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when true to her theology, she robs them of the dignity and consolation of knowing God as the Father, and the hopes brought to them in the crowning proof of His love given in the death and resurrection of His Son. If this recovered life beyond the grave be a boon, then this life, with its trials and conflicts, becomes an education, a discipline for this life to come. But the church has viewed it simply as a probation for endless joy or woe, and with the chances much in favor of the latter, inasmuch as the way to life is narrow and few there be that find it.
And this leads us to observe the wrong view she has taken of human righteousness in its bearing upon the life to come. She has taught men that good works are an abomination to God unless they arise out of a heart renewed by His Spirit. She has failed here to distinguish between that which is requisite for eternal life and sonship to God, and that which may be of value in preparing men as candidates for this dignity in the life to come. The Scriptures do indeed teach that the Christnature, which alone is immortal, is formed in us only as there is the death in us of the old nature, with all its self-seeking and self-righteousness. But this does not imply that the ordinary virtues and graces of human character are of no account in God's sight, or that His Spirit has nothing to do with their production. Jesus did not so undervalue the virtue of the young man to whom He was yet obliged to say "One thing thou lackest" (Mark x, 21). Peter was not so taught to estimate the alms and good deeds of Cornelius, done before he was " saved" (Act xi. 14). Nor did Paul fail to gratefully recognize the "no little kindness" shown to him and his shipwrecked companions at the island of Melita. The epistle of James is full of practical righteousness. If there is anything carefully taught throughout the Old Testament and the New, it is that every man must be rewarded or punished according to his works. And the resurrection of the dead must proceed according to this principle. It is doubtful whether the small class who in this life are saved to eternal life come into view at all in the passage which most plainly teaches this general resurrection—Jno. v. 29. They are viewed as already raised (vs. 25). While "all that are in their graves" are sorted according to character, whether they have done good or ill. This determines the plane of being upon which they are started in the life to come. "I will give unto every one of you according to your works,"— "Whatsoever a man soweth that must he also reap,"— this law applies not only to Christians, of whom the words are spoken, but is universal in the government of God. Under the view that resurrection is an untold curse to all but the elect, there is no encouragement to other men to do right, no universal ethical motive, no room for the proper cultivation of kindness and benevolence, no prospect of reward for the practice of merely human virtues. And no motive remains to the church to seek to develop in other men these virtues. She dreads that their self-righteousness will be their snare. But, on the other view, that the provision of a life to come for all men is a gracious one, that men are under training for it, and that God's great harvest laws which inflexibly attach suffering to sin, and happiness to virtue, hold over and remain the same in all worlds, there is no room for the present confusion in men's minds concerning His righteousness, and the inherent worth of righteous character. Nor does this conflict with the essential truth that perfect righteousness cannot be produced in any man, except as He receives Christ as the end of the law for righteousness. Neither in this world, nor in any world, can men rise into the eternal life except as Christ is formed in them. It is not held that men out of Christ come forth in the resurrection in His image. The life bestowed upon them must still be one in bonds and under trial and judgment. But it would violate every principle of morality, and run counter to the whole current of Scripture teaching, to say that in the life extended to men through resurrection, the fruits of good doing as well as of evil doing will not be garnered up, or that the unselfish deeds of men who did not even know the name of Christ would go without reward.
A full gospel then would, first, exalt saintship, putting it on the ground where Jesus and the apostles left it, as something more than a saying unto Him " Lord, Lord," or a doing of even wonderful works in His Name. It is an actual participation with Him in a death out of the old human life of sin into the eternal life. It marks a priestly class into which many are called, but few chosen. Second, It must repudiate the long-received notion that only this class receive any benefit from this salvation. They receive indeed its foremost and highest benefits, but in trust for others. All men receive the great benefit of a life recovered from the death and hell into which they pass under the just judgment of God. And they are now in training for this life to come. They are under responsibility for the use they make of this gift. The resurrection will put them upon their true and just standing before God. It will bring to light character. It will emancipate right-doers for progress in life toward the high goal of eternal life in Jesus Christ. It will still fetter evil-doers, and make entrance into life hard for them, which might have been made easy. For the incorrigible it will prove the way to a second death. Third, The way is thus open for the preaching of benevolence and humanity, and of right dealing between man and his fellow, of love to the neighbor, which is the only way in which a man can be trained in love to God, or come to find out his great need of Christ to make him what he ought to be. Even the halting steps of men toward right living, and steps made along the uncertain paths which heathen religions trace out for their votaries, are not unnoticed and cannot go unrewarded in the government of God. Fourth, The church will have to go back to something like the distinctions which prevailed in early times when she drew a well-marked line between those who were willing to accept her unrelenting law of self-surrender to the will of God and the good of men—a class of " called and chosen and faithful," and the catechumens and audientes. The catechumens were candidates, under instruction in the holy mysteries, learners in the way of life. The others were hearers and inquirers—an outer court to the sacred temple. But all were embraced in its gracious ministries. The church gave thanks " for all men," who knew not yet of the ransom given for all, and even for the kings and governors who sought to crush out her growing life by persecution (i Tim. II. 1-6). By drawing close the lines of saintship, as Jesus drew them, she did not divorce herself from the faltering ones who were only learning to be saints, nor from the mass of her fellow men, for whose lives her Lord had given Himself a ransom. And so the church now needs to return to this higher idea of saintship, but of saintship as a trust for the good of all. She must abandon the idea that it is necessary to swoop into her communion all who can be induced to come, when their fitness is often only a transient outburst of religious feeling—opening wide her door, as if all who are not gathered in must hopelessly perish. She must, for the good of all, protect and purify herself, that she may give men a truer and higher idea of what it is to enter into life, and that she may have more strength to reach down to them the helping hand they need. For her Lord has plainly taught her that it is only as she becomes unified and purified that she can be used as the channel of His saving health to all mankind.
Nor will a right view of all men, as thus comprehended within the scope of God's fatherly sympathy and saving grace, diminish the value of salvation as a present blessing. The way of eternal life in Christ Jesus alone is not changed. Nor are judgment and suffering for sin averted in any other way than through self-judgment at His cross. Moreover if salvation,—a life redeemed from destruction and immortalized, be an infinite blessing, the sooner it is entered upon the better. The way becomes no less narrow, the terms no easier, by delay. On the other hand the dangers increase, and especially where there has been the knowledge and the rejection of His