Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

down to death under this yoke, are not excluded from the benefits of this deliverance. He who reads the Bible without perceiving that God's scheme of creation and redemption is charged with this deliverance to the captives, and this opening of the prison doors to them that are bound, fails to apprehend the meaning of Christ's triumph over death and of that great plan of creation by which the topmost branches on its tree of life are made to blossom and bud and to fill the face of the world with fruit. The law of the survival of the fittest is only God's way of preparing a chosen seed in which all the families of the earth are to be blessed. And that is a most narrow and unworthy view of this great purpose which makes death the limit of its beneficent provisions. Rather it is only through and after their triumph over death that this chosen seed become equipped for their work. And by far the larger proportion of those who need to be blessed by it have passed over into the realms of death and can only be reached there.

Primitive Hope.—Into the fog and gloom of agnosticism there rings out like a bell these words of lofty hope from one to whom God had revealed things unseen.

"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the Sons of God. For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who subjected it, in hope that the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation* groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only so, but ourselves also, which have the first fruits of the spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for our adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. For we are saved by hope ** * And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, even to them who are called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, them He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first born among many brethren * * * What shall we say then to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us. He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not also with Him freely give us all things?"

Extract. In Paley's Moral and Political Philosophy, Chapter VII., occurs this paragraph:

"It has been said that it can never be a just economy of Providence to admit one part of mankind into heaven and condemn the other to hell, since there must be very little to choose, between the worst man who is received into heaven and the best who is excluded. And how know we, it might be answered, but that there may be as little to choose in the conditions?"

The doctrine of a resurrection that is redemptive, and yet that does not confer—except upon the saints—eternal life, but only new conditions of trial under which it may be won, and these graded according to previous character, is just the one needed to meet the difficulty here suggested.

•Is not the unregenerate portion of the human race a part of the whole creation?

DR. WARFIELD'S REVIEW.

The July number of the Presbyterian Review contains a brief notice of The Fire of God's Anger from the pen of the Rev. B. B. Warfield, D. D., the new professor of theology at Princeton. As we trust we are more desirous to know and to teach the truth than to maintain our own consistency as the defender of any special view of it, we give our readers the benefit of Dr. Warfield's criticism in full. We are anxious to know, and we are willing that aur readers should know, the most that can be said against any of our interpretations of Scripture.

The special object of this volume is to bring Scriptural evidence to the support of Mr. Baker's peculiar eschatological teaching; and more especially, by tracing the Bible doctrines of retribution and redemption first through the Old Testament and only thence into the New Testament, to secure that the deliverances of the latter shall be read by us in their true historical sense, and as they appear against their proper background of Old Testament teaching, of which they are the continuation and crown. As in all of Mr. Baker's writings, much that he says is happily conceived and very acceptable. In particular, the inductions at which he arrives from his study of Scripture, "That God's retributions for sin are fixed and inevitable, but that death, sin's wages, cannot snatch His creatures out of His hands, nor defeat His purposes " (p. 23i), will readily be received by all Christian men. Equally true are the two great principles on which he rests his argument: that the death-state is essentially penal, the very penalty threatened by God for sin; and that resurrection, so far as a reversal of this penalty, is essentially a benefit, and results from Christ's work of redemption. But when he infers from these inductions and principles that the resurrection of the wicked is therefore a gracious restoration of corruptible human life and manhood to them in order to afford them another opportunity to win salvation, he has flown out of sight of his premises, beyond the tether of reason, and flat in the face of Scripture. The result is that the adoption of his hypothesis forces on him, at every step, some new exegesis of the Scriptural passages that bear on the subject; and the present volume thus becomes a body of revised interpretations in the interests of the new theory. Revised interpretation for one point, however, usually ends by affecting others. Thus the upshot is inevitable that we shall also have a revised theology.' "The whole doctrine of atonement and forgiveness of sins," we are told (p. 249), "needs to be re-examined." Already the pressure of Matt. x. 28 (p. 101) has given us a new anthropology. And the very roots of the theory are set in an insufficient view of sin, which believes that every claim of God's righteousness can be satisfied by a-temporal punishment (p. 136, 250, 258). The professed object of this new eschatology is to save God's character (p. iv.); but it is hard to see any advantage it offers as an apologetic, when it teaches that the "renewed life" given to the reanimated wicked "is burdened with the evil heritage of the former life" (p. 168), and that each rises lower and lower down in the scale of manhood according as the blight of sin has withered and degraded his life here (pp. 144, 146); so that the secrets of all hearte here will be made manifest there "in the form, the grade, the potencies of the renewed manhood" (p. 167). If this renewed life, with its new opportunity, rests thus hard on the sin of this life, and may itself result in the " second death," from which there is no resurrection (pp. 147,169,201), or in endless existence on the outer circles of life, far removed from the presence of the Lord, in perpetual banishment and eternal experience of the suffering of loss and the shame of degradation (p. 132), but never in the ■dignity and glory of the Church of the first-born (pp. 131, 241), we are at a loss to see either (1) how it can be said that this reanimation does not reach the wicked until their death sentence has been exhausted (p. 258) and judgment for their sins has been satisfied (p. 250), along with "every claim of God's right

eousness " (p. 136); or (2) what theodicy can arise from this view which is not equally valid for the eschatology of our creeds.

To this review we have to say in reply:

1. That nothing is easier than for a practised polemic to pick out flaws and to frame objections against any treatise which, with our present light, the best instructed writer may prepare upon such a subject as future punishment. Let Dr. Warfleld write a defense of the Westminister doctrine on that subject, which he has just sworn to uphold, and let him seek to harmonize all the Scripture passages bearing upon it with the statements that immediately after death the souls of the unrighteous are cast into the most grievous torments of hell, there to be reserved until a general resurrection and the final judgment, the issue of which is already determined, and that immediately thereupon these damned souls, reunited to their bodies shall be thrust back into hell that so in their completed personality they may be punished "with unspeakable torments in soul and body, without intermission, with the devil and his angels in hell-fire forever," and we hazard nothing in saying that the difficulties which will beset his way will be mountainous as compared with those he points out in our case.

2. Our book was written mainly to establish the truth of the principle that there is a redemptive character to resurrectionr and therefore to show that the eschatology of the Reformed Churches, specially of the Presbyterian church, must needs be reconstructed around this principle. For the quotation just made from the Confession of Faith shows how utterly this principle is ignored. We do not claim in the book that all itsattempts to adjust this principle to the other truths of Scripture are entirely successful (pg. 171). We were only anxious that the principle itself should be recognized and adopted as a new and controlling factor in the solution of this great mystery. Failure to testify to this principle perverts and obscures the gospel and puts a mask over the face of our Father God. And therefore our contention has been for the very vitals of the Christian faith. We were satisfied that with this principle once

« AnteriorContinuar »