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One chief reason why so many cultured and thoughtful minds in our day have become agnostic with reference to a life for man beyond the grave lies in the fact that the Christian church—the appointed witness to this hope—has so largely disconnected it from the doctrine of the resurrection. The Apostles based the hope of immortality upon the fact that Christ had risen from the dead. This was the divine pledge that there should be a resurrection both of the just and of the unjust. Of an eternal life inherent in the constitution of human nature they had no conception. Of a disembodied ghost-condition as a form of life they never speak. Their testimony was of a new life in manhood, embodied, and therefore in contact with, and in relation to, this created system from which the body of man was derived, and of which he was made the heir and lord. A disembodied spirit is a kind of creature life of which we have no knowledge and can take no cognizance. If man is to live beyond the grave it must be in some form of life which falls within the lines of that development of life which has been going on from the beginning of creation. A formless ghost takes us back to chaos. The whole drift and energy of creation has been toward embodied life. Ini man we see the highest effort toward the production of a creature worthy to inherit and administer this vast estate.. The doctrine of the resurrection reveals to us the fact that man in the flesh is only a clay-model of the splendid image' of God who is to stand upon creation's summit. Men of science and philosophic thought withhold their assent from
the hope of any future life for man, because this hope has been so much divorced from the Scripture view of a reconstitution of man as belonging to the system of creation beyond the grave. The current ideas of immortality have largely divorced man from his true connection with the system of things of which, in an important sense, he is the product and to which he belongs. If the intelligent mind shall admit the idea of a future life beyond the grave it must perceive that that life is no violent break in the order of the universe, no unsubstantial evanescent dream, no celestial monstrosity, but a life unfolding out of the universal life that has been manifesting itself along the ages, striking its roots down into this field of creation, and upborn by it as its richest fruit and joyful harvest. It is not necessary that this newly embodied manhood be conceived of as formed out of the grosser elements of this material system. The universe is filled with finer substances than those which are apparent to sight or touch. The body of the future, as the vehicle of an eternal life, must be of much finer substance than the gross fabric of the present. That side of creation which is invisible is no less real—its forces no less potent—than is the side we see. (Col. I. 16). And resurrection may not be so distant a change as we have been accustomed to conceive. Nor is it simultaneous. "Every man in his own order." But when we have seen that Scripture connects it with the whole plan of God in the development of life on this platform of creation, that the risen man is the highest product and the appointed heir of the system, then not even the evolutionist can interpose a reasonable objection to it, unless evolution can prove—which it cannot—that no changes are possible in the hidden realms of life which it cannot inspect and catalogue.
It is thus apparent that Christianity needs to base its hope of immortality more distinctly upon the fact that Christ is risen, and that perishable man is to live again, not because of his inherent immortality, but because God has provided that in Him shall all be made alive. And this new life must be viewed as but the consummation of a creative process begun from the foundation of the world (Titus i. 2), and necessary to complete the design of its Author, which is to bring forth out of the matrix of this system an anointed race worthy to wear its crown, and to be the administrators of His authority and bounty to its remotest bounds. May God save us from the darkness and peril of an agnosticism that sees no "hope toward God" beyond the confines of this present life, and of that pessimistic view of man which marks out for him no higher destiny than for the brutes that perish! And to this end may He open to our understandings the true meaning of the gospel of the resurrection of the dead!
THE GOSPEL OF THE RESURRECTION.
We do not know how much longer we shall be able to publish this magazine, but we shall devote it in the future, as we have done in the past, largely to the preaching of the gospel of the resurrection. We affirm without hesitation that this "hope of the dead" (Acts 23, 6), is not rightly understood in the Christian church. The vast majority of mankind have died in their sins. The just judgment of God has consigned them to sheol. Christians generally have been taught to look upon their promised resurrection as no deliverance from this penal-state, but as the prelude to a deeper and eternal damnation. This is a monstrous perversion of the design of God in providing for this recovery. It is a wicked mutilation of the gospel. It uproots the very foundations of the " hope toward God " as they are laid in the Old Testament. It hides His grace and glory from the nations. It is the chief cause of the church's ill-success in winning the heathen. It has darkened men's minds everywhere to the true knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent, whom to know is eternal life. It has taken the joy and sweetness out of multitudes of Christian lives, and quenched in them the spirit of self sacrifice, by concealing from them the true hope of their calling, which is to take part with Christ in His work of recovering their captive brethren of the human race from death,and that if they are to reign with Him they must be willing now to suffer with Him. We know, therefore, of no sphere of service more important than the effort to re-kindle the light of this true "hope toward God " in this night of the world's darkness and unrest, and no higher motive to holiness than the invitation to be baptized into Christ's death, that we may know, and be the chosen vessels of, the power of His resurrection. The gospel of the resurrection, when understood, will give a new meaning to all Scripture. It will be seen to be the hidden gem imbedded in all its great promises. It will reconstruct not only the church's eschatology, but much of her theology also. It will throw new light upon the whole doctrine of the incarnation and of the atonement. It will supply the needed meeting-ground be
tween science and Scripture, and reconcile reason with revelation. It will furnish the missionaries of the cross with a conquering gospel, which shall be indeed glad tidings of great joy to all people, and which shall silence the wail of the heathen over their countless dead. It will reclaim the church to a true view of her standing as an elect people called out from the world, and bound to separate themselves from its evil ways, both as the condition of the world's salvation and of her own fitness to take part in it. It will be seen that her mission is not now to sweep all the world within her enclosure, but to prepare herself as the future channel of blessing to the world in that day when the God of peace shall bruise Satan under her feet. In brief, a radical misconception of the purpose of God in bringing back the race to life through Christ, has vitiated the whole theology and marred the whole development of the church of Christ. In our small measure and as God shall give us opportunity, we shall continue to lift up the apostolic standard of a risen Christ as conqueror of all the realms of death, in order that he might show the wonders of God's grace even there, and bring forth judgment unto victory.
WHICH IS THE MORE DANGEROUS?
The most frequent objection made to the gospel of hope for the dead is that it will lead men to be careless in this life. It is enough reply to this to say that men have always abused the grace of God, and that we are not proper judges of the effects of what He has chosen to reveal. But the men who make this objection seek relief from the harsh doctrine of