Imágenes de páginas

depravation,-it is tbe loss, of this present endowment in life which pertains to man as an embodied image of God. There is a veritable pit of destruction, called hell, from which we need to be saved. The mental torment that precedes and accompanies this is one feature of hell. But it is not the whole of it. This disorder and anarchy of soul ends in the dissolution of botb, body and soul. We need a dow life-force from the risen Christ, not merely to heal the vices of the mind, but to renovate the whole nature, and to preserve us in body, soul and spirit through the crisis of death. The death of the body and the corruption of the grave more forcibly represent to us the scriptural idea of hell, than do the torments of the mind, or the imbruted state of those who are the slaves of passion, or whose god is their belly. The end of all such is, not merely a deeper pit of misery or sensuality, but DESTRUCTION.

SWEDENBORGIAN VIEW.-In this connection it occurs to us to offer some remarks upon the view of hell, as held by the “ New Churcb.” We lately heard one of their ministers speak upon “Misconceptions concerning hell.” After justly holding up to reprobation the view of it trught by the older Divines, as gathered from the sermons of Jonathan Edwards and others, which make God an arch-fiend, and are utterly contradictory of what Jesus taught concerning Him in such passages as Matt. v. 43-46, he proceeds te state his own view. Most of our readers are familiar with Swedenborg's view of Hearen and Hell. Hell is viewed not so much as a place, as a state or environment which the man makes for himself in the spiritual world, and which is the only one con genial to him. Those who pass the bounds of this life unsaved are permanently fixed in the place they have chosen and wrought out for themselves, and which is necessarily one of increasing misery and wretchedness. That there are elements of truth in this representation all will admit. It seems to accord with the profound lawsof character and life, so far as they appear to us on the surface. But, like Professor Drummond's argument in his widely-read book, it overlooks the place and meaning of resurrection in the progress of life and the economy of God. Swedenborg's view of death, as not a veritable dissolution of man's being, but its liberation led him to confound it with, and to underestimate resurrection. It has no redemptive value in his system, hence, there can be no corrective value in the sufferings of hell, and no room for any ray of hope to enter that dark and dismal abode. God, whom this preacher taught us, commands us to love our enemies, and to forgive them their trespasses, in order that we may be like Him. true children of our Father in heaven-is thus presented as either changing His attitude toward these lost creatures of His hand, or else as having shut Himself up in this, His own system of Creation, from ever doing anything more for their recovery and relief. The two parts of the sermon, therefore to which we listened were inconsistent. The preacher denounced Edwards for his inhuman and unloving thoughts of God. And yet, although his own hell was inilder, and indeed a place congenial to the sufferers, yet it was equally one of moral filth and debasement and wretchedness and unending despair. The assumption in both these systems that, because man's will is free, what God does in this life to win sinners to Himself, ie all that He can do, is without warrant in either reason or scripture, and falls short of any true understanding of the provision He has made to bestow upon the race which lost its heritage of life in the first Adam, the gift of another life in the second Swedenborgianism, therefore, while bringing out importan

truths, needs to revise its whole doctrine of probation, of death and resurrection, of heaven and bell. Indeed, we are compelled to believe that that system, like others that have preceded it, has made the mistake of believing that the whole of spiritual truth was revealed through its seer, and that the Holy Spirit has nothing more to unfold to His church of truth, or of the mysteries of things unseen. It was never intended that His office,as the abiding Teacher of the church, should be thus finished or superseded.


This is the title which Jesus almost always employs in speaking of Himself. It is applied but once in the old Testament prophecies to the Messiah, namely, in the visions of Daniel. In contrast with the figure-heads or beast-symbols of the powers of this world, at the head of the divine kingdom stands one like unto the Son of Man. It is obseryable that this customary title of the gospels appears but once in the Acts--in the vision of Stephen--and never in the epistles. There the Son of God is the usual title. Twice it is applied to the risen Saviour in the Apocalypse.

This title is most significant It brings to view the fact that there existed an ideal humanity in the divine mind from the beginning of all things. There was a Son of Man in

heaven before Jesus appeared upon earth. And this arche. type of humanity was first realized in Him. As such Ho is the perfect “ image of the invisible God, the beginning of creation of God, "the first born of all creation [Col. i. 15]. And He is the head of all humanity, with power to redeem and save it [Luke ix. 56, xix. 10], with power to rule and judge it (Matt. xxv. 31-46], and whose power of redemption and judgment extends even to the regions of the dead “ because He is the Son of Man" [Jno. v. 20-27].

This title announces also the fact of his brotherhood with all the sons of men. The poor, the sick, the sin-burdened, the oppressed of the devil, all experienced His touch of sympathy and relief. He made their wants and woes His own. The proof of men's true kinship with Him was to be in that they fed His brothers when hungry, and clothed them when naked, and ministered to them when sick and in prison. We cannot avoid the thought that in the judg ment scene of Matt. xxv. this is the principle announced that so closely is the Son of Man identified with His brothermen, that inhumanity to them is unkindness to Him and separation from Him. It was this wbich He taught to His disciples when He took a little cbild and set him in the midst of them, and declared that the reception of one such in His name was to receive Himself. It was not merely because of a child's innocence that He said this, for He well knew that in the youngest child there were the latent germs of all evil. But there were also the possibilities of the highest good, and the loftiest dignity. The child had the man-nature, and He as the Son of Man was charged with the duty of raising up this human nature to its divine ideal as the heir of all things. Therefore, ministering angels, who always behold the face of our Father in heaven, watch over the training of each child born of this favored race. And kindness shown to one such is kindnsss to him who bears the burden of all human souls because he is the Son of Man. Surely there is food for deep reflection and for tee loftiest hope in this self-chosen title of him who was made in all things like unto his brethren, and whom, because He humbled Himself and was found in fashion as a man, and became obedient even unto death, God hath now crowned in the highest heavens, and given a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow of things in heaven and earth and under the earth, confess that He is Lord to the glory of God the Father.


Anendeavour to expound Matt. xxv. 31-4--6. The following article is taken from The Rainbow, and is from the pen of its Editor, Mr. Joseph B. Rotherham. It will be seen that we differ from it at important points. And yet it contains 80 much that is helpful toward a true explanation of this judgment-scene, that we lay it before our readers. It makes it, wbat the passage declared it to be, a judgment of the living nations of men, with special reference to those who had not known of Christ. The Judaic conception of the nations (panta ta eihnee), which viewed the Gentiles as entirely distinct from the covenant and chosen people, must be given due place in our interpretation of the passage.

The main defect and embarrassment of Mr. Rotherham's

« AnteriorContinuar »