. Partly “because of the hardness (blindness) of their hearts,” Moses was permitted to write many things imperfectly besides the old law of divorce. Astronomy, geology, ethnology, natural history were written for the times, and no other mode of writing them could have profited the readers. It was sufficient that there should be in every case a certain substratum of fact, and such fact we doubt not underlies even that first chapter which describes the latest act of God in the production of new organisms on earth. At the point where the world’s human history joins on to the past, it was inevitable that “clouds and darkness” should rest on the beginning of the story; and the intellectual condition of the learner dictated in that early age the law, which excludes an excess of light from the eye feebly opening on the universe.

     The modern objections to the book of Genesis appear to be for the most part as futile as are many of its more slavish defenses. The withholding of truth is not deception; knowledge is determined by faculty and experience; eyesight first — then science. The father speaks to his little sons in such terms as they can understand, and are likely to profit by. When they become men it will be time to “put away childish things.” Moses was the instructor of the world’s infancy; such teaching as his was the only possible training for the time then present, with a view to the future. To ask for science at his hands, or even for strict conformity to all the facts, is to forget that darkness is necessarily the swaddling-band of mind awakening from nothingness.

     From the noble poem of Genesis, embodying the general idea of Creation by an Eternal Mind, and probably the fact of a recent local action in six days, he passes on to the still mysterious ground of primeval history. After carefully studying the mythical theories, there is no valid reason known to the writer why we should not accept the history of Adam and Eve as a true narrative. It is not necessary to deny that there may have been previous human races upon the earth, as there had been previous animal races. Assuredly science determines nothing which forbids the belief that existing mankind is of recent origin, or that its introduction was accompanied by a fresh creation of animal life in some departments of nature. There is nothing in the narrative of man’s creation, which throws discredit on its truth. If man sprang directly from the hand of the Infinite Being (at least a more intelligible hypothesis than that he blindly forced his way upward from the brutes, as the brutes originally forced theirs upward from an abyss of dead atoms), his first stage in life must have been passed in a supernatural scene. Some persons seem to consider that the first chapter of human history ought, in order to be credible, to resemble the last. Such a narrative, however, as that of Genesis is far more credible, on the hypothesis of God’s action in creation, than would be an elementary history based on any likeness in man’s earliest experience to a chapter in subsequent savage or highly civilized life. The supernatural luster that shines over Eden, so far from offering an obstacle to rational belief, is a spiritual attestation to its truth.

“Trailing clouds of glory do we come,

From God who is our Home;”

and the credit, which the subjective significance of the narrative — describing the earliest, experience of man as a trial of moral subjection to the Eternal Wisdom — wins for it from considerate readers, is supported by all subsequent divine revelations. The belief or disbelief in a God working in nature is a potent element in the determination of scientific opinion.

     It is beyond question that the fabric of Christian theology assumes the truth of this narrative as the foundation of the divine dealings with men. Christ very distinctly affirms in His teaching the murder of mankind by the Fiend. It is equally evident that the apostles of Christ make this narrative, as in Paul’s great epistle to the Romans (chapter 5:12—20), the foundation of their system, whether true or false. Redemption has for its object in part to save men from the results of the sin of Adam; and his fall, or “death,” is referred to as established by the book of Genesis. Thus the complex evidence of Christianity, miraculous, prophetic, internal, is brought to bear retrospectively upon the credit of this early narrative, and verifies it.1

     We purpose to treat it, then, notwithstanding the modern assumption of its mythical character, as a narrative of truth, which has received the sanction of Christ and His Apostles, and is of equal value with the gospel history, itself so abnormal. It is needless to add that under this old-fashioned view it assumes a momentous aspect, as the starting-point in the method of the divine government of the earth, for it is only as we understand rightly the primary condition of man that we can understand the ruin wrought by the powers of evil, or the redemption wrought by Incarnate Love.2

     We proceed, then, to examine the Mosaic history. It introduces Man upon the earth in the character of the king of the world, made immediately by God’s hand in God’s image.

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over every creeping thing. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (Genesis 1:26, 27).

* In the preceding paragraphs I do not pretend to argue the case of the truth of the narrative in Genesis. It is assumed, and these pages are not addressed primarily to those who deny the authenticity and truth of the Pentateuch. My own conviction rests (1) on a persuasion of the reality of Christ’s Divine Character and Miracles, and the consequent truth of His teaching — that teaching being based on the reality of the Mosaic narrative; and (2) on the internal evidence of divine revelation regarded as a coherent whole, which lends confirmation to the earliest portions by showing their organic relations with those that follow. This is, I think, the sufficient answer to Mr. Draper’s too superficial assertions on the subject in his recent book on the Conflict between Religion and Science; but men’s views of what is, “sufficient” in argument differ with their spiritual states.

† See this drawn out in a passage from Athanasius on the Incarnation, cited in Chapter xxvi.

     The second narrative in Genesis thus resumes “the wondrous tale,”

 “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food: the Tree of Life also in the midst of the garden, and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” (Genesis 2:7—9).

     “And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the Garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree in the garden you may freely eat. But of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, you shall not eat of it; for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:15—17).

     In attempting to fix the ideas designed by this narrative it is obviously just to insist that the main drift of Moses is such as would be apprehended by an Israelites reader of the book of Genesis when it was first published in the wilderness.

     1. The first observation suggested by the terms of the history is that, according to Moses, man was not formed within the precincts of Paradise, where grew the Tree of Life; but was created from the dust of the ground in the territory outside it, where animal life abounded, and where, as we now learn from fossil geology, death had reigned over all organized existence from the beginning of the creation. “The Lord God took the man whom he had formed, and put him in the Garden of Eden” (2:15). 3 This circumstance seems to point to the conclusion that if the creature so made enjoyed loftier prospects than those of the animals, to whose organization his own bore so strong a resemblance, this was not from the original constitution of his nature, but from super-additions of grace bestowed on a perishable being.

     2. The language in which the creation of man is described is such as to fix with certainty the intention of the writer. “God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (2:7). The notion has prevailed that the design of the sacred writer here is to teach that when the body was formed of the dust, a soul was “breathed into it” by the direct inspiration of God, which was of the immortal nature of the Creator Himself, and could never die. There is nothing more certain in criticism than that this is precisely the reverse of the doctrine intended to be conveyed by Moses.

     First of all, the animation of man by the breath of God proves the immortality of his, “soul” no more than a similar asserted animation of brutes proves the immortality of their, “souls.” “You sends forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renews the face of the earth. You takes away your Spirit, they die, and return to their dust” (Psalm 104). Neither does the phrase “man became a living soul” convey the notion of his receiving an “ever-living spirit” — but this and nothing more — that he became a “living being or animal,” placed, so far as immortality was concerned, but not in respect of the image of God, on a level with other living creatures around him. The same phrase, as descriptive of the lives of beasts, is employed by Moses in describing the animals with whom “God made a covenant “ after the flood, “fowl, cattle, and beast” (Genesis 9:10). The same phrase is found in the Apocalypse (16:3), to denote the fishes that died in the sea.

     But we have the advantage of a special comment, fixing the meaning of this phrase, from the pen of St. Paul himself. In the fifteenth chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, he speaks of the burial and resurrection of a Christian in these terms: “ It is sown a natural body...it is raised a spiritual body...And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul...the last Adam was made a quickening, or life-giving, Spirit...The first man is of the earth earthy... a man of dust; the second man is the Lord from heaven” (1 Corinthians 15:44-47). The apostle’s argument is lost in the misleading English version. The English reader must understand that the word translated “natural” in verse 46 (psuchicon), is an adjective formed from the noun psuche, translated soul in the phrase “living-soul,” of the Greek version of Genesis. It is as if our word soul stood for animal, and we had such an adjective as soulical formed from it.

     The comment of the apostle then becomes clear. “There is a soulical or animal body, and there is a spiritual body. And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul or animal (a phrase distinctly applied in the Scripture to the brutes); the last Adam was made a life-giving Spirit. The first man was of the earth, a man of dust; the second man is the Lord from heaven.”

      Here, then, we have the authority of St. Paul for deciding that when Moses described the result of the animation of Adam by the Divine Breath, so far from designing to teach that thereby an immortal spirit was communicated to him, the object was to teach exactly the contrary, that he became a “living creature or animal,” neither possessed of eternal life in himself, nor capable of transmitting it. And the phrase living soul is chosen, not to distinguish him from the rest of the creation, but to mark his place as a member of that animal world whose intellectual powers partake of the perishableness of their organizations.

      In the same manner, the statement that God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,” so far from being intended to indicate the immortal perpetuity of his nature, is specially chosen to mark his dependence on the atmosphere for his continued life. The prophet Isaiah refers to this passage with manifest design of marking man’s present evanescence. “Cease you from man, whose breath is in his nostrils, for wherein is he to be accounted of?” (Genesis 2:22).

     3. When, then, it is said that “God made man in his own Image,” we far exceed the intention of the book of Genesis, if we affirm that this signifies that God made man absolutely immortal. There is, however, a need to distinguish an absolute from a conditional immortality. Just as the term mortal may be taken to signify either capable of death, or certain to die, so immortal may stand for designed to live forever, or certain to live forever. The answer to the question, “Was man at first made mortal or immortal?” Depends on the meaning attached to the word. If mortal means certain to die, then Adam was not created mortal; if it means capable of death in body and soul, he was mortal. If immortal signifies designed to live forever, then Adam was created immortal. If it means certain to live forever, then he was created mortal. For the meaning of this venerable record plainly is that man at first was placed on trial for continuous life to be secured by obedience. If he obeyed, he should live on forever. If he transgressed, he should die, according to the law, which reigns over all other earthly organisms.

     The “image of God” then is to be taken to signify his capacity for understanding God and His works, his capacity for sovereignty, his moral uprightness, and his designed destiny to an immortal life conditional on obedience. “God made him to be — i.e., that he might be — the image of his own eternity” — as an Apocryphal writer justly declares.

     But this continuous life depended at present on an external aliment. So long as Adam obeyed, and abstained from the tree of Knowledge, he was permitted to take of the tree of Life — the effect of which is declared in this narrative to be life eternal. “Now lest he put forth his hand and take of the tree of Life, and eat and live forever—so He drove out the man.”

     The account that is given by Moses of the constitution of man at his creation differs exceedingly from that account of our nature, which is given by modern psychology, and hence the inveterate custom has arisen of compelling these primitive documents to speak a language foreign to their proper meaning. For many ages the European world, in striking contrariety to the habit of the Buddhist world, has maintained the inextinguishable and eternal duration of the animating principle in our nature; knowing of no other basis of hope for a future existence — because rejecting the testimony of God that our “eternal life is in His Son.” Coming to the reading of the Mosaic account of the creation of man under such views, men have compelled the narrative to speak a meaning contrary to its intention.

     But of this belief there is no trace in this record. Had the Mosaic idea of human nature been that of modern psychology, that man consisted of a mortal body and an immortal soul, it is inconceivable that it should not have appeared in an authoritative account of the creation. Clearly Moses desired to say something as to man’s dignity, in respect of the nature bestowed on him, for he speaks of the Divine Image; and if deathlessness was his inalienable attribute, that was the place in which to declare it. But neither there, nor elsewhere in the Bible, does Scripture confirm this lofty opinion of the nature of man. God “made man in His own image,” — and gave him “dominion” over all animals, but the utmost said of him is that he became a “living creature,” a phrase frequently applied to the animal creation itself.

     The reason of this silence as to deathlessness will become still clearer if we consider the definition of humanity that prevails through the Bible. According to modern conception, the body is an inconsiderable fraction of our nature, mortal and corruptible. It is the spirit, which is the true man, the unseen and everlasting personality. The body indeed scarcely deserves the name of humanity; it endures but for a moment. The soul is the Inhabitant of Eternity, the “great Coeval of God,” the coequal of holy Angels in the possession of immortality. But in the biblical account of man’s creation this grandiose style of thought is reversed. There this despised body is spoken of as the Man; “God formed man from the dust of the ground;” and the whole being takes his name from the ground whence it sprang. He was called Adam, from Adamah, the Earth, or ground. His distinguishing name is taken from that corporeal organization, which is supposed by modern idealists to be little better than a transient appendage of the spiritual humanity. And when he sinned, thereby incurring the curse of death, the words attributed to the Creator are these, “Dust you are, and unto dust shall you return;” no mention even being made of that immortal intelligence which is supposed to constitute the veritable personality which had committed the offence.

     Now in this simple psychology of the Old Testament it is noticeable that soul, or nephesh, which is attributed to man, is also frequently attributed to the animals. There is indeed no word descriptive of man’s inner nature, which is not also used to describe that of the animals. If man possesses ... a nephesh, soul, or life (as in Gen 9:5; “at the hand of every man’s brother will I require eth-nephesh, the life of man”), so do they: “You shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh, for the nephesh, the soul or life of the flesh, is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:14). “You shall not eat the nephesh, the life or soul, with the flesh” (Deuteronomy 13:23). If man possesses a ruach, ... or ... ”spirit of life” (Genesis 6:17), so in biblical phraseology do they.” Who knows the spirit of a beast that goes downward?” “They have all one ruach” (Eccl 3:19, 21; Psalm 104:29, 30, (Hebrews). If man possesses a neshamah, or spirit, so do they. “All in whose nostrils was the nishmatk-ruach cliujim, breath of the spirit of life (which includes the animals, see verse 21) died” (Genesis 7:22). The spirit, which is in man, is of a superior order, as “the candle of the Lord;” he has “more wisdom than the beasts of the field; “nevertheless he shares, “spirit” with all animated natures, although they do not bear the “image of God.”

     The leading feature in the language of the Bible respecting Man is that it agrees in an unexpected manner with the deductions of recent science in treating humanity as an integer. In the language of Mr. Heard—

“We have not yet reached to the point where we can say what the connection between soul and body is; but all advance is in the direction of a fusion between physiology and psychology, when we shall neither speak of the body without the mind, nor of the mind o without the body. When two gases uniting in definite proportions combine into a new substance with distinct properties of its own, unlike those of the gases when separate, we call this tertium quid by a name of its own. For all practical purposes Water is still an element. It is not a fusion or a mixture as of water with wine, much less of one floating on the other as of oil or water, hut it is a union in which the very substances themselves of oxygen and hydrogen, and not the phenomenon only, are absorbed into a new substance with new and distinct phenomena of its own which we call water. So in the union of mind and matter in the formation of man. Man is not a mixture of mind and matter, much less an immortal mind in a mortal body, but he is the identity of two distinct substances which lose their identity in giving him his. Man is thus the true monad—Heard, Tripartite Nature, page 185.

     Throughout the Scripture the sacred writers, as if acting under a superintending wisdom, have persistently spoken of this complex humanity, and not of either of its component elements, as the object of the Divine Government. Under this view the body cannot be dispensed with either for judgment, or for reward. It forms an essential element of man’s nature; and apart from its destined union with that organism the animating spirit is not spoken of as the veritable humanity. 7

     When God is represented as speaking of man, He always describes him as “dust and ashes,” or “flesh and blood.” The blood is said to be “the life of man,” as of all flesh. When Redemption is accomplished by the Incarnation, the Divine LOGOS is said to have “become flesh,” to have taken on Him the “likeness of sinful flesh,” and to have “given His flesh for the life of the world.” And when judgment is administered to both good and bad, there is a resurrection, or reconstruction of the body, at least in some of its elements, in order that men may be rewarded according to their works. Although Paul explains, by the image of a grain sown, and the ear that springs from it, that there is but a partial relation between the present and future body, he nevertheless insists that there it some physical relation between them, as between the rotting grain and the springing ear. One rises from the other. Thus too Christ says, “All that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth.” And Christ’s own resurrection, the pattern of all others, was the revivification of the body, which had died  — altered in form and attributes doubtless, but still in some degree atomically identical.

     Now such a view of human nature seems to leave no room for the pseudo-philosophic doctrine of an Immortal Soul, which is the true human type. The dissolution of the complex nature is the death of the man, irrespectively of the destruction of its component elements. When Christ died, He was, as a man,” destroyed “ (Matt, 27.). The, “shedding of His blood” was the pouring out of the “life” of the “flesh,” which was the shrine of the Godhead. These views of Man’s nature are adhered to with marvelous tenacity throughout the Scripture, and they are such as to commend its teaching to thoughtful biologists.

     The apostle Paul discusses the subject of the Resurrection of the dead, as if the hope of humanity were bound up with that supernatural consummation. The thought of the independent and eternal perpetuity of the “ soul “ of unredeemed man appears never to have glanced across his mind as affording any prospect of future bliss or future being. He does not even allow that apart from redemption, effected by Christ’s resurrection, there was any hope of the temporary survival of souls; — since the hades-state is, for good and bad, one of the miraculous results of a new probation,” If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain, you are yet in your sins. Then they also which have fallen asleep in Christ have gone to nothing...for thus he explains the term in the following verse, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” What can be gathered from this style of reasoning, except that Paul regarded the body of the first Adam as being formally the man, that the animating principle within us is not alone or principally man, that without redemption man would certainly go to nothing at death, and that if redemption is to be accomplished there must be a new birth of spirit—a union of body and mind with Christ, and a resurrection from the dead?

     If we have correctly interpreted the general sense of the biblical doctrine on man’s constitution, the true idea of death is the breaking up of the human monad. When the complex man is dissolved he is dead, no matter what may become of the component elements of his being; just as water is put an end to, when the combining oxygen and hydrogen are separated. And as water might be destroyed in two ways, by simply separating its elements, leaving them still to exist, or by annihilating those elements, just so man’s death might be brought about in two ways, — by dividing the body from the soul or animating spirit, leaving both of those elements to exist in a different manner; or, by putting them out of existence altogether. A man may be thus said to be dead both by a Pharisee and a Sadducee, although the one would believe that the animating principle survived, and the other would believe that it had perished. The former idea of death is set forth by Christ in the words, “Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abides single, but if it die it brings forth much fruit.” In this case the death of the grain is its disintegration—the breaking up of the organization, a process in which one portion survives, to gather around itself fresh materials in a veritable resurrection. Such was His own death. The humanity was broken up, “destroyed,” and “poured out its life unto death,” — but a divine and spiritual energy remained, around which God built up again the dissolved Humanity, and made that so restored God-man the Life of the World.

     What shall become of the residuary elements of disintegrated organisms clearly depends in each case upon their relation to the general plan. In some instances each liberated fraction immediately seeks fresh combinations. In others, the specialized energy, as in the electric fishes, is transmuted into heat in the ensuing decomposition. In others, one of the elements, as in the flesh of beasts, becomes the aliment of living organisms. In others, the disintegration leaves one of the remaining germs to form, as in transformed insects, a new life, the same yet not the same. In others, as in the seeds of plants, a portion of the dissolving organism remains to form the nucleus of a new plant or tree, which perhaps gathers its requisite materials from the relics of the former. In others, as in the case of animals, the animating principle either passes out of existence, or is absorbed, according to Oersted, by some over-soul of Nature, or “returns to God who gave it;” — but in every case the destination of the component parts, when their union is dissolved, is determined by the will of God as to the future of the organism. This observation will be of value somewhat further on. In no case does the subsequent disposition of the elements affect the reality of the death of the integer. Its dissolution is its destruction. And no temptation to play upon the word “annihilation,” in its metaphysical sense of abolition of substance, should turn the attention away from the fact that thus all living things on earth are, one by one, destroyed.

     1. In the preceding paragraphs I do not pretend to argue the case of the truth of the narrative in Genesis. It is assumed, and these pages are not addressed primarily to those who deny the authenticity and truth of the Pentateuch. My own conviction rests (1) on a persuasion of the reality of Christ’s Divine Character and Miracles, and the consequent truth of His teaching — that teaching being based on the reality of the Mosaic narrative; and (2) on the internal evidence of divine revelation regarded as a coherent whole, which lends confirmation to the earliest portions by showing their organic relation with those that follow. This is, I think, the sufficient answer to Mr. Draper’s too superficial assertions on the subject in his recent book on the Conflict between Religion and Science; but men’s views of what is, “sufficient” in argument differ with their spiritual states.

     2. See this drawn out in a passage from Athanasius on the Incarnation, cited in Chapter 26.

     3. The rabbins have a remarkable myth to the effect that man was formed in the deep places of the earth, “made in secret,” and then, at the divine word, was borne into life by the Great Mother.

     4. Hebrews nephesh hayah; Eng. 5:”creature that has life;” Gr.

     5. “Some of our readers may be surprised at our having translated nephesh kayah by living animal. There are good interpreters who have maintained that here is intimated the distinctive pre-eminence of man above the inferior animals. But we should be acting unfaithfully if we were to affirm that the doctrine of an immortal spirit is contained in this passage. The two words are frequently conjoined in Hebrew, and the meaning of the compound phrase will be apparent to the English reader when he knows that our version renders it, in Genesis 1:20, creature that has life, or each living creature; and so in chapter 2 19, 9:12, 15, 16. This expression sets before us the organic life of the animal frame” — DR. J. PYE SMITH, in Kitto’s Dict. Bible, article ADAM.

      6. Even so great a writer as Dr. Delitzsch seems to have been tempted by the spirit of system, a system which has perhaps but slight foundation in the inconstant terminology of Scripture, to declare that the brutes in the Bible are not said to possess neshamah; but the above-cited passage proves this statement to lie incorrect. Dr. Petavel cites the following passage from The Hebrew National for 1867, “The Midrash (Bereshith Rabba, chap 12) does certainly enumerate five appellations of the human spirit met with in Scripture: but those alike designate the principle of life in man and in beast. For that spiritual essence which exclusively is the portion of man, the Hebrew language affords no term” — Struggle for Eternal Life, page 39.

     7. The Ante-Nicene Fathers are full to over-flowing of the assertion of this principle —that the soul is not man, and that the body is not man, but that Man is the tertium quid resulting from their union. The whole catena of proof will be found in the anonymous Defence of Dodwell, 1728, in a work called “The Holy Spirit the Author of Immortality. By a Presbyter of the Church of England.” Dr. Perowne, in his Hulsean lecture on Immortality, vigorously enforces the same truth. Dr. Thom of Liverpool holds, in his book on Soul and Spirit, that the first man possessed an animal body and soul only, naturally perishing together, and incapable of procreating an immortal progeny. The immortal nature he attributes to the “Lord from Heaven,” who confers the spirit or...and impresses the likeness of His own eternity on the body and the soul. See in this connection Mr. Dale’s tenth Lecture, on the Headship of Christ — Lectures on the Atonement, page 401.

 

CHAPTER 10

ON THE NATURE OF THE DEATH THREATENED TO THE

ANCESTORS OF MANKIND IN PARADISE AS THE PENALTY OF SIN

      “"LIFE," as applied to the condition of the blest, is usually understood to mean a "happy life." And that theirs will be a happy life, we are indeed plainly taught; but I do not think we are anywhere taught that the word "life" does of itself necessarily imply happiness. If so, indeed, it would be a mere tautology to speak of 4 "happy life" and a contradiction to speak of a “miserable life;" which we know is not the case, according to the usage of any language. In all ages and countries, "life" has always been applied in ordinary discourse to a wretched life no less properly than to a happy one. If, therefore, we suppose the hearers of Jesus and His apostles to have understood, as nearly as possible, the words employed in their ordinary sense, they must naturally have conceived them to mean (if they were taught nothing to the contrary), that the condemned were really and literally to be "destroyed" and cease to exist; not that they were to continue forever to exist in a state of wretchedness.” ABP. WHATELY, Lectures on a Future State.

     “THE tree of knowledge of good and evil” has exercised the curiosity of critics in every age; but the most obvious account of it appears to be, that it was a tree by touching or refraining from which our first parents might demonstrate whether they would or would not lead a life of faith in God. It would seem to have been conveyed to them that the tasting of this tree would communicate to themselves that knowledge of good and evil which now they were required to receive upon the authority of God. * Simple, therefore, as the elements of the temptation were, all those principles were involved which had been illustrated in the most momentous trials of their descendants — the claims of Divine Authority, and the rule of choice between the seductions of pride, passion, or falsehood, and the all-obliging commandment of the Supreme.

 Mr. Henry Rogers in the first edition of Greyson’s Letters has an ingenious chapter on the impossibility of testing Adam by the “ten commandments.”

     The tree of life in the midst of the garden was plainly accessible to Adam until the hour of his transgression, for we read that permission was granted to eat of every tree of the garden, with the single exception of the tree of knowledge. The effect of the tree of life seems to have been to repair the decays of nature, and to prevent the approach of death; for we read that after his sin God said, “Now, lest he put forth (or as Swedenborg rightly interprets, in order that he may not put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live forever;” — implying a strong negative, that having chosen the creature rather than the Creator he should not possess that immortal life, which, under the divine will, access to the tree of life would have sealed to him in obedience.

     It is unnecessary to discuss the questions, wherefore the gift of abiding life was to be communicated through so extraordinary a medium as a tree in a mortal world; or whether, after a short period of probation, Adam would have been made “equal to the angels,” and translated to heaven. It is of more importance to learn the actual results of his probation.

      We suppose, then, that from the simple account furnished in Genesis, we are to understand that Adam was not created in the possession of immortality either in his body or soul; yet, also, that he was not created under a definite sentence of death, as was the rest of the creation around him, since the prospect of “living forever” by the help of the “tree of life” was open to him upon the condition of obedience during his trial; — in other words, the first man was not created immortal, but was placed on probation in order to become so. Viewed as he was in himself, there was a noble creature, —the offspring of God, —endowed with capacities for ruling over the world, and for holding communion with Heaven; but as to his origin, his foundation was in the dust, and the image of the Creator was impressed upon a nature, if a “little lower than the angels,” still also no higher than the animals as to unconditional immortality. His upright form and “human face divine,” gave token of a spirit formed for intercourse with the Eternal; yet his feet rested on the same earth which gave support to all the “creeping things” which it brought forth, and, like the subjects of his dominion, “his breath was in his nostrils.” 

     Thus according to Moses, was Adam placed in Paradise; midway between the angel and the annuals, on trial forever lasting life; midway between an existence which was as a shadow that passed away, and one, of which it should be beyond the powers of any created mind to calculate or describe the duration. When we attempt to conceive of the heights of blessedness which are attainable in such a life, of that “far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” which would have been the reward of obedience; and contrast with this the alternative of returning to the dust to perish, what finite mind can appreciate fully the significance of the trial of the first Man in the garden of Eden? But when, to such reflections upon this destiny, we add the consideration, that in his hand were placed, perhaps, the lives of his countless descendants, language can give no utterance to the sense of infinite loss involved in the conception of his failure.

     These statements, however, are founded upon the assumption of that which must be more particularly investigated, the literal interpretation of the threatening held out to this first man on his admission into Paradise: “IN THE DAY THAT THOU EATEST THEREOF, THOU SHALT SURELY DIE.”

     A person who had not previously formed an acquaintance with the commentaries of modern times would certainly be astonished to learn that the threatening of death was explained to signify something different from a literal loss of life, something less and yet more than the utter destruction of Adam’s nature as a man. How would the earliest readers of Moses understand it? It can scarcely be thought very likely that the terms of the menace would suggest, under all the circumstances, to an ordinary reader of those Israelites for whom Moses wrote, any other idea than that which we assume as the true one, — that the offender should endure the penalty of capital punishment, and forfeit his life for his sin.

“By death,” says John Locke, “some men understand endless torments in hell fire; but it seems a strange way of understanding a law, which requires the plainest and directs words that by death should be meant eternal life in misery. Can any one be supposed to intend, by a law, which says for felony you shall surely die — not that he should lose his life, but be kept alive in exquisite and perpetual torments? And would any one think himself fairly dealt with that was so used?” — (Reasonableness of Christianity.)

     There seems to be nothing in the language employed intended to convey any other idea than that the punishment for transgression was immediate destruction. There is no intimation of a prolonged existence to be afterwards permitted, either in time or eternity; the threatening is brief, direct, decisive: “In the day that you eats thereof, you shall surely die.” Since Adam was not yet immortal, the signification could not be, as is sometimes supposed, that in the day of his sin he should “become mortal,” or capable of death (for that which is not yet immortal, in the sense of incapable of death, must be in that sense mortal already), and, therefore, it remains only to receive the terms in their most obvious sense, “In the day of your transgression, you shall be destroyed, shall lose your being as a Man.”

     How would Adam have understood this threat for himself? It will probably be admitted that the sense in which the first man would have understood the threatening of death was the true one; for it would be difficult to reconcile it with justice or mercy in the Almighty, if He were imagined to deliver His threatening to a newly-created being, in enigmas which were beyond the grasp of his faculties, and whose real meaning, “surpassed in horror the apprehension of every intellect but the Omniscient.” Now it would appear that unless Adam were inspired with the knowledge of the comments of Augustinian divines, or at least of some rhetorical and rare forms of speech in the Greek poets, he could affix no other interpretation to the word “death” than that to which he was accustomed, when he employed it, in his short use of language beforehand, in relation to the animal system around him. Life and death must have been opposites to him, as to us; and surely, in the awful crisis of a world, when, if ever, clear terms should be used, we can scarcely imagine that words would be employed in a curious metaphorical sense, entirely opposed to their first signification. With whatever facility, therefore, readers of modern times can dismiss the original notion of death in the employment of the term, and substitute that of endless misery to the exclusion of the idea of destruction, we cannot impute the same extraordinary process of thought to Adam, but must conclude that he would have understood the threatening to mean the dissolution of his nature, the opposite of “taking of the tree of life” and “living forever.” And when we remember that in all probability Adam had then no idea whatever of his, “soul,” as capable of a separate existence, apart from his body, but conceived of his being as one, we shall find a still greater difficulty in supposing that he could have been metaphysical enough to conclude that death signified death for his body, and everlasting life in misery for that “understanding which was in his inward parts.” But if Adam could not have understood the threatening thus, without some special revelation to enable him to do so, and if that revelation does not appear in the record, it follows that theology has no right to make a gratuitous supposition of its existence, but ought to interpret the words in such a manner as to avoid a slander on the preventive justice of Heaven. For if even the Chinese government considers itself obliged to read to the people periodically the criminal cede, in order that they may know what to expect as its punishments, it ill becomes us to impute to the Highest Tribunal a complete concealment of the true meaning of that menace under which the first man in Paradise commenced his probation. The primitive sense of the threatening of death must surely go far to determine its meaning afterwards.

     Yet, notwithstanding the existence of these arguments, this threatening is metaphorically understood in modern times. It is alleged by innumerable divines, that whether Adam understood the meaning or not, the menace of death conveyed the complex notion of literal dissolution for his body, called temporal death, and of everlasting existence in misery for his disembodied soul. This latter portion of the curse is denominated spiritual and eternal death, and is conceived to combine in itself the triple notion of eternal existence, moral degradation, and consequent misery in alienation from the Father of spirits. It was supposed to follow from the immortality of the soul, as an appointment of God. By these interpreters the expression, “In the day you eat thereof you shall surely die,” is taken to signify, not death in the day of transgression, but only a liability to death of the body at some future time; so that the life of Adam being prolonged, and a race in his own image springing from him, that race is born “by nature children of wrath;” liable not only to death of the body, but also to everlasting misery of the soul, or death “in all its senses.”

     It will probably become evident to any one who devotes even a few moments to the rationally careful study of this phrase, “everlasting misery,” (a phrase which may indeed convey but little to a mind armed with a determination not to think of it, but which confounds and almost paralyses the meditative spirit,) that such an interpretation of the term death ought not to be taken for named The allegation of New Testament authority for it is of little avail; for those passages of the New Testament, which are supposed to fix the metaphorical signification of the original curse, have been themselves first interpreted by the rule of a theory founded upon a perversion of these earliest statements of Scripture — a theory based on the inadmissible assumption of the immortality of the soul. And if neither reason nor Scripture permit us to lay as a foundation that exalted conception of man’s spiritual part, the whole fabric of interpretations, reared afterwards upon it, falls to the ground.

     With a view to a determination of this question, let us now observe, in reference to the ordinary belief, that the death threatened to Adam included the curse of everlasting existence in misery for his, “soul”:

     I. First, that our original authority utters not one syllable on the subject. It is true that caution is needful in the use of any argument drawn from the silence of an Old Testament writer, especially in the earlier portions of the revelation. It may be urged, that the second and third chapters of Genesis were the brief statements of “mysteries,” which succeeding revelations were given to develop; and that, therefore, the greater regard is due to the larger inspired commentary of subsequent prophets, if such exist. Yet, on the other hand, we cannot but observe that the chief outlines of the Paradisiacal history have been generally received in their plain, unvarnished sense; a valid argument in favor of so understanding all its parts, and in bar of suggested additions whether of poetry or prose, wherever the literal sense is not forbidden by subsequent declarations, and does not contradict the doctrine of redemption.

     There is, besides, a wide difference between a veiled promise and a veiled threatening. The former may be worthy of divine wisdom and goodness; the latter seems irreconcilable with divine justice. The blessing of Christ in the Gospel might fitly be promised under the figurative expression, that “the seed of the woman should crush the serpent’s head,” but the curse of the law, which called for the intervention of mercy, should surely be expressed in all the length and breadth of its terribleness. Can any “honest and good heart” (and let us remember that the Maker of such men, according to Christ, has “much more,” rather than less, goodness Himself; Matthew 7:2) suppose, that in the original threatening, a term would be employed which must primarily suggest the idea of an infliction, in its literal sense already sufficiently tremendous—”You shall die!” — And yet, that behind that screen there was concealed a deeper meaning, which transcended the conception of all but the Infinite Intelligence? Is it credible that He who alone knew what an eternity of misery involved, and who in after ages sent His prophets to mourn, without any limit to their loud lamentations, over the merely temporal calamities of His people, — as may be seen in the Hebrew books of Isaiah and Jeremiah — would, in this first fixing of the conditions of human probation, have failed to denote as clearly the positive infliction of suffering intended, as the privation which transgression required? And again, when the curse had been incurred, is it to be believed, that a total silence would be preserved by the judge on that part of it, which was essentially the curse, after all, and that the stress of the Divine Attention would be directed to that bodily decease, as it is termed, which was, when compared with the impending eternal misery of the spirit, but as a grain of sand to the universe, or one point of space to infinity?

     II. In addition to the foregoing consideration, the view that it has been shown that Scripture takes of the nature of man is opposed to this interpretation. It has been pointed out that, according to the Bible, man is essentially a complex being, consisting of body and soul, presenting his characteristic “image” in the “flesh.” It is this complex nature, which the later dispensations of Heaven regard, and which, therefore, we may presume, the primeval dispensation regarded likewise. It follows from this, that if death, threatened to the man, involved his everlasting existence in misery, that menace could not have contemplated the spirit alone; for the spirit alone is not man. If the Ruler of Heaven had intended an endless infliction of suffering upon the Man, the curse would have demanded the associated body to share in that suffering The body would not have been permitted to die. We are borne out in this statement by the fact that when it is intended; in consequence of the abuse of a new probation, to punish the wicked of mankind, it is declared that Divine power will raise the bodies of the “unjust” from the grave to undergo the infliction, of whatever nature that may be. But since it is rightly admitted, even by the writers in question, that the original curse contemplated no eternal infliction of pain upon the body of Adam, but only its dissolution, we argue that it is an unwarrantable imagination that the spirit alone was destined to endure an eternity of suffering; for why should the curse of the law take an eternal effect of infliction upon one half of his nature, when both the promise and the curse of the gospel, or new system of trial for recovery, are directed to the whole of it?

     III. Still further evidence that literal death, a loss of life for the compound man, without eternal infliction upon the soul alone, was the curse of the Adamic trial, occurs in the argument of the fifth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans. In that place, summing up his previous reasoning on justification by Christ alone, without the deeds of the law, Paul thus concludes, in verses 12-14: “Wherefore as by one man sin entered into the world, and DEATH by sin, even so DEATH passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. (13. For before the law, sin was in the world; but sin is not imputed where there is no law. 14. Nevertheless, DEATH reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of Him that is to come.)” In the verses included in a parenthesis, viz., 13 and 14, it is plainly the object to show that the statement in the preceding sentence, verse 12, was correct; to wit, that death entered into the world by the offence of one man; — that by the offence of that one man, all had been constituted sinners (as it is afterwards expressed), and rendered liable to death. He therefore desires to prove that it was not the entrance of the Sinaitic law which brought death, the penalty of sin, into the world for the first time: since, says he, during the period which elapsed before the giving of the law, from Adam to Moses; men died: — yes, and even those that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression; by which it is to be apprehended, notwithstanding the objections of some critics, he means infants and young children; for sin, he adds, is not imputed where there is no law. Yet here sin was imputed, as is evident from the penalty endured; therefore there must have been some law more ancient than the Mosaic reigning from Adam to Moses, — a law which consigned personally — sinless beings to death, through reckoning to them the act of their ancestor in its consequences.

      Now the argument is as follows: — In the fourteenth verse, when Paul declares that death reigned from Adam to Moses, over the personally innocent, it must be admitted that he intends no other death than that which is so plainly described, a dissolution of the humanity, without reference to a future eternal state of suffering for the soul. Else, we shall find ourselves called upon to receive the abominable doctrine that the souls of infants, children, idiots, “from Adam to Moses,” went to a state of everlasting suffering after their natural death; and that, as is specially pointed out, for no fault of their own. But if this be an interpretation, repugnant alike to the whole temper of revelation, and to the character of God, it follows, by the rules of clear writing, that the term death stands for the same idea in the twelfth verse, which introduces the argument. It is inconceivable that the apostle has changed the signification of the same word in the distance between two verses; for if that be the case here, we might on the same principle conclude, that when he uses the term faith repeatedly in the course of his reasoning, he as often changes the meaning of the word in the same sentence, and thus introduces inextricable confusion into his language. If the terms “loss of health” were substituted for death throughout the passage, we should be surprised to learn that those terms were intended to convey their plain and obvious meaning in verse 14, but that in verse 12 they signified a loss of reputation and property, and the transmission of blindness to all his descendants. Yet this alteration of meaning would be as nothing compared with that supposed in two reputed senses of “death:” dissolution, and interminable suffering in hell. If this observation be admitted as just — and it must be a strange exigency which requires the abandonment of this principle of interpretation, in a passage where no variation in the sense of the term is indicated by any of the usual marks of emphasis or allusion or explanation — then it follows, that the death which Adam brought into the world, as the wages of sin, was not an immortality in misery, after natural dissolution, but that literal dissolution of the compound nature of body and soul itself, — a definition which will embrace the cases both of Adam and of his innocent infantile posterity.

     From these considerations, then, we conclude that the original threatening, “In the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die,” was intended to signify a literal, immediate, and final dissolution of the nature of Adam as a man; his death, in the ordinary sense of the word, without any reference whatever to the state, or even to the survival, of the spirit beyond. * Adam was placed in Paradise, a wonderful combination of earth and soul; allied to the animals, but a little lower than the angels, and endowed with the image of God; on probation, to, “see what was in his heart;” whether by obedience he would rise to the rank of immortals, and “never die;” or whether, by disobedience, he would forfeit for himself, and for his posterity, the possession of that prospect of eternal glory which was visible from the heights of his glorious abode in the garden of Eden. This death was “the curse of the law;” not merely of the Mosaic law, but of that law under which Adam was created at first, and of which the thunders of Sinai were a second manifestation. In the language of Paul, “The letter kills “ (2 Corinthians 3:6). *In this sense the same words are used by the Almighty in threatening Abimelech (Genesis 20:7).

     This seems, however, to be the fitting place to enter a caveat against a misconception which experience shows to exert a misleading influence in this discussion: we refer to the definitions of Death and Life. The advocates of the theology which is called in question in these pages have sometimes shown an anxiety to fasten upon their opponents a definition of death which shall restrict its meaning sharply to annihilation of substance, and conversely to restrict the definition of eternal life to the naked idea of eternal conscious existence; knowing well that under such conditions of controversy a temporary verbal advantage is assured. For nothing can be clearer than that these terms, when used respecting the destiny of a moral being under judgment, carry with them throughout the Scripture certain secondary associations of thought and feeling, the exclusion of which from view will lead to grave error, — error just as pernicious as that which arises from an exaggeration of these secondary associations into the place of the primary radical signification of the terms. Life in the Scripture, used in relation to the gift of eternal life, undoubtedly carries with it associations of holy spiritual blessedness; and death when spoken of as the penal destiny of the wicked undoubtedly carries with it in all cases associations of sin and suffering as its consequence, suffering leading to destruction. The measure of that suffering and even its nature will depend on the death, which the sinner dies. If it be like that of Adam under the original law, a death incurred through sore temptation, the case is distinct from that second death of obstinately impenitent sinners, who have incurred “many stripes” by rejecting the covenant of Divine mercy. This observation is required at the outset of the argument, inasmuch as writers of ability have attempted to nullify its general strength by insisting on the adoption of definitions to which it is impossible to yield assent.

     Not less is it necessary to guard against the recurrence of difficulties springing from the attempt of some ingenious writers to fasten on us a metaphysical definition of death as an annihilation of substance. Of such annihilation in its strict sense we know nothing. The death, of which we speak, is both in the first and the second death the destruction of the life of Humanity, by dissolution. What becomes of the elements, which composed the Integer, depends on circumstances. Where no reconstitution of the complex organism is designed, we suppose the destination of the spiritual element is similar to that of the animating principle in the death of animals. Where such reconstitution is designed, we suppose the spirit is preserved with a view to the resurrection of the Man. Those, whose philosophy requires them to maintain, contrary to their practice in relation to the animals, that the veritable humanity is found in the mind alone which survives in death, seem unable even to apprehend an argument in which the humanity is the living organism, including body and soul. When that complex organism is dissolved the Man is no more. Those who for any reason do not assent to this proposition are at war not only with us, but may we not add, with true science and philosophy, the whole body of Scripture, and the best Christian antiquity.

     The statement that the threatening of death as a penal infliction must be taken in the complex sense of suffering ending in destruction, has been opposed in the manner following. It has been said:

“The destruction spoken of in the future cannot mean annihilation. Most of those who hold ultimate annihilation, hold that it is preceded by years or ages of suffering. Either these ages of suffering are the destruction, or they are not. If they are, then clearly destruction is consistent with continued life. If they are not the destruction but only precede it then the destruction is not inflicted when Christ comes, as it is said to be, and the threatened destruction which is always spoken of as a punishment, is a blessing, not a curse. It is either suffering or a most welcome release! From one or other of these conclusions we see no escape.” * See this argument in Dr. Angus On Future Punishment, page 25.

     Substituting in this extract the words destruction of life for annihilation, and disclaiming the belief that “ages” of suffering are to precede that destruction, it is easy to unlock this dilemma, by attending to the language used in the Bible respecting the Death of Christ. All that is comprehended under that designation, is sometimes spoken of as “the sufferings of Christ,” — sometimes simply as His “death,” or the “laying down of His life.” Suppose we apply the above-cited principle of criticism to these phrases. “Either those dreadful sufferings precedent were the death of Christ, or they were not. If they were, then the death of Christ was not dissolution, but was consistent with His continued life as a man, and He never died in the sense in which the evangelists say that He did. If those sufferings were not the death, but only preceded it, then the Savior was not "dying" during the passion, but only at a single moment between the two evenings at the feast of the Passover; and, moreover, the death of Christ, which is always spoken of as a curse, was a blessing. Christ’s death was either suffering, without dissolution, or it was a most welcome release. From one or other of these conclusions, we see no escape.” — What would be the answer to such an argument? — The general term death, as applied to Christ’s sacrifice, signified the dissolution of His life, but included also the idea of those fearful mental and bodily sufferings, including the, “stripes” laid on Him by Pilate, which preceded and prepared it.

     Another example will further illustrate this rule. In Deuteronomy 28:58, Moses thus exhorts the Israelites: “If you will not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, then the Lord will make your plagues wonderful, and the plagues of your seed, even great plagues, and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance. Also every sickness and every plague, which are not written in the book of the law, will the Lord bring upon you, until you he destroyed. And it shall come to pass, that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the Lord will rejoice over you, to destroy you and bring you to naught.”

      A comment on these curses of the law, on the model furnished above, would run as follows: “Either these great plagues of long continuance, and sore sicknesses, and of long continuance, were the “destruction” and the “bringing to naught” here threatened, or they were not. If they were, then the destruction was consistent with the continued life of Israel on the land whither the Lord led them to possess it; and the threatening never contemplated the literal death of the offenders, but solely the infliction in Palestine of great plagues of long continuance on a population which should exist in misery and in undiminished numbers, from age to age, and generation to generation. And the “bringing them to naught,” and “leaving them few in number,” meant that they were to be made exceedingly wretched in the land of their possession. If on the other hand the “great plagues of long continuance” were not the destruction, but only preceded it, then the destruction was a “most welcome release:” and it was a blessing that was held out to the Israelites when it was said they should be “destroyed from off the land given to their fathers.” —Again, we may surmise that the reader would not find difficulty in allowing that a general threatening of death and destruction might well be taken to include the prolonged sufferings of the disobedient people, and the awful abolition of life in which those sufferings should terminate. He would certainly not argue either that destruction could not signify a complex curse of plagues and death, or that the plagues and sicknesses were to be everlasting. He would pronounce that the threatening intended was prolonged suffering ending in a death which was a “curse,” and a loss of all the blessings of continued life in the holy land and in the Divine favor. It is a gradual and painful destruction. We propose to apply the same rule of interpretation to the more awful threatening of “many stripes,” and of “destruction of body and soul, in Gehenna,” held out to those who reject the gospel.

 

CHAPTER 11

ON THE RESULTS OF THE TRIAL OF ADAM IN PARADISE,

AND THE ENTRANCE OF REDEEMING MERCY

     “And that He has withdrawn himself, and left this His temple desolate, we have many sad and plain proofs before us. The stately ruins are visible to every eye, that bear in their front yet extant this doleful inscription — HERE GOD ONCE DWELT. Enough appears of the admirable frame and structure of the soul of man to show the divine presence did some time reside in it; more than enough of vicious deformity to proclaim He is now retired and gone. The lamps are extinct, the altar overturned, the light and love are now vanished, which did the one shine with so heavenly brightness, the other burn with so pious fervor: the golden candlestick is displaced, and thrown away as a useless thing to make room for the throne of the Prince of Darkness. The faded glory, the impurity, the disorder, the decayed state in all respects of this temple, too plainly show the Great Inhabitant is gone.” — HOWE”S Living Temple, Pt. 2, chapter 4.

     “And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and desirable to the eyes, and a tree to he desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also to her husband with her, and he did eat” (Genesis 3). It has been usual under superficial views to make sport of this narrative, as if it represented the ruin of a world as turning “just upon the eating of an apple.” Such is not the representation of the ancient Sage who has been employed to preserve the traditions of the earliest world. The temptation presented was, according to him, one which appealed to the whole un-moral side of humanity — to the lower appetite (good for food), to the sense of beauty (desirable to the eyes), and, above all, to the intellect and “Ego-theism” of the probationer (it was a tree to be desired to make one wise). And this wisdom is declared by the, “serpent,” who allures the woman, to be such as would exalt them to an equality with God in insight. “You shall be as God, knowing good and evil. “The whole strength of the sensuous, imaginative, and ambitious portion of their nature was brought out, as a test of the strength of that higher will which should have preserved them, by faith, in union with their Maker. “The lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” were set over against the attraction of the Infinite Good, the Infinite Beauty, and the Infinite Will. And as against these no attraction in the creation, no fascination of the tempter ought to have prevailed. The determining force is represented as lying in the will; a real and mighty Cause, which could produce either life or death eternal, according to its self-direction. There seems to have been no exceptional hardship in the case of the first human beings. The higher privileges of divine sonship with us must be purchased by “enduring temptation.” Those who “with full purpose of heart cleave to the Eternal” remain in everlasting union with Him. Those who separate from God, and insist on an empirical atheism of thought and action, sink into darkness.

     The trial of Adam, then, was a trial of faith; and in no essential respect differed from our own—except in this, that he commenced his probation in a state of healthy moral equilibrium, which made his sin the greater: and we commence ours with an inherited degeneracy that entails a weakened power for resistance. Yielding to the falsehood of the “Serpent” (a personage whose true nature and relationships will be considered in a following chapter), Adam and Eve, says the record, disobeyed their Creator, and came under the sentence of Death. This serpent, who is at once marked as more than a serpent (1) by his speech, (2) by fixed defiance of God, and (3) by contradiction of His word, “beguiles the woman” by an argument drawn from the name of the “tree of knowledge of good and evil.” “If it be a tree whereby you may gain knowledge, then it is clear that it will not cause death, since the dead cannot know. Your "eyes will be opened;" you are now led blindfold by the envious and tyrannical Power which has made you; but then you will see and know for yourselves what is wise.” In such a serpent as this was surely hidden sonic mystery of power of evil, which, if not explained at once, may expect explanation in subsequent revelation.

     Death by the law, however, was due to the law-breakers. Revolting from the rule of the Eternal, they fall back upon their own mortality, and come under that law of evanescence, which had dominated over all living creatures on earth since the beginning of the kosmos.

* Mr. Clemance demurs to our reliance on the plain meaning of words in this narrative, and to our building theology on such a foundation. If the language suited popular theories better, we should hear of no objection to its authority as a basis of belief — Future Punishment, page 33.

     According to the history there was now nothing, which should delay the execution of the sentence. “In the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die. “ It has been argued that sometimes this phrase “in the day,” is taken in Hebrew in a wider sense, so as not to involve an immediate action, but the commencement of a process, which should subsequently end in death. No small importance attaches to this seemingly instantaneous death, in the day was originally designed to signify then since Adam’s life was spared for a thousand years, according to Moses, the original sentence was not executed, and the subsequent propagation of the human race, their very existence, must be set “down as the first result of the entrance of redemption. But if “in the day” was to be taken only in the sense that the certainty of death would date from that day, but would be executed only after a thousand years of life, — then the life of the human race was not due to redemption, but came as part of the original order of nature under the law. The question is, whether the human race receives its existence, since the sin of Adam, under the law, or under redemption? I venture to think that there is not much room here for hesitation as to the intention of Moses. The phrase “In the day,” often occurring elsewhere, in the large majority of cases signifies the occurrence of something on the day referred to. The exceptions to this usage are few and to the mysterious dubious. The reference to the phrase, attributed to the mysterious “Serpent” of the narrative, shows the sense attached to it, both by the persons concerned, and by the historian. When Eve replies to the inquiry, “Yea has Elohim said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” — ”Of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden Elohim has said, we shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die,” — the Serpent rejoins, “You shall not surely die; for God dose know that in the day you eat thereof then your eyes shall be opened: Now in this bold contradiction of the express words of the Creator, the Serpent uses the phrase — taken from the lips of God — in the day, unquestionably in the sense of something immediately to occur. “In the day you eat thereof your eyes shall be opened.” We conclude, therefore, that in the original menace the signification was immediate death.

     Accordingly, in “the cool of the day,” — apparently of the day of their sin, — the judge descends, and summons the offending pair, now burning all over with a new shame of outward nakedness — corresponding with the inward consciousness of guilt; and “they hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.”

     The judge descends, but not to inflict the penalty!

     What cause has suspended the thunderbolt? What is it that arrests the course of law? The soul that sins it shall die. What miracle of mercy unfolds itself before the astonished sinners, who stand in momentary expectation of their doom — the doom of death eternal!

     The answer is familiar to our selves, but will be a ceaseless cause of thankfulness to redeemed sinners throughout the coming eternity. It is, it can be, no other, than that from the moment of the Sin, the action of Redemption began at once to unfold itself, “that tender mercy of our God, whereby the dayspring from on high has visited us.” And while the sentence of death is postponed, not repealed, during that postponement springs to light the “manifold wisdom” of a grace which has resolved on “bringing many sons unto glory.”

     I shall now attempt, under the light cast upon this narrative by subsequent revelations, to sketch the method of this redeeming mercy, throwing in at this place a connected statement of the hypothesis, which it will be the object of subsequent chapters to establish.

     In this succinct view of the supposed dispensations of God we shall assume, since it is not the object of this work to prove it, that the Bible contains a trustworthy record of the history of human redemption.

     1. The general course of this argument hitherto has prepared the reader to apprehend that the bestowment of Immortal Life in the restored divine Image is believed by us to be the very object of the Incarnation of Deity. The prevailing theology regards man as naturally mortal in the bodily part of his constitution and naturally immortal in the spiritual part. In his interior being he is already eternal; his sin is the sin of a will destined to endless duration. Redemption contemplates, it is thought, no change in the quality of his nature or in its durability. The “resurrection of the body” in glory is a secondary and accidental accompaniment of salvation. The true humanity is found in “the soul,” and that soul is already immortal. Redemption delivers it from a “wrath coming” forever, on a nature destined to live forever: Hence the “greatness of the salvation.” It is a salvation from eternal misery. Deliverance from so profound a ruin required a Divine Savior and a Divine Atonement. Such is the idea of the modern age.

     These notions we hold to be anti scriptural, and part of the “mystery of iniquity.” We hold that the Scripture teaches that the very object of Redemption is to change our nature, not only from sin to holiness, but from mortality to immortality — from a constitution whose present structure is perishable in all its parts, to one which is eternal, so that those who are partakers of the blessing “pass from death unto life,” from a corruptible nature into one which is incorruptible in all its parts, physical and spiritual.

     2. We hold next, that this mighty change in human nature and destiny, involved in the bestowment of everlasting life, is conveyed to mankind through the channel of the Incarnation, the Incarnation of “the Life,” of the “Logos,” or Word of God; who being before all worlds, and creating all things as the Word of the Father, “became flesh,” took on Himself our mortal nature, “yet without sin,” and as the Christ, or Anointed One, died on the cross, as a Divine Self-sacrificing Mediator between God and Man, so reconciling in the Divine Mind the act of grace with the equilibrium of government.

     3. We believe, next, that God still further unites the Divine Essence with man’s mortal nature in the Regeneration of the Individual, by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, “the Lord and Giver of Life,” whose gracious inhabitation applies the remedy of redemption by communicating to good men of every age and generation God-likeness and immortality, to the soul by spiritual regeneration, and to the body by resurrection.

Redemption from death to endless life in God’s image thus depends on nothing less than the union of humanity with Deity — the nature which has broken the law, with the Nature which is above the law; and carries out this purpose by a grace which forgives offences, a meekness which endures the legal curse of sin, and a power which snatches the victims of the Destroyer from his grasp forevermore.

      This general idea of the object of Redemption we gather from a comprehensive view of the language, which is employed throughout the Scripture. It is not once, nor twice, but persistently in the whole series of revelations, declared, that the Son of God came into the world to give men Life Everlasting. The idea now flashing upon so many minds, and ever gathering greater clearness, is that this phraseology must have been designed by the Scripture-writers to signify the bestowment of immortality — that there has been a mistake of the first magnitude in the traditional turn given to the term Life, reducing its meaning to a bestowment of, “spiritual life” or moral goodness on a creature already immortal.

     The obvious argument occurs, that when we consider the absence from the Bible of any distinct reference to the natural immortality of the soul, and the incomparable fitness of the selected language on life to denote that the gift of eternal being as well as holy blessedness was the end of redemption, (supposing that such was the intention,) it seems incredible that Heaven should have allowed its messengers to employ terms systematically, on the chief topics concerned, so liable to be perverted, supposing that man is naturally immortal, and supposing that the gift of immortal life signifies only the gift of immortal perfection and enjoyment.

     4. It follows from this leading principle that the execution of the original curse of death denounced on the First Man did not take effect on the day of his sin; that it was in fact postponed for a thousand years in his own person, and that this postponement, which gave space for the propagation of a race descending from him, though in the image of his own mortality, was the result of the action of Redeeming Mercy. Had the sentence of law taken immediate effect, in the deepest of all senses in Adam we all had died; the human race would never have been born. The existence of our race then is a boon beyond the limits of law. * We are born, it is true, to a short and evil life; exiles from Paradise, we are born into a world smitten with a curse, which cankers half its blessings; born in the image of a fallen progenitor, by nature “children of the indignation;” — born under the sentence of dissolution, and in the valley of the shadow of death, where mortality not penal but natural has reigned for countless ages over the races that inhabit it; — yet assuredly this is an existence far better than none, considered even in relation to the blessings of time, inasmuch as “all that a man has will he give for his life;” — but when we consider that the gates of eternal glory open out of this mortal world for repenting sinners, and that by a wise numbering of our days during the period of trial we may obtain immortality, this brief grant of life to the myriads of the earth’s population assumes the aspect of a beneficence of which the true dimensions “pass knowledge.”

* Note to 3rd Edition. Adverse criticism is divided on this question in a way, which shows that a despotic tone in opponents is quite out of place. The Church Quarterly Review treats the statement in the text as a figment for which you “look in vain” in Scripture. The London Quarterly Review (a Methodist organ) affirms it to be “a necessary implication from the biblical statement” page 326; but in this important admission, that the human race “owes its existence to the Incarnation,” The London Quarterly Review not only abandons the key to its whole exegetical attack on the interpretation of Life and Death, but falls back upon the weak theological position, that whereas, under the original condition of trial, the root of human misery would have been destroyed if the sentence had been inflicted, now all the wicked will have received their immortal existence in depravity and misery ultimately as the result of Redemption. The old Church doctrine is best defended in its integrity. It at least forms a coherent system.

     5. We suppose further that the entrance of Redemption with new privileges has brought in also new responsibilities upon mankind, involving fresh penalties on those who have “done despite to the spirit of grace.” Hence there will be a “resurrection of the unjust,” to give “account of the deeds done in the body;” and in order to permit of the reconstitution of the identical transgressor we hold that his spirit is preserved in its individuality from dissipation in the death of the man, to be conjoined again to the body at the day of judgment. This survival of the, “soul” we attribute exclusively (with Delitzsch) to the operation of Redemption with its graces and corresponding judgments. We hold, further, that the souls of the righteous have in like manner been upheld in individual being (in “Sheol “ or “hades “ under the old law, — ”with Christ “ under the new), with a view to the reconstruction of humanity in the resurrection of glory. These conclusions respecting the survival of the spirits of both evil and good men—that such survival is due not to their inherent immortality, but to the entrance of the new system of probation and judgment—are derived inferentially from the whole course of this argument.

     6. We suppose that in the evolution of the wisdom of God in relation to the earth, the multiplication of the surviving human race was permitted under an hereditary law, similar to that which operates among animals, but also involving in this case an awful development of moral degeneracy in man. * Evil was destined here to work out its will once for all in the history of the creation. And not only human, but superhuman evil agency, co-operating and conspiring, was to be permitted to concentrate its hostility to God upon the earth. To the original Tempter the world was “delivered up,” so that he might become the “God of this world”—and reign over the creatures whom be had ruined, as an all-devouring king, who “had the power of death.” * See on this head an admirable treatise by the Revelation J. C. Whisk, M.A., Elementary Truths upon Creation. Bemrose & Co.

     A new probation was instituted for man under these fearful circumstances; and it was the design of the All Merciful to deliver the objects of His mercy from out of this seven walled Egyptian prison-house of a permitted “kingdom of darkness.” For here was to be reared, under a stress of temptation never known before, a type of faithfulness to God also before unknown, — and every volition of right was to be exerted against the force of the whole combined strength of evil; while in order to allow of the fuller freedom of all wills 80 in declaring their choice, judgment was not to be executed speedily, but postponed till a distant future.

     The real existence and frightful activity of Evil Spirits in the history of man we believe to be an essential clement of the truth respecting this world. Their action from the first days or humanity until the end of the kingdom of darkness is represented as one cause of the special compassion with which God has regarded our mortal condition. “The devil was a murderer (ajqrwpokt>onov, man-killer) from the beginning” (John 8:44) There is a conflict between good and evil principles going forward on earth, a conflict between good and evil men; but there is a conflict behind that, both more ancient and more awful, which alone explains the tremendous strength of evil among mortals, — that between the powers of heaven and a wing of the angelic principalities and powers in bitter revolt against the authority of God. It is on the earth that that conflict is declared to be fought out and ended. The human history is treated as an episode in a direr warfare which divides the universe; — but the earth is the battlefield of the last encounters, and the scene of the final suppression of the rebellion.

     7. We believe that in the midst of this “kingdom of darkness” God has been working from the beginning in the execution of merciful designs. Where spirits of wickedness have striven most earnestly to efface His image and to mingle earth and heaven in confusion, there the Divine Mercy has counterworked the strategy of these “murderers,” and has unfolded successive dispensations of truth and order, suited to the age of the world, and the comprehension of mankind. In every age some sevenfold central light has been kindled to lead our race into the way of peace. In every age God has,”showed” to men, sometimes more dimly by an inward but unspoken guidance, sometimes by a verbal revelation, the reality of judgment to come, and the hope of life eternal. But the full forth shining of the light came only with the Christ. He has “revealed the Father” — ”full of grace and truth.” In Old Testament times men knew that there would be a resurrection — even the Egyptians retained so much as that of the primeval faith. The Spirit witnessed in every city of future retribution. But the grand secret of redemption was veiled.

     When the Christ came, that mystery long hidden was revealed. “The Life was manifested.” And now all men are summoned to embrace the amnesty.

     8. This Christ, the King of Glory, taken up into heaven as a pledge of the enthronisation of humanity, and as a proof of the eternal union of God and Man, will shortly appear again, to overthrow the adverse Power, to imprison in subterranean darkness those infernal enemies, to dispossess the “aerial” spirits of evil, and to replace those “world-rulers,” by glorified guardian saints of human origin; — thus gathering out of His kingdom of the earth, “all things that offend and do iniquity,” and establishing the reign of right among the nation — until the hour shall strike for ending the mystery of God in the final assize. In that judgment the evil spirits will be consigned to their doom in the “everlasting fire;” and the impenitent part of mankind, who have resisted all approaches of redeeming mercy, with those whose spirits, ignorant of God while living, have still persisted in rejecting Him in Hades, shall be cast also into hell, there to suffer “few stripes” or “many stripes,” “according to their knowledge of their Lord’s will,” and “according to their deeds;” but all alike at last to perish everlastingly, to be “killed with death,” to be “blotted from the book of life,” to suffer o]leqron aijwnion, “eternal destruction,” of “body and soul in hell,”—thus dying a, “second death” as the “due reward of their deeds,” because persistently choosing evil, and rejecting good. “Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father,” and “as the stars forever and ever.”

     If these views of the basis of Redemption and of the Divine Method be well founded, we may anticipate the confirmation of them by the testimony of consecutive revelations honestly interpreted. We may expect to find the sacramental institutions of the patriarchal age, — the revelations of the Old Testament concerning the state of man in death, and the resurrection both of just and unjust, — the partial truth possessed by contending factions among Jews and Gentiles, — the leading doctrine of redemption from the curse by a Divine Mediator, as set forth in the writings of the New Covenant, —the teaching of the apostles on the nature and necessity of regeneration, and on the spiritual union of the twice-born with the “Second Man the Lord from heaven,”— and lastly the awful declarations of the evangelists and apostles upon the penal destiny of those who “judge themselves unworthy of eternal life,” — consenting to form one intelligible circle of coherent truth, and commending itself “to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.”

CHAPTER 12

THE SERPENT IN GENESIS; AN EXCURSUS ON THE

SCRIPTURE DOCTRINE OF AN EVIL SUPERHUMAN

AGENCY CONCERNED IN THE DESTRUCTION OF MANKIND

     BEFORE we advance to the examination in detail of the Scripture testimony on the subjects enumerated at the close of the last chapter, it is necessary to consider with some care the preliminary difficulty presented by the introduction of the speaking Serpent in the Mosaic narrative.

     That difficulty ought not to be summarily evaded by the assertion that the whole narrative is mythical, and therefore that the introduction of one personage, less or more, need occasion no disturbance to faith. It is impossible to treat the first section of the book of Genesis apart from the other books of the Bible. The organic unity of the Sacred Scriptures is by far their most wonderful characteristic. Although produced at intervals during at least 1,500 years, and varied in every degree as to style, object, and occasion, there runs through this extraordinary compilation a unity of thought and purpose, as apparent as that which pervades the organic fabric of the earth. * There have been numerous builders on this intellectual edifice, but there has manifestly been One Supreme Architect. However ready, therefore, we might be at first sight to dismiss the Serpent in Genesis as an old-world fancy, it is impossible so to do when we find that Christ and His apostles unanimously refer to this “ancient serpent” as being no other than Satanas, the ajnqropokto>nov, or man-killer, in disguise — the man-slayer “from the beginning.” We have already remarked that the Bible history of man, and of man’s redemption, is inextricably interwoven in the Scripture with another history of superhuman enemies of God; whose temporary victory and final destruction are treated as essential elements of the right theory of the kosmos, of the right understanding of the death incurred by sin, and of the immortality bestowed in redemption. “For this propose was the Son of God manifested, that He might destroy the works of the Devil “ (1 John 3:8). * See Garbett’s Divine Plat: of Revelation.

     We shall, therefore, in this place, interpose a discussion on the Biblical doctrine of evil spirits, and attempt to sum up the declarations of prophets and apostles on this theme. In so doing, some difficulties may be removed, and faith increased in divine revelation as a whole.

     The theology of the Bible, when taken in its integrity as a living unity, commends itself to a rational belief, but single portions taken alone, and apart from collateral truths, often and not unreasonably appear incredible. Any considerable addition to, or subtraction from, this unity will prove an occasion of skepticism. Faith in Revelation, as has been said, is never opposed to reason, but always to sight; yet the reasonableness of Christianity can be made to appear only to those who receive the revelation as a whole. It holds together like a vast arch composed of many stones hung in air, in which the removal of one endangers the stability of all the rest.

     There can be no doubt that although Moses is silent on the source of the Serpent’s murderous inspiration, his silence is vocal, and that he designed to set his readers thinking on the subject. The Serpent occupies too prominent a place in the story to allow of the idea that the writer introduced it as an unimportant ornament to the narrative. The object of this adversary is nothing less than to kill humanity in its origin, to stamp out the eternal life of man. The motive also is, manifestly, a desperate hostility to the Creator; and the method is an unscrupulous use of falsehood to accomplish the end designed. Can any reader of modern times seriously think, with Josephus, that Moses believed this serpent to be a common snake of Paradise? His pen was perhaps stayed by a superior will, as Mr. Tennyson imagines with regard to an “Evangelist;” but there is everything in this narrative to suggest, if it be but true, all that follows in succeeding revelations as to the abnormal cause of man’s mortality.

     The speaking of the serpent is one of those difficulties which appear insuperable on a superficial view; like the speaking of Balaam’s ass, and the entrance of the demons into the swine; but which vanish under a more correct appreciation of the powers that underlie the phenomena, and of the moral ends sub-served by permitted deviations from law. In this instance comparative inexperience of the capacities of animals, or it might be positive experience of the speech of parrots imitating her own, may account for the small recorded wonderment of Eve at the voice of the serpent. At this point it suffices to affirm that there is no scientific reason for declaring a priori that, in case of man’s existence originally under the circumstances supposed, it is impossible that God should permit the possession of a serpent by some hostile Intelligence, or the employment of unfit organs to produce the effect of speech. The true question is whether the narrative in Genesis is so connected with other facts in the world’s history, which carry with them decisive evidence of Revelation, as to compel belief in the literal reality of this narrative. Standing alone it would be of course incredible.

     Nevertheless we speak the simple truth when we say that if a man in the biological section of the British Association were to declare his opinion that some of the most lamentable conditions of human life were traceable to the action of evil spirits, he would be regarded, by nearly the whole company of learned persons assembled, as an enthusiast past redemption by argument. Yet strangely enough it is the very persons who hold the highest opinion respecting the moral excellence of man who would be foremost in the expression of displeasure at the utterance of so fanatical a doctrine; preferring, as Mr. Foster long ago suggested, to account for the whole vast sum of wickedness and misery which fills the globe, by the single action of one nature which, as they allege, is marked by no radical defect, rather than by the easier hypothesis of the combined action of two corrupted natures working in concert.

     What explanation can be given of the process by which such a result has been reached? Do the chemists, geologists, astronomers, and mathematicians, know for certain that the atmosphere of the earth is untenanted by spirits? Has the subject ever been investigated by biologists? A respectful hearing would be given to any one who had even the smallest contribution to offer respecting the formation, the habits, the aliment, of any living creature, wild or tame, now inhabiting earth, or water, or air, from the least to the greatest. On the evidence of a single bone, or even of a mould of a single bone in clay or sand, made by pressure in old times, they would believe firmly in creatures, which they never saw. The most minute animalcule, invisible to the naked eye, would win the attention of the wisest. The fierce destructive character of the beast or bird or insect would form no objection to the audience. A single tooth of any “dragon of the prime” would be considered to furnish a basis for solid and respectable knowledge. But if one were to assert the existence of aerial “dragons” far more terrible, and of a system of prey of which mankind were morally the victims, he could not even obtain a hearing for the evidence in any of the departments of the Association.

     Do the scientific men, then, know that there are no such beings? By no means. All they know is that they have not obtained evidence of their existence through the organs of sense, the aid of chemical analysis, or optical instruments. But as in the last century electricity was unseen and unknown, and the actinic ray in the sunbeam unsuspected, so now there may be agencies at work not the less real because unobserved. Moreover, there may be methods of obtaining knowledge on such subjects quite different from those with which ordinary physicists are familiar, yet equally to be depended on. A large part of every scientific man’s knowledge rests on testimony. It is but a fraction of his knowledge which he can personally verify, and there may be solid knowledge which may be obtained in the first place through the testimony, not of man, but of God, though capable of being verified by subsequent observation of physical and moral phenomena. Men of physical studies are in danger of one-sidedness in their training as truly as other men. Some are prone to neglect visible phenomena, others are prone to neglect historical and moral evidence. Professor Huxley has declared with true insight, that “those who adhere most closely to facts will be the masters of the future;”—but then it must be all the facts.

     There is indeed nothing intrinsically absurd in the belief that there are spirits in the air, and that some of them are malevolent. Why should it be a clearer sign of perverted judgment to believe in wild spirits than in wild beasts, if there be but sufficient evidence? What a priori argument can be set up against the existence of any kind of beings, in a creation so full of unexpected and unimagined forms of life and activity?

     There seems to be no fair answer possible to these questions, in bar of a hasty denial of the existence of malignant spirits of a rank above the human. Nevertheless the persuasion of their real being is in our time dying out from the minds of the majority. In educated society few can be found who believe in the Devil. The Unitarians reject the belief with abhorrence, and they are reckoned by some, as Socrates was reckoned by the oracle of Delphi, among the wisest of men. The humbler Christadelphian materialists follow in their track, and teach, from Birmingham to the Irish and German Seas, that the devil is nothing but evil in man, and that man is nothing but organized matter. The Spiritualists declare with one voice that there is no Satanas, no fallen Angel of light, no great Destroyer of Souls. The philosophers, with Mr. Lecky, demand of us, —do you not know that the belief in evil spirits has been one of the commonest, one of the most vulgar and malignant, types of the superstition which has darkened earth and sky, and degraded human life in every climate where it takes possession of the soul? Do you not know that heathenism has always dwelt largely on this gloomy dogma; that it forms half the so-called religions of India, Japan, and China; and has lain at the root of all the worst corruptions of Christianity during the last eighteen centuries? Do you not know that it has been the custom of every ignorant age to attribute to malign spiritual agency, to evil genii, half the phenomena of nature, and half the events in Providence; and that the progress of science has been a hard fought battle with this old enemy of knowledge and truth, which has been dislodged from its position only after ages of inquiry, of observation, and careful study of nature and man? Do you not know that the unreformed tendency of humanity is always to believe in evil more than in good, even in a God who is no better than a devil, and to attribute to the Supreme Eternal Power thoughts and passions which are absolutely contrary to the laws of justice and truth?

     Yes, we know these things; and if we are, nevertheless, compelled to believe that evil spirits exist, and exert a fearful influence upon human destiny, it is against many prepossessions, and under a full view of the possible perversions of the doctrine.

     The question may be brought for examination within a narrow compass. By no fair and straightforward method of interpretation can this doctrine be extruded from the Bible. The one point to determine is — What measure of authority belongs to the Bible on such a subject? The reference to evil spirits, operating on mankind from the air, weirdly extends like a flaming arch across the whole firmament of Scripture. The Bible asserts, and most clearly in its final revelations, that the earth, as it flies along its orbit, is haunted by wicked beings of mighty ambition and sleepless energy, whose aim it is, by exciting passion and misleading thought, to deceive and destroy mankind. “We wrestle not,” says Paul, “against blood and flesh, but against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12).

     We proceed now to point out several characteristics of the teaching of the Bible on Infernal Agency, to which sufficient attention has not been paid, though they go far to establish its truth.

     1. This doctrine, plainly as it is taught in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, is at once distinguished from the debasing superstitions respecting evil spirits found in heathen systems of mythology and religion, as in China, Ceylon, and India, by this — that it is taught along with the equally clear doctrine of the counteracting agency of good spirits called the angels of God. “Michael and his angels fight against the devil and his angels.” If the Bible declares that we wrestle against the “power of the air,” it also declares that there are good spirits, “sent forth to minister to the heirs of salvation.” If a black cloud of asserted diabolic agency covers the world, in the representation of the Bible that black cloud is riven in many places, and through the rifts we see the guardian angels extending as a galaxy of stars across the midnight sky, covering the world with a benignant agency sweeter than the influence of the Pleiades. This is a fact most noteworthy, for it has had this effect, that in no place where the Bible in its integrity has been popularly read has the doctrine of evil spirits usurped a disproportionate share of attention, or debased the public mind through the pressure of an overwhelming burden of gloom. Good and good beings, God over all, have always been represented by the Bible as supreme. Evil, however powerful, is but a temporary hindrance to the welfare of the universe. “Satan is to be trodden under foot shortly.” Thus it has happened that the Christian believer in infernal agency is easily distinguishable from the devil-worshippers of Ceylon, or the paper-burning devotees of China and Japan, much more from the adherents of the Oriental theology, in which two equal powers of good and evil struggle through eternity for supremacy.

     2. It is to be observed next, that the demonology of the Bible is developed in a method exactly the reverse of that which occurs in every other literature, ancient or modern. Alike in the East and in the West the general order of thought has been from more belief to less; from superstition and credulity to skepticism and rejection of mythological folk-lore concerning genii and demons; from the old faith in devils to the more recent unbelief of, “science.” The further we go back in the history of nations the larger is the belief in bad agencies and evil spirits, the gloomier the superstition arising from terror at their power; and the nearer we approach to modern times the more has this belief yielded to the influence of doubt and questioning. Thus it was in Greek history. Thus it was in the case of the Romans. Thus it has been it Chinese and Indian literature. And thus it has been in the thought of modern Europe. In the earlier ages men readily believed in ghosts and demons; in our day a man who professes such a faith has to fight a battle, and to render a severe account of his intellectual state to his contemporaries.

     Now observe the Bible. There we find, in a remarkable manner, the reverse of the phenomenon to which attention has been called. The farther back you go in Hebrew history, the earlier the epochs to which the Hebrew books belong, the fainter and dimmer is the character of the references to the agency of evil spirits. The nearer you advance towards the maturity of Jewish thought, when it was strongly influenced by Hellenic culture — the nearer you draw to the period of final revelation — the more distinct, the more emphatic, the more positive, the more detailed and absolute, the more pronounced and dreadful becomes the doctrine of evil spiritual agency. In the books of Moses you find it occurring only as a faint shadow on a background of terrestrial legislation. In the Gospels and Epistles, in the teaching of Christ and His apostles, you find it flaming out like lightning on every side, whose “flash hangs durable in heaven;” you find a terrible clearness of outline and force of coloring given to the doctrine, which astonish and overawe you. When according to all other experience this doctrine of evil agency ought to have begun to fade away, it comes into the front, the veil seems to be removed, and we are called to battle with enemies that almost visibly fill the air, and carry on a ceaseless war against God and man. And if a slight exception occurs in the skepticism of the Sadducees, that exception serves only to prove the rule with greater emphasis, of a general fixed resolve on the part of apostolic teachers to affirm the reality of the powers, which the Sadducees denied. Surely this looks like a special overruling influence; for it contravenes the natural method of human thought.

     3. There is another characteristic of the Scripture doctrine on Satanic action, which distinguishes it froth pagan mythologies. In the heathen mythologies the so-called good spirits were scarcely distinguishable morally from bad, except in this one particular, that they were reputed arbitrarily to confer physical benefits upon their adorers, while the evil demons are hostile and mischievous. In the Bible the evil spirits are represented as evil, mainly because they are morally opposed to a God who is righteous, and who can be acceptably worshipped only by righteous adorers. There, is nothing conventional, local, or peculiar in the quality of the evil ascribed in Scripture to the devil and his angels. The evil of their nature consists in opposition to a God who answers to the highest possible conception of Purity and Truth. The evil spirits of the Bible are the enemies of man because they are the enemies of “Righteousness.” They are to be abhorred and resisted because they have lost the image of God. Their ill will is boundless, but their power is limited, and strictly subordinate to the Sovereign Perfection.

     Thus the belief in the evil spirits of the New Testament never operates as a degrading influence on any one who also believes in the revelation of the Divine glory. It operates for evil only when taken out of relation with what is revealed of Divine wisdom, mercy, and truth. There have indeed been many perverted Christians who have believed in the devil a great deal more than in God and in Christ, but these must not be taken as examples of the character, which the Bible rightly used, will produce in its disciples.

     4. The last peculiarity in the Biblical doctrine on Satanic agency is, that it is an essential element in the system of Redemption, which the Scripture professes in part to reveal. It is not an accidental excrescence, but belongs to the substance of the whole whether that whole be true or false. There is no special reason for rejecting this portion of the system more than any other. It is interwoven with every other element of Christianity. If the supernatural character of the doctrine be an objection, the same objection will lie against the belief in the holy angels of God, or in any Divine revelation whatsoever. If the circumstance of invisibility be an objection to faith, the same objection lies against belief in God, in Christ, and even in the human soul.

     Not only are we taught that the reduction of man to the rank of creatures doomed to die was the work of such an agency, but we are urgently warned that that malign agency continues to dominate over mankind, to poison the world by its influence, to deceive the nations, and industriously to tempt individual souls to their eternal destruction. The reader of the Bible may not approve of this instruction—may find it opposed to his inner consciousness — may secretly doubt or openly deny its truth, but at all events it is in your Bible, it is everywhere in the Christian Revelation, most clearly of all in the teaching of the Son of God Himself. It is in His discourses that we discover the fullest, firmest assertion of the existence, action, and punishment of “the devil and his angels.” To say, as some do, that Christ herein showed His limitation and ignorance, is not for a man to show his own scientific accuracy. It is to beg the very question in dispute. How do you know that there are no evil spirits? Two hundred years ago men did not know that there were such things as oxygen or electricity; both invisible, and yet both most real. How do you know that Christ was ignorant, when He asserted, in God’s name, that there were such beings?

     To say again, as others do, that Christ was not ignorant, but, knowing well that there were no Satanic spirits, He nevertheless dissembled, and accommodated Himself to superstitious usages of speech, to Jewish or Grecian folk-lore, is to strike at the root of His claim to be a heaven-sent messenger at all, much less the Son of God. If the doctrine of evil spirits be not true, there is no falsehood in religion more pernicious, more destructive in its operation, or which more deserves to be assailed and exploded by the prophets of God. The adversaries of the doctrine are witnesses to its pernicious quality, unless divinely true. To represent Christ as teaching willfully in this matter a lie is to take away His claim to be listened to on any religious subject whatsoever. If there be no Devil and Satan, no “murderer from the beginning,” no real “demons” to be cast out and conquered, then Jesus Christ proceeded on a false path, and has in this respect done more than any other teacher to debase mankind, and, as Mr. Clifford affirms, to “destroy two civilizations.” But who can seriously believe that when He was professing to “cast out the spirits by His word,” and to address as personal beings the demons whom He expelled, He was all the while talking to “Oriental figures,” to “metaphors for disease and lunacy,” and that He voluntarily deceived both His disciples and the multitude? It is, at all events, clear that Christ believed in the devil and his angels, and believed Himself sent by God to overthrow “the kingdom of darkness”; and this goes a great way towards establishing the truth of the doctrine.

      My object, however, in this chapter, in summarizing the statements of Scripture on the action of evil spirits in human affairs, is not to prove the truth of those statements to general skeptics. Their truth can be rendered apparent only to those who believe much besides. Into a belief of their reality, no man can be argued in our time by an independent process. Such a faith must spring, if at all, from a general acceptance of the Christian Revelation, and from some spiritual experience and insight. If a man does not possess these qualifications, it is hopeless to offer him this evidence of an evil agency operating on the earth, since to such a mind any special argument, however serious, in support of the doctrine is certain to excite ridicule rather than respect.

     In this, however, as in other instances, the believers have had a share in producing unbelief. Additions to the Scripture doctrine have resulted in its indiscriminate rejection the rabbinical, patristic, and mediaeval writers have each in turn promoted that state of thought, which is now ending in a general disbelief in diabolic power. The very idea of the devil has varied with the spirit of the age. The Devil of the earlier centuries of Christianity was a “roaring lion,” a “raging wild beast;” so he is often called by the martyrologists. The Satan of the middle ages was a grotesque but mischievous imp of darkness. The Devil of modern romance is the Mephistopheles of Faust and Festus, a mocking philosopher and grimly profane misanthrope. Milton’s genius has filled the atmosphere with a brilliant phantasmagoria of contending angels, at once too human and too divine — a vision of chivalry, which has resulted in creating either a sympathetic interest, as in Robert Burns’s verses, on behalf of the hero of the song — or an unconquerable skepticism with regard to the whole subject.

     Dismissing now from our thoughts, as far as possible, all ideas except those, which we find plainly, set forth in the Biblical writings, what remains?

     First of all, the Bible offers no genesis of the kingdom of darkness, no clear account of ante-mundane angelic rebellion. It takes up the history of the spiritual world at the point where it touches the history of man, that is, in the middle of affairs, not at the beginning. Just as it takes up the physical history of the globe at the introduction of man, so it is with the spiritual history of the creation. The book of Genesis for the whole system of things has not been written for us. By geology we have learned that there was a long preadamic history of the globe, and we may infer, perhaps, that there was a preadamic spiritual history, perhaps of this very earth, and a history in which the evil power was concerned; but of this we are taught nothing in the Bible. The record of revelation to man commences with man’s creation, and as it unfolds it brings out in vivid colors his relations with some man-destroying agency above him in the air. But there is no memoir of Satan pour servir. The Bible expends one chapter on the final setting of the earth in order as man’s abode, the last of the animal ascending series, the first of the sub-angelic, and two chapters on his loss of eternal life by sin; and then adheres closely to man’s work and business under the sun, his history, his destiny, throughout its remaining pages.

     Towards the latter part of the record, in the biographies of Christ, the fact of the existence of evil spirits, referred to dimly by preceding prophets, comes out into prominence; but there is still no genesis, no history of celestial insurrection, no biography of the Prince of Darkness. Tempting as the subject would have been to the “will of man,” no prophet’s hand was stretched forth to portray on the screen of revelation the awful shadow-picture of the revolt in heaven. There are those to whom these persistent silences of Scripture are as expressive of divinity, in “reason’s ear,” as its positive utterances.

     The next noticeable characteristic of the Biblical record on this matter is the reticence of the Old Testament writers in comparison with those of the New. The account of the speaking serpent in Genesis is given so as to suggest to after-thought, rather than to plainly unfold or enforce, the idea of a mighty spiritual agency hostile to man. It was open to a materialistic reader of that narrative to take the story as a mythical representation of the evil, which everywhere attends misapplied free agency, or, even in its lowest literality, as a description of the war between mankind and the serpent races. The idea of a superhuman evil spirit, however, appears more than once in the following pages of the Old Testament. The Pentateuch is completely silent; for the reference to Azazel, in the Hebrew of Leviticus xvi. 8, 10, 26, as the supposed demon of the desert, to whom the sin-laden goat of the Atonement-day is sent, is too dubious to furnish a basis for criticism. But if we assume the moderate antiquity of the book of Job we find a clearly developed idea of an “Adversary,” who operates from the air, and even exerts enormous power over the elements in persecuting the saint of the Lord.

     Excepting the “lying spirit” in Micaiah’s vision (1 Kings xvii. 23), there is no similar reference till the Captivity; for the allusion to the temptation of David by Satan in the matter of numbering the people does not occur in the earlier book of Kings, but in the compend of the Chronicles, which belongs to a much later age. In this age there are several distinct references in the prophets to evil spirits. In Daniel 10:13-20, we find the angel Michael resisting a power whom he calls “the Prince of the kingdom of Persia” during the twenty-one days that the answer to Daniel’s prayer was delayed through the absence of the hierophant; the reference being indubitably to some demonic force believed to influence for evil the destinies of that court. In Zechariah 3:1-3, we find Satan appearing in a vision of the Prophet as a foe to the high priest Joshua, who represents the Jewish people, and he is there rebuked by name as a personal being. There ends the Old Testament demonology. It could not well occupy a narrower space in the record of a revelation extending through several millenniums. *

      Very striking is the change of tone at the appearing of Jesus Christ. The historians of His life are men of the Roman age, that age so supremely realistic and business-like in its tastes, so proud and pitiless in its skepticisms. Yet these Evangelists, after detailing in the most prosaic style the birth and early history of Jesus, with dates, places, and other particulars thereto pertaining, bring into their narration of the commencement of Christ’s ministry, in the most deliberate manner, an account of His direct “temptation by the Devil” in the wilderness, —a devil so real and personal that he quotes Scripture deceitfully, and is corrected by Christ, — asserts his control over the political system of all nations on earth, yet offers to abandon his sovereignty if Jesus will do him homage. This account of the existence and activity of the Devil is delivered by Matthew, Mark, and Luke to mankind; and is distributed in every province of the Roman Empire, as a true history, in the full blaze of the Roman day, as a thing which the Evangelists themselves believed, and expected other men, even of the highest intelligence, to believe also.

* If it be said that Jews learned this lesson from the Persian; and the Chaldees, it may be replied that the Persians and the Chaldees learned it perhaps from a primitive antiquity. Truth was not revealed only to the Jews. And all Oriental traditions and doctrines are not false because they are “Oriental.”

     The residue of the evangelical biographies is answerable to this beginning. So far from retreating from these introductory statements into the light of common life, Christ seems in their pages to be surrounded by evil spirits. Notwithstanding the singularly realistic style of these writings, their freedom from ordinary signs of exaltation, their strange quietness of tone in narrating events, which have furnished pabulum to the arts of nearly two thousand years, they adhere throughout to this representation of the life and speech of Jesus. His days are spent not only in healing diseases and in raising the dead, but especially in “casting out unclean spirits” (or diamo>nia). These are constantly distinguished from “the devil” (oJ dia>bolov), but are represented to us (whatever their origin, whether departed evil souls of men or fallen angels, of which nothing is affirmed) as forming a part of the Power of Darkness. More than this, the ability of casting out daimonia was imparted, say they, to Christ’s disciples. Various are the effects attributed to the demonic action in the New Testament. In the Gospels they appear as causing deafness, dumbness, madness, epilepsy, and exhibitions of violence equal to the rending of bands of iron. In some cases they acted alone, in others by, “sevens, “ in others they, “swarmed,” (Luke 6:18, oiJ ojclou>menoi uJpo< pneuma>twn ajkaqa>rtwn) as in the instance of the Gadarene who filled the midnight darkness with his awful shrieks and wailings; out of whom went a “legion” of evil spirits (a legion in that day contained 6,500 men); beseeching Jesus that they might not be sent out into the “abyss” (a]busson or “bottomless pit” of Revelation 10:1), the underworld of Hades. They are further represented as seeking liberty to transmigrate into the bodies of two thousand swine, and as accomplishing the destruction of the whole herd as by the passage of some malignant whirlwind; * at another time as possessing a slave-girl at Philippi, and enabling her owners to make “much gain” by her supernatural spiritualism; a “divination” so effectual that when the spirit was cast out there was no legerdemain remaining, or natural clairvoyance, so that the “hope of their gains was gone:” — loudly crying up the apostleship of Paul and Silas as “the servants of the Most High God,” so as to fasten the brand of their abominable advocacy upon the ministers of the Gospel — and then leaving the wrathful proprietors of the dispossessed medium to wreak their vengeance on the evangelists before the magistrates of Philippi, who beat them cruelly with rods and cast them into the prison. But all these spirits, whatever their number, force, origin, or malignity, are represented as subject to the Son of God. Him they “knew” when men knew Him not. His power they feared as that of their destined judge and “destroyer.” “He cast out the spirits by His word, and suffered them not to speak,” when they offered their infernal testimony to Him as the “Holy One of God.”

* Those who believe in the reality of this occurrence will learn to look upon the old-world Asiatic doctrine of metempsychosis with fresh interest. It is scarcely possible to regard the action of the demons in this instance as an isolated fact. If the demons of the Gospels were departed spirits of men, as many suppose, the subject acquires still further interest. See Dr. J. H. Newman’s Historical Sketches, 3, 203.

     From such descriptions of the subordinate powers of evil the Gospel writers never shrink; they insist upon this testimony to the end. But their chief effort is directed to bring out their Master’s tremendous doctrine respecting the Devil himself. In the four Gospels the personality of this mighty Destroyer is nearly as pronounced as that of the Scribes and Pharisees; Jesus Christ speaks of him with an edge and a fervor, and of his doom in “the everlasting fire” with a fearful reality of tone, which leaves no doubt at all as to His own belief in infernal agency. With Him it is “the Devil” who plucks away the good seed sown in man’s heart; — the “enemy who sows tares” among the wheat to ruin the crop is the Devil; —falsehood is traced by him tip to no abstract origin of evil, but to its fountain in the Devil; “for he is a liar and the father of it.” The Mosaic narrative of the fall and death of Adam and Eve is plainly assumed by Christ to be literally true, and the serpent is described as this same “Devil” who was a “man-killer from the beginning” (ajnqrwpokto>nov, John 8:44). Hear His piercing words, “You are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father you will do! He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks of his own, for he is liar and the father of it!”

      Can we wonder if, after such language from the Master, who said that by His death “the Prince of this world should be cast out,” and that He would thereby “draw all men to Himself,” we read John’s deliberate statement that “after the sop Satan entered into” Judas (to>te eishlqen eijv ejkeinon oJ Satanav, 8. 27), words in which he affirms a personal possession and incarnation of the chief Evil Spirit for a season in the body of the traitor, even as the Logos was incarnate in the person of Jesus Himself? Can we wonder that John afterwards sums, up the end of the incarnation as being the destruction of the works of the devil, by the abolition of death, and of sin its cause? — Or that at the close of his long apostleship Paul, after conversing for thirty years with the skeptics of the Roman world, in the most deliberate language asserts that the conflict of godliness is to be carried on not simply against earthly forces, but against that mighty realm of evil spirits unveiled by the Son of God? He says (Ephesians 6:12), “For us the wrestling-match is not against blood and flesh, but against the governments, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against spirits of wickedness in the heavens,” or aerial regions. Such words accord well with his statement to Agrippa (Acts 26:18), that when he received his commission from Christ, then risen into a realm where no human illusions could obscure His vision, our Lord sent him “to open the blind eyes, and to turn men from the power of Satan unto God.” They accord with his frequent allusions to the same Satan as an active enemy of man, who was ever on the watch to deceive the Churches by “transformation as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14), to “overreach” them by the temptation to excessive severity with an offender (2 Corinthians 11:11); — who was capable of “hindering” an apostolic journey (1 Thessalonians 2:18); of inciting the younger women to turn aside after himself, to their own perdition. He attributes the spiritual condition of mankind as alienated from the life of God” to the direct inspiration of a spirit that “energises in the children of rebellion” (Ephesians 2:2); he speaks of excessive anger as “opening the door to the devil” (Ephesians 4:27), of pride in a neophyte bishop as leading him to the “doom of the devil;” of the necessity there is for a bishop to avoid the “trap” set for him by the devil (1 Timothy 3:7). Again and again he describes this arch enemy of God, and his subordinate agents, as resorting to all imaginable arts of deception to effect the perversion of Christendom. He speaks of the “wiles of the devil,” as well as of the sleight and legerdemain of his crafty emissaries; of the “all-deceivableness of unrighteousness” in the “working of Satan:” of his manifold “devices,” as well as of his “fiery darts.” He addresses Elymas the Goes, or spiritualistic sorcerer, as one of Satan’s sons — ”You child of the devil!” He does not scruple to speak of this mighty spirit in the loftiest terms when describing his influence over human affairs. He is the “Prince or ruler of this world,” he is even Qeo<v, “the God of this world,” the “Governor of the demons.” Surely such language in Paul well accords with the language of our Lord Himself, recorded by the Evangelists.

     But now, to digest these testimonies into definite forms, what are the conclusions to which they seem to compel assent? We submit to the reader the following:

     1. We learn, if the Bible is true, that the moral life of mankind is closely interwoven with the life of spiritual beings inhabiting the earth’s atmosphere. It may be that all planetary and animal life is subject to the government of higher intelligences. But the case of the earth is peculiar. From whatever cause, of which the history is concealed, the kosmokra>topev, or world-rulers of this globe have revolted from God, and have succeeded in propagating their revolt to its human inhabitants, with the result of bringing them decisively under the law of death which has reigned during all past ages. We are taught that there is one sovereign Archangel of stupendous power, capable of embracing in his thoughts the government of the world, and of prosecuting through all ages a fixed purpose in that government; who, together with his allies, is carrying forward on earth a war of resistance against God and of extermination against man. For the conflict in its essential end respects the immortality of man. Man, at first hovering in his constitution between death and life eternal, was brought under definitive sentence of destruction for the sin into which he was tempted by these envious foes. The letter, or law, “kills.” But redeeming mercy came to our relief in that love which seeks to save our lives with a great deliverance. The Incarnation of the Divine “Life” secures the immortality of all who are united with Him by regeneration of the Holy Spirit, but the finally unregenerate will perish; and thus, to achieve the destruction of the greatest possible number is represented as the object of Satanic action from age to age. “Your adversary, the devil, goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” His passion for soul killing is represented as extending this system of prey over all the earth. He is totent where the powder is absent. The resolved will leaning upon the power of God ensures absolute safety against the machinations of evil. The will of man acting through the medium of the power of God suffices to overcome “all that is in the world.” But the invisibility of the force to be resisted supplies one main element in the trial of the human soul, and brings into probation all the spiritual energies of our nature. When there is no resistance to evil attempted by men, they are said to be “led captive of the devil at his will;” the soul is then carried along by the mighty stream of universal depravity, like a corpse loating upon the Ganges, and is swallowed up by the destroyer.

     2. A review of the above-cited passages shows it to be the doctrine of Scripture that those Powers of Darkness, in the prosecution of their design, or general purpose of “man killing,” direct their special endeavors to raising up and consolidating systems of government which shall effectually promote the deception and degradation of mankind. In the temptation of the Son of God, Satan is represented as asserting his political dominion in plain words. He showed Him all the kingdoms of the world, and said, “All this power will I give you, for to me it is delivered, and to whomsoever I will I give it” (Luke i4:6). The same idea is conveyed in Paul’s description of the evil spirits as “principalities and powers,” and it is repeated in symbolic language in the Apocalypse, where John, speaking of the sovereignty of that “ten-horned wild beast” which is usually supposed to represent the Roman Empire, says, “The dragon gave him his power and seat and great authority.” And the present general abandonment of the political providence to the Devil is implied in the contrasted statement that hereafter “God will take unto Himself His great power and reign.” This fearful description of the origin of most of the world’s sovereignties and priesthoods (to be qualified of course by much exceptional victory of good), at all events agrees well with their recorded history. If evil spirits had openly assumed the government of the nations, they could not have surpassed the ordinary reigning houses and hierarchies of the earth in the neglect of the true ends of administration, or in the active promotion of every influence, which can delude or deprave mankind. The history of government, civil and sacred, is the history of a wickedness, which if not infernal, at least strongly resembles it.

     Under this view the union of the civil and religious authorities under one head —  perhaps the chief agency in the spiritual ruin of the world — is revealed in its true character, as the policy of “the power of the air.” No lesson of the Apocalypse flashes forth more clearly than the evil origin of the craft which places the woman (the Harlot-Church) on the back of the wild beast. She has made the nations “drunk with the cup of her fornication,” and has, “shed the blood of saints and martyrs” till heaven itself cries, “Lord, how long!” The marvelous stability, through long ages, of governments devoted to the maintenance of superstition, receives its most intelligible explanation in this doctrine of the Prophets — that the Rulers of the earth are not men, but the hosts of darkness, and that Kings and Priests are but their tools.

     3. The next fact that comes out in the Biblical testimony is that the diabolical rule over mankind is maintained less by open war with the religious sentiment than by its perversion; less by inciting men to atheism and vice than by deceiving them into God dishonoring and soul-destroying superstition. Paul, the most effective adversary with whom evil ever contended, lays the utmost stress on the “wiles,” the “devices,” the, “stratagems” of the powers of darkness. The warfare is carried on everywhere from an ambush. There is little advocacy of evil as evil; the effort is directed to presenting evil as good. There is no coming forth with an open proclamation, “We are devils, in revolt against God and His Christ; join us in the insurrection!” —but the mischief is wrought by deception and personation, and by combinations of good and evil, which indicate the vast reach of the subtlety, which creates them. The politically useful is united with the theologically false. The corrupting idea is adorned with the most attractive beauty. Art in all its magical fascination is set to “face the garment of rebellion with some fine color.” The solemnities and sublimities of devotion are associated with the foulest misrepresentations of the character of God, as when the New Testament idea of the love, which “reconciled the world unto itself” is exchanged for the detestable paganism of the Roman doctrine of mediation and satisfaction. The humility and self-denial of the celibate priesthood are set forth to facilitate the enslavement of the world by their means. All that can attract the senses—incense, music, painting, sculpture, architecture, poetry, magnificent ceremonial—all that can enchant the imagination—is lavished to recommend creeds which contradict in their essential instructions the revelations of God.

     The same end is attained by the most diverse “devices.” The object, as we see, is reached at one time by idealism, at another by materialism; at one time by laxity and a cry of freedom, at another by an extravagant and cruel orthodoxy; at one time by despotism, at another by revolution; at one time by excessive puritanic strictness, at another by all the genialities of an “enlightened self-indulgence.” The power of darkness becomes at will Papist and Protestant, Christian and Heathen. Any religious forms, any philosophical speculations, any policy, any art, any literature, any civilization, any barbarism, you please, if Christ may be but set aside, or His truth caricatured, or Apostolic Scripture kept out of view, or the Gospel discredited, or its faithful teachers deprived of their moral power. Nay, in an age of positive philosophy, when “Christianity is worn out through its own contentions,” you, shall have a brand-new revelation of “Christian spiritualism” from heaven itself, or at least from “the air,” with “miracles, and wonders, and signs,” and “holy ghosts” that can solve every mystery, and demonstrate the salvation of all men, against the express and ever-recurring declarations of the apostles and prophets that the unrighteous shall “perish:” a “revelation” which shall finally put an end to that black old legend of the “devil and his angels,” by making known, through table-rapping, their non-existence! “Evil men and go>htev, sorcerers, wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”

     4. This brings us to the last characteristic of the Scripture doctrine of Satanic agency. We are warned by the apostles and prophets of Christ to expect a series of pretended revelations adapted to successive ages, with a view of obscuring the revelation of God. “In the last days some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and teachings of demons speaking lies in hypocrisy (daimoni>wn ejn uJpokri>sei yeudolo>gwn), forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats.” “Then shall that lawless one be revealed, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and lying wonders, and all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish.” “For this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe the false, that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (1 Timothy 4:1, 2: 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).

     Protestants of all ages have commonly thought that these predictions have received at least one signal accomplishment in the history of post-Nicene and mediaeval Christianity. I see no reason to question the application, especially since the Apocalypse assigns a local centre to the spiritual apostasy of Christendom on, “seven hills” (Revelation xvii.), on which stood, in John’s time, the great City which “reigned over the kings of the earth.” But be that as it may, the lesson is obvious: the Devil in Scripture is described as an eminent inspirer of false revelations, which come with the force of demonic delusion, of “new truth,” and “timely aid,” from Heaven to men who have grown weary of the “words of God.” In such revelations to Christendom he will doubtless maintain his character for generalship, as well as for piety. Evil is not all black; for it is one of the devices of evil to lead men to think falsely that Satanas is nowhere without the odor of brimstone. As a matter of fact, evil wears a coat of many colors, and dresses in the philosopher’s cloak, as well as in the richest ecclesiastical costume. Bad tendencies are not pushed to open excess. Much shining goodness is tolerated, and even encouraged, so long as it is used to support what is distinctly anti-Christian. Thus we see the world covered with the ruins of religions and philosophies, which have each in their day been an improvement on worn-out superstitions. Laoutzeism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Brahminism, Mohammedanism, Romanism, political Protestantism, Positivism, Germanic Idealism, Mormonism, the modern spiritualistic Sorcery, (with its signally inconsistent denial of the Scripture doctrine on infernal spirits), —have not these all alike been works of art adapted to “deceive the nations” into rejecting true Christianity? Evil could not pass into currency except it were gilded. Falsehood must glitter; chastity must be sublimed into asceticism; music almost divine must enchant the ear; “a fair show in the flesh” must be made, even if the interior were “dead men’s bones and all uncleanness.”

     “Let Christ, the King of Israel, come down from the cross, and we will believe in Him! That is the cry of superstition and of “free thought,” now as of old. If you will but abandon the doctrine of the Cross, “the power of God unto salvation,” you are welcome to the crucifix, and even to self-crucifixion. If you will but give up praying “in the Spirit,” you may have beads, Paternosters, and Aves innumerable. If you will but set aside the truth on man’s justification exclusively in Christ, you are welcome to a distorted doctrine of sanctification by the Sacraments. If you will but nullify by criticism and free-handling the truth on Atonement, you may retain all the rest of Christianity, and pass for liberal Christians, without hindrance from the chief enemy of Christ. And thus it has come to pass that the “veil is spread,” the darkness thickens, and the unwary are beguiled on every side. So long as God is kept out of men’s hearts, they are welcome to become civilized, devout, liberal, broad, enlightened, —what you please; only let “the Prince of this world blind the minds of them that believe not,”—for then, since their “religion” (qrhskei>a) must needs be only a form, and not godliness (eujse>beia), their destruction is sure.

     If these things were so, we can comprehend the urgency of Paul’s exhortation that, in resisting this crafty and malignant Power, we should take the “panoply of God,” and specially wield “the sword of the Spirit, which is the Divine Word.” It is, as in Christ’s temptation, this which alone avails against all craft and force, while we pray, “Deliver us from the Evil One!”"

 

CHAPTER 13

THE PATRIARCHAL DOCTRINE ON A FUTURE STATE

Section I. Animal Sacrifice

Section II. Indications of patriarchal Faith

In a Future Life by Resurrection

     THE object proposed in this and the three following chapters is to trace the gradual development of the truth of redemption from death up till the time of the Incarnation. The first topic, which occurs in this historical order, is that of Animal Sacrifice. It has been argued with probability, from the divine sanction given to sacrifice in the patriarchal ages, that it was originally of divine appointment, and was instituted immediately after the expulsion from Paradise, as part of the worship of the exiled sinners. The skins with which “the Lord clothed” the fallen pair after their transgression, in merciful concealment of their shame, and in symbolic representation of the righteousness reckoned on repentance, are reasonably enough thought to have belonged to animals which they were instructed to offer up as emblems of the “propitiation” to be revealed in future times. * See Pye Smith and Hengstenberg, on Sacrifice, and Graves on the Pentateuch.

     Whether sacrifice was of early or subsequent appointment, it was certainly afterwards divinely sanctioned. The question, then, arises, what were the ideas conveyed to the minds of the sacrifices, in the rite of putting to death an animal, by the shedding of its blood, and then of committing its body to the flames? — The answer maybe given in the language of Dr. Pye Smith. He says,

“The modern Jews, though their aversion to Christianity has led them, in various important points, to abandon the theology of their ancestors, have recognized statements on this subject, which we may justly deem concessions One of their most learned writers, Isaac Abravanel, says, "The blood of the offer deserved to be shed, and his body to be burned, for his sin: only the mercy of the Divine Name accepted this offering from him as a substitute, and propitiation, whose blood should be shed instead of his blood, and its life instead of his life. * Could it have been difficult to perceive the meaning of this significant action? Or was it possible for a serious and thinking mind to avoid recognizing and deeply feeling principles such as these? — That sin is an offence against the blessed God; that the essential righteousness of JEHOVAH renders it necessary that sin should be punished; — hat death, in all its tremendous meaning and extent, is the proper punishment of sin; — that the sinner is totally unable, by any power or resources of his own, to escape the punishment due to his offences; yet that God is full of mercy, and graciously willing to pardon the guilty offender; — that the way of pardon is through the substitution an sufferings of a peculiar victim; — and that, on the part of the suitor for pardoning mercy, there must be such a proprietorship in the victim as to create a beneficiary interest; and such a moral disposition as cordially acquiesces in the punitive acts of Divine justice” (On Sacrifice).

     * This great Rabbi says (Summary of the Faith, chapter 24), “The wicked in their lifetime are called dead, and their soul is to be destroyed with the ignominy of the body, and will not have immortality.” David Kimchi taught the same doctrine. See his comment on Psalm 1, see also the Supplement to chapter 17 post, on the doctrines of the Talmud.

     From these representations it will appear that the object of sacrifice was to set forth the punishment due to sin, the punishment of death. In this statement every reader of the Scripture will concur.

      But then the inquiry is naturally suggested, If death, in the case of Adam, signified the dissolution of his compound nature, and after that, the infliction of everlasting suffering upon his soul in hell (a definition which assuredly fixes our attention upon the fate of the spirit; a fate, in comparison of which the mortality of the body was a circumstance unworthy of regard), how could the simple death of an animal, the shedding of its blood, which was the extinction of “the life thereof,” convey to his mind the idea of such a destiny? He was not commanded to inflict on the unoffending creature a series of prolonged tortures; much less was he directed to contemplate the condition of its, “spirit” when the life was gone; but he was ordered to slay it, to kill it, to destroy it, to put it to death. † How, with any semblance of truth, could it have been said to him, “This is death:” “the desert of punishment:” if the dissolution of the living animal, the taking away of its life—which surely could typify nothing but a death which was destruction—was but the faint emblem of one portion of the complicated curse, and that the most insignificant portion of it? This consideration seems to support the inference that the death of the lamb offered in sacrifice was a true representation of death, the “proper punishment of sin,” “in all its tremendous meaning and extent,” — of that death which was threatened to Adam in the original curse. Thus regarded, the immolation of an animal, the taking away of its life, would portray for all ages the execution of the sentence under which mankind lay — death, like that of the “beasts which perish:” — a loss of life, and of the prospect of immortality. Nothing could more vividly set forth the holiness, and, at the same time, the mercy of God, than the dramatic representation of such truths as these; — that man by refusing to lead a divine life in holy obedience to the living God, had justly incurred the doom of the animal creation; — that it was infinite goodness alone which withheld the stroke from man; — that he could hope for restoration to life eternal only through the sacrifice of One who, through death, should abolish death, and bring immortality to light) — and that a final rejection of the remedy offered left them still liable to the penalty, but aggravated by the guilt of trampling under foot the mercy of God displayed in the supervening redemption. † See Petavel, Struggle for Eternal Life, pages 68, 69.

     Interpreted by these ideas, the history of typical sacrifices receives a forcible illustration. We learn to trace in the numberless effusions of blood, practiced under the two ancient dispensations, an easily understood testimony to the desert of sin The soul that sins it shall die. We see a vivid image of that “curse of the law” under which men are born, the dissolution, or breaking up, of humanity.

     These considerations lead us to conclude, that the preceding representations concerning the result of the Fall of Man are therefore correct.

 

SECTION 2

      Indications Of Faith In A Future Life, Among The Patriarchs

     From the beginning of the world mankind has existed under a dispensation of mercy, having for its object to bestow in a higher form the “eternal life” from which Adam was excluded by transgression. “At sundry times and in divers manners” this hope of recovering the lost paradise has been made known to men; and hence none can rightly understand the earlier portions of the Old Testament who thinks that such a hope was hidden from the patriarchs. Nevertheless the opposite opinion has widely obtained, and it is still common to hear it laid down that the ancient fathers either knew nothing at all of a future world, or held ideas respecting it so dim and uncertain that their faith resembled a flickering candle-flame rather than a steady watch-fire.

     The origin of this opinion is easily perceived. It has become in modern times an established canon, that whenever a nation believes in a future world, they will found that belief on the immortality of the soul, and will accordingly expect eternal blessedness for the good and eternal suffering for the evil. So deeply is this habit of thought infixed in modern readers, that when they do not find both of these last-mentioned expectations clearly expressed, they at once doubt the reality of the belief in either.

     When men do not find the doctrine of eternal suffering in a historical record of faith they are unable to recognize the doctrine of eternal life. Thus it has fared with the Old Testament, and especially with the books of Moses; not only in our own age, but in the days of the Sadducees, whose error, as will be suggested hereafter, was a natural reaction from the opposite psychology of the Pharisees.

     One of the first phenomena which draws attention in the Pentateuch is the omission, both in the historical and perceptive portions of it, of any mention of the immortality of the soul. If this view of man’s nature be true in our time, it was true from the beginning, and true in the time of Moses. And if it he as important as it is supposed to be now, * it was equally important then. Yet no single indication of it is discoverable in the writings of Moses. The prophet who had opened his book on the Genesis of the world by an explicit reference to a lost prospect of “living forever” (“lest he take of the tree of life and eat and live forever “), — showing thereby that his mind had revolved the conception of Immortality, preserves an unbroken silence in every after-page on that immortality of the soul which carries with it, if true, an eternity of being, independent of the “word which endured.” There is but one tolerable explanation of this silence. Moses was withheld by divine control from teaching what was not true; a doctrine, which was radically opposed, to the fundamental facts of man’s sin and mortality, on which Redemption proceeds.

* See, for an example of the zeal of its modern believers, Mr. Darby’s treatises on Immortality and Punishment, and Canon Garbett’s repent papers in the Christian Observer.

     If the immortality of the soul had been a truth, it was not only in itself a truth of transcendent moment, but one to be published and enforced, as in all ages, so especially in the earlier generations of men, and under the preparatory dispensations. But of an eternal soul Moses seems to know nothing, and is so persistently silent on the innate and intrinsic dignity of man as a “coeval of God” that many readers have even imagined that he lived and died altogether without faith in the soul as a spirit, utterly disbelieving in a life to come. This they have imagined of a man who was “learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians,” with whom the life to come, and the resurrection of the dead, were the grand interests of the life that now is, with kings, and priests, and people: as is proved by the sculptures and paintings on their tombs, and by the mummies still waiting “the awakening” in the soil of Egypt. Strange, if all that such a man, thus trained, learned by close communion with the Eternal God, was to deny these immortal hopes for the righteous, which burned even in the ashes of the worshippers of Anion and of Phtha. Strange, if Moses believed in a final extinction in death for Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, — when under every Pyramid beside the Nile there lay a royal slumberer, however evil, who was embalmed in sweet odors with “a hope full of immortality.” In such a case there would have been a new reason for the “great mourning of the Egyptians in the floor of Atad “when they bore to his long home in Hebron the patriarch who had died, as Moses thought, without a soul, and without a future! Well may they have sympathized with Joseph in the loss of a father who, in his belief, had relapsed into eternal nothingness.

     But such fancies receive no sanction from the Mosaic writings. They teach indeed no doctrine of the immortality of the soul; but they teach the reality of a life to come in conformity with all other parts of the Old Testament.

     1. The fate of Abel suggests a clear inference of the reality of some future reward for good men, and so may well be thought to have directed the minds of the earliest men to that conclusion.

“For consider,” says Dean Graves, “what would have been the effect of this tragic event upon every human being, if they conceived death to be a final annihilation. He perished in consequence of his acting in a manner conformable to the will and acceptable in the sight of God. To conceive that a just and merciful God should openly approve the sacrifice of Abel, and yet punish him, by permitting him, in consequence of that very action, to suffer a cruel death, which put a final period to his existence, while his murderer, whom the same God openly condemned, was yet permitted to live; all this is so monstrous, so contradictory to the divine attributes, as to prove beyond the possibility of doubt, that this event was allowed to take place, partly at least, in order to show that death was not a final extinction of being.”

     2. The translation of Enoch, the antediluvian prophet, must be regarded similarly as a designed instruction on the part of Moses respecting the blessed destiny of the righteous. We read, “And Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24). The alternatives in interpretation are that we understand here bodily translation to heaven, or a death, which was followed by a rest in God for the spirit. If the former, there was a public indication of future blessedness for the integral humanity — involving a “resurrection” or a “change” of the physical manhood. If the latter (as some modern critics suppose, on insufficient grounds), still the “taking” by God was evidence of an eternal home with Him. But it is better to abide by the comment of the author to the Epistle to the Hebrews (11:5), that “Enoch was translated that he should not see death,” a comment which carries with it the authority of the apostles and companions of the Son of God, to whom Elijah had “appeared in glory” at the transfiguration — (Luke 9:30) —after nearly a thousand years” residence in the skies.

     3. “The next circumstance I shall notice,” proceeds Graves, “in the history of the Patriarchs, is the command of God to sacrifice Isaac. As to the purport and object of this command, I adopt the opinion of Warburton, who with equal ingenuity and truth has proved, that when God says to Abraham, "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love," etc. (Genesis 22:2), the command is merely an information by action, instead of words, of the great sacrifice of Christ for the redemption of mankind, given at the earnest request of Abraham, who longed impatiently "to see Christ’s day;" and is that passage of sacred history referred to by our Lord, when conversing with the unbelieving Jews (John 8). Of the principal reason of this command, the words of Christ are a convincing proof. Nay, I might say that this is not the only place where the true reason for it is plainly hinted at. The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, speaking of this very command, says, “By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac: accounting that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead; from whence also he received him in a figure,” ejn parabolh~, in a parable; a mode of information, either by words or actions, which consists in putting one thing for another. Now in a writer who regarded this commanded action as representative information of the redemption of mankind, nothing can be more easy than this expression. For though Abraham did not indeed receive Isaac restored to (life after a real dissolution, yet the son being in this action to represent Christ suffering death, for the sins of the world, when the father brought him safe from Mount Moriah, after three days, daring which he was in a state of condemnation to death, the father plainly received him under the character of Christ’s representative as restored from the dead. For as his being brought to the mount, there bound, and laid upon the altar, figured the death and sufferings of Christ, so his being taken from thence alive, as properly signified and figured Christ’s resurrection from the dead. With the highest propriety, therefore, might Abraham be said to receive Isaac from the dead in a parable or representation.”

     If we may adopt this explanation of the history, the doctrine of a resurrection to life must have been known to Abraham and Isaac, as well as to their families. Doubtless, then, as now, the truth was best apprehended by spiritual minds; and may have been called in question by the Sadducees of the period; but this circumstance by no means diminishes the reality of the “expectation” on the part of holy men of old.

     The answer of Jacob to the Egyptian monarch, in which, when questioned as to his years, he denominates his life a pilgrimage, indicates, as is argued in the Epistle to the Hebrews, a distant aim of the weary traveler, beyond the limits of the present state. “The days of the years of my pilgrimage are an hundred and thirty years: few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, and have not attained unto the days of the years of the life of my forefathers in the days of their pilgrimage.” “Now they that say such things, declare plainly that they seek a country.”

     That the hopes of the patriarchs in a life to come were founded upon an expectation of a resurrection may be solidly inferred from the following premises.

     4. The belief in resurrection to eternal life was thoroughly established among the spiritual part of the Jewish nation, both in Palestine and throughout the world, at the time of Christ’s advent. We discover several traces of this in the gospel histories; and the book of the Acts of the Apostles contains no intimation that they were then compelled to promulgate the doctrine for the first time amongst the people of Israel. The language of Martha, in reply to Christ’s assurance of the resurrection of her brother, illustrates this point; I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Now from this it may be soundly inferred that the belief in the resurrection to eternal life was of primeval antiquity. It is not infrequently said that this and many other less wholesome beliefs came in at the time of the Captivity. Doubtless there was then an importation of some philosophical notions from the Oriental world. But if we are to listen to certain recent critics, we might that the whole of the Old Testament dispensation was invented at the time of the Captivity, by the aid of the Chaldees and Persians. No epoch, however, can be assigned for the commencement of belief in resurrection among the Hebrews with any semblance of probability. In the books of the Maccabees, and of Enoch, there are clear records of faith in a “better resurrection,” in view of which the martyrs of Antiochus Epiphanes sacrificed their lives for their religion.

     In the book of Daniel (12:2) there is an explicit declaration of the “awakening” of the righteous from the, “sleep in the dust of the earth,” — and an angelic promise to Daniel that he should, ”stand up in his lot at the end of the days.” In the book of Ezekiel the restoration of Israel is described under the pictorial parable of the resurrection of the dry bones, showing that both the prophet and his readers were at least familiar with the conception of such an event.

     5. We thus reach the times of the prophets. But who will suppose that Daniel was acquainted with a resurrection of which Jeremiah was ignorant, of which Isaiah was ignorant, Isaiah who sings, “Your dead shall live, my dead bodies shall arise” (chapter 26:19)? To imagine that so stupendous an expectation was raised in the Hebrew mind by contact with the Babylonians or Persians is entirely to misconceive the genesis of thought in ancient times. Their old taskmasters the Egyptians could have taught them the doctrine of the resurrection, ages before the Captivity, if they had required the instruction. But the sons of Abraham stood in no need of pagan tutelage on the main hope of righteous men. Elisha’s bones miraculously caused the resurrection of the dead man who was placed in his sepulcher, indicating that those bones were very full of a “lively hope” of rising again for themselves. Elijah’s translation to Heaven was a presage of immortal glory for all who faithfully served the same Lord. David himself spoke of his “flesh resting in hope, because God would not leave his soul in sheol, nor suffer his holy one to see corruption.” We thus reach the eleventh century before Christ.

     At every step backwards in time we learn the primitive antiquity of these ideas; the truth of the statement of the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, —who at least as a learned Jewish Christian (Apollos?) was an important witness to the immemorial antiquity of the natural belief, — that the patriarchs “all died in faith,” “looking for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God” (Hebrews xi. 10). The whole of that wonderful chapter is an elaborate assertion of the “faith” of the earliest fathers in a future eternal life for the saints, and in a resurrection from the dead. In no single instance is this faith described as reposing on a belief in natural immortality. It was traced to the purpose of God in redemption, and not once in any Old Testament writing is reasoned out on the lines of Plato’s argument from pre-existence, or from any Pharisaic presumption of natural eternity. It is the whole man who shall live again, and therefore, it is, as is reasoned by the Highest Authority, that the declaration of God to Moses that he was “the God of Abraham,” four hundred years after his death, proves the resurrection, against the Sadducees; since the departed spirit was not the veritable Abraham, but only one element in the constitution of him who slept in Machpelah. The argument is that God would not declare Himself the God of a dead man, unless he had predestined his revival. Though dead, they “all live to Him,” who are to rise to the life immortal. And if Abraham’s resurrection after his death was so certain from the relationship of a God borne to him by His Heavenly Guardian, it is unquestionable that during his lifetime it must have seemed equally certain to himself; since the Eternal Being who appeared to him by night, and said, “I am your Shield, and exceeding great shall be your reward,” would not have mocked him, if an ephemeron, with the pretence of His “friendship,” but must have taught him to confide in His endless Love.

     The expectation of the old fathers of an everlasting inheritance must be distinguished from an understanding on their part of the method of redemption. A ray of Divine Mercy shone upon them. The detailed explication of that mercy, by the opening and unfolding of the Sunbeam of truth in the spectrum of the New Testament revelation, was with held. Christ, in the purpose of God, was the life of the world, from the day of Adam’s sin; but His coming was only dimly foreseen by the saints of old times, and the method of Ills work was wholly unknown. “The prophets inquired and searched diligently, searching what things, or what manner of times, the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed that not unto themselves, but unto us, they did minister the things which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven” (1 Peter 1:10-12).

 

CHAPTER 14

ON THE DEATH-PENALTY OF THE MOSAIC LAW

     THE nature of the death penalty of the Law of Moses becomes a question of vast moment under the present discussion. The Law of Moses was the law of God, “which entered that the offence might abound;” that sin, by the commandment, might become exceeding sinful” (Romans 5:20; 7:13). St. Paul and the other apostles treat this as a root principle of the gospel theology. The Mosaic Law was not an institute of human origin, seeking only temporal ends for the Jewish race. It was a Divine Economy the Ruler and Moral Governor of the Universe condescended to come down and reign over Israel, and in attestation of His righteousness He gave them a law “holy, just, and good” (Romans 7:12)—a, “spiritual law” (Romans 7:14), requiring not only outward obedience, but inward purity of motive, an obedience springing from loyalty to God. This law was designed to exhibit the sinfulness of man, and thus to be a, “schoolmaster to bring him to Christ: Sin was to be shown forth in its unfilial disloyalty, in its anti-social and criminal mischievousness towards other men, and in its danger as bringing penalty upon the sinner. The law was the Praeparatio Evangelic.

      It follows from this that the penalty denounced in the Mosaic Law represents the punishment of sin under the moral law of God. If that penalty be eternal suffering of either body or soul, or both, — here is the place where that penalty ought to appear on every page. Sinners might then have learned from Moses of the doom from which they are redeemed by Christ.

     But there is not in the Law of Moses a sentence, a line, a single syllable, not even a letter, which by any ingenuity of perverse criticism can fairly be made to convey the idea of a threatened eternity of suffering. This is generally acknowledged.

     The Jews themselves have never pretended to derive from the Mosaic Law a defense of the doctrine that eternal suffering is the legal punishment of sin. The greatest of the modern Rabbi, Maimonides, Abravanel, Kimchi, Bechai, with one voice teach that the punishment of impenitent sinners is literal and absolute extermination at the last judgment, and they represent this as the tradition of the Jewish Church in interpreting the law. The absence of the doctrine of eternal suffering from the law is decisive proof that modern men have misinterpreted the Revelation, by foisting into it the philosophic doctrine of natural immortality, thus compelling Scripture to utter a language not its own.

     The penalty of the Law is DEATH — death inflicted in various modes, sometimes with “greater plagues, and of long continuance,” preceding it, sometimes with less, — but the characteristic curse of the law is always capital punishment, — loss of life, excision or cutting off, utter destruction, perishing, being blotted out from under heaven. “He that despised Moses” law died without merry, under two or three witnesses” (Hebrews 10:28).

     Eleven offences are mentioned in the law as liable to the punishment of death (twm); — Striking a parent, Blasphemy, Sabbath-breaking, Witchcraft, Adultery, Unchastely previous to marriage, or in a betrothed woman, Rape, Incest, Man-stealing, Idolatry, False witness. * See on this special point, and on the subject of the death penalty, the careful article on Punishments in Smith’s Biblical Dictionary, by Revelation H. W. Philpot, M.A.

     In other passages of the law, karat (trK; ejxoloqreu>w 70) or cutting off is allotted to thirty-six offences. An attempt has been made to affix the lighter meaning of excommunication to this penalty in some instances; but it is unlikely, as Ewalda urges, that a clearly annexed penalty would signify some light punishment in one case, and capital punishment in others. In the majority of the thirty-six laws the punishment is unquestionably capital. Nearly all commentators, Jewish and Gentile, have agreed that the death penalty is designed by karat. It was attached to un-circumcision, to fifteen cases of incest, neglect of the Passover, Sabbath-breaking, neglect of atonement-day, work done on that day, offering children to Moloch, witchcraft, anointing a foreigner with holy oil, eating leavened bread during the Passover, eating fat of sacrifices, eating blood, eating sacrifices while unclean, offering too late, making holy ointment for private use, making holy perfume for private use, neglect of purification in general, not bringing an offering after slaying a beast for food, not slaying an animal at the door of the tabernacle, touching holy things illegally.

     The penalty of death for sin was thus brought home to every man’s door, and brought near to all the concerns of common life. Any sin partaking of the nature of willful contempt or profanity, however seemingly trivial in form, was treated as a treasonable offence against the Majesty on High, and was punishable by karat, i.e., death, by Stoning (Exodus 17:4), or Hanging (Numbers 25:4), or Burning (Leviticus 21:9), or by the Sword or Spear (Exodus 19:13), or by Strangling.

     The person or thing devoted to utter destruction, “accursed” under the law, is called in the Mosaic writings srt, cherem, translated by the Greek ana>qema, anathema. The Hebrew word is derived from a verb signifying (1) primarily to shut up, or devote, and (2) to exterminate or root out of life or being.

     Idolatrous nations marked out for destruction by the decree of Jehovah were made Anathema. The extermination, being the result of a positive command, was applied to the destruction of men alone (Deuteronomy 20:13), of men, women, and children (Deuteronomy 2:34), of all living creatures (Deuteronomy 20:16), and to whatever objects could be burned with fire (Joshua 6:26). The word used in the Greek version of the 70 to denote srj, charam, is ejxoloqreu>w. The use of this term by Peter (Acts 3:23), “It shall come to pass that every soul which shall not hear this prophet shall be destroyed from among the people” (ejxoloqreuqh>setai), shows that the punishment of rejecting Christ is karat or the anathema, — extermination, under, “sorer infliction.”

     It is further to be observed that all the terms used in the Law of Moses in illustration of the meaning of the death penalty, which was the generic “curse of the law,” signify the same idea; and in no case look forward to the infliction of suffering on a being living forever; and this notwithstanding there is a wide difference in the intensity and duration of the positive inflictions of suffering, by which the ultimate destruction, or extermination, was to be wrought.

     The Law denounces this capital punishment not only on individual offenders, but on the mass of the Hebrew nation, in case of their disobedience. In chapter 26 of the book of Leviticus, and in chapters 28 and 29 of Deuteronomy, there is a perfect thunder burst of anathemas pronounced against all who in future ages should disobey the divine law. An examination of these threatening will bring out even more clearly into view the penalty of Sin under that dispensation, which was given to make known its “exceeding sinfulness,” and its “wages.”

     In Leviticus 26 occur such threatening as these:

“If you will not hearken unto me... I will also do this unto you; if you shall despise my statutes or if your soul abhor my judgments, I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning ague, that shall consume the eyes and cause sorrow of heart... and I will set my face against you and you shall be slain before your enemies. And if you walk contrary to me I will bring seven times more plagues upon you according to your sins; I will also send wild beasts among you, which shall rob you of your children, and destroy your cattle, and make you few in number, and your highways shall be desolate. And I will send the pestilence among you to avenge the quarrel of my covenant, and I, even I, will chastise you seven times for your sins. And I will destroy your high places, and cut down your images, and cast your carcasses, upon the carcasses of your idols, and my soul shall abhor you. And you shall have no power to stand before your enemies, and you shall perish among the heathen, and the land of your enemies shall eat you up.”

     In Deuteronomy 27, xxviii, and 29 there is a still more direful catalogue of curses denounced upon apostates and rebels. The Curses were to be denounced from Mount Ebal as soon as they entered Palestine, to hang like thunderclouds of death over the nation in every succeeding generation.

“But if you will not hearken to the voice of the Lord your God, all these curses shall come upon you. The Lord shall send upon you cursing, vexation, and rebuke, in all that you set your hand unto for to do, until you be destroyed, and until you perish quickly The Lord shall make the pestilence cleave to you until he have consumed you from off the land. The Lord shall smite you with blasting, and mildew, and fever, and inflammation, and extreme burning, and they shall pursue you until you perish. And the Lord shall make the rain of your land powder and dust, it shall come down upon you until you be destroyed. The Lord will make your plagues, wonderful, even great plagues and of long continuance, and sore sicknesses and of long continuance. And every sickness and every plague, which is not written in this book of the law them will the Lord bring upon you until you, be destroyed. And it shrill come to pass that as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good and to multiply you, so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you and to bring, you to naught, to exterminate you.”

     Such are the awful variations on the original theme in the revelation of judgment according to the law. The sinners were to be consumed out of the earth, to be exterminated after plagues of long continuance, to die, to perish utterly, to be slain, to be cut off, to be destroyed, to be brought to naught.

     There is not a word of the indestructible life of a sinner, or of the endless suffering due for sin; it is always, and everywhere, the soul that sins it shall die.

     If it be replied, These were temporal punishments, and related only to men’s state in time, the answer is obvious: the Law was given to manifest sin, and its danger, both for time and eternity; and the time when actions are done is of no account in relation to the moral government of God. Sin was “exceeding sinful” then as now. It was here, if anywhere, that the “wages of sin” should have been plainly declared, and they are declared in language, which uniformly signifies the infliction of suffering ending in death. It is to us inconceivable that if God were dealing with immortal beings and exhibiting to them the “due reward of their deeds,” that reward being, in part, impending everlasting misery, He would have commissioned Moses His servant to speak of no punishment except one, which signifies extermination of the offender. It seems to be the extreme of perverseness to assert either that the language of the law means in genre anything else than destruction, or that, meaning this, there was yet hidden behind it, in the purpose of God, an eternity of misery of which not a syllable is spoken to warn men to escape it.

     Besides, if it be alleged that these threatening relate to time only, the main argument is abandoned. For the words used by Moses to denote, as is conceded, “temporal” destruction of life, are the fiery words used by the Apostles of Christ to denote the penalties of Gehenna; they employ the same terms death, destruction, perishing, utterly perishing, consumption, in their Greek equivalents, which Moses employs in the Hebrew of the law; and it is surely to make a large demand upon men to ask them to believe that such terms under one dispensation signify all that can be even imagined of utter and complete extermination; and, under the other, all that can be imagined of indestructible being, and endless misery.

     We possess, however, a comment on the threatening of death, the characteristic Curse of the Law of Moses, from the pen of the greatest Apostle of the Gospel, — and that comment seems to be so explicit as to leave not an inch of ground on which to found the prevailing interpretation.

     In the Epistle to the Roman Church Paul has occasion to speak largely of the Law and its Curse. This curse he says is death: and he traces it up to the first sin of humanity in paradise. By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, in him in whom all sinned (or, for that all sinned). This death he identifies, in the subsequent verses of this fifth chapter, with the curse of the law, which “entered that the offence might abound:” but “where sin abounded grace did much more abound, that as sin has reigned unto death, so might grace reign.”

     This death he traces in its action through the following (sixth) chapter, ending with the sentence, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life” (verse 23).

     Then in chapter 7 He carries on the argument on the function of the Law to convince of sin, not to save, showing that it brings men under condemnation to death, and cannot give life eternal. But here (as has been shown in a previous page) he uses a word in explication of the death dealing action of the law, which fixes the signification. He says the commandment (law) “ordained to life I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me, “—di” aujthv ajpe>kteinen. Now this Verb poktei>nein, to kill, is used as the explanation of death, an explanation inconsistent with the Augustinian idea of death, as endless misery. To kill is to take away life, and nothing else. And not here alone Paul employs it in exposition of the death, which is the curse of the law. In 2 Corinthians 3:6, he repeats it — to< ga<r gra>mma ajpokte>nnei, to< de< pneuma zwopoiei~, “The letter (or Law of Moses) kills, but the Spirit (the gospel) gives life.” As has been remarked already, if the supposed moral and figurative sense of death be the apostolic sense — if men were intended to understand by qanatov, death, eternal suffering in hell, then the synonymous word ajpoktei>nein, to kill, ought to be capable of similar treatment; and it ought to make sense to say that a sinner is killed and slain in the eternal miseries of hell. But not even Augustine, or Calvin, or Edwards have ventured to apply ajpoktei>nw in this signification; the violence of the perversion would have too plainly appeared.

     We conclude, therefore, that the death penalty of the Law of Moses signified the destruction of life, and that this is the curse, however varied in the details of infliction, from which the Divine Incarnate Life descends on earth to redeem mankind.

 

CHAPTER 15

THE DOCTRINE OF FUTURE REWARDS AND

PUNISHMENTS IN THE POETIC AND PROPHETIC BOOKS

OF THE OLD TESTAMENT

     1. The hope of eternal life in the Old Testament

     WHEN the law promises life to perfect obedience, we have the authority of Christ for believing that that life is eternal. “What good thing shall I do to inherit eternal life? You know the commandments. This do and you shall live.” But no law “could be given to man by which he should gain” eternal life, because his nature was degenerate, and the rule of justification by law demands that perfect obedience which man cannot render. By the law comes only the “knowledge of sin” and its penalty.

     But from the beginning of time sinful beings have been placed by divine mercy under a dispensation of reconciliation. Man, legally condemned to death, is “brought nigh.” Before the world Redemption was prepared in Christ, and through Him there has been a ministration of the Spirit in all ages, by which sinful men, “born again,” may be led to the hope of life eternal. The “gospel was preached to Abraham,” and to all the fathers who died in faith; not in full doctrinal form, but in power, so that every one who repented and turned to God in “every nation” was, for Christ’s sake, “accepted” of God; even though knowing little, or perhaps nothing at all, of the Savior. Christ Himself represents nothing greater than God. If, then, men believed in God, and by yielding to God’s Holy Spirit turned to Him, they were saved, from the beginning of the world. Thus millions innumerable were “prepared unto glory” in the ages before the advent of Christ. The Savior’s influence was felt long before His person was revealed. There was a long dawn before the sunrise. Accordingly we find in the Old Testament writings abundant evidence of a “hope full of immortality.”

     The writings of Moses comprise two revelations different as light and darkness. They comprise the elementary revelation of “grace,” and they comprise that “law” which entered in order to enforce and condemn the sin of man. In the same manner the remainder of the Old Testament scriptures of the prophets comprises a history of the working of the law, in stimulating and bringing to the surface the, “sinfulness of sin,” in the chronic rebellion of the Hebrew nation; and they also comprise manifold indications of the working of grace in the hearts of men of good will.

     It is also to be considered that the entrance of Redemption, with promises of pardon and eternal life, had indefinitely aggravated the sin of impenitence, as against God. Of those “to whom much is given more will be justly demanded.” Hence there is not only that death which is the hereditary curse on the descendants of the first sinner, and the due reward of law-breaking in his descendants, but also the “judgment” demanded by the rejection of mercy, on “a hard and impenitent heart.” In the Old Testament writings we discover indications both of the hope of the righteous, and fear of the ungodly. These we now proceed briefly to collect and interpret.

     The institution of Sacrifice by divine authority carries with it a promise of life to penitent men. What means sacrifice, if not that God, the judge who condemns man to death for sin, has found some ransom by which He can restore His “banished ones”? The hope of restoration to Paradise and the Tree of Life dawned upon men from the hour of the exile. Our first parents were “driven out” with a whisper of promise in their hearts, that “the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head.” Adam called his wife’s name Havvah, Life, because she was the Mother of all living; for “being high priest that same year he prophesied,” without knowing it, that the woman’s Son should “abolish death, and bring life and incorruption to light by the gospel.”

      At the gates of Eden were “made to dwell the Cherubim, and a revolving flame to keep the way of the Tree of Life,” words which receive some explication when we perceive in these cherubs emblems of man’s dominion as lord of the living creation. They are found in the tabernacle, upon the throne of grace, within the veil, even in that Holy of Holies which represented the lost Paradise; where were the “propitiatory,” and “the pot of manna” which symbolized the bread of life eternal, and “Aaron’s rod” that blossomed with life out of death; mysteries setting forth the work and victory of that “Man Christ Jesus” who should sit “down on the throne of God;” because all things, “should be made subject unto Him;” who should “give His flesh” as the bread of God, the celestial manna, “for the life of the world:” discharging the priesthood of the everlasting covenant under which man, though dead, lives again, and forever.

     When, then, the servants of God “went into His sanctuary,” as Asaph confesses in Psalm 73, “then understood they” the “end,” or future destinies of men (acharith). They understood the eternal life of the saints; they meditated upon the sacrifices of blood, the holy candlestick, the golden altar of acceptable prayer, the hidden oracle of the Holiest, the type of the lost Paradise, into which “once a year” Man already entered; —and they broke forth in songs of praise to the Living God.

“You shall guide me with Your counsel

And afterwards receive me to glory.

Who have I in heaven but You?

And there is none upon earth that I desire beside You.

My flesh and my heart fails,

But God is the strength of my

Heart, and my portion forever!“

     If the heart of one devout man under the old dispensation can be distinctly proved to have burned with these immortal hopes, we may be assured that it was the common hope of them all. Such expectations cannot be the idiosyncrasies of a select few among the saints. The soul’s love to the Eternal carried with it the prevision of Immortality: and everything around assured their hearts that if God would “dwell with men upon earth,” it could not be that He night simply watch His servants dying like insects around Him from age to age. No: their faith in every generation led them to cry aloud to God, “You will make me full of joy with Your countenance.”

     “Of the Psalms, which express the familiar spiritual thoughts of saints and prophets during a thousand years, a large number give explicit utterance either to the hope of salvation from death, or to the expectation of the Coming of that Mighty King “in whom all nations should be blessed, and whose glory was connected with power over death.” *

      “* The following Psalms seem to be full of thoughts which would never have entered into the minds of men to whom death was a sleep that ended all. Psalms 1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 10, 16, 18, 23, 25, 27, 32, 34, 37, 39, 41, 49, 50, 51, 62, 72, 73, 84, 90, 91, 92, 95, 100, 119, 161, 129, 139, 145. Having quoted Mr. Spurgeon adversely in a previous page, I have the greater pleasure in recommending his elaborate work, The Treasury of David, as an extraordinary collection of valuable comments on the book of Psalms.

     “The reader who will study in this order these sublime odes of many writers ranging from the age of Moses (as Psalm 90) down to the Captivity, will find the conviction deepening upon him that of all groundless delusions of modern times one of the most groundless is that these “old fathers looked only for temporal promises.” They looked indeed, as we also should look, first of all to “inherit the earth, “ they looked for the coming of God’s King, and with him of God’s kingdom on the earth, that here “His will might be done as in heaven but their hopes extended infinitely beyond. They were not so far behind the materialistic Egyptians. Their “own God” was the Ever-living Creator, and while His gracious relation to them implied the gift of immortal life, their relation to Him implied the faith of it. “They looked for that city which has foundations.” Even the learned authors of the Unseen Universe have been seduced by Dean Stanley into the opinion that “although there are a few scattered passages which favor immortality, yet these are so few that we cannot err if we maintain that this doctrine was not brought to the mind of the Hebrews in the same way as was the Unity or God. Not from want of religion but from excess of religion was this void left in the Jewish mind. The future life was overlooked, overshadowed by the consciousness of the presence of God Himself.” Page 9.

     “But in no single instance do we discover in the book of Psalms, or in the poetical books, or in the book of collected Proverbs, or weighty sayings of the wise, or in the Prophets, the expression of the Socratic hope of eternal life, founded on man’s essential nature as eternal. The hope of life is restricted to righteous men, to the true servants of God. There is not one ray of hope of an eternal future, which shines on the head of a rebel in the Old Testament. The immortality of the nephesh was a speculation unknown to the saints and prophets. “All the wicked will He destroy.” “When the wicked spring as the grass, and all the workers of iniquity flourish, it is that they shall be destroyed forever.” That with them is the end of the ungodly. No man lives forever but in God. “Evil shall slay the wicked.”

     It cannot be insisted on too urgently that the hope of the Old Testament saints was a hope of Resurrection. They believed indeed more or less vividly in a survival of souls in Sheol or Hades, as we shall attempt to show in a future chapter, but that state was thought of as one of comparative torpor and incapacity. The main hope was that “in the flesh” they should see God. We have already adverted to a part of the evidence of this fact. A few points of interest now remain to be noted.

     The sixteenth Psalm expresses, a thousand years before Christ, this hope of God’s servants. “You will not leave my soul in Sheol, neither will You suffer Your holy one to see corruption. You will show me the path of life, and make me full of joy with Your countenance.” It is true that this promise made in a climate where corruption occurs before the “fourth day” (John 11) applies primarily to the resurrection of One who must therefore rise soon after death. But His resurrection carries with it the hope of all God’s servants.

     The prophet Isaiah (we shall assume with Dr. E. Hawkins the homogeneous authorship of the whole book bearing that name) has two remarkable passages expressing in the most distinct manner the faith of the Resurrection.

     In the celebrated 53rd chapter, which describes the sufferings of the “Servant of God,” “by whose stripes we are healed,” the following words occur:

     “When you shall make his soul (or nephesh) a sin-offering (sva) he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hands.”

     Here it is declared that after his life is poured out as a sin offering, he shall nevertheless “prolong it.” This can be only by a resurrection. Can it be that men who thus prophesy are destitute of faith in the resurrection? Do we not trace in these words the same hope that dwelt in David when he says of the same Savior, “My flesh shall rest in hope, because You will not leave my soul in Sheol, neither will You suffer Your Holy One to see corruption. You will show me the path of Life, and make me full of joy with Your countenance.” Either the Messiah is here, or the Hebrew believer is here. In either case there is a solid confidence in the resurrection of glory.

     The other passage of the Prophet Isaiah is in chapter 26:19:

“Your dead shall live;

My dead bodies shall arise

Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust,

For thy dew is as the dew of herbs.”

     Here the lot of the righteous is contrasted with that of their tyrants and oppressors, who are described as syapr, Rephaim, wicked ghosts:

“They are dead men! They shall not live! They are Rephaim! They shall not arise! You shall visit and destroy them, and make all their memory to perish.”

     Here again is language which expressly indicates the awakening of the just; and in the former passage, the forgiveness and glorification of the saints is ascribed to the Resurrection of the Servant of God. Daniel but re-echoed the faith of his predecessors when he said, “At that time many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, to life everlasting” (12:2).

II. Old Testament doctrine on the Future Punishment of the Wicked.

     It has been shown at the commencement of this chapter that Man, placed from the very epoch of the fall under two distinct systems of moral government, the law and the gospel, is subject to two distinct systems of penalty; the one, normal, congenital, and hereditary, as well as due for our own sins; the other incurred by persistent rebellion against the mercy of God. The death or destruction of earthly life is the curse of the Law, the Second Death in “Gehenna” is the curse of rejected redemption. These conclusions we gather in their clearest form from the Christian revelation; but the question arises whether the second order of penalty in “judgment to come” was known to the ancients, and if it were, in what measure of clearness.

     Those who are of opinion that all men are immortal, reading the Hebrew Scriptures with a predisposition to find the corresponding doctrine of eternal misery in every part, have found, or thought they found, this threatening in several passages of the prophets. Compelled to discover it only in language, which requires severe pressure to make it speak the sense of a “death, which never dies,” such critics have fastened with warmer zeal upon the few sentences, which, especially in the English version, seemed to be capable of the desired interpretation. Of these the chief must be noticed, even although criticism has long abandoned them as defenses of the article of eternal suffering. Dr. Horberry, one of the most strenuous and able asserters of this doctrine in the last century, admits (and it is a remarkable admission on the part of those who allow that men in ancient times stood in no less need of solemn warnings than to-day) that “the Old Testament has nothing so clear and express upon this subject as the New;” intending doubtless nothing so clear as he thought he found in the New; — but the following passage is cited in proof, even by many careful writers, and is used in popular discourse to this day without apparent suspicion of irrelevance.

     (1) The words of the Prophet Isaiah (chapter 33:14) are adduced by Dr. Jonathan Edwards in his Reply to Chauncy, chapter 5, as Old Testament evidence of endless misery: “The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness has surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”

     A correct translation is the first step to a true interpretation. Sir Edward Strachey gives the passage thus

The sinners in Zion are afraid: fearfulness has surprised the hypocrites. Who among us can abide the devouring fire? Who among us can abide perpetual burnings?” A slight attention to the context shows (as may be seen in the accessible commentaries, of very different pretensions, of Barnes, Delitzsch, and Gesenius) that the chapter whence these words are quoted refers to the desolating invasion of Palestine by the Assyrians. On this these commentators are all agreed. The cited words have not the most remote reference to future punishment; but refer to present punishment on earth. They represent the outcries of terrified sinners in Jerusalem, who rightly feared that the perpetual conflagrations of war, the devastations of fire and sword caused by the invader, would end in their destruction; for who, said they, can dwell in these perpetual burnings? In verse 10 the Lord thus addresses them: “Now will I arise; now will I be exalted. You conceive chaff and bring forth stubble, and my Spirit like fire shall consume you. And the people shall be burned as lime (crumble to dust), as thorns cut up shall they be consumed in the fire.” Then follows this text, quoted with an indifference to the sense of Scripture, which deserves severe reprobation, since such proceedings in hermeneutics are fatal to the honest study of theology. “Who among us can abide the devouring fire, who among us can abide perpetual burnings?” It is manifest that the fires of verse 14 are the same with those of verse 12, but they were the flames of war kindled in Palestine by the Assyrians, the effect of which could be withstood by the righteous, and by them alone; for they can dwell in these perpetual conflagrations. It is the wicked who cannot dwell in them. * Jewish History and Politics, page 435.

     (2) The second passage from the Old Testament cited in support of the doctrine of endless suffering is in chapter 66 of Isaiah’s prophesy, verse 24: — And they shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the men who have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched, and they shall be an abhorring to all flesh.”

     It is argued that, in Mark 9:50, our Lord Jesus Christ quotes the last two clauses in proof of the eternal sufferings of the wicked in hell, thus giving decisive evidence that such is the signification of the words in the original text. We deny both the premise and conclusion. Christ does not cite the words in proof of the “doctrine of eternal suffering.” He utters not a syllable to that effect. He warns His disciple to enter — into “life” halt or maimed, rather than, “having two hands or feet,” to be cast into the “eternal fire;” for He says “it is better that one of your members should perish, rather than that your whole body should be cast into Gehenna.” But what remains true is this, that our Lord’s citation of the passage from Isaiah in reference to future punishment sanctions the belief that the passage, as it stands in Isaiah, bears the same reference; to judgment, in fact, inflicted on God’s enemies during the kingdom of Christ. The nature of the punishment is a “miserable destruction,” as appears from the following considerations:

     1. The condition of the victims of divine vengeance is expressed by the word carcasses. “They shall go forth and look upon the (syrgp, pegarim) dead corpses (so the same word is rendered in the account of the slaughter of the 175,000 Assyrians — 2 Kings 19:35) — of the men who have transgressed against me.” “In the morning they were all dead corpses,” pegarim. The persons referred to are dead. Their life is destroyed.

     2. The attempted figurative sense given to the “undying worm,” as an ever-gnawing Conscience, can be imposed on the clause only by taking the word die in the sense of literal death. “Their worm shall not die,” signifies their worm shall not cease to be. The addition of a negative does not alter the signification of a verb. Thus the prevailing argument that death stands for eternal suffering can be made out from this passage only by taking the word die in the natural sense of ceasing to live, that is to say, the sense which we suppose to be the general sense is taken here for the true meaning, because when so taken, with a negative, the passage can he made to speak of eternal suffering.

     3. Our Savior has fixed the signification of living and perishing in the context of Mark ix, by drawing the contrast, “It were good that one of your members should perish, and not that your whole body should be cast into Gehenna,” the effect of which is that it also would “perish.” Now the “perishing of one member,” by cutting it of, is for it to be deprived of life, not to expose it to endless misery. Therefore the perishing of the whole body results in similar destruction. And therefore, also, the persons whose “worm shall not die” are those who have been reduced to pegarim, dead corpses, as we read in the prophecy whence the citation is taken.

     When, therefore, the fanciful post-Christian writer of the Book of Judith declares that “the vengeance of the ungodly is fire and worms, and they shall feel them and weep forever,” he goes beyond the prophecy, and yields to trio influence of a philosophical doctrine on immortality learned from Greece and Egypt, and not found in his national scriptures.

      (3) The third and last passage in the Old Testament that is sometimes cited in support of the idea of eternal misery is in Daniel 12:2: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.”

     “So it reads,” says the learned Mr. Maude,” in our English version; Dr. Tregelles, however, who will not be suspected of any heretical bias, with many other Hebrew scholars, translates "And many from among the sleepers of the dust shall awake; these shall be unto everlasting life; but those (the rest of the sleepers, those who do not awake at this time) shall be unto shame and everlasting contempt." And he adds, "The word which in our Authorized Version is twice rendered, “some,” is never repeated in any other passage in the Hebrew Bible, in the sense of taking up distributively any general class which had been previously mentioned; this is enough, I think, to warrant our applying its first occurrence here to the whole of the many who awake, and the second to the mass of the sleepers, those who do not awake at this time." * And the correctness of this translation is confirmed, not only by the fact that it is the interpretation given by the most eminent Jewish commentators, † but also by the internal evidence of the passage taken in its context. For the "time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation," spoken of in the preceding first verse of the chapter, must certainly be identified with the "great tribulation" spoken of in Matthew 24:21-30, which will be endured during the reign and blasphemy of the last Antichrist — "the Man of Sin" — even him "whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming" (2 Thessalonians 2:8). Hence the resurrection here spoken of by Daniel Synchronises with the period of the Second Advent, and is plainly a prophecy of the First Resurrection, all the partakers in which are "blessed and holy."“

* Remarks on the Prophetic Visions of Daniel, page 174.

† “Thus the famous Aben Ezra, in his commentary on the chapter, quotes Rabbi Saadias as declaring that "those who awake shall be (appointed) to everlasting life, and those who awake not shall be (doomed) to shame and everlasting contempt." The words of Saadias himself are that "this is the resurrection of the dead of Israel, whose lot is to eternal life, and those who shall not awake are the forsakers of Jehovah," etc.”

     It is added, however, that even if the wicked do not then rise, they are reserved “for shame and everlasting contempt,” and this indicates their conscious existence forever to endure the contempt. That this is not so is proved by the Hebrew word here employed. It is Ųward deraon, — the very word employed in Isaiah 66:24 to represent the “abhorring of all flesh,” which is the fate of the wicked men just before described as dead corpses or pegarim. It follows that the everlasting contempt or abhorring may fall, for anything that is taught in Daniel xii 2, upon the dead.

     We do not learn that any passages excepting these three are cited from the Old Testament writings in support of the modern doctrines. Let us consider what is involved in this admission. During certainly five, and possibly six or eight, thousand years preceding the advent of Christ, there was an innumerable race of sinful creatures on earth abandoned for the most part to hereditary superstitions, for the most part also unable to read or think clearly, and nearly at the mercy of their kings and priests. Now these seemingly mortal creatures were all according to this theory immortal, destined to endure as long as the Eternal God; they were all born in sin, they were all sinners, they were all liable to everlasting misery in hell. And yet the only recorded references made by their merciful God to this frightful doom in the way of warning are discovered in three disputed texts of two Jewish prophets, living in a late age in comparison with the length of the world’s past history; and these three texts are declared by the most competent critics to have not the least relevancy to the supposed impending destiny. Is this the method of the Divine government? Is there not here rather the method of theologizing handed down to us by men of the fourth century, who knew little of Scripture, little of history, and still less of God, the Righteous and the Merciful?

     What, then, we must now inquire, were the beliefs of Old Testament times respecting future judgment? Are there no decisive indications that men were taught to look for future retribution, and if there be any, what were the evils they feared?

     The safest method of investigating the beliefs of antiquity is to begin at this end of the history, and in this case to seize the clue offered to its by the statements of Christ and His apostles. They lived only 1,800 years ago, and were far more likely to know what their predecessors believed, and what the prophets taught, than modern men who look at the remote past through the medium of modern theories.

     Let it be observed, then, that our Lord never even makes a question of it, but decisively takes it for granted that “Sodom and Gomorrah,” which were destroyed once by fire for their sins, have yet to undergo a second and more awful infliction in “the day of judgment.” “Tyre and Sidon” are spoken of as reserved for a similar retribution.

     The writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, expressing himself as if giving utterance to an acknowledged belief, says, “As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this judgment” (9:27). The apostle Jude, citing perhaps the apocryphal book of Enoch, nevertheless only signifies what was the consenting voice of ages, that from the earliest times God has announced by His prophets retribution for the sins of time in a state still future. “Behold the Lord comes with ten thousand of His saints to execute judgment upon all” (verse 14).

     In the centuries immediately preceding the gospel this belief was unhesitatingly held. In the book of Ecclesiastes — a work written during or after the captivity, more probably than by Solomon, if we trust the latest criticism — the closing verses reveal the faith of the writer. “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter. Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing whether it be good, or whether it be evil.”

     That such expectations of judgment should prevail among the Israelites, as the punishment of rejecting God’s offered mercy in time, is in accordance with the almost universal instinct of both ancient and modern times which leads men to “the fear” of, what Shakespeare calls, ”something after death.” Whether the retribution would come upon the spiritual element of the dissolved nature in Sheol, or on the whole awakened man in a future judgment, might be doubtful — but of the fear itself there was general recognition as a divinely implanted instinct. The punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah was regarded not only as the due reward of their deeds, but as an example to them that should after live ungodly; which could not be unless they understood that judgment by fire from heaven was prepared for sinners. “Upon the wicked He shall rain destruction, fire and brimstone, and an horrible tempest; this shall be the portion of their cup” (Psalm 11) “His hand shall find out all His enemies. He shall make them as a fiery oven in the day of His wrath, and His anger shall devour them” (Psalm 21). “Behold the day comes that shall burn as an oven, and the proud and all that do wickedly shall be as stubble, and the day that comes shall burn them up, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch “ (Malachi 4).

     Such expressions as these are frequently, but most unwarrantably, taken to refer only to temporal punishments. The plain indications of faith in a survival of souls in death, many of them in a state not blessed, nor leading to blessedness, adds force to the impression given by the fore-cited passages announcing Judgment. These we shall examine, together with the New Testament doctrine of Hades, in a separate chapter (xxi.). That the Jews themselves had gathered from their own Scriptures and had received by tradition from their fathers the fixed anticipation of a “resurrection both of just and unjust” is certified to us by Paul and Luke, who declare that they themselves “allow this” (Acts 26). The “Second Death” of the New Testament revelation is but the repetition of an Old Testament doctrine. The souls of the wicked remain in Sheol, the underworld, and are ermed syaqr, Rephaim, but they, like the souls of the righteous, await a judgment before the Lord, who comes to “judge the world in righteousness.” Then, says the Prophet Isaiah, “the earth shall cast out the Rephaim. The earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain” (Isaiah 26:19). * All human life is to reappear for judgment. And whatever may be the spiritual sufferings of some souls in Hades, judgment requires the whole humanity to appear. The departed spirit is not the Man, but only one element of his being. If the man is to be judged, he must rise from the dead to appear before God.

     *The entire chapter (Isaiah xxvi.) deserves attentive study. Sir Edward Strachey’s comment on the prophecy xxv--xxvi is highly valuable. The prophet describes the final victory of God over the foes of His Church. “He shall swallow up death forever.” The church however complains of delay, the delay of resurrection and recompense. “We have as it were brought forth wind; we have not wrought any deliverance, neither has the earth brought forth the inhabitants of the world — (for judgment). Your dead shall live, my dead bodies shall arise. Awake and sing, you that dwell in dust—and the earth shall cast forth the Rephaim” (the wicked dead). lypt syapr #ra. And just above the prophet had said—verse 18, “O Lord, other lords besides You have had dominion over us. But by You only will we make mention of Your name (of God). They are dead, they shall not live; they are Rephaim (wicked and lost men), they shall stand up. You will visit and destroy them, and make all their memory to perish.” “For behold” (verse 21) “the Lord comes out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth shall disclose her blood, and no more cover her slain.” Here is the contrast between the righteous and the wicked. The wicked (Rephaim) shall be brought forth, cast out by the earth as an abortion—but they shall not stand up. But the righteous shall, “stand up” and “live.” Sec Psalm 1:5, with Kimchi’s comment, in Perowne on the Psalms.

     The bodily resurrection of the wicked who had lived before the advent is doubted by some writers, on the ground that it is not distinctly taught in the ancient canonical books. I submit that it is taught in as many places as the resurrection of the righteous is there taught; neither of them are numerous, yet the whole moral structure of the Old Testament dispensation implies the reality of the judgment to come, as the readers of Christ’s time justly judged. But the main noticeable fact is that the final destiny of the wicked is spoken of in the general terms of the curse of the law itself. There was no prospect of eternal suffering set before the sinners. Their end would be death, — extermination. “When the wicked spring as the grass, and all the workers of iniquity flourish, it is that they shall be destroyed forever “ (Psalm 42:7). Hence the faint distinction made in the perspective of prophecy between the death, which was the legal curse, and the death eternal. The one dark cloud is seen against the background of a blacker darkness — but the general impression left is that the wicked will ultimately perish, and miserably die.

     The prophets, who could speak so eloquently of the woes of mortals in time, as we see by the Lamentations of Jeremiah, do not vary the form of their speech when speaking of a wicked man’s final destiny. They only deepen their colors, and introduce terms, which declare that his ruin shall be irreparable and his destruction complete and eternal.

     There is much doubt as to the date of the BOOK OF JOB. Recent criticism inclines to the opinion of a more recent original. Of whatever epoch, this sublime poem contains numerous examples of the contemporary beliefs respecting judgment to come.

     A steadfast silence as to the endless duration of the lives of the ungodly characterizes this book. It contains frequent and animated references to the punishment of the wicked; and being composed in the “lofty style of the Asiatics,” we might anticipate amplification in the detail, and a copious vocabulary of curses to pervade those portions which describe their doom. For it is not the genius of oriental speech to compress infinite ideas into tame and inadequate expressions, with Spartan sententiousness, but rather to magnify them. And, surely, if such a conception as that of everlasting existence in misery were intended to be conveyed in the style of Eastern poetry, it would find its natural and appropriate vehicle in the terrific language of the Koran, rather than in the brief declarations of this composition. The following are examples of the threatening held out, in the book of Job, to the enemies of God:

     Chapter 18 — “The light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine. His strength shall be hunger-bitten, and destruction shall be ready at his side. It shall devour the strength of his skin: even the first-born of death shall devour his strength. His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors. It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation. His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off. His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street. He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world.”

     Chapter 20 — “Know you not this of old, since man was placed upon the earth, that the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? Thought his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds; yet shall he perish forever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, where is he? He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night. The eye also which saw him shall see him no more; neither shall his place any more behold him.”

     Chapter 21 — “How oft is the candle of the wicked put out? And how oft comes their destruction upon them? His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.”

     The BOOK OF PSALMS may be supposed to represent the popular belief during the best instructed ages of the Jewish commonwealth. The menaces of vengeance to the ungodly found in this collection of sacred songs, in addition to those already cited, are as follows:

     Psalm 1 — “The ungodly are not so: they are like the chaff, which the wind drives away. The Lord knows the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”

     Psalm 2 — “You shall break them with a rod of iron; you shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish by the way.” *

* From this passage Rabbi David Kimchi takes occasion to teach in his Commentary the literal destruction of the wicked.

     Psalm 9 — “You have rebuked the heathen, you have destroyed the wicked; you have put out their name forever and ever. The wicked shall be turned into Sheol (the state of death), and all the nations that forget God.”

     Psalm 34 — “The face of the Lord is against them that do evil, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth. Evil shall slay the wicked: and they that hate the righteous shall be desolate.”

     Psalm 37 — “Fret not yourself because of evil-doers, neither be you envious at the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither like the green herb. For evil-does shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the earth. (See Matthew v. 5.) For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, you shall diligently consider his place, and it shall not be. The wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the Lord shall be as the fit of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away. For such as be blessed of God shall inherit the earth, but they that be cursed of him shall be cut off. I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like the green bay tree. Yet he passed away, and, lo, he was not; yea, I sought him, but he could not be found. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.”

     Psalm 49  — “Man that is in honor, and understands not, is like the beasts that perish.”

     Psalm 92  — “O Lord, how great are your works! And your thoughts are very deep.

     A brutish man † knows not; neither cloth a fool understands this. When the wicked spring as the grass, and all the workers of iniquity do flourish; it is that they may be destroyed forever. (Lehishshamedam, the word used in Genesis 34:30; Leviticus 26:30; Numbers 33:52; Deuteronomy 1:27.) For, lo, your enemies, O Lord, for, lo, your enemies shall perish; all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.”

† Hebrew, r[bAćya ish-baar, literally the oran least, or animal-man.

     Psalm ciii 9. — “He will not contend forever, neither will he retain his wrath to eternity (legnolam), words which never could have been written by a believer in the doctrine of endless torments.

     Psalm 104 —  “My meditation of Him shall be sweet; I will be glad in the Lord. Let the sinners be destroyed out of the earth, and let the wicked be no more.” Could the Psalmist have really found a, “sweet” subject of meditation in the God of Augustine and Edwards, who would never cease throughout eternity to inflict suffering on the wicked?

     Psalm 112 — “The horn of the righteous shall be exalted with honor. The wicked shall see it and be grieved; he shall gnash with his teeth, and melt away.” (See Matthew 13:50, “There shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth”).

     The wisdom of SOLOMON dictated to him expressions on this subject in conformity with the declarations of David:

     Proverbs 10:24 — “The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted. As the whirlwind passes, so is the wicked no more: but the righteous has an everlasting foundation. The fear of the Lord prolongs days: but the years of the eked shall be shortened. The hope of the righteous shall be gladness: but the expectation of the wicked shall perish. The way of the Lord is strength to the upright: but destruction shall be to the workers of iniquity. The righteous shall never be removed; but the wicked shall not inherit the earth.”

     Proverbs 13:13 — “Whoso despises the word shall be destroyed: but he that fears the commandment shall be rewarded. The law of the wise is a fountain of life, to depart from the snares of death.”

     Proverbs 14:12 —”There is a way which seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.”

     Proverbs 15 —”The way of the life is above (an upward road) to the wise to depart from Sheol (the state of death) beneath.”

     Proverbs 21:16 —”The man that wanders out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead” (Rephaim—Hebrews).

     After the preceding citations, it is not necessary to enlarge on the general style in which the PROPHETS denounce God’s judgments to the ungodly. Their words are uniformly to the effect that the sinner shall be destroyed, shall be consumed, shall die, perish, or be slain. *

* An objection has been raised by the Revelation C. Clemance to the quotation of Old Testament writers “without considering, who said it? And when was it said? Chapters written in all early age for infant minds are dealt with as if they were written in precise formula.” “We cannot consistently in the same breath maintain that the Word of God, especially in its earliest stages, is written in a style not scientific but popular, and then appeal to its rudimentary chapters as if they were not popular but scientific “ (pages 33, 34, Future Punishment). Mr. Clemance plainly forgets the most remarkable element of the case for consideration, viz., that the Bible writers of all ages use the same terms throughout 10 denote the final curse of God on sin; and hence the “popular and scientific” are not only not at variance, but coincide.

     The 18th chapter of Ezekiel’s prophecies contains a fair example of the prophetical mode of address:

“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so the soul of the son is mine. The soul that sins it shall die. Have I any pleasure that the wicked should die says the Lord God, and not that he should return from his ways and live? “ “For when the wicked turns away from his wickedness which he has committed, and dose that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive; because he considers, he shall surely live, he shall not die. For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dies, says the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live you!”

     The following passage occurs in a critique in the British Quarterly Review, February, 1846: — ”We know that the soul is immortal by intuition, the savage and the sage alike; aye, the savage often more surely than the sage; and God Himself assures us in revelation, as through intuition, that the souls which He has made shall never fail from before Him.” With respect to the former part of the learned writer’s assertion, it suffices to allege that the Bechuanas and Australians, and several tribes of Central Africa, have been found destitute of the notion of immortality. The Scripture referred to is Isaiah 57:16: “For I will not contend forever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls that I have made.” From these words it is evident, in the first place, that there is no such doctrine as “everlasting wrath” in the Old Testament: and, secondly, that the holy prophet declares such an intention on God’s part as an eternal infliction would necessarily be followed by the “failure” or cessation of the souls which He has made. He declares that human souls are not made by God strong enough to endure an endless torment. The reference was, therefore, altogether misleading.

 

CHAPTER 16

ON THE OPPOSED DOCTRINES OF THE PHARISEES AND

SADDUCEES IN RELATION TO A FUTURE LIFE; AND ON

CHRIST”S REJECTION OF BOTH

     WE are indebted in recent times for an excellent summary of all that is known respecting these two sects of the Jews to four articles by Mr. Twisleton and Dr. Ginsburg in the great Biblical Dictionaries of Dr. Smith and Dr. Kitto. * They offer to the inquirer a remarkable phenomenon in the history of thought, doubly remarkable as appearing at the very end of the Mosaic Dispensation, while standing also in close contemporary relation with the teaching of the “Word made Flesh.” * Both Mr. Twisleton and Dr. Ginsburg rightly acknowledge their great obligations to Geiger, Urschrift und Uebersetsungen der Bibel.

     The date of their origin as distinct parties is somewhat obscure, but under their present names their existence is not traceable beyond the second or third centuries before Christ. Their opinions and general line of thought belong to an earlier epoch. Modern critics are agreed that the Sadducees, properly speaking, were a priestly and aristocratic party, professing to, “stand upon the old ways,” to adhere closely to the Mosaic law, taken in its most literal and limited sense, to reject tradition, and that “oral law” of unwritten explications and additions, which their opponents the Pharisees made the rule of all their thought and action. The most prominent result of this general position was that they rejected altogether the doctrine of a life to come. The account given of their standpoint on this question by Luke in his two historical books tallies in every respect with what is learned of them from other sources. It is a misfortune that no work written by a Sadducee remains, but so far as the main dispute between them and their opponents is concerned there is no reason to imagine that less than justice has been done to them by the New Testament writer. “They deny,” says Luke, “that there is "any resurrection"“ (oiJ ajntilegontev ana>stasin mh< eijnai—20:27). He adds (Acts 23:8), “For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit, but the Pharisees confess both.”

     Josephus says, “They take away the survival of the soul (diamonh<n) and the punishments and rewards of Hades” (De Bell. Jud. 2:8. 14). Again (in Antiq. 18. 1. 4) he says, “Their doctrine is that souls perish with the bodies;” — literally — “their doctrine makes souls to vanish together with the bodies,” sunvafani>zei.

     The later Rabbi give the same account of the Sadducean opinion; which is indeed a logical result from their general mode of regarding the Law, and a natural reaction by antipathy against the indefensible tenets of the Pharisees.

     The basis, then, of the doctrine of the Sadducees was the silence of Moses, the complete silence, as they thought, respecting a future state. The less astonishment ought to be felt at this conclusion when we remember that some of the foremost Jewish and Christian scholars in modern Europe are equally convinced that in the Pentateuch Moses preserves an unbroken silence respecting a future life or a resurrection. The opinion of Warburton in the Divine Legation is earnestly maintained by the learned French Jew, Grand-Rabbi Stein, in his work on Judaism in 1859. Dr. Stein says:

“What causes most surprise in perusing the Pentateuch is the silence which it seems to keep respecting the most fundamental and consoling truths. The doctrine of the immortality of the soul, and of retribution beyond the tomb, are able powerfully to fortify man against the violence of passions, the seductive attraction of vice, and to strengthen his steps in the rugged path of virtue: of themselves they smooth all the difficulties which are raised, all the objections which are made, against the government of a Divine Providence; and account for the good fortune of the wicked, and the bad fortune of the just. But man searches in vain for these truths which he desires so ardently; he in vain devours with avidity each page of Holy Writ; he does not find either them, or the simple doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, explicitly announced.” * Smith’s Dictionary, 3, page 1088.

     Dr. Stein then goes on to maintain that these truths of man’s natural immortality and future retribution were supplied by the Oral Law. A citation of his argument will serve as an exposition of the position of the Pharisees in Palestine, for his opinion and theirs, if we may rely on Josephus, are identical. The Grand Rabbi of Colmar proceeds:

“Nevertheless — truths so consoling and of such an elevated order cannot have been passed over in silence, and certainly God has not relied on the mere sagacity of the human mind in order to announce them only implicitly. He has transmitted them verbally, with the means of finding them in the text. A supplementary tradition was necessary, indispensable: this tradition exists. Moses received the law from Sinai, transmitted it to Joshua, Joshua to the elders, the elders transmitted it to the prophets, and the prophets to the men of the great Synagogue.” (Le JudaIsme, ou la Verite sur le Talmud, page 15.)

     This was, it is supposed, the position of the Pharisees. They were compelled to acknowledge, with the Sadducees, that the doctrines of the immortality of the soul, and a future eternal existence in penal retribution, were not to be found in the Pentateuch, or anywhere else in the Old Testament scriptures. Looking, like Dr. Stein, with dismay upon their Law, that spoke no single word of comfort on the natural dignity of man as an immortal being, they took the course, which was morally inevitable, and invented or borrowed the doctrine on which that law observed so fatal a silence. It was among the Pharisees who represented and sympathized with the body of the nation, Dr. Ginsburg tells us, “that the glorious ideas were developed about the Messiah, the kingdom of heaven, the immortality of the soul, the world to come, etc.;” and since Scripture was silent on man’s natural Immortality as the basis of the expectation of a future state for righteous and wicked, they set up the “Oral Law,” or immemorial tradition, as the authority which supplemented the deficiencies of the Scriptures. *

 * A valuable analysis of the book of Enoch will be found in Dr. Pusey’s work on the Prophet Daniel, page 391. Dr. Pusey assigns the date of the chief portion to the time of the Maccabees, but maintains that it consists of contributions from several authors. It can be quoted, therefore, on either side of the present discussion, because it expresses both the belief of the Pharisees in endless suffering, and also that of the elder Jewish Church, that the righteous shall live forever, and the wicked be “annihilated everywhere.” See Archbishop Lawrence’s Translation of Book of Enoch.

     Our direct knowledge of the psychology of the Pharisees depends on the testimony of Josephus alone, and his testimony is generally discredited on such subjects by the most learned men of both the Jewish and Gentile communions. Dr. Pocock’s sentence upon him is as follows:

“If we have not cited Josephus it is no wonder, since in giving the views of the sects he names, respecting the other world, he seems to have used words better suited to the fashions and the ears of Greeks and Romans, than such as a scholar of the Jewish Law would understand, or deem expressive of his meaning.” — Notae misc, in portam Mosis, c. 6.

     To the same effect Professor Hudson says: “The account given by Josephus of the doctrine of the Pharisees is in a nomenclature to which the Jews were strangers, which is unknown to the Talmud, but with which the Greeks, Romans, and Orientals were quite familiar” (Debt and Grace, page 224). Professor Marks pronounces a similar unfavorable judgment. Nevertheless, this witness of Josephus, such as it is, is decisive. He says, “The doctrine of the Pharisees was, that every soul is imperishable” (Wars, II, viii, 14). In his own speech to his soldiers he expresses himself thus (Wars, III, viii, 5): “The bodies of all men are corruptible, but the soul is ever immortal, and is a portion of the divinity that inhabits our bodies.”

     [The fragment on Hades, formerly bound up with the works of Josephus, and still cited by the Revelation Bodfield Hooper, in support of similar opinions, is excluded from the best modern editions of Josephus as spurious. It is rejected from the last Leipzig edition of the Greek original, by Tauchnitz, as well as from all the latest English and French translations.]

     On the whole, though Josephus’s temper and character create much suspicion, there seems reason to believe that the Palestinian Pharisees held the borrowed opinion of the soul’s immortality, founding their faith on the same arguments, which satisfy their successors, the modern Rabbi. In the Antiquities, his latest work, Josephus re-affirms the statements in the Wars (XVIII, i, 1-4):

“They believe that souls have an immortal vigour in them, and that under the earth there will be rewards and punishments according as they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life, and the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but the former shall have power to revive and live again, on account of which doctrine they are able greatly to persuade the body of the people.” * See Supplement to chapter xvii., for further treatment of Jewish opinion.

     It is easy to understand that two parties, one sacerdotal, aristocratic, sceptical, the other popular and devout, would react upon the mass of each other’s opinions, and render compromise or modification impossible. The Sadducees would naturally object to the Pharisaic party, — ”that their notion of an oral law, accompanying and supplementing the defects of the Mosaic code, was a fiction, equally worthless as history, and pernicious as religion. If an oral law, containing a revelation of eternal life, was delivered by Moses, — it was by far the most important part of his institutions; — as much more important than the written law as eternity is more important than time; since to the oral law was due the doctrine of man’s immortality, not found in the Pentateuch. At least, therefore, some plain intimation would have been given by Moses in the written Law, that this all-important commentary was “committed to Joshua,” to be by him transmitted to posterity. There is no such sentence; because the oral law is a dream, or development, of the Pharisees. “It has been excogitated,” the Sadducees would say, “in recent ages by successive teachers, bent on molding the Mosaic system to their own heathenish philosophy; and proving the thoroughly human character of its contents by its gross irrationality, its conspicuous injustice, and its frequent puerilities of interpretation.”

     The argument of the Sadducees would in fact be parallel to that of the Protestant sects, against Roman Catholic tradition. Christendom likewise has its “oral law,” its unwritten tradition, on which rests the fabric of modern ecclesiastical religion. But Protestants reply to its lofty claims, and un-historic assertions, by simply pointing to the New Testament Scriptures. There is to be found no Roman primacy of Peter, no provision for a Papal Succession, no assertion of the authority of an Infallible Church or Papal Oracle; and the silence of Scripture is thought a sufficient answer to the presumptuous speech of all succeeding centuries.

     But further, the Sadducees urged with victorious force, — ”Why is it, — if this oral law (with its doctrine that "every soul is imperishable," and destined to eternal joy or woe) has been in existence since the days of Joshua, and through all the centuries of Judaism till the times of Ezra and Malachi, — why is it that none of the prophets who have assisted in writing the canonical books, and who must have been acquainted with the oral law, have introduced into their histories or predictions, or sacred psalms, one single sentence from it, conveying the "truths" which Moses omitted?” By what signal fatality, we add, did their inspiration lead them to avoid every reference to doctrines, so “consoling” and so “necessary,” that Dr. Stein declares “they cannot have been passed over in silence,” although they are “nowhere to be found in Holy Writ”? How can it be that “truths” concerning which David, Solomon, Isaiah, Ezekiel, Daniel are wholly silent, could, as Dr. Ginsburg says, be “developed among the Pharisees” of the centuries just preceding Christ’s advent, if they were indeed handed down from the days of Moses? Certainly the case of the Sadducees as against the oral law was formidably strong: and they occupied an unassailable position in declaring that the imperishableness of the soul was not to be found in the Law of Moses, or the Psalms, or the Prophets.

     The position of the Pharisees, however, had its elements of strength, and though they could not completely answer the Sadducees, either as to the general basis of their belief in the rule of faith, or as to the particular question of a future life, they felt that in some way they were right; and that their materialistic opponents were distinctly in conflict with the moral instincts of mankind, and not less with many plain declarations of the Old Testament Scriptures. It was this fidelity of theirs, which, notwithstanding their mistakes, gave them a mighty and a desirable influence upon the mass of the Jewish nation.

     There is something in the human soul, except when it has been brutalized by savage life, or seared as with a hot iron by sensuality or by perverse reasoning, which instinctively looks forward to retribution. The Pharisees took their stand upon this fact, — and so far they were right. Men, too, who live with God here are inspired with a profound moral conviction, as was Socrates, that in some way, whether it can be scientifically argued out or not, they shall live with God hereafter. The Old Testament Scriptures, in their own method, support both of these expectations. It is impossible to admit, with the Sadducees, that Moses designed no lesson of hope for good men, when he began his history with an account of the paradise lost, and followed that account with so many indications of the persistent grace of the reconciled God, in the histories of the Patriarchs. The ascension of Enoch, the promise of an everlasting inheritance, and of the eternal God Himself as a “Reward” to Abraham, even if they stood alone, sufficed to shatter the wretched system of the Sadducees, and to establish the hope of Eternal Life for the just. The hypothesis of an oral law would have been a pardonable invention, if no more solid ground of hope had been furnished of a world to come. It was impossible for spiritual and thoughtful men to assent to the frightful positivist dogma, which wrapped in thick darkness at once the destinies of the human race and the character of God.

     Yet no escape from that dark conclusion was known to the Pharisees of that age except by the assertion of the un-biblical doctrine of the soul’s Immortality. The idea of an immortality which was a gift of God under redemption alone, and not a natural attribute of humanity, had probably died out of the general Jewish mind in the last ages, just as the same idea has died out, and from the same causes, from the later popular mind of Christendom. The notion of a God-given and conditional immortality, of which the righteous alone shall partake, had ceased to exist in the mind of most of the readers of the Old Testament Scriptures, as it has now ceased to suggest itself to most of the readers of the New. We shall show further on that this was the faith of the primitive Christian Church, but was gradually lost sight of, through the growing influence of Oriental, Greek, and Roman modes of thought in the following centuries. In the same manner, we doubt not, it had gradually been lost in the growing humanization of Judaism after the days of the Great Synagogue. The modern Rabbi are quite right in speaking of the doctrine of natural immortality as an “oral” tradition. It is the voice of man supplementing the revelations of a God whom he has ceased to understand.

     There are, however, dynamics of opinion. The absence of a single idea from a system of thought sometimes leads to and compels ages of controversy. The existence of two such parties as the Sadducees and Pharisees was a necessity of the times, under existing one sided conditions of belief. The Sadducees occupied an unassailable post when they declared that Moses and the Prophets knew nothing of the Immortality of the Soul as a basis of hope in futurity. The Pharisees were equally in strength when they declared that the Scripture proclaimed the promise of eternal life. But both alike erred, from failing to grasp the truth, which would have reconciled them — that man has lost the hope of life eternal under the law, and regains it by the grace of God in redemption.

     The conduct of the Incarnate Life towards each of these parties throws a flood of light upon the cause of their honest differences, and the true mode of reconciliation. The existence of the two sects seems to have been permitted by Divine Providence as the most effectual method of leading men to the Christ who alone can open the gates of Life Eternal to the dead.

     Towards the Sadducees our Lord, as was inevitable, presented a front of stern rebuke. Their professed zeal for the letter of the Law of Moses won them no favor with “the Prince of Life.” They prided themselves on a theology built exclusively on revelation. Yet they “erred, not knowing the Scriptures.” “That the dead are raised,” said he, “even Moses showed at the bush, when he calls the Lord the God of Abraham. For he is not a God of the dead (nekrwn), but of the living, for all live unto him” (Luke 20:37-8). It must be noted that this argument was used to prove the resurrection, not primarily the survival of the soul. That it is Luke’s design to represent our Lord as proving the resurrection, and not simply survival, is certain from his use of the verb ejgei>rw both in his gospel and in the Acts of the Apostles, which is strictly confined to denote resurrection. But how does the word of God to Moses prove the resurrection of Abraham? It is not that the phrase, “I am the God of Abraham,” proves that his spirit exists somewhere, although that also was true. It is that the spirit alone of Abraham was not Abraham; and that if God was still the “God of Abraham,” it was because Abraham, sleeping in Machpelah, was to rise from the dead to enjoy God forever. The relationship of a “God” looked forward as well as backward — and He who IS “calls those things which are not as though they were.” In this sense, then, all “live unto Him.” Those who are to rise from the dead and to live forever are, in the view of God, alive now; and therefore He calls Himself their God, “because He has prepared for them a city” (Hebrews 11).

     Certain of the Scribes, of the Pharisaic party, exclaimed, “Master, You have well spoken.” And the Sadducees were effectually “put to silence” (ejfi>mwse, Matthew 22:34). The priestly party of materialists were summarily put to flight by Him who came to speak “the words of life eternal.”

     Did, then, Christ turn a more sympathetic aspect towards their opponents the Pharisees? Every reader of the New Testament knows that His earthly ministry was spent almost in one continuous battle with the supporters of the Oral Law. Christ was short and sharp with the Sadducees; but in dealing with the Pharisees his speech became as terrible as a thunderstorm. “He denounced them,” says Mr. Twisleton,” in the bitterest language, and in the sweeping chases of hypocrisy which He made against them, He might even, at first sight, seem to have departed from that spirit of meekness and gentleness in judgment which is one of His own most characteristic precepts.” Christ must have satisfied the Sadducees themselves in the thoroughness with which He exposed and denounced the Pharisaic fiction of the “oral law” as a rule of faith and practice. “Full well,” cried He, “you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your own tradition.” “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! You have taken away the key of knowledge: you enter not in yourselves, and them that were entering in you hindered.” Neither did Christ enter into any distinction between the part of the Pharisaic system which was better and that which was worse. He linked them in His fearful anathemas along with the Sadducees, and denounced in one breath the “doctrine” of both. “Then they understood that He bade them beware of the doctrine of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matthew 16:12, diduch~v).

     Our Lord on no occasion took part with the Pharisees on their own ground, as against the Sadducees. If the Pharisaic doctrine of the oral law (the doctrine also of modern Rabbinical Judaism) were the truth — that the, “soul of man is imperishable,” and that the expectation of a future eternal state is built upon man’s immortal nature, there was not only no reason why the Incarnate Wisdom of God should not confirm the doctrine of the traditionalists, but there was every reason why He should do so, and in the clearest language. But from this Christ steadfastly abstained. He was not of the sect of the Pharisees, any more than of the Sadducees.

     What, then, was the position practically taken up by the Lord of Glory between the two contending factions?

     (1) To us it appears that He did contradict in His own way the errors of both parties, and asserted the truths, which they maintained. The Sadducees were in the right in affirming that Moses wrote nothing respecting an eternal state depending on man’s nature, or the natural immortality of his soul. (2) The Pharisees were right in affirming that the writings of Moses contained clear indications of eternal life for “the sons of God,” a hope confirmed by all subsequent revelation. (3) But this life is not of man, nor in man’s nature. It is the gift of God in Redemption, His unspeakable gift in His Son. The words of Christ cover precisely this ground. “You search the Scriptures,” said Christ to the Pharisees, “for in them you think you have eternal life, and they are they which testify of Me. But you will not come to ME, that you may have life.”

     Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and died; this is the bread that came down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die” (John 6:49, 50).

     “Verily, verily, I say unto you, ‘Except you eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of Man, you have no life in yourselves’“ (ejn ejautoiv — verse 53)

     This teaching caused a combination of both Sadducees and Pharisees against Him. They, who could agree in nothing else, agreed to “kill the Prince of Life,” and were instant with loud voices for His death. The Sadducees were “grieved” that the apostles should “preach, through Jesus, the resurrection of the dead.” And the party of oral tradition, Jewish and Gentile, the party which holds the doctrine of natural immortality in man, will combine in every age, even with materialists and infidels, in excommunicating those who teach that Life Eternal is God’s gift to men, through the blood-shedding of the “Lamb.” For those who think that salvation is man’s work towards God, or that Immortality is man’s native attribute, never come to terms with those who maintain that salvation is God’s work towards man, in all the stages of its development, and that it is Christ the Lord who is the Life of the World. Those also who have learned these truths can never enter into a compromise with the, “sect of the Pharisees” — however splendid their virtues — because the assertion of man’s natural immortality is the direct cause of the creation of a God-dishonoring theology, carrying with it generally the dogma of misery that shall never end, — which has done more than any other notion to hinder men from coming to the Living God for life immortal. *

* See further on Pharisaic opinion, and its right to determine the sense of New Testament language, in the Supplement to chapter xvii ad fin. In the same Supplement will be found a sketch of modern Rabbinical doctrine on eschatology (3rd Edition).

 

BOOK THE THIRD

THE NEW TESTAMENT DOCTRINE ON THE OBJECT

OF THE DIVINE INCARNATION, AND THE METHOD

OF REDEMPTION

CHAPTER 17 —The Incarnation of the Life, or, the Logos made Flesh that Man may live eternally

SUPPLEMENT TO CHAPTER 17

1. Note on Christ’s Discourse on Life at Capernaum 216

2. Note on the question, whether the words of Christ on Future Life are to be interpreted according to the sense of the Pharisees; with a view of subsequent Rabbinical opinion

CHAPTER 18 — Justification of Life

CHAPTER 19 — The New Covenant of Life in the Blood of Christ; or, the Nature of the Death of Christ, and its place in the Divine Government as an Atonement for Sin

CHAPTER 20 — On Regeneration unto Life, through Union with the Incarnate Word, by the Holy Spirit, the lord and Giver of Life

CHAPTER 21 — (hades, or the State of Man between Death and the Resurrection, under the Economy of Redemption

CHAPTER 22 — On the Question, Whether the Holy Scriptures teach that any sinful persons, dying in ignorance of Christ, are evangelized in Hades

CHAPTER 23 — The Resurrection to Life Eternal at the Coming and Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ

CHAPTER 17

THE INCARNATION OF THE LIFE; OR THE LOGOS MADE

FLESH THAT MAN MAY LIVE ETERNALLY

SECTION 1

     THE doctrine of a distinction of Persons in the Godhead, and of the union of the Personal Word of God with the human nature of Jesus of Nazareth, is, and always has been, the great stumbling-block in the way of the reception of Christianity by the nations of the world.

     The Jews as a nation have, from the beginning of the gospel through all following centuries until now, maintained a stout opposition to a doctrine, which they believe to be as profane as baseless. * The Mohammedans have learned from the Koran to regard as an assault upon the majesty of the One Lord of Heaven and Earth the notion that He has a Son or an Equal. And Unitarians, to be numbered within and without the churches by myriads in Christendom, whether bearing a distinctive name or not, have in every generation held fast to the belief that original Christianity was marred by no such blot on its brilliant disc as the exaltation of Jesus into the place and name of Deity.

*”The Logos of Philo was impersonal, and he would have shrunk with honor at the idea of its personal incarnation. Even Dr. Davidson admits, an important link is wanting between Philonian and the theory of the fourth gospel.”

     It is easy to suggest by anticipation arguments on every side against the dogma of the incarnation of the Logos. The whole world of human probabilities is opposed to it. That the Godhead should be itself distinguished into Persons, such as may be denoted by the relationships of Fatherhood and Sonship, or by such images as that of Mind and Speech, or Thought and Word, is itself a notion altogether foreign to the circle of ideas respecting Deity gathered by the study of matter and mind. But that there should be three distinct Persons in the Godhead; that One of these should lay aside the “form of God” and descend to be born of a Virgin, so as to become part of the integral personality of the Christ; and that this occurred 1877 years ago in Palestine, in the Son of Mary, — is a proposition of prima facie incredibility so confounding to sense and reason that the tendency of the thinking public, learned and unlearned, has ever been largely in the direction of skepticism or resolute denial.. And when to this has been erroneously added, that the object of the Incarnation was to constitute a spotless personality, which Eternal Vengeance might strike for the salvation of sinners, a personality of worth so transcendent that His sufferings might outweigh the deserts of men in everlasting misery, the reason assigned has rendered the “fact” a thousand times more incredible than it was before.

     Nevertheless the documents of apostolic Christianity, if dealt with by the same rules which govern the interpretation of other books, afford no fair escape from the conclusion that the body of Jesus of Nazareth was the shrine and temple of Deity, in such a sense as has never been true of any other man, however God-inspired. After every deduction from the doctrine on the side of its Athanasian form; after stripping the statement of the article of every special ecclesiastical peculiarity, even those of the second and third centuries, — when, as Dr. Liddon acknowledges, “the language of the ante-Nicene Fathers was such as to allow of, rather than invite, an orthodox interpretation,” — there still remains so complex a mass of evidence that all the apostles and evangelists desired to represent their Master as the Son of God, in no simply moral or human sense, but in the sense of a living incarnation of One Person of a tripersonal Godhead, — that it is vain to struggle against the argument. Is it not better to reject Christianity altogether than to receive it in the gross, and then explain it away in detail, of the theory of a simply human personality in the Savior?

     The three synoptic gospels — varied editions, under the different circumstances of the three great churches of Palestine, Italy, and Greece—of the one primitive history of Jesus, — though having for their object the presentation of the wonderful Humanity, present that never-fading portrait to the world crowned with a divine aureola, which leaves no reasonable doubt that they regarded this Person, with more or less distinctness of thought, as a Present God. Two of them commence their history by an assertion of His miraculous conception; certainly the most effectual hindrance to European faith in their narrative, supposing their desire was to be believed; and one that has no meaning apart from an implied Divine Incarnation. They represent their Master as assuming a tone of personal authority unknown to all previous legislators and prophets, an authority extending even to the raging elements and unclean spirits. They represent His very piety and virtue in a style which, however consistent with the filial subjection of the Son to the Eternal Father, is wholly unsuitable to a mortal, and which compels the reader to choose between the alternatives of true Deity in the Savior, or a blasphemous impiety in His pretensions as a man.

* If Jesus were not more than man, then He was certainly much less than a good man of the ordinary description. The rational alternatives to-day, as of old, are those of, “stoning” Him or “worshipping” Him. To maintain that He was a holy person, as a man, is consistent only in those who maintain that He was infinitely more than man. For if merely human, His “piety” was of a type to encourage by example the most profane assumptions on the part of every one who professes to be a teacher of righteousness. * See this argument drawn out with wonderful power and beauty in chapter x. of Bushnell on Nature and the Supernatural.

     Besides this, the synoptic gospels contain pretensions, which are intelligible only on the theory that their writers believed the subject of their memoirs was the incarnate Son of God. They show Him to us as receiving a “worship” (Matthew xiv 33) which angels themselves are said to have refused when offered by these same apostles (Revelation xxii 8). They show Him to us as pronouncing absolution from sins without reference to the delegation of His authority as a minister of heaven, assuming in fact the attribute and the tone of Deity; as was objected by learned Jews who heard Him often commit the supposed offence. They depict Him as claiming the possession of a nature which none but the Father “knows” or fathoms; and as declaring absolutely that no being knows the Infinite Nature except Himself, and those to whom He is pleased to reveal it” (Matthew xi 27). In teaching us the final destiny of men and angels, He speaks of Himself as the arbiter of doom (Matthew xxv.). The sublime scenes of His Baptism, and of His Transfiguration by night on the southern summits of the Hermon, — when the synoptics tell us that God spoke of Him as His “Beloved Son,”—are difficult to reconcile with any conception of Jesus simply as a good man, or as perhaps the first and best teacher of virtue among millions of others; but entirely agree with the idea of a Sonship which is Divine. *  Matthew ends his gospel by openly associating the Son with the Father and the Holy Spirit, in the form of baptism.

     If we pass on to the Fourth Gospel, it is necessary to assign a reason for setting aside recent doubts as to its authorship by the Apostle John. Suspicion has been thrown on its apostolic authorship of late years, (1) in consequence of the noticeable superiority of its Greek to that of the Apocalypse, which was undoubtedly John’s, and belongs to an earlier date; (2) in consequence of the apparent lateness of its general acceptance and quotation, no decisive examples of citation occurring before the first third of the second century; (3) in consequence of its internal character. †

* This argument (on the synoptics) is drawn out exhaustively in Dr. Dorner’s first volume on the Person of Christ.

† The history of the attack on the Fourth Gospel will be found in Baur, Strauss, Keim, Davidson, and Taylor; that of the defence, in Bleek, Dorner, Ebrard, Mayer, Schneider, Godet, Liddon, Farrar, and Beyschlag. Dr. Matthew Arnold (Contemp. Revelation, May, 1895) may he fairly reckoned on the same side, though his suggestions are not original.

     (1) The primary argument for the Johannine authorship is what may be fairly called the unbroken external tradition of the earliest ages, the like authority on which we depend for our knowledge of the authorship of the other anonymous books of Scripture, or of the Odes of Horace, or of the AEneid of Virgil. (2) Secondly, there is the internal evidence of John’s striking individuality as depicted in the three synoptic gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and his undoubted Epistles and Apocalypse; and which appears in every line of this gospel also, at least to those who possess the critical dramatic faculty that qualifies them to form a judgment. (3) There is the exceeding holiness of the book, which it is not conceivable coulproceed from a writer consciously forging the narrative, under the pseudonym of the holy apostle—an argument which will produce the deepest impression on those who are, “spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

     How, then, are we to account for the late diffusion of this gospel, and its remarkably late quotation by writers of the east and west; and how shall we account for the improvement in the Greek as compared with the Apocalypse?

     The following replies seem to offer a strong appearance of truth.

     (1) When John was imprisoned in Patmos, almost in solitude, he carried with him the provincial Greek of his early Palestinian days. In that Greek he wrote the Apocalypse. * When later in life, long after the destruction of Jerusalem, he lived at Ephesus, and wrote his gospel, he had the advantage of daily association with men who spoke accurately grammatical Greek, from whom John would gradually gather a similar accuracy, or even receive editorial assistance. This would account for the improvement of the style of the gospel upon the Apocalypse.

     (2) As to the latter diffusion of the gospel, it deserves to be remembered that the fifty years following on the destruction of Jerusalem, from A.D. 70 to A.D. 120, were fifty of the most terrible years the world had ever seen. They were years of war, confusion, turbulence, and fearful massacre of both Jews and Gentiles. In such an epoch a new book would perhaps spread itself less rapidly than in more peaceful and orderly times.

* For an accessible account of these defects in the Greek of the Apocalypse see Alford’s Prolegomena. The author of Supernatural Religion (ii. 406) thus describes the two works: “The language in which the Apocalypse is written is the most Hellenistic Greek of the N.T.” “The barbarous Greek and abrupt, inelegant diction, are natural to the unlettered fisherman.” Of the Gospel he says, “Instead of the Hellenistic Greek, abrupt and barbarous, we find the purest and least Hebraistic Greek of any of the gospels, and a refinement and beauty of composition whose charm has captivated the world.” On the ground of this difference the author rejects the fourth gospel. Dr. Luthardt agrees with this criticism, but rejects the conclusion. “As regards grammar the Gospel is written in correct, the Apocalypse in incorrect Greek;”—but Dr. L. strangely accounts for this difference by referring to the sovereignty of the Spirit, who chose to deliver the prophecy in inferior and the gospel in superior language.

     (3) There was, however, a further and far deeper reason for the later reception of John’s Gospel; and this is found in its contents. The fact of its later diffusion, now brought forward as an argument against its apostolic authorship, was rather in part the result of its late composition, and the effect of the peculiar character of its two main lessons. These two prominent doctrines, of the Personal Deity of the Christ, and of man’s Immortality depending on Him alone, were as much opposed to all ancient thought as they are to modern philosophy and modern theology. They could be effectually taught in the first age of the Church only when the ground had been somewhat prepared by the circulation of the gospels of the Divine Humanity. The lesson of the Human Divinity was for the later rather than for the earlier intelligence of the first century. Thus the writings of John, both from their date and their subject, necessarily had a somewhat later circulation than the synoptic gospels, or even than those epistles in which Paul and Peter, building on the same bases, set forth rather the effects of Redemption on man’s relations to his judge and Master. “I have many things to say unto you, but you cannot bear them now,” are words, which were true of the Church of the first century — even after the coming of the Comforter. There are some things, which cannot be explained thoroughly until the complex whole is explained together. The divine incarnation, the sacrificial death of Christ, His ascension, the free pardon of sinners, the world wide aspect of redemption, the final issue in an endless life, — all these are parts of a system, incredible in fragments; and you must expound the whole at once to render any single portion thoroughly intelligible. But however desirable, it was very difficult to teach these mysteries all at once and fully, to the first generation of men who had seen the Lord. The humanity of Christ both revealed and obscured His Deity; and until His Personal Deity was thoroughly understood, His life giving power could not be fully believed in. Thus these two correlated doctrines, of the Deity of Christ, and of our Immortal Life in Him, were so closely connected that they could not be completely divulged except in combined radiance, as complementary colors of one heavenly sunbeam of truth and godliness; and this process belonged to the later stages of the Church’s earlier life. So much I venture to propose hypothetically in explanation of the later reception and citation of the fourth gospel, and in vindication of its Johannine origin. The value of these observations will, I think, appear more clearly when the present argument is completed.

     What is it, then, that we discover in this gospel? It does indeed appear to be an intolerable abuse of criticism to pretend that Christendom has been mistaken in the east and in the west, in the north and in the south, in the general drift of this book — and to deny that the manifest intention of the writer was first of all to Deify Jesus. Dr. Vance Smith almost allows that this was his aim. The phenomenon indeed is singular and unexampled in history. There has been many an illustrious teacher in every land; but the last thought which has occurred to his immediate friends and followers, immediately after death, has been to give out that he was the Infinite God incarnate. This can scarcely be maintained respecting the Buddhist sages who have since been regarded as avatars of Divinity. Plato and Xenophon would never have ventured on declaring that Socrates was the Infinite Mind made flesh. No modern biographer would have found it possible to assert the Divinity of any artist, theologian, or man of science; nor would the imagination have ever entered a healthy brain. In Roman times, after their deaths, the emperors were regarded as in a low sense Divine (Divas Julius, Divas Augustus, Divus Titus), but no friend or flatterer thought that by ascribing to them that title they asserted that in Augustus, or Tiberius, or Titus the Supreme God dwelt as a part of their personality; or dreamed of teaching, in a historical book, that during their lives they spoke and acted as if they pretended to be Jupiter in disguise.

     But John goes much farther than this. He, a Jew, a member of a nation where the first principle of thought was monotheism; where the gulf between the finite and the Infinite, the creature and Creator, was held to be impassable and unfathomable; where for a man to claim divine honors was held to be the consummation of wickedness; where men would die rather than allow the statue of Caligula in the temple; where no such phantasy had ever crossed the mind of any Hebrew since the formation of the Commonwealth, —John distinctly asserts of this peasant-carpenter of Nazareth, his Master and Friend, that He was the “Word made Flesh,” that Word by whom “everything was made that was made.” The history of the miraculous conception, with which Matthew begins his gospel, was a trifle in comparison with this portentous declaration with which John commences his. Let us note the precision of his language. He says, — In the beginning was the Logos; — and the Logos was with the (great) Theos “ (this is the force of pro<v to>n Qeo>n); — ”and the Logos was Theos“ (without the definite article: He was A Divine Person, not the great original Theos, * or Deity). The evangelist then further elaborates his idea that the LOGOS was a Divine Person, the Agent of the Father in creation, and existing before all worlds. In verse 14 he distinctly asserts the Incarnation of the personal Logos, who was Theos; and the whole gospel is one prolonged commentary on this claim, which he makes for Jesus, to be the Divine Creator of the Universe (verse 3), the Representative Deity, in human form. Again and again he carefully details discussions between “the Jews” and Jesus Christ, in which he affirms that,

1. He came down from Heaven, yet was in Heaven, iii. 13, 31;

2. That He was God’s “only-begotten” Son, whom God gave to the world for its salvation, 3:16;

3. That what things so ever the Father dose, these dose the Son likewise, 5:17, 19 (“making Himself equal with God”).

4. That as the Father raises up the dead, so could He, verse 21.

5. That God had committed the judgment of the whole world to Him, verse 22.

6. That at His voice all the dead should rise, verse 29.

7. That the Father Himself attested these claims, verse 36.

8. That He was the Bread, which came down from Heaven to give life unto the world, 6 Passim.

9. That before Abraham was He was, 8:38.

* Origen (in Johan. 46) points out the force of the definite article in the second clause, and of its omissio in the third clause of this verse. Lekte>on de< aujtoiv k. t. l. “This scruple of many pious persons may be thus solved. We must tell them that He who is of Himself God, is oJ Qeov, but that whatever is God, besides that underived One (aujtoqeo<v), being so by communication of His Divinity, cannot so properly be styled oJ Qeo< the great God, but Qeov, a divine person (oujc oJ Qeo<v ajlla< qeo<v kuriw>teron le>goito). See also Dr. J. H. Newman’s Tract on the Principatus of the Father—in which he, though with great caution, uses language similar in effect.

10. That He came forth from God, and went to God, 13:1-3

11. That He should send the Holy Spirit of God, as the Comforter, 16:7, 12. That He had a glory with the Father before the world was, 17:5; 13. That He and the Father were ejn, one, 10:30.

     And these statements, powerful when taken in isolated citation, are far stronger when looked at in their connection, so that those who can eliminate from this gospel the doctrine of the personal Deity of Christ, as the Son of God, can perform any feat of transformation on the words of the New Testament, or of any other writing.

     The English Prayer Book was “proved” by Tract No. 90, under the auspices of the Oxford conspirators, to permit practically of a Roman interpretation; and the gospel of John, under similar treatment, may be regarded as the work of all apostles who was a Unitarian.

     For ourselves—while rendering just homage to the many noble qualities of our Unitarian brethren, and lamenting, in the interests of truth, the excesses of the falsely so called Athanasian orthodoxy, which have occasioned and perhaps excused in part the reaction towards a purely humanitarian view of Christ’s person, — we must nevertheless abjure as scarcely deserving refutation these efforts of critical artifice. To us Christ is the Lord, —the all-creating “Word made flesh,” — ”God over all, blessed forever.” “Being in the form of (qeou~) a Divine Person, He thought it not a thing to be snatched at to be equal to a Theos, but emptied Himself, and took on Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; wherefore God (oJ Qeo<v), the supreme Theos, has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and of the under—world, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:6-11). He is “the First and the Last — the Beginning and the Ending, — which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Ruler of the Universe” (Apoc. i. 8; oJ Pantokra>twr).

     We cannot then separate from Apostolic Christianity the transcendent mystery of the incarnation of the Logos. It is the foundation of the whole system. If the New Testament was written to teach modern Unitarianism, there is no series of books on earth more elaborately contrived to fail of their purpose. There is none which so much requires an apparatus of special criticism to bring out that sense; for they leave on the minds of all who will permit them to make their natural impression an ever-deepening conviction that the doctrine of Christ’s Deity is the Shekinah of the temple, and the secret of man’s Redemption. The writers leave also the impression that this doctrine was as great a natural improbability to themselves as it is to us; that it was gradually forced on them by the overpowering evidence of the facts, by a divine inspiration, and by the words of Jesus Himself, supported, and proved to be true, by a blaze of miracles which rendered unbelief impossible.

     Eighteen hundred years of further meditation on this sublime mystery have not, however, lessened the wonderfulness of the message, that the everlasting Nature has joined itself once and forever to humanity in the Christ. On the contrary the thought of it, as the vastness of the universe is further disclosed, weighs more and more heavily upon the laboring mind; — yet, while there open through this gateway infinite prospects of glory, one beyond the other—crowding on the vision of the enraptured spirits who contemplate them in earth and heaven, —the evidence brightens as the future unfolds; and though the fact of the Incarnation “passes knowledge,” the soul is compelled to recognize in the loftiest conceptions of man’s destiny through redemption the nearest approaches to the truth of God. The Eternal Love which created us has given Itself, its All, its “heights and depths and lengths and breadths” — (ta< pa>nta; Romans 8:32) — in His Only Begotten Son!

SECTION 2

     We have now to direct the current of our special argument into this broad and mighty stream of truth on the Deity of Christ which makes glad the city of God, — a tributary to its fullness, as we believe, having its origin also in the heights of divine revelation. In executing this purpose, it will be necessary to direct continued attention to that gospel of John, which is the object of so natural a hostility to those who misconceive the scope and method of man’s redemption by the Incarnation.

     It will be observed by careful readers of this gospel that there run throughout its course two parallel lines of thought and speech. The first has been already noted—the assertion, chiefly in Christ’s varied and solemnly reported words, of the Incarnation of the Divine Nature in His person: and an incarnation or “becoming flesh” (1:14) so real and so vital that the Logos became as truly a part of the complex personality of the Christ, as is the thinking power a part of man’s integral being. This union of the Divine and Human natures is represented as so close as to constitute the Logos a Man, and the Manhood Divine: so close, that when Jesus speaks of “I,” it may be either, or equally, the body, the mind, or the Eternal Spirit, which speaks: (1) “I thirst;” (3) “I will, be you clean:” (3) “I will raise it up at the last day.” He was, as the Creed declares, “Perfect God and Perfect Man, of a reasonable soul and human flesh subsisting; who although He be God and Man, yet He is not two, but one Christ; One — not by conversion of the Godhead into flesh, but by taking of the Manhood into God — One altogether — not by confusion of substance, but by unity of Person. For as the reasonable soul and flesh is one man, so God and Man is one Christ.”

     The second line of doctrine, which runs throughout the gospel of John from the first paragraph to the last, is that this Incarnation of the Divine Logos of God has for its object To GIVE LIFE ETERNAL TO MANKIND. This is repeated more than thirty times in the most emphatic manner. And if the epistles of John are added to the account, it will be found that nearly fifty times does this apostle declare the gift of LIFE, or LIFE EVERLASTING, to be the end of the Incarnation. A few striking examples of the phraseology may be selected.

     (1) In the proem of the gospel the Divine Logos is described thus: “In Him was Life, and the Life was the light of men.”

     (2) In conversing with Nicodemus, Jesus declared that “God so loved the world as to give His Only Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but should have everlasting life” (mh< ajpo<lhtai, ajllj, e]ch zwh<n aijw>nion John 3:16).

     (3) He assured the Samaritan woman that the water, which He would give would be within a fountain of water springing up to everlasting life (4:14).

     (4) In the fifth chapter Christ declares again and again that with Him rests the power of raising the dead, and giving them life (zwopoiei~). “He that hears my word and believeth has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.”

     (5) In the sixth chapter there is a prolonged argument with the Jews to prove that He was the Bread of Life; that the fathers ate manna in the desert and died, but this was the bread that came down from heaven that a man should eat thereof and not die, kai< mh< ajproqa>nh, verse 50. The statement is reiterated in every possible form that His work on earth is to give life, everlasting life, to prevent men from dying, from perishing. He declares that whoso eats His flesh and drinks His blood, has eternal life, and He will raise Him up at the last day, verse 54. “As the living Father has sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eats me, even he shall live by me.” “He that eats of this bread shall live forever,” verses 57, 58. “Except you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves,” ejn ejautoiv, verse 53. This discourse, delivered in the synagogue of Capernaum, deserves careful and consecutive study, for it may be taken as the fairest battle—ground of this whole controversy. What is said elsewhere is but a repetition of what is here declared with a persistence and fullness, which are fitted to arouse earnest inquiry as to the design of our Savior’s words.

     (6) Paul and Peter have many expressions of the same character—affirming that we owe our “everlasting life” to that Christ, — that He is our “Life” — our “hope of life,” — and apart from Him we shall “die,” “perish,” and be “destroyed: “ but although at least fifty times such expressions occur, no practical purpose would be answered by multiplying here parallel quotations from their writings.

     What, then, if we may follow the natural and proper sense of these declarations of

Christ, is the result to which they lead us?

     Is it not THAT THE VERY OBJECT OF THE INCARNATION IS TO IMMORTALISE MANKIND; that roan {? man} can live forever only by spiritual union with the Incarnate Deity; that apart from such union span will “die, perish, and be destroyed.”

     When we wish to express the idea of perpetual existence, or the loss of being, there is no language in which we can so naturally and properly convey our meaning as in these words of Christ. Some will live forever, others will perish. Were it not for certain extrinsic considerations, derived from foreign fields of thought, no one would ever have imagined a different sense. Unless a reader had been warned beforehand that every man’s soul, being destined by its nature to last forever, and not to die — (being immortal) — he must therefore not put upon the terms of Christ’s discourses any meaning which will contradict that doctrine of natural immortality, — he would not have dreamed of imposing a figurative sense upon them, or of making life eternal stand for happiness, or perishing stand for endless misery. It is altogether due to foreign and unusual considerations, if readers have learned to take such words in an unnatural sense. For to live forever signifies to live forever, and to perish signifies not to live forever but to lose organized and conscious being. That is the first and the natural meaning of the words.

     Moreover, it is the very meaning of them taken in constructing the favorite phrase, an Immortal Soul. An immortal soul is a soul that will not die; and to die there is taken for ceasing to exist (not for being miserable); so that every one who uses the phrase an immortal soul,” and maintains that man possesses one, shows us what is the natural and proper sense of dying, by saying in Latin that the soul will not die. It is obvious, then, that, unless there be   some reason of overpowering strength, this is the sense in which the words must be taken in the gospel. This is not to deny that in God’s distribution of life and death to moral beings there will be, and must be, glorious or dreadful secondary associations of thought connected with these words — in the one case of holiness and happiness, in the other of sin and misery; but it is to deny that in consequence of those secondary associations the terms lose their primary, radical, and proper signification, or become mere tropes and figures of speech for a life which is not literally life at all, — or for a death which is not the breaking up of humanity.

     That the persistent resolution, through many ages, to strip these converse terms Life and Death, in their application to Christ’s work and Man’s destiny, of their proper signification, has resulted in eclipsing fully one-half of the light of the Sun of Righteousness, of the glory of Christ, of the truth of Christianity, is a conviction deeply fixed in the mind of the present writer; and that this fatal result has followed from the stealthy advance in the early church of error on the soul’s natural immortality has already been partly shown in previous pages. A false psychology throws a mist over the whole firmament of truth; but it is surely very difficult, after the writing of the last twenty years, to maintain that the doctrine of the immortality of the soul has any unquestionable foundation in biology, in metaphysics, or in Scripture. * Is not its chief source the self-estimate of men destitute of the knowledge of God, and grasping at a shadow when the substance has escaped them? * See especially the remarkable cries of papers in the “Nineteenth Century,” 1877, on the Future Life, called “The Symposium.”

     In order to determine this question, whether we owe the prospect of immortality to the natural constitution of our spiritual being, — or, to the grace of God in Redemption, to the Incarnation of the Life of God in the Christ, — to a divine regenerative process restricted to the sons of God, which contemplates the whole humanity, body as well as soul, in its transforming and immortalizing action, — we fall back on the generally accepted principle of biblical interpretation. If the writings of the apostles and evangelists are insufficient to decide this controversy, when handled “not deceitfully,” but according to the canon which governs the honest interpretation of all public documents, there is assuredly no reason for expecting satisfaction elsewhere. The “oral law” of Christendom is as delusive a guide as that of ancient Judaism.

     What, then, is the canon above all others obligatory in interpreting Scripture? It is delivered to us in the words of Hooker: I hold it for a most infallible rule in expositions of Sacred Scripture that when a literal construction will stand, the farthest from the letter is commonly the worst. There is nothing more dangerous than this licentious and deluding art, which changes the meaning of words as alchemy dose, or would do, the substance of metals, making of anything what it lists, and bringing in the end all truth to nothing.” “The literal sense of words is prima facie their true sense. The literal sense is presumptively true, or has the first claim to be received. The literal sense is the common, fundamental, ordinary, usual sense in all languages, Hebrew and Greek included, and that which first strikes the mind of a hearer. Life, death, — living forever, perishing, the ideas conveyed by these and similar words are likely to be their true sense, unless overruled by the connection, or by the general tenor of the book in which they appear.

     “They” (the heavens), ”shall perish, but You remain” (Psalm 102). “Labor not for the meat which perishes, but for the meat which endures to everlasting life” (John 6). “The outward man perishes, but the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4). Who could fail to see that in such passages perishing is the opposite of remaining and enduring? Why is the word to be taken differently when the object to perish is a sinner, or the object to perish is not a man who has eaten of bread “that endures to everlasting life”?

      The adage that the literal sense of words is presumptively the true one has been held by all interpreters. Thus Luther says: “That which I have so often insisted on elsewhere I here once more repeat, that the Christian should direct his first efforts towards understanding the literal sense (as it is called) of Scripture, which alone is the substance of faith and of theology.” And Dean Alford says: “A canon of interpretation which should be constantly borne in mind is that a figurative sense of words is never admissible except when required by the context.” (Comm. on Acts 10:42.)

     No rule besides this is permitted be a sound interpretation in deducing the doctrine of the New Testament on other topics of the Christian revelation. The doctrines of the Trinity of the Godhead, of the Deity of Christ, of the Person and work of the Holy Ghost, of justification by grace, of the resurrection of the dead, of the kingdom of Christ, are learned among Protestants by a persistent application of this canon, against whatever mass of evil example and precedent to the contrary. For in fact the measure of light and darkness in the Church in every century has been determined by the degree in which its interpreters have stood fast on this common-sense rule of interpretation, or have given way to traditional perversion, or to the fantastic notion of inner senses and universal mystery. There have been no deadlier enemies to Christianity than its mystical interpreters.

     The application of this great rule to the words of the Incarnate Word describing the nature of His own work of Redemption seems especially imperative. Can we seriously suppose that when Christ pours forth that soul-moving current of expression in which He solemnly and so often declares on all various occasions, and in all-varying companies, during His ministry, that He came to earth to “give Life,” “everlasting Life to men,” to “raise them up” to everlasting Life, to prevent them from “dying,” — can we suppose, after deliberation, that this emphatic language was nothing more than a mighty volume of figurative speech, rolling before us, and tantalizing our understandings; when it was of the last importance for us to know clearly what the doom was of which we were in danger,  and what the blessing is which He came to confer?

     If the main current of the Redeemer’s language on the very object of His mission is to be taken as a stream of metaphors, how can we know what the realities are of which these figures are the emblems? If none of the language of the Bible is plain and easy to be understood, how can we hope ever to understand the metaphors? But, indeed, this has been the delusion alike of Jew and Gentile that the Bible scarcely ever means what it says. Men do “not like” — some for one so-called reason, some for another — to admit that their natures are as perishable as those of the races around them, — they do “not like” to retain in their knowledge a Savior who is the “life of the world,” — they do “not like” to admit the awful idea of a judicial extinction of life in hell, for defying the Almighty, — and therefore they leave no verbal artifice unemployed in perverting the plain meaning of the terms which clearly announce that doom to the condemned, and point to the Christ as the sole hope of humanity. Just so those who go to the Bible resolved not to allow of the ideas of the Incarnation and of the Atonement find critical means to persuade themselves that those doctrines are not really in the Scripture.

     Nothing is more wonderful in the history of thought than the degree to which men have persuaded themselves that the Spirit of Revelation in dealing with mankind has systematically avoided that “great plainness of speech” which is the natural outcome of a direct and simple purpose when the object is to be understood. The notion is deeply rooted that when God speaks, as in the person of Christ, the Incarnate WORD, scarcely any of His words are to be taken in their obvious sense. Surely the rule of thought ought to be the opposite, and we ought to think that He who was the Truth as well as the Life employed human speech in its most direct signification.

     It is said, however, in reply to this assertion of the first claim of the literal and obvious sense of words in the interpretation of Scripture doctrine, that we are overlooking the undeniable prevalence of metaphor in the Biblical writings, and especially in the teaching of Jesus Himself. “Without a parable spate He not unto them.” “He multiplied parables,” after the fashion of the ancient prophets. There is not a doctrine of the gospel, which He did not involve in an envelope of metaphorical speech, partly as a punitive measure towards dishonest souls, partly as an exercise of the pious ingenuity of His disciples. May not, then, the whole sense of Christ’s language respecting Life and Death, as the destinies of men, be a portion of the metaphorical vocabulary in which He presented the truth? The writings of the Apostles of Christ contain several indications of the strong secondary associations which belong to these terms, as when Paul speaks of his own happiness, in the words, “Now we live if you stand fast in the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 3:8): as much as to say, “Your departure from the truth would be my death.”

     We acknowledge that the associations of holy blessedness and sinful misery occasionally, as in the cited passage, come forward into vivid prominence in the use of the terms life and death; and not only that, but also that other secondary associations of these terms and their correlatives, such as the ideas of force and liveliness, of weakness and torpor, of a spiritual and of a carnal condition, occasionally are made prominent in the use of the words, as perhaps in such passages as these: “Quicken you me in your way” — Psalm 119 (give me force and vigor in your service) — and, “You have a name that you live and are  dead,” “Be zealous and strengthen the things that remain, that are ready to die” (Revelation 3). But it would be a perversion of all the rules of speech, and the experience of literature, to allow that because terms are sometimes employed in a sense in which their secondary associations are prominent, therefore we are to interpret them everywhere so as to exclude their primary and proper signification. In passing expressions of emotional thought, the secondary association may thus sometimes get even the upper hand; but in solemn and deliberate teaching the main terms are certain to be used in their strict signification. When and where on earth is there better reason to look for the use of words in their proper sense than when the Savior of the world is teaching men what their danger is, and in what Salvation consists? If it be urged again that Christ hid much of His truth in a glory-mist of metaphors, the answer is, that “privately He explained all things to His disciples;” yet in private as in public He adhered to His theme, that men were in danger of death, and destruction, and that He came to give them everlasting life.

     The impression prevails among many readers of the Bible that inasmuch as it is an Oriental Book, and the genius of Oriental Speech is metaphorical and symbolical, it is a dangerous fallacy to handle its Language according to the cold canons of European language. We must expect a metaphor everywhere, until it is proved that the Asiatic prophet or apostle has spoken in simple terms!

     Except in some conspicuous examples of imaginative poetry, Indian and Persian, there is reason to deny with emphasis this popular notion of Asiatic discourse. The realities of life impose more sobriety upon Orientals than the Westerns usually allow, and this sobriety percolates through their common literature. With respect to the Bible, to impute a high flown metaphorical style to its writers as their ordinary habit is manifestly a delusion. The most decisive evidence of this is, that the Bible will bear translating, nearly word for word, into the tongues of Northern Europe; and has been listened to in public reading with the utmost edification for many generations. This would have been impossible in the colder atmosphere of the North, unless, in the main, the Bible were a sober book; sober in its history, in its teaching, even in its poetry; using language that can be “understand of the people” in all climates of the world. The idea, then, that Asiatics never speak except in metaphors, and that the Biblical writers are but examples of the Asiatic genius, is to misconceive the facts of life and of history.

     There is, however, a further argument, which alone might suffice to correct the imagination that the Bible has taught the mysteries of Redemption in a cloud of metaphors. I refer to the providential selection of the Greek language to be the instrument for the revelation of the gospel; the language of mankind which beyond all others assists and encourages the expression of thought in exact terms. Admitting, with strong reservation and protest against the exaggerated notion of Asiatic tendency to metaphor, that the Hebrew of the Old Testament partakes in some degree of the poetic indefiniteness of a primitive tongue, it cannot be pretended that this is a weakness of the Greek speech. There at least we have definition, edge, precision, — itself an effect of clear thought, and an incentive to it. Now the “oriental” Jews had been for three centuries placed under the yoke of Greek-speaking rulers when Christ appeared. Their Scriptures were read in Greek throughout the world. There is reason to think, with Dr. Roberts, that Greek was widely spoken in Palestine by the hearers of our Lord; and it is this perfect language, — in which reason rules over fancy with undisputed sway, — that was chosen to be the organ by which Christianity and Christ’s discourses should be divulged to the civilized world.

     To assert, therefore, that in the Greek gospel of John, written in the clear sunshine of Ionian Greece itself, the language is probably metaphorical at every turn, that we shall most likely err in taking two to mean life, and qa>natov to mean death, and shall more likely reach the truth by supposing that ajpoqnh>skein signifies to be banished from God, or to live forever in misery, is to offer a violent contradiction to one of the most obvious facts in philology, — namely, that the use of Greek in the New Testament is in itself a presumption that its ordinary terms are taken in their natural signification.

     But this being so, we may learn with certainty, if any doubt exists, through the Greek of the New Testament, the meaning of the corresponding Hebrew words in the Old; and no extreme theories as to the range of the Hellenistic dialect must blind us to the truth that the Greek of the apostles was a tongue which the Grecians understood.

     These considerations necessitate what may be termed the literal, or, still better, the natural and obvious interpretation of John’s gospel in its discourses on the life eternal. But some special and detailed arguments may be added which confirm the presumption raised on grounds such as we have discussed.

     (1) The work of the Son of God in redemption is in Scripture interwoven with the history of the sin of Man in paradise. The doctrine of the First and of the Second Adam constitutes the “mystery of the gospel” (1 Corinthians 15). In the teaching of our Lord Himself there are clear references to the history of the fall of Man as the basis of God’s dealings with the human race. He speaks of Satan as a “Murderer (ajnqrwpokto>non) from the beginning: “ and of Himself as sent to destroy the works of the Devil. Now, a murderer is a destroyer of life. The meaning of Death, and of the gift of Eternal Life, in the discourses of Christ, is thus fixed by the history of the First Adam in Genesis. Christ appeared to “abolish death (2 Timothy 1), and the death which He abolished was the death that “came into the world” by the original Sin, and through the temptation of the original Murderer.

     What was that death? We have already seen that it is to offer violence to known fact, as well as every probability, to suppose that the death incurred by Adam’s sin was, as Athanasius declares in a passage (cited hereafter in chapter 26), aught else than Extinction (fqora<), a death like that which animals have died on this globe since the beginning. No word is said either before the fall, or on the approach of the Judge, or, of Adam’s possession of a deathless soul, when his mortal integer was broken up; — not a word is uttered in the divine comment on that curse, of an eternity of misery to be endured by the soul after the dissolution of the Man. Indeed that notion seems to deserve little else than the scorn, which Locke bestows upon it. It is the gratuitous invention of theologians who have forfeited the claim to be listened to in that matter by their perverse departure from the record. The signification, then, of the Life that Christ bestows is determined by the history of the Bible. It is the spiritual renewal of God’s holy image, and with it the concurrent bestowment of that literal eternal life in body and soul which was annexed to the right to the Tree of Life in Paradise, and which was forfeited by sin. “Now, lest he put forth his hand, and take of the “free of Life, and eat, and live forever, so he drove out the man. “Christ is the Door into the eternal life. Through Him sinful, mortal humanity enters in again, and He gives us “to eat of the Tree of Life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.” After His ascension to heaven Christ solemnly appropriated these words to Himself (Revelation 2:7).

     The result of being driven out from the Tree of Life to Adam was not merely unhappiness or misery, but death, returning to dust; hence it is necessary to understand the work of Christ to be to confer Immortality.

     If mankind already possessed, through the Divine constitution, the attribute of everlasting life in the most essential part of their nature, an ever-during soul, it cannot be admitted that in the proper sense of the terms Christ “gives eternal life” to the saved. His title as the Life of Men must be understood as applicable to Him only in a vague metaphorical sense, as the giver of grace and happiness. But this would not correspond to the breadth and depth of Scripture language respecting redemption. He Himself is our Life. And the body no less than the soul is said to be saved by Him, — ”Waiting for the son ship, to wit, the redemption of the body” (Romans 8).

     2. Every chapter in the gospel of John gives force to the preceding argument. In the opening verses, he says of the Logos, “In Him was Life,” and adds, “All things were made by Him, and without Him was not one thing made that was made:” designing clearly to indicate that the Logos was not merely the fountain of happiness only, or of holiness, or of what is termed, in unscriptural language, ”spiritual life,” — but of all existence, material and immaterial, organic and inorganic, — a statement which fittingly introduces that Savior from death, who says of Himself, “The thief comes not but for to steal and to kill and to destroy (qu>sh kai< ajpole>sh). I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). *

     Now when it is considered that Christ’s words were for the most part uttered in the hearing of the two hostile sects of Pharisees and Sadducees, whose controversy on immortality gave a special interest and a peculiar edge to every term employed to denote a future slate, the conclusion appears inevitable, that Christ could have intended by His language only the sense here imputed to it. Never once was He prevailed on to set forth the Pharisaic psychological doctrine of the “oral law,” that “every soul has an immortal vigour in it,” and will live forever; for then He would have had the democratic Pharisees always on His side, as proving by miracles the truth of their doctrine against the materialistic Sadducees. On the contrary, the hatred of the Pharisees towards Christ corresponded to. His ceaseless denunciation of them, and of their “oral law.” The Sadducees, again, when they heard Him speak of “eternal life,” and of eternal life by “resurrection,” and of that resurrection to life eternal as the gift of God through the Speaker, at least would not lose His meaning, by imposing on the word life a figurative sense — of bliss, to be bestowed on a soul already immortal. They would necessarily understand Him to teach that man had no principle of immortality in himself, but that God would give immortality, in body and soul, to those who believed in Him. They would at once understand His meaning, and scorn His supposed wickedness and folly. The Pharisees would think that He was right in teaching a future eternal life for the righteous, but that He cut the ground of such a hope from beneath His own feet by refraining from teaching, as they did, the inherent immortality of man. Thus neither party “received His words;” but between the two they assisted all future ages to comprehend His intention, which was to teach a doctrine that humbles man in the dust of death, and restricts the everlasting life to twice-born and believing souls, — a doctrine which represents the first Adam as coi~ko>v, a “man of earth,” and the Second Man alone as a “life-giving spirit” (1 Corinthians 15). * See further on this subject the section of chapter 24, headed “Moral Ideas associated with the terms Life and Death.”

     It remains now to offer a reflection on the relation between the two great mysteries of the Fourth Gospel; and this must be done with a befitting sense of the awe under which it becomes sinful men to adventure into that Holiest Place, which has been “opened” to us by the Eternal Love.

     The one line of thought, transcending all natural ideas of man, which pervades John’s Gospel, is — THE INCARNATION OF THE DEITY, of the LOGOS-THEOS, in the person of Jesus our Lord. — The other line of thought is the parallel affirmation from the lips of this Incarnate Deity, that MAN OWES THE PROSPECT OF EVERLASTING LIFE, not to his own nature, but to redemptive UNION WITH HIM, THE LIFE OF THE WORLD.

     It is hard to say which of these lines of thought awakens more of the natural incredulity and hostility of mankind — that Jesus was an Incarnation of the Godhead, — or that Immortal Life for man is to be found alone in spiritual union with Him.

     Yet these truths support each other — like the two sides of an arch of triumph, “that gate of the Lord into which the righteous shall enter.”

     Is not this the truth — that man, who by the laws of the universe is “dead in sins,” under sentence of extermination by the law, can be saved from the death incurred, can be reached in his misery, by no force or power of the created universe? If he is to be saved from the action of the laws of the universe, moral and physical, it must be, not through the remedial operation of some external force, but through the intimate union of his nature with a Power which is above the universe and its laws, — through the union of the nature of man with the Nature of God? Is it not that the salvation of a sinner from destruction is an impossibility, except through the “taking of the manhood unto God”? Is it not that salvation in all its parts must be the direct act of God operating, not through natural laws, but in a sphere above them, — Himself suffering, Himself taking our nature, Himself raising the destroyed Temple of His Body, Himself pouring forth the tide of His own Eternal Life, a life divine and immortal, into the victims of the destroyer?

     If this were so, we derive a new and irresistible argument for faith in the Divinity of Christ from the related doctrine of His life-giving energy; and from the doctrine of Life in Christ alone we derive fresh evidence of His personal Deity. That doctrine, which beyond all others moves the unbelief and scorn of Asia and of Europe, the Incarnation of the Word, is seen to be at once the essential condition of man’s immortality, and its only solid foundation. “Behold I lay in Zion for a foundation, a Rock, a solid Rock; and he that believeth shall not be confounded.” This Rock is the Incarnation of the Life-giving Word.

SUPPLEMENT TO CHAPTER 17

     Note on the Sixth Chapter of John’s Gospel: Christ’s Discourse on Life in the Synagogue of Capernaum.

     It will be convenient to bring together in one view the indications afforded by this chapter of what we term the literal sense of Life and Death in our Lord’s discourses, in opposition to the prevailing notion that life stands only forever lasting happiness, and death for endless misery. In examining the sixth chapter of John closely the reader is requested to bear in mind what the prevailing theory is — namely, that man’s soul is immortal by nature, — so that all that comes to it from the hand of God, by the additions of judgment or mercy, is the misery or the happiness of a nature that is already eternal. The words of Christ on the donation of life, or the infliction of death, on this theory must therefore strictly signify the gift of spiritual character and blessedness or the infliction of misery, —and nothing beyond.

     We propose to show that our Lord’s statements indicate that He meant much more than this; He intended by life and death also, and primarily, immortality and destruction.

     The discussion recorded took place in the great synagogue of Capernaum, of which some interesting ruins yet remain at Tel Hum; for even the ruins are interesting of an edifice, which was the scene of this notable revelation of Divine truth and grace. * The discourse was occasioned by the exclamation of Jesus, on seeing the people crowding around Him at Capernaum, after the miracle of Bethesda (verse 26) “You seek Me not because you saw signs,” (tokens and intimations of a higher presence, which led you to conceive great thoughts of Me), “but because you did eat of the loaves and were filled. Work not for the food, which perishes (th<n ajpollume<hn), but for that food which endures (me>nousan) unto Everlasting Life, which the Son of man shall give unto you.” The people, supposing that He offered to supply food, which would confer perpetual life, ask, “What shall we do that we may work at the works of God?” Jesus answered, “This is the work which God requires, that you should believe on Him whom He has sent,” — a work of the mind which would set all outward works right. “They said therefore, ‘What sign shows You that we may see and believe You? What do You work? Our fathers ate manna in the desert, as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” (Your gift of bread has been on the level of the earth, and only for a single meal; can you not do something more like the miracle of Moses, who gave the whole nation food from heaven daily for forty years? Unless you at least equal Moses, we cannot forsake him to believe in you.) “Then Jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave to you even that bread from heaven (it was God), but my Father now gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is He, which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. Then said they, Lord, always give to us this bread. And Jesus said, I am the bread of life. He that comes to Me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.”

* Canon Tristram mentions that on one of its remaining blocks of masonry, forming the keystone of the entrance arch inside, and therefore visible to the congregation, is sculptured the pot of Mauna, the symbol of the God-given immortality.

     Now in this succession of sentences our Lord places together the idea of bread, as the support of life, and of Himself as the giver of eternal life. Bread is the aliment of life in the literal sense of the term. Bread is not the symbol of happiness, but of preservation of life, aliment for continued being.

     This idea of bread as the support of life He then pursues to the end of the chapter; and just as people who have no food must die, so He teaches that preservation from death, and enjoyment of endless life, depend on receiving this heaven-sent aliment of being.